Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Christ Ascended to the Heavens?

St. Cyril of Alexandria in his commentary on the gospel of Luke, Chapter 24, says

"Having blessed them, and gone a little in advance, He was carried up to heaven, that He might share the Father's throne even with the flesh that was united to Him. And this new pathway the Word made for us when He appeared in human form: and hereafter in due time He will come again in the glory of His Father with the angels, and will take us up to be with Him.
Let us glorify therefore Him Who being God the Word became man for our sakes: Who suffered willingly in the flesh, and arose from the dead, and abolished corruption: Who was taken up, and hereafter shall come with great glory to judge the living and the dead, and to give to every one according to his deeds: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be glory and power with the Spirit for ever and ever. Amen."

Source :

What does it mean?

As He is one with the Father, so He did not leave the bosom of the Father, then when we say He is ascended, it is for the reason that He took our humanity with Him after our humanity were exiled from the paradise, so He returned it after abolishing the death by His Death. (The life giving death) the death which leads to life. So He opened for us the way to Eternity, Let us glorify Him  and exalt His Name As He did with us mercy according to His Great Mercy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Passover of Jonah

 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “ Matt. 12: 40

The gospel of the liturgy of the Passover of Jonah according to the ritual of the Holy Orthodox Coptic Church, describes how our Lord refuses the temple which was made by the hands Jn. 2: 12-25, instead he wanted His Spirit to dwell in us by Baptism and the Eucharist, that is why the response of the Liturgy “O our Lord Jesus Christ, make in us a sanctuary, for Your Holy Spirit, ever-glorifying You.” He wants us to be His Chosen and dwelling place. That is why the church called it Passover of Jonah, it is a Passover from “darkness, unto the true and wonderful light; and from error and vanity of idols unto the knowledge of  truth.” As we say in the Baptismal Liturgy. Let it be our prayers “O our Lord Jesus Christ, make in us a sanctuary, for Your Holy Spirit, ever-glorifying You.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Books about St. Mary suggested by Very Rev. Fr. Athanasuis Farag

Books about St. Mary suggested by Very Rev. Fr. Athanasuis Farag 

1- The Holy Virgin Saint Mary by H.H. Pope Shenouda III  -  Free online at:

2- St. Mary in the Orthodox Concept by Fr. Tadros Malaty  -  Free online at:

3- On the Mother of God by Jacob of Serug

4- The Harp of Glory: Enzira Sebhat : an Alphabetical Hymn of Praise for the Ever-blessed Virgin Mary from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press)

5- On the Blessedness of the Theotokos - Homily XIV of St. Severus of Antioch

6- Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought By Luigi Gambero

7- Before Our Eyes The Virgin Mary Zeitun Egypt by Pearl Zaki

8- Mary: Mirror of the Church By Raniero Cantalamessa

9- Mary Mother of God - Her Life in Icons and Scripture edited by Giovanna Parravicini

10- Mary Mother Of All Christians - Primary Source Edition by Max Thurian -   Free online at:

11- Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary by Alexander Schmemann

12- “Mary and the Church,” by Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann  Found as an audio here

13- Mary in the New Testament  edited by Raymond Edward Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Karl Paul Donfried

14- Symbols of St. Mary in the Old Testament by Fr. Matthias F. Wahba. Can by bought from 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hymn “Through The Cross” by Late Metropolitan Athanasuis of Beni Suef.

Thanks to the FB Page of "Those who love Anba Athanasius Metropolitan of Beni Suef and Bahnasa" ( Arabic Page for providing me with the Arabic wording for this hymn for this great teacher and scholar Metropolitan Athanasius 

Hymn “Through The Cross”[1]
by  Late Metropolitan Athanasuis of Beni Suef.[2]
Through the Cross my Lord Redeemed me … Through His Resurrection, He raised me and gave me life
Through the Cross He restored to me my entity… He opened to me the door of the paradise
Come let us see visibly… Our God in the human nature
Loving, kind, maker of good… He broke from us the trap pf the Satan.
He wore the nature of the sons of Adam… and became a sacrifice for the world
He saved by his Cross all transgressions … he removed from us all verdicts
Through the Cross we reconciled with the Father … And the Son opened before us the door
After the hostility we became lovers… the reconciliation happened and the dividing wall was broken.
Through the cross He crushed Satan … And He forgave us from every sin.
And the deeds were erased and He defeated powers… And He grants us victory and freedom.
On the Cross  compassion Transfigured… And the supreme Love and the Forgiveness
Thus the Saviour opening his bosom…Wants the Salvation of every human.

[1] Translated by Fr. Bishoy Lamie, edited by Phoebe Farag
[2] Prayed using the tone of Palm Sunday 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sayings of abba Moses from the Sayings of Desert Fathers by Sister Benedicta Ward, SLG

Special Thanks to Donna Rizk 

Moses, called the Robber or the Negro, was a released slave who lived as a robber in Nitria; late in life he became a monk and was trained by Isidore the Priest. He was ordained priest and became one of the great fathers of Scetis. On the advice of Macarius he retired to Petra; he was martyred with seven others by barbarian invaders.

1-      It happened that Abba Moses was struggling with the temptation of fornication. Unable to stay any longer in the cell, he went and told Abba Isidore. The old man exhorted him to return to his cell. But he refused, saying, 'Abba, I cannot.' Then Abba Isidore took Moses out onto the terrace and said to him, 'Look towards the west.' He looked and saw hordes of demons flying about and mak­ing a noise before launching an attack. Then Abba Isidore said to him, 'Look towards the east.' He turned and saw an innumerable multitude of holy angels shining with glory. Abba Isidore said, 'See, these are sent by the Lord to the saints to bring them help, while those in the west fight against them. Those who are with us are more in number than they are.' Then Abba Moses, gave thanks to God, plucked up courage and returned to his cell.

2-      A brother at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to say to him, 'Come, for everyone is waiting for you.' So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said to him, 'What is this, Father?' The old man said to them, 'My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.' When they heard that they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

3-      Another day when a council was being held in Scetis, the Fathers treated Moses with contempt in order to test him, saying, 'Why does this black man come among us?' When he heard this he kept silence. When the council was dismissed, they said to him, 'Abba, did that not grieve you at all?' He said to them, 'I was grieved, but I kept silence.'

4-      It was said of Abba Moses that he was ordained and the ephod was placed upon him. The archbishop said to him, 'See, Abba Moses, now you are entirely white.' The old man said to him, 'It is true of the outside, lord and father, but what about Him who sees the inside?' Wishing to test him the archbishop said to the priests, 'When Abba Moses comes into the sanctuary, drive him out, and go with him to hear what he says.' So the old man came in and they covered him with abuse, and drove him out, saying, 'Outside, black man!' Going out, he said to himself, 'They have acted rightly con­cerning you, for your skin is as black as ashes. You are not a man, so why should you be allowed to meet men?'

5-      Once the order was given at Scetis, 'Fast this week.' Now it happened that some brothers came from Egypt to visit Abba Moses and he cooked something for them. Seeing some smoke, the neigh­bours said to the ministers, 'Look, Moses has broken the command­ment and has cooked something in his cell.' The ministers said, 'When he comes, we will speak to him ourselves.' When the Satur­day came, since they knew Abba Moses' remarkable way of life, the ministers said to him in front of everyone, 'O Abba Moses, you did not keep the commandment of men, but it was so that you might keep the commandment of God.'

6-      A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him for a word. The old man said to him, 'Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.'

7-      Abba Moses said, 'The man who flees and lives in solitude is like a bunch of grapes ripened by the sun, but he who remains amongst men is like an unripe grape.'

8-      The magistrate heard about Abba Moses one day and he went to Scetis to see him. They told the old man. He got up and fled to the marsh. Some people met him and said to him, 'Old man, tell us where the cell of Abba Moses is.' He said to them, 'What do you want with him? He is a fool.' So the magistrate went back to the church and said to the ministers, 'I heard people talk about Abba Moses and I went to see him, but there was an old man going into Egypt who crossed our path and we asked him where Abba Moses' cell is, and he said to us, "What do you want with him? He is a fool."' When they heard this, the clergy were offended and said, 'What kind of an old man was it who spoke like that about the holy man to you?' He said, 'An old man wearing old clothes, a big black man.' They said, 'It was Abba Moses himself and it was in order not to meet you that he said that.' The magistrate went away greatly edified.

9-      At Scetis Abba Moses used to say, 'If we keep the commandments of our Fathers, I will answer for it on God's behalf that the barbarians will not come here. But if we do not keep the command­ments of God, this place will be devastated.'

10-   One day, when the brethren were sitting beside him, he said to them, 'Look, the barbarians are coming to Scetis today; get up and flee.' They said to him, 'Abba, won't you flee too?' He said to them, 'As for me, I have been waiting for this day for many years, that the word of the Lord Christ may be fulfilled which says, "All who take the sword will perish by the sword." ' (Matt. 26.52) They said to him, 'We will not flee either, but we will die with you.' He said to them: 'That is nothing to do with me; let everyone decide for himself whether he stops or not.' Now there were seven broth­ers there and he said to them, 'Look, the barbarians are drawing near to the door.' They came in and slew them. But one fled and hid under the cover of a pile of rope and he saw seven crowns descending and crowning them.

11-   A brother questioned Abba Moses saying, 'I see something in front of me and I am not able to grasp it.' The old man said to him, 'If you do not become dead like those who are in the tomb, you will not be able to grasp it.'

12-   Abba Poemen said that a brother asked Abba Moses how someone could consider himself as dead towards his neighbour. The old man said to him, 'If a man does not think in his heart that he is already three days dead and in the tomb, he cannot attain this saying.'

13-   It was said of Abba Moses at Scetis that when he had arranged to go to Petra, he grew tired in the course of the journey and said to himself, 'How can I find the water I need there?' Then a voice said to him, 'Go, and do not be anxious about anything.' So he went. Some Fathers came to see him and he had only a small bottle of water. He used it all up in cooking lentils for them. The old man was worried, so he went in and came out of his cell, and he prayed to God, and a cloud of rain came to Petra and filled all the cisterns. After this, the visitors said to the old man, 'Tell us why you went in and out.' The old man said to them, 'I was arguing with God, saying, "You brought me here and now I have no water for your servants." This is why I was going in and out; I was going on at God till he sent us some water.'

Seven instructions which Abba Moses sent to Abba Poemen. He who puts them into practice will escape all punishment and will live in peace, whether he dwells in the desert or in the midst of brethren.

1-      The monk must die to his neighbour and never judge him at all, in any way whatever.
2-      The monk must die to everything before leaving the body, in order not to harm anyone.
3-      If the monk does not think in his heart that he is a sinner, God will not hear him. The brother said, 'What does that mean, to think in his heart that he is a sinner?' Then the old man said, 'When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbour.'
4-      If a man's deeds are not in harmony with his prayer, he labours in vain. The brother said, 'What is this harmony between practice and prayer?' The old man said, 'We should no longer do those things against which we pray. For when a man gives up his own will, then God is reconciled with him and accepts his prayers.' The brother asked, 'In all the affliction which the monk gives himself, what helps him?' The old man said, 'It is written, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."' (Ps.46.1)
5-      The old man was asked, 'What is the good of the fasts and watchings which a man imposes on himself?' and he replied, 'They make the soul humble. For it is written, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins." (Ps.25.18) So if the soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it.'
6-      The old man was asked, 'What should a man do in all the temptations and evil thoughts that come upon him?' The old man said to him, 'He should weep and implore the goodness of God to come to his aid, and he will obtain peace if he prays with discern­ment. For it is written, "With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?" ' (Ps. 118.6)

7-      A brother asked the old man, 'Here is a man who beats his servant because of a fault he has committed; what will the servant say?' The old man said, 'If the servant is good, he should say, "For­give me, I have sinned." ' The brother said to him, 'Nothing else?' The old man said, 'No, for from the moment he takes upon himself responsibility for the affair and says, "I have sinned," immediately the Lord will have mercy on him. The aim in all these things is not to judge one's neighbour. For truly, when the hand of the Lord caused all the first-born in the land of Egypt to die, no house was without its dead.' The brother said, 'What does that mean?' The old man said, 'If we are on the watch to see our own faults, we shall not see those of our neighbour. It is folly for a man who has a dead person in his house to leave him there and go to weep over his neighbour's dead. To die to one's neighbour is this: To bear your own faults and not to pay attention to anyone else wondering whether they are good or bad. Do no harm to anyone, do not think anything bad in your heart towards anyone, do not scorn the man who does evil, do not put confidence in him who does wrong to his neighbour, do not rejoice with him who injures his neighbour. This is what dying to one's neighbour means. Do not rail against anyone, but rather say, "God knows each one." Do not agree with him who slanders, do not rejoice at his slander and do not hate him who slanders his neighbour. This is what it means not to judge. Do not have hostile feelings towards anyone and do not let dislike dominate your heart; do not hate him who hates his neighbour. This is what peace is: Encourage yourself with this thought, "Affliction lasts but a short time, while peace is for ever, by the grace of God the Word. Amen."'

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Biblical Background to the kneeling prayer which is prayed today on the Feast of Pentecost

Explanation of the Kneeling Prayers (“Salaat el Sagda”) on the Feast of the Pentecost
by Fr. Bishoy Lamie Mikhail
June 8, 2014  
Every year on the Feast of the Pentecost, the Coptic Orthodox Church practices “Salaat el Sagda,” or, the “Kneeling Prayer,” in the evening. This important prayer has a deep meaning, as it explains for us the important role of the descent of the Holy Spirit in our salvation and life as a church.
“In the Old Testament Pentecost was the feast which occurred fifty days after Passover. As the Passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God’s gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. In the new covenant of the Messiah, the Passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, the “exodus” of men from this sinful world to the Kingdom of God. And in the New Testament as well, the Pentecostal feast is fulfilled and made new by the coming of the “new law,” the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ.
The readings for the first kneeling prayer are from: Deut 5:23-33, 6:1-3; 1 Cor. 12:28-31, 13:1-12; Ps. 69:7,8,1 and John 17:1-26. In the second kneeling prayer we read from Deut. 6: 17-25; 1 Cor. 11:13 -34, 14:1-17; Ps. 115:12,13; and Luke 24:36-53. During the third kneeling prayer we read from Deut. 16:1-18; 1 Cor.14:18-40; and John 4:1-24. We notice that the church put the shadow in the reading of the Old Testament, followed by the reality in the Pauline reading from I Corinthians, between the law of Moses and the role of the Holy Spirit’s gifts in the Church.
In order to understand the significance of this prayer, let us study part of the history of the people of God, especially during the period of Passover, which is truly said by the blessed St. Paul “For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.” The day of Pentecost is the feast of harvest “Shavuot” which makes “the conclusion of Passover.” “Since the great exodus from Egypt was intended to lead to the revelation of Sinai.” Similarly, Christ our Passover led us to His Holy Spirit who descended to dwell in us, rather than to give us His commandments written on two tablets. So if the “goal of Passover is the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people,” We find the goal of resurrection is the renewal of man’s soul, body and spirit. “For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13, 14). This purification is given not only to the Jews, but rather to those “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). God who took Israel out of Egypt to make His own clean as let to the Gentiles, now also we “Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24).
The following stops along the Exodus of the Israelites illuminate how we are also saved by Christ, the Paschal lamb, through baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit.
  1. The first born of Israelites were passed over by the angel when the angel saw the blood on the top, right and left, so also with Christ, “He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent” (Col. 1:18), so death passed over us, as by His death He abolished death.
  2. During the weeks of the Pentecost, we read the Sunday Gospels from St. John, second Sunday (Jn 6:35-45) where we see Christ as the Bread of Life which came down from heaven, solving for us the problem that the Israelites encountered after their Exodus in which Moses the blessed asked God who sent to them the Manna from Heaven (Ex. 16). The Third Sunday (Jn. 4:1-42) brings us Christ as the Living Water, solving for us the issue of the lacking of water when the Israelites settled at Rephidim, where Moses hit the rock and it bring forth water as we read in Ex.17:1-7. The fourth Sunday (Jn. 12:35-50) presents for us Christ as the Light of the world, instead of being only the pillar of fire to lead the Jews as we read in Ex. 13:21-22.
  3. Moses was raised to the mountain in order to receive the Law written in the stones, our Lord raised from the dead in order to send to us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. In Ex. 19:10-11, God commanded Moses: “And the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready by the third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” The three days we saw in the Resurrection of our Lord, when He raised our nature to be a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:3; Hebrews 8:10), reminding us that the tomb where the death should exist by its stench smell, became a place of the new heavenly nature given to the believers.
  4. When the Lord dwelt in the mount of Sinai as we read in Ex. 19: 16 “On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” We find the same incidents in the Upper Room, where “Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance“ (Acts 2: 2-4). Also in the kneeling prayer, we use the incense a lot to see this scene.
  5. The same God who delivered the Israelites from the land of slavery is the same God who delivered us by His resurrection from the slavery of the enmity of death. The words of our Lord to Moses started by saying “And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Ex. 20:1).  Similarly, by the resurrection of Christ “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15: 21-22). The physical slavery and the spiritual death are linked together by Egypt and the Resurrection.
  6. When Moses heard the words of the Lord, he built an altar: “And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel” (Ex. 24:4). Here on the Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within the people so they became a temple for the Holy Spirit. “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). The altar was built on twelve pillars and among the 120 (Acts 1:15) who were gathered in the Upper Room were the 11 disciples completed later by Matthias (Acts 1:26).
  7. Moses shed the blood of the sacrifice in order to make the covenant between God and the Israelites “And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words"  (Ex. 24: 6-8). The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ became our mediator to reconcile us with the Father. “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:13-22). The covenant rule was to shed half of the sacrifice and to separate them apart and for the two people who want to make the covenant to pass between the two halves (Gen. 15:9-18). The Holy Spirit put us in a covenant with God, so this time the Holy Spirit dwelt in us, and God Himself is finding His place of Rest in our Hearts (Ps. 132: 13-14), and the sacrifice is His body and Blood “Given for us salvation, remission of sins and eternal life to those who partake of it” (from the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great).
After The Exodus
  1. The “Feast of the weeks” (Deut. 16:10), which is celebrated after “"You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain” (Deut. 16:9). “The Hebrew word Sheva means seven, shavu’ah means week, and Shavuot means weeks. Exactly seven weeks after the first harvest of barley is the celebration of Shavuot (“weeks”), one of the three pilgrimage holidays where Jews would come to the mishkan (and later the temple) to present the firstfruits of their spring crops before the Lord. Since Shavuot occurs on the 50th day after Passover, the Greek translators of the Torah called this day “Pentecost.”
Christ our Lord is the first fruit “bikkurim,”as the blessed St. Paul mentioned: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20) it is the first fruit in the new land (read in Lev. 23:9-14) “new nature” which the Israelites had landed in after the slavery (Deut. 26:1-3) “"When you come into the land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, and have taken possession of it, and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place which the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, `I declare this day to the LORD your God that I have come into the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.'”
  1. The celebration of the Holy Fifty Days after the Resurrection also came as a shadow in the Old Testament. Between the offering of the first fruit and the harvest of the 50th day, “Every day (of the 49 days) which is a special blessing was recited naming exactly how many more days were left before the climactic 50th day – a jubilee of days !” The same ritual takes place when we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep is continued to 50 days. The Pentecost as the festival of the harvest is described in Ex. 23:16 “"And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the LORD. You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the LORD… "And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God."” (Lev. 23:15-22).
“Just as a sample of the first crop of barley was waved before the altar during the festival of firstfruits, so on Shavuot a sample of the first crop of the wheat harvest was brought to the priests, baked into two loaves of leavened bread …, and then waved … before the altar as a concluding rite of the season…there is some uncertainty among Jewish sages regarding the meaning of the use of the otherwise forbidden leaven (Lev.2:11), though prophetically it is a picture of the “one new man” (composed of both Jew and Gentile) before the altar of the Lord (Eph. 2:14).”

In the day of The Pentecost as the Harvest day as the resurrection of the firstfruit brought any fruits not only from the Jews but from the Gentiles, God added a lot of harvest, but this time from men rather than from seeds, “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41
  1. In the Pentecost God married to His people (Rev. 21:2,9) and (Rev. 19:9) through sending the Holy Spirit to their hearts, it is the day of the covenant (Acts 2:1-42).  In the Talmud, Shavuot is referred to as the “marriage day” between God and the Jewish people, between heaven and earth (Passover is considered the time of Israel's “betrothal””
  2. Remembering the dead in the prayer of the kneeling to remind us that our God “he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him." Luke 20:38 . The Holy spirit who guided those who have fallen asleep still working in us. also it is the custom of Egyptians to remember their dead during the feasts days.

From all above, we conclude that the kneeling prayer is the reminder of the Holy Spirit who married us to God through the shedding of the Blood of our Lord jesus Christ who is the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep. The church is not celebrating a historical event that happened when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, but rather celebrates the baptism of the believers and the covenant which is written in their hearts. It is a reminder of the aim of our Christian life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Am He: No Parties for Priests and Bishops

I Am He: No Parties for Priests and Bishops: Pope Francis wrote to the 19 men who are chosen to be elevated to the rank of Cardinals, the following  (Source