"When the two disciples heard his words,
they followed him"
they followed him"
Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Peter Al Rahi celebrated the Sunday Mass at Bkerke and he gave a homily in which he discussed several liturgical points as well as political and common issues. He began saying that when the disciples of John the Baptist first heard the Word of Jesus they were attracted to it and it directly touched their hearts, they followed him immediately and they stayed with him. One of them, Andrew spoke to his brother Simon and told him that they have found the Messiah, Simon at his turn was also attracted to Jesus who Called him by his name even though he never knew him and he gave him a new name: the Rock or Peter in order for him to fulfill his mission.
|His Beatitude Mar Beshara Peter Al Rahi pronouncing his homily|
at the cathedral of the Patriarchate
Jesus is the Word of God, he is the good news, he surpasses the past, the present and he is a constant discovery. He is the real light that enlightens every human being and he is the Word that speaks to every man, that is why Christianity is the religion of the Word of God, not like any word but the living Word that is Jesus Christ. John the Baptist first spoke about Jesus Christ and he saw in him "the lamb of God" who will take away the sins of the World.
The Patriarch continued saying that Christianity is the religion of testimony for Christ and the synod of bishops that was called for by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on October 2010 in Rome, has expressed the will for the preservation of the Christian identity especially in the Middle East. Christians in Lebanon and in the Middle East are responsible for this testimony with the help of their muslim neighbors and fellow citizens. A dialogue of life, culture and citizenship must be undertaken based on fairness in rights and duties, and the participation in governance. All together they can build a state founded on truth, freedom, justice, and love, away from violence, hatred and terrorism.
On the political side the Patriarch said that Arab leaders often said that "Lebanon is a need, if there was no Lebanon we must find one" and Lebanon is "the lungs of freedom and the region's peace comes from the peace in Lebanon". Such facts imply on the Lebanese people as well as on the international community not to let the country become a channel or a source of instability in the region. The Lebanese and international community should exert efforts in declaring Lebanon a neutral country in order for it to continue on serving its mission and acting as a factor of peace in the Middle East. He also said that Through its positive neutrality, Lebanon will be able to commit to joint Arab issues and the peace process. This requires the improvement of Lebanese defense capabilities and limiting the possession of arms to the official state institutions. Lebanon is not a unified state, but a number of statelets whose funds are being squandered by wealthy individuals at the expense of the people and their dignity.
The Patriarch concluded saying that the gospel is not only for Christians but for the whole world. Christians are responsible to spread it and live according to it in their societies. The gospel is the good news for all people. He finally said: God we ask you to attract us to you, to follow you and become witnesses for your gospel so that truth, freedom, justice and love may prevail in our country and we will enjoy tranquility and peace, for Yours is the Glory for ever, Amen.