The Wismen

The Gospel for the first Sunday after the Nativity feast is from the gospel according to St Mathew chapter 2; it talks about the wise men who also worshiped the Child JESUS and offered their offerings. And it was made clear to them by God in a dream that they were not to go back to Herod; so they went into their country by another way.
And when they had gone, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream, saying, Get up and take the young child and his mother, and go into Egypt, and do not go from there till I give you word; for Herod will be searching for the young child to put him to death.
After the visit of the wise men, St Mary the virgin lady, and St Joseph the carpenter were happy, joyful and calm, but mind you that the situation is not always like that, meaning that living with the LORD JESUS some days you will be happy and joyful and in others you will be in pain, some days you will be in glory but in some other days you will be in hardship.  Some days the wise men shall come and kneel down for you and give you presents and the bright star come over the cave where you are borne and all the people know that a great one is borne, all this is great, joyful and glorious events, but there are times when there will be weakness and pain and you will be told take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt.  Living with the LORD JESUS is a mixture between pain and joy, hardship and glory, you should know this very well.
We notice that St Joseph the carpenter was not greatly worrier nor he discussed the matter any further with the Angel, for example he could have said to the Angel how these can be a while ago you told me that the Child shall be the saviour of the world, okay then, the saviour of the world cannot get rid of Herod, who is stronger then?  Is it the LORD JESUS or Herod, is it Herod who is the stronger and that is why we should flee? No… can kill Herod and not to ask me to flee!  My beloved brothers; St Joseph the carpenter did not go through this dialogue with the Angel, but it is we who say that because of our week faith and believe, but not St Joseph, but he immediately took the Child and HIS mother and fled to Egypt without even asking the Angel about when will he come back, one should have obedience…endurance accepting all that what comes on to him.  
Saint John the Chrysostom tells us not to ask for wonders from our LORD JESUS……why is that?  Because HE has HIS own ways which you will not understand now but later on you will. Saint John the Chrysostom says (if since HIS child hood HE showed many wonders then the people would not have taken HIM as a human but a God). We know that HE is the LORD GOD, but HE wants to tell us that I am also a full human just like you; I live all your hardships and pains.  For this HE subjected HIMSELF to the fleeing to Egypt to give us a method to follow in our lives, and this method or way is Do not resist evil, but escape from evil.  There are situations when we need to flee.  The LORD JESUS grants us HIS protection and protects us all Amen. Good News

When we pray

نحن حينما نصلى نأحذ من الله ، وحينما نصوم نأخذ من الله، وحينما نعطى نأخذ من الله هو دائماص المعطى بسخاء .  ‏
When we pray , we receive from God . When we fast , we receive from God. When we give , we receive from God. So our merciful God is always the source of  ‏generous giving.Good News

First Sunday of Koiahk

The Gospel for the first Sunday of Koiahk talks to us about the good news by the Angel to Zacharias the priest about the birth of St John the Baptist.
Zacharias and Elisabeth, the Holy Bible tells us that they were both righteous before the LORD GOD and both of them were asking GOD for one thing only and that was to bless them with a son, they wanted a son. The months and years passed by and the LORD did not answer their prayers, Zacharias grew old and Elisabeth was branded as a barren.  Despite the blameless and righteous life, they were leading the LORD GOD did not answer their prayer.  Sometimes we put our prayers and requests in front of the LORD GOD and the months and years passes by without any answer from GOD, so we start thinking, why the LORD is not listening to my prayers, am I a sinner and because of this HE is not listening to me, is HE not pleased by me?
Be patient….check yourself…you are okay…put your request in front of the LORD GOD and wait, the Psalm says “Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD;”
We ask for something and want it to be fulfilled immediately….and if the response is delayed for few days then we start reacting not nicely towards the LORD, we start blaming HIM and our relation with HIM becomes Half-hearted relationship.  We go to the priest and tell him, you have asked me to pray and put the matter on the Alter, so I did, I prayed, fasted, prayed, put forward my vows and placed the matter on the Alter, the days, months and even years has passed by and the LORD GOD did not answer my prayers.
Wait, be patient.  In the parable of the farmer, the LORD JESUS tells us “Luke 8:15 bear fruit with patience.” “Luke 21:19 by your patience endurance you will gain your souls.”  Wait and be patient.
The Angel appeared to Zacharias, we all know the story, and says to him “Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard;” Ooh, since when? From the first day.
Does this mean that the LORD was thinking about the matter all this time, shall HE offer him a son or not?  No, from day one your prayer has been heard.  This means that from the first day when Zacharias and Elisabeth were married and they asked for a son the LORD GOD said Amen and I shall give you a son, “thy prayer is heard;”
Daniel prayed and after 21 days the Arch Angel came and said to him “Dan 9:23  At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued” this means that from the first day and as you are just putting up your hands in supplication the “commandment was given.”
Okay then, why is this waiting period, what is it for?  This period teaches me to have faith and HE never forgets the prayers put in front of HIM, this is impossible.
Let me tell you something: you can forget, you might ask the LORD for something and then after a while, you forget that…..HE never forgets, HE shall answer and fulfill your prayer in the proper time, as if HE is saying to you do you remember when you have asked for this….I never forget.  The Arch Angel came to Zacharias and said “thy prayer is heard;” the prayer you asked a long time ago is heard.  Then what do name this waiting period?  We call it the fullness of time, and who decides this fullness of time?  It is HIM, not you.
Two things you should not ask about; neither the way nor when HE answers.  HE knows better when and how.
All that Zacharias and Elisabeth asked for was to have a son.  HE gave them in the fullness of time a son, and not a normal son but a very unique son.  This is what the Holy Bible tells us in the letter to the Ephesians “Eph 3:20 Now unto him, that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” I want to tell you something; when the response delays, rest assured that the response shall be greater than what you has initially asked for, look to Abraham and Sarah they had no son and the response delayed and in the fullness of time HE gave them Isaac, every time you see delaying in HIS response be assured that the response shall be with great glory.  This is exactly what has happened, look and see who St John the Baptist is. The Arch Angel says to Zacharias “Luke 1:13 Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”  This was all what Zacharias was asking for, but there is more “Luke 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.” What is this special thing?  More yet to come “Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”
This was never heard before that a child “shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” to prepare a nation well prepared for the LORD GOD.  So if you wait you shall be given something spectacular, of cores because GOD never forgets, just be faithful in your prayer and believe that the LORD has heard it and HE shall response in the proper time.
The LORD GOD always wants to give HIS sons and makes them happy; HE never wants to sadden HIS sons because HE always wants to give HIS sons what is best for them.
Today, take this for you “thy prayer is heard” when, where and how?  Leave this for HIM; HE shall give you something spectacular.

The first Sunday of the month of Tout

We are in the first week of the New Martyr’s (Coptic) year 1736, and today’s Gospel talks to us about St John the Baptist since he is the martyr between the two Old and New Testaments.
In the beginning of the new Coptic year for the martyrs we would like to talk about those Martyrs.
The first Church was actually like a race towards martyrdom and who will be fast enough to be sacrificed first for the sake of the LORD JESUS.  Saint Paul says (Philippians 3:13) “brothers and sisters one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”
What is ahead you St. Paul? (Rom 8: 36) “As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
A very unique race that the first Church lived, everyone is running to win this crown, the crown of martyrdom.
The historians tells us about those Martyrs that they faced death with coolness, placidity, joy and peace, they were thrown to hungry lions and they were very calm, filled by internal peace and joy.
They used to light up the streets of Rome by the bodies of the Christians, they rape them in oil soaked cloth and then hang them up on poles and set them in fire, and so the Christian Martyr keeps burning all the night long lighting up the streets of Rome.
I will try to answer the question about what was it that kept those people calm, in peace and joyful?
If we do a field study and meet up with those Martyrs in the dungeons and prisons and ask them why are you not afraid of death?  Why are you so peaceful and tranquil?  Their answer will be because of 3 reasons:
The First reason: the life we are living is a limited life.  How long will we live for, a 100 years?  Then it is a timely limited world in comparison to Eternity.  Any one of us who undergoes a surgical operation, especially in the old days, this was done with no anaesthesia and with very limited primitive sedatives, this person suffers a lot of pain and agony, but this person is been given a new life, the same thing is martyrdom in Christianity.  We know that we will suffer for a while and we might be burned alive, of cores this is not easy and we will die, but after death there is an eternal life awaiting us, so whatever happens to us in this world we are happy with because will reach an endless eternal life.
Okay, then what is the second reason that keeps you in tranquillity peaceful and joyful?  They will answer that we are strangers.
Saint Paul says (2Co 5:6”) (that while we are in the body we are away from the Lord, 8 We are without fear, desiring to be free from the body, and to be with the Lord.)
I have a firm believe that as long as I am living in this flesh then I am absent from the LORD JESUS.  Okay then when will you be not absent from the LORD JESUS? When you are absent from your flesh or body, and how can you absent from your body, through death.  So the best thing about death is that it is a bridge which we cross to meet with the LORD JESUS.  So death is not fearful even if it is preceded by some of the suffering.
So those Martyrs are:
1- Feeling that this world is a timely world.
2- Feeling that they are estranged and they long for the LORD JESUS.
3- Their love for the LORD JESUS was very clear and obvious.
When someone come to the priest and asks to be baptized, the priest tells him (my son to be honest with you, your chance in life before baptism is 100% but after baptism is 50% or even less, because after baptism those who are not Christians might capture you and if you insist on your Christianity you might suffer this and this and that), but the man insist on being baptized.
Why is that?  Because of my great love for the LORD JESUS, I am ready to endure everything even death itself for my love to HIM.
So the 3 things which make the Christians not afraid of death and they are in tranquility and racing for martyrdom are:
1- Their feeling that this world is timely.
2- That they are estranged from Heaven and want to reach it.
3- They truly love the LORD JESUS to the extent that they want their life to end so that they reach HIM and live with HIM for eternity.
Did we understand the story?
       Good News

The Second Coming

The readings of the Church these days are all about the end of the World and the second coming for the LORD JESUS CHRIST that is because we are towards the end of the Coptic year. The Gospel for today is from St Mark chapter 13.
The Disciples and the LORD JESUS were coming out from the Temple, the Disciples were feeling proud by the majesty and beauty of the building, the LORD JESUS said to them:
Do you see these great buildings? There shall not be one stone left on another that shall not be thrown down.”
When they have reached the Mount of Olives the Disciples asked HIM to tell them when this will be and what the sings before it happening are. The LORD JESUS started telling them about the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Temple and gave them some of the signs that will happen and then the LORD started telling them about the end of the World and HIS second coming and the sings preceding them, towards the end of HIS talk HE said to them (Mar 13:35-37) “Then you watch, for you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, at evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or early; lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all. Watch.”
What does it mean to be on the watch and why?
To be on the watch does not mean that we don’t sleep, but it means that the one should be aware about his spiritual life and all his daily acts.
Why should we be on the watch?
1/ Because our enemy does not sleep.
If you were told that a dangerous burglar has escaped from the prison and he is in the area where you live and at any moment you might be the next victim, will you be able to sleep or you will be on the watch with your weapon in hand to protect yourself and your family? This is the situation of my spiritual life when I come to know that my adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour;” Then I will be awake so that this lion will not fine me asleep and devour me.
2/ Because I don’t know neither the day nor the hour: The biggest trick the devil uses to cheat us with is that every one of us has a plane for himself, one has a plane for five years to come and the other for ten years, and so on……. Do you remember the parable of the fool rich man which was said by the LORD JESUS “Luke 12:20 But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul shall be required of you”
We must all be vigilant and on the watch all the time knowing that death can be at any moment and any day. Therefore, be on the watch: because my enemy never sleeps and I don’t know the hour.
Be on the watch for what?
Be on the watch for the salvation of your soul: (Mat 16:26) “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” be on the watch for the salvation of your soul meaning that you should judge yourself daily about where are you from the LORD’S commandment, because if you don’t judge yourself your soul will be lost and you will lose your crown and eternity.
The message of the Gospel of today while we are going toward the end of the year is to be vigilant and on the watch.
May the LORD give us the life of vigilance and spiritual watch over so that we protect our crowns and eternity. Good News

The borne blind

We arrived today for the seventh Sunday of the Great Fast and The Gospel for today is about the man who was borne blind, the Gospel of St John.
The story is well known. A man who was borne blind and when the LORD JESUS put some mud over his eyes and asked him to go and wash in the lake of Siloam, he did and came back fully sighted.
He came back fully sighted means that he could see.
In the book of Revelation “Rev 3:18 And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see.”
If you want to see then anoint your eyes with eye salve, means use the eye drops. Anyone who is blind uses eye drops to be cured and can see again, the Gospel (the word of GOD) is the eye salve.
For this HE taught us and said “Mat & Luke 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”God
Every Word can do miracles, one single verse can change the life of a man, and the borne blind became sighted by the Word of GOD.
But the LORD JESUS gave him a task that needs some effort “go and wash”, HE was able to cure him there and then, but HE wanted him to have a part, to do something.
Our lives can be much better than what it is now, our problems can be all salved very easily, if the Bible grows more in our life’s, so our role is to treasure the Word of GOD, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, psalm by psalm our life changes. The saints became sanctified by the Word of GOD.
Of course the Word of GOD can make changes, the borne blind man was able to see by the Word of GOD, but, the matter needs (go—-wash), you have to do something, when the borne blind man obeyed the advice he became sighted. Good News

The Samaritan woman

Today’s Gospel is about the Samaritan woman, or we may say about the meeting of the LORD JESUS with the Samaritan woman.  I don’t think that any Christian does not know the story of the Samaritan woman mentioned in the Gospel of St john chapter 4.
The Church cares about this chapter and read it three times throughout the year, in the Holy Great Lent, during the Holy Fifty days after the Easter and in the evening of the feast of the Pentecost.
The Church also insists that during the Great Holy Lent there should be a Sunday known as the Sunday of the Samaritan, this is in the middle of the Lent, the 4th Sunday.  
The meeting of the LORD JESUS with the Samaritan woman proofs a very important point, and that is the LORD GOD loves all of mankind.  There was a great enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans. but, the LORD JESUS is not just a simple Jew, HE is the Saviour of the whole World, HE was the one about WHOM it was said “John 3:15 so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” HE loved the whole world, Samaritans, and Egyptians…….70 nations mentioned in the book of Genesis all of them were loved by the LORD JESUS.
1- The choice of the LORD JESUS to deal with the Samaritan woman was a proof that our LORD JESUS CHRIST has no enmity with no one of the mankind, if this person was a Jew HE would have dealt with him to lead him to Heave, if he was a Gentile HE would have dealt with him to lead him to heaven, if he was an atheist HE would have dealt with him to lead him to Heaven, if this person was a Samaritan desecrating the true belief with idolatries beliefs HE would have dealt with him to lead him to Heave, HE cares about everyone and was ready to even die for him, the LORD JESUS “1Ti 2:4  who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
2- In the Great Lent the Church is giving us a great hope that no matter my sins were or my weaknesses the LORD JESUS is seeking me to save me, if HE has walked for more than 6 hours to meet with this Samaritan woman and to sit talking to her for a long time, doesn’t this teach us not to belittle or disgrace the sinners?
It is very important that we know that the meeting of the LORD JESUS with the Samaritan woman ended with:
1- The Samaritan woman was changed to a preacher for the LORD JESUS when she went back into Samaria and said “John 4:29 Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Is this One not the Christ?”
2- John 4:39-40  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed upon Him, they begged Him that He would stay with them. And He stayed there two days.
3- The LORD JESUS stayed in Samaria for two more days, isn’t this strange, HE is a Jew and yet stayed with the Samaritans talking, eating and sleeping with them and they even said “John 4:42
4- The LORD JESUS made one’s peace between the Jews and the Samaritan when HE has said to HIS disciples “Act 1:8 But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Good News

Sunday of the treasures

Today, Sunday, is the first Sunday of the Great Lent and the church calls it the Sunday of the treasures and some people calls as the One Choice Sunday. This is because the Lord says  “Mat 6:19-20  Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”  The one should choose the treasure that is on the Heaven and not the one on the Earth.  HE also says “Mat 6:24 No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” you have to choose one either God or money.
In the Gospel you will find two commandments that are repeated throughout the Lent, these two commandments follows us all the time.
One is do not worry and the other is do not judge.
In the beginning of this fast, the LORD JESUS is telling us not to be worried about our food, drinks, clothes or money and HE is giving to me a very logical argument and telling me  ; and all these things shall be added to you.”  So why are you so worried? Even If you are worried about your children, the Lord consoles us when He says they are more precious to me than they are to you. “Mat 7:11  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?”  Then HE gives me another promise “Mat 6:32 “For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.”  Why are you so worried then?  HE knows…..GOD knows quite well all what you need so we should not be troubled.
The commandment of do not judge does not only mean that you should not condemn others by words only, you are judging people by your eyes or by your thoughts even if you say nothing, but unfortunately we always talk.
The LORD JESUS when they brought to HIM the woman who was caught in the very act, all the people saw her as a sinner who deserves to be stoned, but our LORD JESUS did not concentrate on her sin but on how to save her and how to defend her……..all the people were there with the stones ready in their hands to stone her.  The LORD JESUS made it clear for them that if you want to stone her then you will have to stone yourselves first, HE said to them “John 8:7 He who is without sin among you.” She is a sinner and so are you, she deserves to be stoned and so are you, so let he who is without a sin stone her, and so they all went out.
. During this holy fast, we need to rid ourselves of the two great sins of worry and condemnation of others.
It is not right that I fast, attend the Holy Liturgy, have the Holy Communion and read the Bible daily and still worry (work, children, food, drinks and clothes), also it is not right to be in the Church and fasting while I am looking at all the congregation members judging them, exactly like what the Pharisee did with the tax collector, by doing this you have lost the fast and the prayer because you don’t know how to love the others around you.
So from the beginning of this holy lent fast, it is highly important to remember this two commandments of do not worry and do not judge. The person who fasts and forgets about food and drink should also forget about worry and leave matters in the Lord’s hands.
The person who fasts should know how to love people, show them mercy, accept them and defend them.
May the LORD grant us a blessed and holy fast. Good News

Prepare for Great Lent

I have good news. Tomorrow we start the Great Lent. We are glad that the Lent is about to begin and off course you know that this Lent is the greatest of all fasts, our fathers used to consider it “The storing season. So please, don’t let the fast end without storing some spiritual stock that could benefit you far the entire year.
Why I fast?
The reason for the fast is to declare that my life is by God not by the Jesus said “Man, shall not live by bread only, but by every world that comes from the mouth of God”. and when the devil fights man; he fights him through his physical needs. Thus the first test that man failed to pass was when the devil tempted him to eat from the fruit that God told him not to eat. And the devil fights people by the same way till our day today, he tempts them during the fast to eat and stop fasting but we have to win our fight with the devil and declare our obedience to Jesus Christ and our unity with him because He was the first to fast this fasting. So when we fast we share with Jesus His fast as well.
I need a very simple training in this Lent, I will call it: Dispensing all what is unnecessary.
Look for something that is unnecessary for you and spare it. It might be something that you got used to do, but if you left it you are not going to be harmed. for example: someone may have got used to watch T.V. a lot, he could stop this during the fast telling himself that it’s unnecessary.
May be others stay or 5 or 6 hours on Facebook, during fasting. I could tell myself that half an hour is quite enough, staying away from the media for a while wouldn’t harm me.
Someone else might be used to talk on the phone for long times, so during fasting he could put his phone on offline mode more and opens it for short periods to take the important calls and finishes fast then turns it. Offline again, as if the phone too is fasting. Anything I feel that it is unnecessary for my life and that I can live without it, I should dispense it. Then I will be saving more time and I will find out that I had a lot of time and I wasted it on useless stuff. Then I could benefit this time I saved; for the students, they could spend it studying, for the servants, they could more services. I could use it for reading and studying the Holy Bible or doing spiritual activities.
I could benefit from it by improving relationships with people whom I haven’t been asking about for a long times and starts communicating more and serving people. Then in this situation, the fast is not just changing the kind of food we eat or its timing but we changed some bad habits we used to do.
A blessed year to all of you, and hope this fast would be a blessing to everyone and every house. Amen. Good News

Parable of the Farmer

Today’s Gospel is about one of the parables of the LORD JESUS, it is the parable of the farmer who went out to sow his field. This parable was mentioned in the three gospels, St Mathew, Mark and Luke, it is a very simple parable but has got very deep meaning.

This parable talks about all those who hear the word of the LORD GOD. The farmer is the same farmer and the seeds are also the same seeds, but with some people it yielded fruits and with the others it did not, that is because it depends on the soil into which the seeds had been sown, this is the main aim of the parable. Read more…