My Beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
Monday September 11, 2017 is the 1st of Tout, 1734 AM, which is the beginning of a new Coptic year. Celebrating a new Coptic year reminds us of the necessity of living a holy blessed life which helps prepare us when facing life’s difficulties. As we learn from the new Coptic year that is connected to the church’s righteous martyrs that a life of holiness is an important tool in facing suffering and persecution. Holiness of life means being steadfast in living in Christ who grants us the holy life.
Christ our Lord tells us that He “is the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you, Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” [Jn. 15:1-5]
Our Good Lord is the vine and we are the branches, the branch bears fruit if it remains on the vine, for the vine provides the branches with the water necessary for life. The branch cannot bear fruit in and of itself, but rather it needs to remain on the vine; it needs to abide in Christ Our Lord who said, “…without Me you can do nothing.” [Jn. 15:1-5] What is the fate of the branch that separated from the vine? Christ our Lord said, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” [Jn.15:6]
How do we remain on the vine?
Christ our Lord said, “Abide in My love.” [Jn. 15:9] To realize Christ’s love for us, we love Him because He loved us first. We need to evaluate ourselves; Are we abiding in Christ’s love? Do we comprehend Christ’s love for us that is incomprehensible? “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” [Jn. 15:13] How can we abide in Christ’s love? Christ said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” [Jn. 15:10] Keeping the commandments is evidence of our love for Christ and it keeps us in Christ’s love, because breaking the commandments separates us from Christ and His deep love; the commandments purify us from the defilement of sin. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” [Jn. 15:3]
The greatest commandment is the commandment of love, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” [Jn. 15:12] “These things I command you that you love one another” [Jn. 15:17] “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, as I have loved your, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [Jn. 13:34-35] Love in Christianity is a practical love, the love of kneeling and washing the feet, “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord and you say well, for so I am. If I then your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.’ ” [Jn. 13:12-15]
To wash one other’s feet, is to care for the needs of others and to ease their suffering. And I would like to remind you of our needy brethren, to wash their feet. We need to wash the feet of our brethren in El Menya who are suffering every day from pain, distresses and persecutions. We need to wash the feet of our brethren in Houston and the surrounding areas who were hit by hurricane Harvey who lost their homes and all their belongings.
Thus, we invite you to support Santa Verena Charity programs who pay special attention to the needy in El Menya and the other cities of Egypt and dedicated a fund for support of Hurricane Harvey’s and Hurricane Irma’s victims. May the Lord bless your offerings and reward you with the heavenly reward.