“Who do you say I am?” - The Maronite Church starts the new liturgical year, a new journey with Jesus. Just as the earth rotates around the sun during the solar year, receives from it light and life for 12 months, begins on the 1st of January and forms the days, the weeks, months and the seasons, so to during the liturgical year the life of the Church rotates around Jesus Christ, our Sun, receives from him light, love and life over 7 liturgical seasons; Advent and Christmas, Epiphany, Remembrances, Lent and Holy Week, the Resurrection, Pentecost and finally the season of the glorious Cross.
The new liturgical year begins with the Consecration and renewal of the Church. Why? Because when the Church (and each one of us) lives for one year around the life of Jesus, then we will be consecrated and renewed. Also, to live around the life of Jesus, we must be holy and new. Lord Jesus be the centre and the Rock of my life, my Church, family and society. Amen
4th Sunday after the Feast of the Glorious Cross
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the feast of St Francis of Assisi on the 4th of October, Pope Francis released the third encyclical letter of his papacy entitled Fratelli Tutti, on fraternity and social friendship. The title of the encyclical is an Italian quote from Saint Francis, the pope’s namesake, which translates to “brothers and sisters all”. Upon my arrival to Lebanon, I spent some time in quarantine and had the chance to read it. Through eight chapters, the Pope presents a great text on the social teaching of the church.
With two simple words, Fratelli tutti, which are both an affirmation and a challenge, Pope Francis begins his latest encyclical. It is an affirmation that all men and women constitute one family: the human family. It is also a challenge that every human being has a mission to fulfil by promoting social friendship which aims at including all…read more in the full newsletter by clicking the PDF icon to download this week’s newsletter.
Feast of the Holy Rosary
October is the month of the Holy Rosary; the prayer of the rosary is a summary of the bible. It is a reflection and a remembrance of the life of Jesus and a deepening of its various stages, Christ’s incarnation, public ministry and finally Christ’s death and resurrection.
Mary insists in most of her apparitions that we need to pray the rosary, and pray it with attentiveness to, and reflection on, each word. In Fatima, she taught the children a short prayer to be uttered after each decade.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.
Our mother Mary invites us to pray the rosary every day, and it serves as our weapon against the devil, a way to bring us closer to Jesus and to Mary and finally as an instrument of salvation like a rope that lifts us to heaven, or a ladder that helps us to go up to heaven…read more in the full newsletter by clicking the PDF icon to download this week’s newsletter.
2nd Sunday After the Feast of the Glorious Cross
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a few days, I will be travelling to Lebanon to partake in the Annual Spiritual Retreat and Synod of Maronite Bishops called for by His Eminence and Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai. The visit will also be an opportunity for me to receive an update about the situation in Beirut and all of Lebanon from the various charities we are supporting through your generous donations and contributions.
I am grateful to our Maronite community in Australia and our friends from other communities who have donated and continue to generously donate to the people of Lebanon. As you are aware, our Lebanese brothers and sisters have been tragically affected by the horrific explosion at the port of Beirut on the 4th of August…read more in the full newsletter by clicking the PDF icon to download this week’s newsletter.
1st Sunday After the Feast of the Glorious Cross
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our Maronite Church has now entered a new season in our liturgical calendar - the Season of the Glorious Cross. The gospels of this season direct us towards suffering and the cross as an instrument of our salvation.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we learn that two of the apostles, James and John, asked the Lord to be seated at His right hand and left hand. It seems to us to be a bold request. But we should not forget that just before they make this request, St Mark tells us that as the apostles were going up to Jerusalem, the Lord took them aside and told them what would happen to Him: that He would be betrayed, condemned to death, mocked, scourged, spat on, and killed, but that on the third day He would rise again.…read more in the full newsletter by clicking the PDF icon to download this week’s newsletter.
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.
6th Sunday of Resurrection
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 out "ghosts"; that is, to touch, see, understand and accept in faith and trust theses "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.
4th Sunday of Resurrection
Out of sadness and depression because of the death of their Master, the disciples decided to go back to their old life (Fishing) before they met Jesus; and because they followed their own will and weakness, they failed and the net remained empty. But when Jesus appeared to them in the morning, He told them to cast the net to the right side of the boat. They succeeded because they followed His will and His word, and the net was filed with 153 fish.
The gospel is calling us not to follow our own will and our own feelings and desires, but to listen to the word of God, do His will and remain steadfast no matter what our situation is. In doing His will and following His word, Jesus will fill our life with strength, Joy, peace and rest. And without His food and the power of His resurrection, Life would not be beautiful, pure and full of love, hope, peace and Joy.
Lord, Help me not to listen to myself and do my will, but to listen to You and do Your will in my life. Amen.
3rd Sunday of Resurrection
On the third Sunday of the Resurrection, we reflect on the Lord Jesus appearing to the two disciples of Emmaus and walking with them. The two disciples were disappointed with what happened to Jesus so they decided to run away from Jerusalem and forget past memories with Him. Suddenly Jesus appeared and walked with them towards Emmaus and started to explain to them the books; they did not know Him until he broke the bread. Jesus did not stop them at the start, but walked with them in their journey and took his time with them to help them to decide by themselves to change the direction and return to Jerusalem and proclaim the resurraction the hope and the joy. As for us, we are called to be conscious that Christ is walking with us always. He is with us to help us when we experience difficulties, sorrow or pain, poverty or injustice, injury or sickness, or...read more by clicking the PDF link.
New Sunday and Divine Mercy
The first Sunday after Resurrection is called New Sunday in our Maronite Liturgical Calendar, and it is the Sunday of the Divine Mercy, in the tradition of the Universal Catholic Church. This Sunday's Gospel tells us about the Apostles, who gathered in a small house for fear of the Jews after the death of Jesus Christ.