My Beloved the Benevolent
Blessings and peace, Wishing you every goodness and blessings
On Tuesday, July 12th, we celebrate the Feast of the Apostles which is a commemoration of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. The apostolic fathers are the eyewitnesses who lived with Christ, and He commanded them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:19-20
After the descending of the Holy Spirit, the apostolic fathers were sent out to preach the Gospel to all creation. St. Mark the Apostle came to us preaching the gospel of salvation to our beloved country Egypt and established the Church of Alexandria, which has spread throughout the world, carrying the light of the Gospel and being a light to the world. We look to our fathers the Apostles as our teachers, inspired by the apostolic traditions that help us in facing the challenges we face.
These days, the world faces an economic crisis which was aggravated by the Coronavirus epidemic, followed by the Russian-Ukrainian war. There is no country in the world that is not suffering from the effects of this economic crisis. The world has witnessed many wars and famines throughout its long history. In this letter, I want us to learn from our fathers, the Apostles in how they faced the famine that occurred in their days.
The Book of Acts mentions, “And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 11:27-30
Claudius Caesar was enthroned in the year 41 and continued his reign for 14 years because he died at the age of 54. During his reign, there were many famines including the one referred to by the Book of Acts. The believers in Judea suffered from famine as well as severe persecution from the Jews especially after the martyrdom of St. Stephen, as the book of Acts mentions,” “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Acts 8:1. The fathers, the Apostles arranged the service for the needy which St. Paul established and called, “The collection for the Saints” 1Cor.16
St. Paul established a system for this service that he mentioned in his letter to the Corinthians, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.” 1 Cor. 16:1-4
In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul says, “But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.” Rom 15:25-27.
We learn from the fathers, the Apostles to care for each other because we are members of the same body, meaning the body of Christ, “But that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” 1Cor. 12:25-27
The fathers, the Apostles called on each of us to take care of each other in order to achieve what the Apostles had achieved, “neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all thigs in common.” Acts 4:32 “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold. And laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” Acts 4:34-35.
The church of the Apostles was not a financially rich church, but it was rich in love; the money was placed at the feet of the Apostles, meaning money was a servant, not a master.
May God grant us to help each other to overcome this crisis in peace and bless your offerings to support Santa Verena’s charitable programs.