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2018-04-01 Homily. Fr. François Beyrouti. "Our relationship with the Risen Lord"

Sunday, April 1, 2018. Our relationship with the Risen Lord. Homily.
Father François Beyrouti.

Prokimenon (Tone 8) Ps.117: 24, 1
This is the day the Lord has made: let us be glad and rejoice in it!
Stichon: Give praise to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.

The Epistle. A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles:
In the preceding book, Theophilus, I was concerned with everything
Jesus did and taught from the beginning, until the day he was taken
up, after giving commandments through the Holy Spirit to the apostles
he had chosen. To them also he showed himself alive after his passion
by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about
God’s kingdom. And while eating with them, he told them not to leave
Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise, “of which you have
heard,” he said, “by my mouth. For while John baptized with water, you
shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit within a few days.” Now, those
gathered there questioned him, asking, “Lord, is it now that you will
restore the kingdom to Israel?” But he answered them, “It is not for
you to know the times or the proper moments the Father has set by his
own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes
upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in Judea
and Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth.”

Alleluia (Tone 4). You shall arise and have mercy upon Sion, for the
time to pity her, the right time has come.
Stichon: The Lord has
looked down from heaven upon all the sons of men.

Gospel of Pascha: John 1: 1-17. In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God; and the Word was God. He was in the beginning
with God. All things were made through him, and without him was made
nothing that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the
light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness
grasped it not. There was a man, one sent from God, whose name was
John. This man came as a witness, to bear witness concerning the
light, that all might believe through him. He was not himself the
light, but was to bear witness to the light. It was the true light
that enlightens every man who comes into the world. He was in the
world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not.
He came to his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as
received him he gave the power of becoming children of God; to those
who believe in his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was
made flesh, and dwelled among us. And we saw his glory (glory as of
the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and of truth. John bore
witness concerning him, and cried, “This was the one of whom I said,
‘He who is to come after me has been set above me, because he was
before me.’” And of his fullness we have all received, grace for
grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came
through Jesus Christ.

Christ is Risen. He is Truly Risen.
Almaseeh Qaam. Haqqan qaam.
Christos Anesti. Alethos Anesti.

The first part of this greeting is a statement and the second part is
an affirmation, but these two phrases were not originally said

The origins of the first part goes back to the Sunday morning when
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, went to the tomb
where Jesus was buried. When the angel told them that Jesus rose from
the dead, they went to tell the disciples, who were afraid and were
hiding behind locked doors. At this time, the women believed that
Jesus had truly risen, but the disciples were not yet certain.

Jesus then appeared to them, showed them his hands and his side, and
said to them: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I
send you” (John 20:21). Then, when Thomas came back they said to him:
“We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25). It was not enough for the women
and the disciples to hear that Christ is risen. When they saw the
empty tomb, and saw His risen body, they knew it was Jesus because
they saw His wounds, they spoke with him, they went fishing with him,
and ate with him.

We should never just believe without asking some questions and we
should not just answer “He is truly risen” without looking at the
evidence in the Gospels and the changed lives of all who experienced
the resurrection. It is important first to keep the two parts of the
phrase “Christ is Risen. He is truly risen” separate, until we can
affirm it through our personal study, our prayer, and our journey of
faith which helps us believe He is truly risen.

Just like there are two parts to this phrase they say there are two
types of people in the world. There are those who separate people into
two types of people and those who don’t.

However, there may be more than two types of people. A man went to get
a job and before he left, the interviewer said: “There are two types
of people in the world, unfortunately you’re neither one of them.”

Someone who did not do too well in math, pointed out that there are
actually three types of people in the world, those who can count and
those who can’t.

Regardless of how many types of people you think there are, in the
spiritual life there are at least two types of people.

First, the ones that realize that our relationship with God is an
ongoing journey while the second don’t want to over commit and feel
that it is enough to vaguely believe there is a God, or someone, or
something out there somewhere.

Which type are you? If you pray so you can tell God what He needs to
do for you this week, then you are in the second category, but if you
pray so you can see more clearly how God is working in your life, then
you are in the first category.

Authentic faith requires growing daily in our relationship with God
our creator, redeemer, and friend. This relationship resembles the
relationship we have with others and the relationship that couples
have with each other. A couple that is not growing in their love,
respect, and friendship do not have a healthy relationship.

Imagine if I were to ask a man who was married for ten years when the
last time he told his wife he loved her and his response was: “I told
her I loved her when we got married and if anything changes I’ll let
her know.” If I just described your marriage, please call me tomorrow

This obviously would not be a healthy relationship. Yet, this is often
how we treat our relationship with God. A relationship that does not
express deep and honest emotions, whether they are good or bad, and
does not dedicate time to be with the other is a stagnant, if not a
dead relationship.

A relationship requires statements, questions, and answers. Ask God
questions and allow God to answer. Also, allow God to ask you
questions and feel free to answer. This is necessary for a healthy
relationship and this honesty should be at the center of our prayer

“Christ is Risen” is the “I love you” phrase that Jesus tells us, “He
is Truly Risen” is the “I love you, too” phrase that we respond. We
prepared more than forty days to celebrate the death and resurrection
of Jesus, but that resurrection to be real and meaningful needs to be
real and meaningful every day as we grow more and more in our faith,
in our prayer life, and as we work hard to become more like Jesus,
Mary, and the saints. This is a kind of progress that is the daily “I
love you” and “I love you too” that takes place in our prayer life and
in our active desire to live more and more of our faith every day.

In one of his homilies, Pope Benedict said “it is only in this
personal relationship with Christ, in this meeting with the Risen One,
that we are truly Christian” (Pope Benedict. Paul VI Hall. September
3, 2008).

The phrase “Christ is risen” tells us a historical event. Our response
“He is truly risen” brings the significance of that historical event
into our day to day lives. We live the joy of our faith when we commit
our lives to the risen one and to continue to see Him at the center of
everything we are doing.

There may be more than two types of people in the world, there may be
more than two ways of seeing your faith, but there are two very
different ways of viewing our spiritual journey.

If we believe that we do not have to keep growing in our relationship
with God, then our faith will soon dry up because it is not being
watered and nourished.

However, if this day reminds us of everything God has done for us and
if we commit right now to learn and pray more, then our faith will
keep growing, will be mature, and will inspire every part of our
lives. This is the type of person we want to be and the type of
journey we want to be on.

Saying “Christ is Risen” is only the beginning. Living “He is truly
risen” is our commitment to a daily journey to die and rise with him.
Let us keep growing in that journey to a deeper and more mature
relationship as we say and live the depths of the greeting: “Christ is
Risen. He is truly Risen.”

Father François Beyrouti
Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church
451 West Madison Avenue
Placentia, CA 92870-4537
Office: (714) 985-1710
My cell: (714) 914-1710
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