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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||



(H.G. Bishop Moussa)


Bearing witness to Jesus Christ is not just the duty of the

family, but also of every believer. For what Jesus Christ has

done for us deserves our gratitude, dedication and active efforts

for Him. Therefore, the Christian family is expected to bear

witness to Christ, Who loved it and shed His blood for its sake.

We bear witness to Christ not only because we are thankful to Him

for saving, blessing and choosing us as His children, but also

out of love for humanity that needs the Good Savior. We need to

determine the ways that the Christian family should follow.

Bearing witness means demonstrating these divine characteristics

with consolidation and depth in our Christian lives. Being

positive in one's Christian life is a blessing to oneself and to

others, as Solomon said: "The generous soul will be made rich,

and he who waters will also be watered himself" (Prov 11:25).

There are many areas where the family can bear witness to Christ

Who protects and saves it:

1. The Area Of Personal Holiness

What proves that Jesus works in us is His ability to make us

holy. Holiness is not based on sinlessness, but on "freedom from

condemnation." It is impossible for man to be sinless. As long

as we are in our weak body we groan under the same burden as the

Apostle's saying: "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver

me from this body of death?" (Rom 7:24). Even we who "have the

first fruits of the Spirit, ... groan within ourselves, eagerly

waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body" (Rom 8:23).

We may stumble, but we refuse to be enslaved to sin.

In spite of our struggles and efforts, our weakness still leads

us to sin - this is natural, but our faults are caused by

carelessness or overconfidence in the face of temptation. We

should not try to test ourselves out. Such a reckless attitude

must be changed. It is possible for a certain kind of person to

rise to his or her feet when fallen. This person changes his or

her ways and is not condemned. "There is therefore now no

condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk

according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Rom 8:1).

Another kind of person, however, not only falls but with his or

her free-will keeps on falling and fully chooses to do so.

Someone like that really needs to be shaken up inside and have

his or her conscience aroused so as to change his or her whole

direction in life.

"Holiness" in Greek is "Agios", which means "set apart for God"

or "chosen for God." Just as tithes, or tenths, are "set apart

for God" and the vessels of the altar are "consecrated for

service", so a priest of the old covenant would have a sign on

his forehead saying, "Holy to God." In Holiness we set ourselves

apart from the natural walk of the people of this world, and

dedicate the innermost sanctuary of our hearts to the Lord. We


struggle to devote all our love to Christ.

This personal holiness is based on the grace of God working with

our struggles. This is the most important area of witness to

Christ, for people "May see your good works and glorify your

Father in heaven" (Mt 5:16). What will have most impact are not

our untiring efforts as God's servants, nor our profound studies:

what really counts is being a model or a demonstration of God's

handiwork, an icon that expresses the work of the Holy Spirit.

2. The Area Of Family Cohesion

The Christian family is to be an example which bears witness to

Jesus' love. This love can link the family members together in

one body. When talking about steady, consistent marriages people

used to call them "Christian Marriages." What is needed now from

our Christian families is a living witness to Jesus Christ Who is

dwelling in them with all His love. What we don't need is

trouble, selfishness, hatred and divorces.

People nowadays think of divorce very quickly and at the first

misunderstanding, despite the fact that divorce is completely

rejected in the New Testament except in the case of adultery or

abandoning the faith. god told us in the Old Testament - under

the age of Law - that He hates divorce: how much more in the age

of the Holy Spirit and redemption? People think nowadays of

cutting off marriage ties because they have no children (mainly a

Middle Eastern phenomenon). Or they may think of splitting up

because their characters differ, instead of coping with each

other in true Christian love. Or they may get divorced in the

face of sickness instead of looking after one another. None of

these reasons spring from the mind of Christ or the Spirit of


The family will disintegrate and the children will lose their way

and will face spiritual and psychological suffering. Yet the one

who is causing all this thinks he or she's doing nothing wrong.

As the days go by, the one who has said an angry word will sense

that he or she has done something which didn't please God.

Let God speak into our hearts! Let Him arouse our sleeping

consciences. Let Him unite our disintegrated families for the

sake of bearing true witness to Christ, Who suffered by the whips

which cut His shoulders for our sakes. We must watch out for God

will bring peace into our disintegrating families and give

repentance to lost souls. Otherwise, what a great crime we are

committing against our children, not only in this age but in

eternity as well!

3. The Area Of Service In The Church

This is the natural area in which the family should bear its

witness to Jesus Christ. We are to exert continuous service for

the church and to serve with our tithes and not to deny them to

their real owner, Who is the key of blessing. Giving tithes is a

blessing to oneself. We must contribute our talents: the father, as a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer: the wife in her work or in any job which may suit her. She can make food, clothes, and share in outreaches for charity. The sons can share while still young in serving the altar and then in Sunday Schools in the church. Or they can join in with working camps and various social activities. The girls can also serve in suitable areas maybe in teaching classes, looking after the creche, or serving in needle-work, knitting, and so on. Serving in the

church is a natural thing for every Christian family, because the

family is the basic cell for forming the church. It is an

inseparable part of the church and a vital organ in it.

Serving the church will also show the sons and daughters to be a

vital branch in Jesus' vineyard. They can't go astray from the

way of eternity. They achieve a sense of belonging and give

their efforts to God's house.

4. The Area Of Sacrificial Love

This is the deepest and most profound area of bearing witness,

where the family comes out of its shell and directs its attention

towards others: friends, neighbors, and everyone, with love

untainted fanaticism. For Jesus Christ has never known

fanaticism, but on the contrary, He fought fanaticism in His

disciples. When the Samaritan village refused to accept Jesus,

two of His disciples thought of asking for a heavenly fire to

come down and burn up the Samaritans. At that point Jesus

rebuked them saying: "You do not know what manner of spirit you

are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives

but to save them" (Lk 9:55, 56). And it actually happened that

these two disciples were inwardly changed and went to minister in

all areas, without discrimination between Jews and Gentiles.

Christ wants us - His children - to excel in opening our hearts,

spreading love and presenting our service with a highly positive

spirit. When a Pharisee, in order to justify himself, said:

"Who is my neighbor?", the Lord gave him the example of the Good

Samaritan that served the wounded Jew. He declared to the

Pharisee that the one he ought to show compassion to is the true

neighbor, not the one who belongs to the same sect or race.

Christianity is pervaded with the concept of love from the first

moment of creation till the end of the world, from the first

chapter of the Bible will the last. It is enough to know that

the most favorable way of describing God to us is that He is

love. That is why when hatred enters a person's heart God

departs from it that very moment. But when God possesses a

person's heart He widens its boundaries, till he or she loves the

whole world without being tainted by its lusts.

An elderly monk once said: "If you've shut yourself away to be

alone with God and haven't found consolation, get down to the

street, since you will find the image of Jesus in the first

person you meet."

Let's serve with all our love and energy, without expecting

praise or anything in return. For this we'll have praise from

God and that will satisfy us.

God bless our families for the glory of His Name. Amen!

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

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