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

 

†ďFor consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,

lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.Ē

Hebrews 12:3

 

Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)


 

THE AFFLICTIONS AND BLIND CRUELTY with which Christ was treated by the Jews during His crucifixion were horrendous matter. When it was filmed and we saw it we could not bear the thought that it had been the work of humans although they were all Jews and related to each other.

He who wants will see how they tied up Christ, slapping Him and hitting Him on the head, spitting in His face, making Him carry too heavy a cross that made Him fall thrice under its weight. Then they threw Him down nailing His feet and hands to the wood of the cross and He bled to death. We watched that and consequently hated ourselves, life darkening in our eyes, crying all we could.

At the mere thought of what Jesus endured from sinners and our question of for what reason was it all, comes the sad and painful answer hurting the conscience and compressing the soul that we hear with sadness and without joy, so that there exists nothing in the world to substitute for the bleeding wound affecting our consciences. Because the bare glaring truth is that it all happened for my sake and for yours. Humankindís failings and their distance from God made it imperative that the Son descend from Heaven to bear the shame of each of us, one by one, donning the dress of sin for the curse to descend on Him, which man had gained due to his angering God and breaking His command. Christ the owner of glory whom all the angels praise and worship became sin for our sakes. He donned all shame and curse for the sake of man the sinner who had given up his life to the devil instead of Christ.

It is now greatly required of us, O brothers, not only to know but also to be fellows in His affliction and cross, so that if His affliction becomes ours, and we acknowledge all the shame He was shamed with, ourselves accepting it from our opposers by considering all that afflicts us of the shame and gloating, had previously afflicted Christ, we become crowns of glory to be worn with pride. Our fellowship in Christ thus becomes true and not a delusion. A person who is persecuted for Christís sake and for His cross becomes strengthened in faith and is filled with contentment and joy no matter how heavy the persecutions become for him, because he is reckoned to truly deserve to be a partner in Christís afflictions and shame among people. This parallelism between Christís life and our fellowship with Christ gives us the feeling we are really aided and the Spirit of God is fighting for us no matter how weak our effort. Paul sets a new measure of strength and weakness concerning the person who is walking through the narrow path. The Apostle Paul says, in accordance to the tribulations he underwent, that when the people revolted against him he felt weak, but at the same time he looked towards the Lord Jesus who had borne all kinds of afflictions and pain, and emerged with a truth that secures the weak man not allowing him to moan or falter due to the true power of Christ descending upon him. He thus said: ďFor when I am weak, then I am strong.Ē1

All people who have faith in Christ must know that they must be patient and confident to gain Christís patience and pass through tribulation, for it to be reckoned to them and not against them. The enemy pursuing the weak man must end in an abyss into which the enemy will fall and triumph reckoned to man. God sent the precious grace of patience to man for him to preserve his calm and not falter in unjust situations.

29 June, 2005

 

1 2Cor 12:10.

 

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