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Tragedy in life is not death

February 20, 2017

The Tragedy in life is not death. The real tragedy in life is when God dies in the heart of the people because of their continuous rejection for God's Divine Grace.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, life is meant to be lived with joy and to its fullness. The question is: do people know what life is? The real crises in the world is that people are confused about how to define life and therefore, many people pass through this life not knowing that God is with them and keeps calling them to true life. How many times in our lives is the Lord with us without us realizing that He is present! Even the thief on the cross near Jesus had time to discover the true Identity of Christ: Lord and Giver of life. Therefore, the thief asked Jesus: "Jesus: Remember me when You come into your kingdom." (Luke 23: 42). The amazing reality is that Jesus does not see death even though he enter to it. Jesus opens death's locked gates and destroy them completely while hanging out on the Cross as he answers the thief: "And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’" (Luke 23: 44).
Christ is king of life and Christ chooses to give life to those who ask for it. How tragic it is that today in the world, Christ's gift of life no longer seems to be the desire of men and women?
The prophet Isiah invites us to "seek the Lord while He exists, to call upon Him while He is near"! This by itself is a clear confirmation that the Lord is not silent to the pain of the people.
Consequently, it is important to know that Jesus is not a cultural God like some world little masters and Hollywood movies try to depict him being.
God will respond to every evil. Christ will confirm his followers in faith, hope and love. God the Father will reach from heaven and destroy the stupid one and the fool who claims that there is no God and begins to kill and cause devastation of the faithful on earth. (Palm 53: 1- 5)"
"1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on God.
5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
you put them to shame, for God despised them.
My dear brothers and sisters, we Christians in the world must assume the stature of Jesus Christ in and for our lives, otherwise we could be misled to confusion and consequently could lead the entire world into confusion and damnation by God.
Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants are all invited today to seek unity. To humble themselves and re-think their particular identities in the light of the Holy Apostolic and Universal Church. The church that Jesus established on Peter and the apostles (Matthew 16: 12- 23) is not the church of movies, nor of music in the pews, nor of collection and stewardship, nor of buildings and programs, nor of charities and schools, nor of hierarchies and theologians, nor of teacher and offices, nor of activities and social justice, nor of moral views and philosophical persuasion.... all of the above is good and is an added value if the Church is first of all a church of holy people, saints, priests and laity, martyrs and witnesses to Christ, Evangelizers and people of true faith and obedience to Christ.
It is tragic to hear me over and over sounding the alarm that the Church in the world has lost its place and now is becoming hated not only be the world but by its own members.
My statement in this regard must be clear and away from manipulation and false accusations. What I mean is this: Today in the world, Christians must stop accusing other people of being the reason they don’t come to church. No Christian can cause another Christian the death of the grace in their heart unless, from the very beginning, they are not good soil nor deep and rooted in the love of God. Scandals and conflicts create temporary confusion but must not be seen as reasons to leave the church. This is so tragic and sad to see in our churches all over the world. But the reality is, I myself can always come back and ask myself freely: Do I love the Lord? Do I cherish his Holy Church and am I willing to be a living stone inside of it in the Holy Spirit?
The freedom God gave us must enable us to heal from our personal wounds oftentimes caused inside the church but no one unless the one who is not originally from God will ever give up on being a "saint" who’s heart and all desires are in the Lord.
I keep seeing Christians fashioning their own image of God. I keep seeing Christians vomiting hate and displeasure in the church in order to justify their own laziness and lack of pardon and rejection of living on the grace.
My friends, we are almost out of time. These are a few graceful moments for us to heal and to repent. To come back to church and to go to confession in order to receive Holy Communion from the hand of the priest, the minister of the word of God and his Holy Sacrifice.
Let it be known that in this week, as we draw to the Season of Great Lent, Christians are invited to pray for their loved ones who died before us. Pray for their intercession in case you know they are saints in heaven. Offer masses for the rest of their souls in order for their forgiveness in Christ be complete and they might enter into paradise. But here on earth, love one another more. Come to church more. Help the poor and the distressed more. Seek God's kingdom first that everything else might be added to you by God our Heavenly Father. In this week, as the Maronite Church wraps up all the celebrations that had to do with the nativity of the Lord, the Church offers praise and intentions of Thanksgiving and intercession to all the faithful departed who died in the Lord. In this is our recognition that the kingdom of Christ is already hosting our own departed who are waiting for us in order for all of us to live in full Glory.
In the meanwhile, remember what Saint Teresa of the little flowers taught us as she neared her death: Christ-like Faithful ones don't die, but enters into life. And from there they continue showering grace filled roses of healing and conversion of souls to Christ here on earth. The real death pertains to the enemy of Christ and his followers. To Satan and his evil doers. Psalm 55: 15 states clearly that death is for the enemies of life not for those who are meant to live in God: "Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them."
As for me and you, my brothers and sisters the psalm tells us:
"16 As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God."
God is not silent. God is not silent. God is not Silent! God speaks and helps. God is life and life He will give us. Believe in Him and come to Church today and stop postponing your life from being a life with God.
Amen.

 

 




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Reverend Father Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna, Special Patriarchal Delegate and Director of the Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue for the Maronite Church, Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.

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