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


Make ready a people prepared for the Lord


John the Baptist

It was said about this saint that he will “make

ready a prepared people for the Lord”… Meaning

prepared to accept Him and believe in Him. So how

did John achieve this mission?

He was talking about Him before he sees

Him, in a way to make people love and glorify


He used to say that He “is preferred before me,

for He was before me.” And “whose sandal strap I am

not worthy to loose” and when he saw Him he pointed

at Him and said “This is He of whom I said, "After me

comes a Man…” And John bore witness, saying, “I saw

the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He

remained upon Him.” “And I have seen and testified

that this is the Son of God.” (Jn 1:27-34).

“I indeed baptize you with water… He will baptize

you with the Holy Spirit…”

And said that He is the groom and the church for

Him is the bride.

And said about Him “He who comes from above is

above all” “He who comes from heaven is above all”

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn 3:29-


So do we make people love Christ and glorify

Him, as the Baptist did?

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

He also prepared this people for the Lord, by

leading them to repentance, saying: “Repent, for the

kingdom of heaven is at hand!” and baptized them

with the baptism of repentance. And gave “knowledge

of salvation to His people By the remission of their

sins” (Lk 1:77). And because of that he was

preaching powerfully and rebuking. And saying to

people “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths

straight… every tree which does not bear good fruit is

cut down and thrown into the fire…” (Mt 3:1-11).

The Baptist has made ready to the Lord a

prepared people. And our duty towards him at

least is to prepare to the Lord individuals or

groups… So who were the first servants who

followed the Baptist’s work and made ready to the

Lord a prepared people? They are the fathers the


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

_The Fathers the Apostles_

The Baptist made ready a people for the Lord

before Christ began His mission.

And the apostles made ready a people for

the Lord after His rising to Heaven.

They made ready a prepared people for the Lord,

by spreading the faith and preaching the gospel to

the whole world (Mk 16:15). And they obeyed the

Lord’s words to them: “and you shall be witnesses to

Me” (Ac 1:8). So they witnessed that He rose, and

how He defeated death by His death, and lightened

up the immortality way for us, by becoming the

firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Co

15:23). They also became witnesses of His many

miracles and teachings, His redemption to humans,

and His becoming a love sacrifice. With this love with

which He loved us until He sacrificed Himself for us

and became a propitiation for the sins of the whole

world (1 Jn 2:2).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And as they made ready a people for the

Lord who believed in Him, the bible says –about

the apostles’ work – “And the Lord added to the

church daily those who were being saved” (Ac 2:47).

“And believers were increasingly added to the Lord,

multitudes of both men and women” (Ac 5:14) “Then

the word of God spread, and the number of the

disciples multiplied greatly… and a great many of the

priests were obedient to the faith.” (Ac 6:7). They

were preaching and teaching everywhere “Their line

has gone out through all the earth, And their words to

the end of the world.” (Ps 19:4). And so, as the Lord

ordered them, they witnessed for Him “in Jerusalem,

and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the

earth” (Ac 1:8).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And one of those who made ready to the

Lord a prepared people is: St. Paul the Apostle.

He became a huge energy in the church, teaches,

checks on people, as he said to his colleague

Barnabas: “Let us now go back and visit our brethren

in every city where we have preached the word of the

Lord, and see how they are doing.” (Ac 15:36). And

made many disciples to work with him in building the

Kingdom , and make ready a prepared people for the

Lord “as ministers of God: in much patience, in

tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in

imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness,

in fastings…” (2 Co 6:4, 5).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And St. Paul and his friends worked on

leading people to repentance.

And he says about this that “Now all things are of

God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus

Christ, and has given us the ministry of

reconciliation… Now then, we are ambassadors for

Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we

implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.”

(2 Co 5:18, 20).

And concerning teaching and preaching, he said


to his disciple Timothy: “Preach the word! Be ready in

season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort,

with all longsuffering and teaching… endure

afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your

ministry” (2 Ti 4:2, 5).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

St. Paul described how he was making ready

people for the Lord saying: “For if I preach the

gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid

upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the

gospel!... For though I am free from all men, I have

made myself a servant to all, that I might win the

more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I

might win Jews… to those who are without law, as

without law (not being without law toward God, but

under law toward Christ), that I might win those who

are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that

I might win the weak. I have become all things to all

men, that I might by all means save some…” (1 Co


It is a wonderful example that the apostle gives

to us on how we spend every effort to make ready a

prepared people for the Lord…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Not people only make ready a prepared people for

the Lord but even angels.


The work like the people in building the Kingdom,

and they rejoice over one sinner who repents than

over ninety-nine just persons who need no

repentance (Lk 15:7).

It was said about them in the epistle to Hebrews:

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to

minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (He


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Also the church in one of the most important

elements that makes ready for the Lord a prepared


_The Church_

From the beginning: it made ready for the

Lord a prepared people for martyrdom.

For, since the beginning, Jews and Emperors of

the Roman Empire went against the faith. And hard

ages of persecution and martyrdom went by. And the

church spent every effort to prepare its sons to go

through this period. First by confirming faith and

standing against doubts as St. Paul the apostle said:

“always be ready to give a defense to everyone who

asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with

meekness and fear” (1 P 3:15). And the history

recorded a group of defenders.

Second: the church prepared its sons through

ascesis, not loving the world, courage and not fearing

death. Also the church took care of the martyrs’


The church also prepared a ready people for

God’s Kingdom.

This was done through baptism, Holy Chrism, the

communion of the Holy Spirit, and leading them to

the life of virtue and righteousness.

Also by confirming them in faith and answering

back to heresies and heterodoxies, like what

happened in the Ecumenical and local syndic

meetings against heretics and to put churchly rules to

organize the pastoral work. And we shouldn’t forget

what St. Athanasious the Apostolic did in answering

back to the doubts of Arians, and how much

persecution and exiling he went through for the sake

of this.

Also the church in making ready a prepared

people for the Lord, the responded to the Lord’s

saying: “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out

laborers into His harvest” (Mt 9:38).

And so the patriarchs were keen to ordain bishops to

take care of the dioceses. And the bishops were keen

to ordain priests to take care of the local churches.

And the priests were keen in preparing servants and

speakers… All this, to make ready a prepared people

for the Lord.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

_Pastors and Priests_

The priests first cared for making ready a

prepared people for taking communion:

And that was through repentance and confession,

appropriate fasting and purity of the body. Placing

before them always the saying of prophet Samuel

“Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the

sacrifice” (1 S 16:5).

They also cared for leading the people to the life

of virtue, as the Didascalia says:

“The bishop should care for everyone so that

they get saved”. And so they cared of leading

everyone to salvation through repentance and

spiritual growth, so that they become temples for the

Holy Spirit, a picture for God, and sons of the

Kingdom. And that is through preaching and teaching,

religious upraising and checking on them. Also

through praying for the people, and taking it one step

at a time and easing the road of righteousness before


Also offering them the good example, because

teaching also is not enough. And it is ok to prepare

them also through firmness and upraising. And we

do not forget God’s angriness on Eli the priest who

took easy raising his sons, so he lost his life and

priesthood as well (1 S 4:18).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Priesthood work is not sufficient in preparing

people, there is also the work of fathers and mothers.

_Fathers and Mothers_

These have a duty to prepare their children

religiously and spiritually, and not only in caring for

their bodies alone, but more for caring for their

spiritualities since their childhood, and preparing

them for the childhood phase then for the youth

phase in a life firm in God…

􀂙 Here we would like to mention the example of St.

Timothy to whom St. Paul the apostle said: “when I

call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you,

which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your

mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2

Ti 1:5).

􀂙 Also St. Jochebed in the Old Testament who gave

to world of her children: Prophet Moses, his sister

Prophet Miriam, and their brother Aaron the chief

priest. And how that her son Moses, by staying with

her for around four or five months, she taught him all

the faith bases, after which he lived in the Pharaoh’s

palace surrounded by tens of the Pharaonic worships

and yet he kept his faith firm. And he became the

faith hero in his age.

And if we were mentioning the hero mothers and

grandmothers in making ready God’s people, we do

not forget the duty of fathers too to whom the Lord

said to every one of them since the Old Testament:


“And these words which I command you today shall

be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to

your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in

your house…” (Dt 6:6, 7).

And fathers and mothers make ready a prepared

people for the Lord through setting up an example as

well, by training them practically on the holy life,

taking them to the church and spiritual meetings and

making them get accustomed to praying, fasting and

taking communion. And he we place before our eyes

the saying of Prophet Joshua: “But as for me and my

house, we will serve the LORD” (Js 24:15).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

_We all as Servants_

The Lord Christ has risen to Heaven, and left

us the responsibility of caring for His Kingdom:

And we pray and say “Your Kingdom come”. So

do we participate in this? And do we make ready a

prepared people for the Lord for this Kingdom? As the

Lord Christ said to us: “and you shall be witnesses to

Me” (Ac 1:*). And His saying too “he who does not

gather with Me scatters abroad” (Mt 12:30). But His

saying: “I chose you and appointed you that you

should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should

remain” (Jn 15:16).

Therefore, we follow the Master, the Lord who

desires all men to be saved and to come to the

knowledge of the truth (1 Ti 2:4) “He who does not

desire the death of the sinner like him coming back

and living” (Ez 18:22). The Lord who “has come to

seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10).

This is His will; to save His people. And our duty

is to do as He wishes, we who tell Him everyday in

our prayers “Your will be done”…

Therefore, we all have to make ready a prepared

people for Him. Because if Satan was working with all

its efforts to keep people away from God and His

Kingdom, we work with all our efforts to prepare

them as sons for the Kingdom.

We do that because we love God’s Kingdom and

we love our brothers in humanity, and it will be hard

for us if one of them perish.

We with all our fiery hearts, all sacred zeal and in

all ways as the apostle says: “but others save with

fear, pulling them out of the fire” (Jd 1:23). Placing

before our eyes the saying of St. James the Apostle:

“he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will

save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins”

(Jas 5:20).

And so, we in all cases make ready a people, either of

the neighbors, of friends, of colleagues, or of anyone

we meet on the road, as St. Phillip met the Ethiopian

eunuch on the road and saved him.

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