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NEWSLETTER

Visitation to Elizabeth

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Issue

368

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“A SPECIAL VISIT!” - Fr Sam Wehbe
Mary went to visit Elizabeth not to have a coffee, or because she was bored, or to gossip, but:
1. To help and serve the old lady Elizabeth (cooking, cleaning, gardening…) and she stayed there three months until the birth of John the Baptist. Mary is calling us not to forget to help and serve with love.
2. To share with Elizabeth what God has done in their lives, and about love and the fulfilment of his promises. Then they praised and glorified Him. In our visits to church, houses…, let’s talk about God, not about money, work, politics, sport.
Mary’s visit caused joy to Elizabeth, to John and to Mary. Let us visit each other and carry Jesus and His love, peace, joy and praise of God. Amen.

Announcement to Mary & Feast of St Raymond

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Issue

367

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“Yes” and “No”! - Fr Sam Wehbe
In the beginning, in paradise, Eve said “yes” to Satan and his will, and “no” to God and His word. The result was original sin, suffering and death.
In the annunciation, Mary believed and trusted that God loves her and would not leave her: “The Lord is with you”. For this reason, she said “yes”. Yes to His will and to the responsibility He gave her; yes to depending on Him in humility and simplicity; yes to joy, sorrow, hardship and the Cross.
Jesus and Mary are calling us to say “Yes”:
YES to God and NO to Satan, sin & the world.
YES to my wife, my husband, my parents, my children, my Church ... YES to life and to the Cross.
YES to silence, love, joy
YES to a smile and to positivity, to mercy and forgiveness.
The word “yes” is the key to happiness and holiness.
Lord, like Mary & St Raymond and with all my heart, I say “yes” to You and to Your will in my life. Amen.

Announcement to Zechariah

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Issue

366

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"You will become silent" - Fr Sam Wehbe
The season of Christmas starts with Zechariah, who was without hope. Then the announcement for John the Baptist, who was to prepare the way for Christ, occurred despite the advanced age of Elizabeth and the fact that she was barren. Zechariah doubted the angel Gabri- el’s announcement, so he became mute for 9 months until John was born. What is the mean- ing of Zechariah doubting and becoming mute? Zechariah doubted because rather than focus- ing on God’s hope, love and word and on remembering how God granted Abraham and Sa- rah a child in their old age, he focused instead on his weak human nature and his and Elizabeth’s advanced age. For Zechariah, it was impossible to change his futile reality, and so he drowned in his depression and weakness. As for his becoming mute, it was more a sign than a punishment: He entered the school of silence and contemplation so that he could meditate on the pregnancy of Elizabeth. Zechariah could not speak until John was born, after he had experienced the love and mercy of God. So he wrote “Youhanna”, which means “God has been merciful”. He discovered that his futile reality is not the end. Rather this reality can turn into fertility and joy when the reality and love of God illuminates it. With the Sunday of the Announcement of Zechariah we start the journey of the season of Christmas—the season when we prepare for the birth of Jesus in our hearts, families, Church and world. Jesus invites us also to enter into contemplation and reflection on the life of this great saint who loved Jesus and surrendered his life to Him. As a result, he was martyred for Jesus and His people. We are called to imitate him and ask for his intercession.

Lord, teach us to be silent so that we could learn to listen to you, to ourselves and to those around us. Help us to imitate the love and holiness of Saint Raymond. Amen.

Consecration and Renewal of the Church

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Issue

365

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"Who do you say that I am?" - Fr Sam Wehbe
In Today, our Maronite Church begins its new liturgical year around the life of Jesus: Just as the earth rotates around the sun during the solar year, receives from it light and life for 12 months, begins on 1 January and forms the day, the night and the seasons, so during the liturgical year the life of the Church rotates around Jesus Christ, our Sun, receives from Him light, love and life in 12 months and forms 7 seasons. These are:
1. Advent and Christmas; 2. Epiphany; 3. Remembrances; 4. Lent and Holy Week; 5. Resurrection, 6. Pentecost, 7. Glorious Cross.

The liturgical year begins with the Sunday of the Consecration and Renewal of the Church. Why? Because when the Church (which consists of the faithful) lives for one year around the life of Jesus, meditates on and resembles Him, then It will be consecrated and renewed. Also, for the Church to rotate around the life of Jesus, it has be holy and new.

In the gospel, Jesus asks his disciples: "Who do you say I am?" Peter replied: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God", which means You are the Sun around which our lives rotate. It is then that Jesus proclaimed Peter to be the rock on which He was to build His Church, the Church of love, peace, salvation, joy and holiness.

Lord Jesus, help us to make the axis for our loves and the life of our Church, families and society. Help us to receive your light, love and life and make each one of us on a holy rock that You can use to build the Church of the Saints. Amen.

9th Sunday of Pentecost - Feast of St Charbel

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Issue

349

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“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

Issue

348

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“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

Issue

347

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“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

Issue

346

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“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

Issue

345

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“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

Issue

344

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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

Issue

343

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“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

Issue

342

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“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.