My Beloved the Benevolent
Grace and peace wishing you every goodness and blessing
I would like to congratulate you on the Feast of Nayrouz and the new Coptic year 1737. May the Lord make it a happy year; modeling our lives after our fathers and mothers the martyrs who offered us an example to follow. The example of holding on to the faith and offering life on the altar of love to our Lord who loved us and offered Himself for our sake. With the beginning of a new year, we remember the great blessing we received in baptism, the blessing of a new nature and a new life in Christ Jesus.
A new life in Christ Jesus has special characteristics which are different from those of the people of the world. For Christ Jesus offered us, through His teachings and the practical example, a model of a new life. As St. Paul said, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Heb. 12:2 The new life is changing the mind of man who became corrupted and leaned toward evil. As St. Paul the Apostle mentions about the evils that humans became involved in after the fall, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;” Rom. 1:28 God created man in His image and likeness, created him knowing nothing but good; but when man accepted Satan’s thoughts and disobeyed God’s commandment, evil entered into man’s mind and man persisted in evil until God left him to his degraded mind.
God in His love for mankind came to our world and took our nature. A full human nature with a rational mind, in order to grant us the new nature with a new mind and an enlightened thought through the work of the Holy Spirit. The new life stands on a renewed mind as St. Paul said, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom. 12:2 Christ our Lord offered to us through His teachings and His life a model of an enlightened mind. The most dangerous thing that afflicts a man is the thought of greatness and pride. The cause of Satan’s fall is pride; and the cause of man’s fall is pride. The Christian man is fought by the idea of pride, and the disciples were not an exception in this war.
It happened that the disciples argued among themselves, who was the greatest? St. Mark mentions, “Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Mk. 9:33-35
Christ said about Himself, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:28 The ten disciples were greatly displeased because of the two brothers John and Jacob when their mother approached and asked Christ, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” Matt. 20:21 The mother of sons of Zebedee did not understand the meaning of Christ’s kingdom; thus, He told her about the baptism that He was baptized with, which is the baptism with the blood of the cross; so, the road to glory is a road of passion. As for the disciples who were displeased, “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” Matt. 20:25-27
Christ offered a new understanding to greatness; it is not wrong for a person to be great or be first, but it is wrong to seek the wrong road to greatness. The world’s definition of greatness is based on money, power, and power or the domination over others; but Christ’s path to reach greatness, is to be a great servant, and for the first to be last of all. Christ offered us an example when He emptied Himself and became man for our sake. He endured suffering on the cross for our salvation. He went about doing good, healing the sick and all weakness in the people. Christ offered to His disciples, and all of us, a practical example on Thursday before the crucifixion as St. John said, “(He) rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”Jn. 13:4-5 Then Christ explained to His disciples what He did, “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. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jn. 13:12-17
The message of our good Savior is to us today as we enjoy the new life in Christ Jesus, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jn. 13: 17 If you learned that whoever among you wants to be great, let him be a servant; blessed are we if we seek to serve each other with true love and wash each other’s feet to relieve pain, sorrows and distress from each other.
Thus, Santa Verena Charity programs offer you the opportunity to receive the blessings that Christ granted to whomever becomes a servant to all.
May God reward you with goodness and heavenly rewards for your contributions to support Santa Verena Charity programs.