9th Sunday of Pentecost - Feast of St Charbel
Saturday, 17 July 2021
“As Love, silence, prayer, fasting & obedience? ”... Fr Sam wehbe
How did Charbel who puzzled and still baffles the world in the abundance and quality of his miracles, become a saint ?
1 - In Love: Charbel loved Jesus and Our Lady with a love without limits.
2 - In Silence: Charbel prayed and worked in silence. He spoke when it was necessary, which helped him to listen to God, others, and himself.
3 - In Prayer: Charbel spent most of his days and nights meditating and kneeling before the tabernacle and the Cross. He prayed, listened and so cherished the love of God, that he became known as "Drunk in God".
4 - In fasting and penance: 23 years sleeping on the floor with wood as his pillow, wearing an itchy and painful hair shirt, eating once a day vegetarian food, all to control his desires and to suffer with Jesus.
5 - In obedience: Charbel obeyed God, rules and superiors to the full until he forgot his own will and desire.
Lord, help me to live the love, silence, prayer, fasting and obedience like Saint Charbel. Amen .
8th Sunday of Pentecost
Saturday, 10 July 2021
“What is your reaction?”...- Fr Sam wehbe
After Jesus healed a man whose hand was paralysed on the Sabbath, the Pharisees went out and decided to kill him. What was his reaction? The surprise was that Jesus decided not to react against the negativity of the Pharisees, but to act by focusing on his mission, the mission of love, humility, healing, proclaiming the Good News and doing the will of his Father under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He decided to face negativity with silence, gentleness, wisdom and by “running away” from evil and giving the opportunity to the evil ones and the sinners to think and repent. As for me today, in facing difficulties, negative events, people hurting me by their words or actions, indifference or judgment and not respecting and understanding me, what is my reaction? Do I hurt back and seek revenge? Or do I decide to be silent and patient, and pray and avoid evil and negative reaction? The answer is:
Let us follow the steps of Jesus.
7th Sunday of Pentecost
Saturday, 3 July 2021
“YOU ARE THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST!”...- Fr Sam wehbe
As Jesus sent the 72 disciples, He also sends us to carry a great message to our world. So what is this message?
1. The message of not being an individual & selfish: He sent them 2 by 2 with God being the third with and in them.
2. The message of prayer and helping others, for the harvest is plentiful and needs good and holy workers.
3. The message to be lambs like Jesus The Lamb, and not to be wolves prey each other with envy and hatred.
4. The message of trusting God and not in money, food and clothing, because the love of the Father is our richness, Jesus is our food and the Holy Spirit is our clothing.
5. The message of not wasting time through useless actions and conversations.
6. The message of carrying peace, love, smile and joy to people, homes and places...
7. Finally the message of announcing that our competence is from the Almighty God alone, and not from us or from the world.
Lord, Make us messengers to carry to our world the hope and peace, love and joy, with a smile, humility and simplicity. Amen
Feast of Sts Peter and Paul & 6th Sunday of Pentecost
Saturday, 26 June 2021
“Competition !”...- Fr Sam Wehbe
The Church celebrates the feast of Saints Peter & Paul together. The two saints were the founders of the See of Rome through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there.
Peter was a fisherman of Galilee and was introduced to the Lord Jesus by his brother Andrew. Jesus gave him the name Cephas, which means ‘Rock,’ because he was to become the rock upon which Christ would build His Church. He eagerly pledged his fidelity to Jesus until death. In his boldness, he also made many mistakes, such as denying the Lord on the night of His passion. Yet despite his human weaknesses, Peter was chosen to shepherd God's flock. Peter led the Apostles as the first Pope and ensured that the disciples kept the true faith. He was the first bishop of Antioch and spent his last years in Rome, leading the Church through persecution and eventually being martyred in the year 64. He was crucified upside-down because he claimed he was not worthy to die as his Lord.
Paul was originally named Saul, a Jewish Pharisee who persecuted the early Church; he was even present at the martyrdom of St Stephen. Saul was converted as he journeyed to Damascus to persecute the Christians there. As he was traveling along the road, he was suddenly surrounded by a great light from heaven. He was blinded and fell off his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He answered: “Who are you, Lord?” Christ said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” After this, St Paul was baptised and became an Apostle to the Gentiles. He is responsible for writing almost half of the New Testament. Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67. May their prayers be with us.
5th Sunday of Pentecost
Saturday, 19 June 2021
“On the Competition!”- Fr Sam wehbe
In the fifth Sunday of Pentecost, we reflect on St Paul telling us that all worldly things are nothing but loss. True gain is knowledge of Jesus and having a relationship with Him. He asks us not to look back, but to compete in getting saved, and lead a life of love in the heart of the family, the Church and the community. Each one of us is called to be a prophet who proclaims the will of God, and to help each other in difficult situations of weakness, pain, sorrow and poverty. This is how we win the prize. Does this happen today? Regrettably no. What do we compete for? Many of us compete for more money, houses, power. Many of us also compete for who is more attractive in order to commit adultery, to gamble. How many of us refuse to help the poor, claiming that they are lying, just so that we do not help them? How many of us today compete in sending our children to the most expensive schools and universities, forgetting that a Christian upbringing and good morals are more important than any education? How many of us today compete in who can have the best party? Let us wake up and repent, rejoice and strive to love, to be holy and to serve.
Lord, remove from my heart the spirit of worldly competition and make my heart like your heart, full of compassion, vigour and the endeavour to sacrifice for you and for my fellow brothers and sisters. Amen.
4th Sunday of Pentecost
Saturday, 12 June 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters
June is the month dedicated by the Catholic Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost, which this year fell on the 11th of June. Although this feast was approved to be celebrated by the whole Church in 1856 by Pope Pius IX, the revelation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the revelation of the almighty love of God, goes back to the history of salvation. As Saint John tells us in his letter, God first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). Our faith resides in this amazing statement: God loved us first and for free, without any merit on our part. Each one of us could even say: God loved me first. Because God does not love us in bulk but each one with a personal and unique love. God loved me first because He is Love, full love, perfect charity. If God did not speak to us the first word of His love, we would not exist. But to stop there would be insufficient. The love of God is not the conceptual love of a God up there in heaven but the love of a God who took flesh from our flesh, and who became man. It is the love of a God according to the human nature He has assumed. Here we touch the essence of the message of the feast of the Sacred Heart. The love of God is not a concept, it is a Heart, that of Christ. “Behold the Heart that has so loved men that it has spared nothing,” said Christ to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. God did not just love us divinely, He also wanted to love us humanly. If the Sacred Heart reminds us of divine love, it also reveals to us the human character of this love in its gentleness and its humility: "for I am gentle and humble of heart" (Matt 11:29). The only way to love, as the only way to believe, is to abide in God and God in us. It is the divine presence which alone makes it possible both to believe and to love. Established in this love, let us no longer be afraid. Through His Son, delivered up for our sin, God loved us first and came and dwelt in us so that we in turn can dwell in Him, in the peace and serenity that faith and love give!
3rd Sunday of Pentecost
Saturday, 5 June 2021
“What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard”- Fr Sam Wehbe
After Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit, who was to be the constant teacher, and who reminds us of the teachings of Jesus and the love of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us that the love of Jesus is the ultimate foundation and goal. For this reason, Jesus reiterates the expression “those who love me” four times in today’s gospel:
1. Those who love me keep my commandments.
2. Those who love me will be loved by my Father and I will love them and reveal myself to them.
3. Those who love me will keep my word and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home in them.
4. Those who do not love me do not keep my word. Whoever loves another person listens to them, obeys and respects them. Whoever loves his parents listens to them. Whoever loves: his wife, her husband, his work, the Church, listens and obeys... So what do you gain if you love God? The answer is in St Paul’s letter: “What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the human heart has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Those who have great love for God will: obtain the love of the Father, have the Holy Trinity abide in them, learn the word of Jesus, obtain inner and outer peace, have great faith, have great hope without stress or fear, have boundless happiness, and have a wonderful and strong relationship with God, themselves and others.
Brothers and sisters, is it not wonderful what God has prepared for us if we loved Him?
2nd Sunday of Pentecost - Trinity Sunday
Saturday, 29 May 2021
“I am with you always”- Fr Sam wehbe
On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles and the revelation of the love of God to humanity was fulfilled. We celebrate this Sunday God who is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But, how could we understand and believe that God is a Trinity? We can find the answer in the sign of the Cross which is the sign of the Christian and his power. This sign accompanies the Christian’s life from baptism to death:
In the name of the Father: We put our hand on our forehead to indicate that God is above everything. He is the creator of everything. By His love He created us, He watches over us always, listens to us and speaks to us especially through His son Jesus.
And of the Son: Then we lower our hand to the stomach to indicate that God the Son humbled himself, was incarnated through the womb of Mary and became a child; He preached, suffered, died and was raised from the dead, all because He loves us.
And of the Holy Spirit: Then we raise our hand and move it from the left to the right shoulder to continue the Cross which is the plan of salvation, and to reflect that Jesus who descended to earth, ascended to heaven after His resurrection and gave us the Holy Spirit to create us anew and to transform us from the old self (left shoulder) to the new self (right shoulder). This Spirit works, accompanies and sanctifies the Church and humanity by His power and His gifts (shoulders are the sign of power and work…).
Amen: I agree and believe in God, I love and adore Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three persons, ever present with me.
Saturday, 22 May 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On Pentecost Sunday, we are moved to reflect upon both the reading from the Gospel from St John, but also on that from the Book of Acts, for they closely related: the promise which Our Lord gave, and which St John recorded, was fulfilled in the events which St Luke described. St John tells us that Jesus said to His apostles, first, that if they love Him, they will keep His commandments, and – we understand Him to mean – that if they keep His commandments, He will pray to the Father to send them another Helper. That Helper is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who dwells with them and will be in them. For this reason, that they have loved Him and obeyed Him, Jesus says: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” That glorious promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. We are called to take this Feast of Pentecost as a special call to renew ourselves and our practice of the faith. How? First, by renewing our love of Jesus. Second, being filled with that love, to learn the commandments of God and to keep them. This is a very important matter: we all know the difference between doing something because we have to and because we love to. When we act under compulsion, we do not put our hearts and souls into it. We count down the moments until the job is done. It is like being in school detention. But when we act from love, we do not count either the cost or the time. We think only of the beloved, and the good which will flow from our actions. We do better, we work harder, we take more care, because our love makes us. And then, there is this point to remember today: if we do all this, we know that Jesus will be faithful to His promise and will send us the Holy Spirit. Then God the Holy Trinity will be within us, in power, in grace, and in charity. If we feel a lack of that power, a shortage of that grace, then we have to go back to the beginning and ask: am I lacking in my love for God? Have I failed to make Jesus the King of my thoughts and my feelings? If we have that love, if we have that obedience, and we are filled with the Spirit of God, there still remains more for us to do. Like the apostles, we are called to go forth and to spread the Word. As we know from the Parable of the Sower, the Word of God is like a seed of wheat. Some of the seed will fall on rich ground, and the grain will spring up. But it is for us to go out and to bring in the harvest. So Pentecost no longer represents, as it did for the Jewish people, the end of the harvest. Rather, for us it is the beginning of the harvest, the harvest of Christ.I wish you a Blessed Pentecost Sunday! May the Spirit who set the Church on fire on the day of Pentecost, bring your hearts and families alive with the love of the Risen Lord!
7th Sunday of Resurrection
Saturday, 15 May 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the Sunday after the Feast of the Ascension, we celebrate the mass of this glorious feast, which is an essential part of our Christian belief. In our Creed, we profess that the Lord rose on the third day and “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” From that stems our hope that He has gone to prepare a place for us and we will share in his joy and glory in the life to come.
On this last Sunday of the Season of the Resurrection, the short Gospel passage which we read is endless in its meaning for us. It provides us with the great test: do we love one another as Jesus Himself loved us? If we do, and only if we do, can we truly be His disciples.
No other test of our faith is so complete, so clear, and so difficult of fulfilment. And it is not the sort of test which we can decide for ourselves that we have passed. And neither is it the sort of test one only has to take once and then never sit again. The test of love is one which we must meet again every day we live, and with every person we meet, and with every person we come across, even at a distance.
Jesus calls this His new commandment. In the famous Sermon on the Mount, St Matthew told us that Jesus taught us to love God above all else, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. What we hear in St John’s Gospel adds to this: when Our Lord had said we are to love one another not just as we love ourselves, but as Christ Himself has loved us, a higher standard was set. This requires us to ask how it is that Jesus Himself showed love, and how it is proper to apply that to ourselves.
Our Lord said to His disciples: “Greater love than this has no man: that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) This is exactly what the Lord Himself did: He surrendered His own life for the salvation not only of His friends but even for those who were to persecute, scourge, and put Him to death. We hope that God saves us from such a test. We find it hard enough to sacrifice our vanity, our pride, and our self-love. But our lives? Yet, if we are not in situations where we are called to offer our last breath, yet we can give our lives in service. This indeed is to love as Jesus loved. And this is to find the road to be united with Him whom we have followed to the very end.
I wish you a blessed Sunday!
6th Sunday of Resurrection
Saturday, 8 May 2021
Touch me and see”... - Fr Sam Wehbe
We reflect today on how the disciples were disoriented and weighed down by depression, pain and the loss of hope. Then Jesus stood in their midst and they were afraid, for they thought that he was a ghost. But after Jesus spoke to, encouraged and ate with them, their fear turned to joy, peace, power and courage. So the source of fear became the reason for joy and power through listening, touching, and seeing.
Today, each one of us has our own “ghost” or “ghosts” such as sickness, tiredness, persecution, forgiveness to our enemies, the cross, some people and events, and death... Jesus is inviting us to enter into the experience of the disciples with our “ghosts”; that is, to touch, see, understand and accept in faith and trust these “ghosts” that scare us, so that these “ghosts” are transformed into a source of joy, power, hope, peace and testament.
The disciples, Mary through the Annunciation, St Joseph through the mystery of the pregnancy of Mary and many of the saints lived this experience.
Let us live the words of Jesus: “Do not be afraid… touch me and see” so that we could acquire the power, joy, peace and resurrection. Amen. .
5th Sunday of Resurrection
Saturday, 1 May 2021
DO YOU LOVE ME??? - Fr Sam Wehbe…
Jesus asked Peter three times: "Do you love me?" And Peter answered three times: "Yes, Lord, I love you."
1- Jesus wanted to heal Peter from the sin of denying him 3 times, heal him of his feeling of guilt and open for him a new page. How? By Love, because love alone heals and forgives.
2- Jesus wanted officially (3 times) to give Peter the responsibility of leading his flock, the people of God. When Peter proclaimed that he loves Jesus more than anything and more than anyone else - even more than himself and his life - then the Lord gave him this great responsibility; and every great responsibility and call does not succeed and continue except if it is based on love.
3- Jesus said to Peter: "Follow me." Only love helps the person to become a disciple and follow the steps of Jesus, to become like him, to love, speak, serve, preach, pray and forgive like Jesus.
Today, the Lord is asking me: Do you love me? Do you love me more than anything and anyone? If yes, the Lord will:
+ Forgive my sins and weaknesses, and recreate me anew;
+ Hand to me great responsibilities, such as the marriage, the family, the priesthood, consecration. He will help me to succeed.
Lord Jesus, help us to love you with all our hearts and follow you everyday.” Amen.