may 2007 letter
We congratulate you on the Easter and the Holy Fifty days, through which its joyful rites the church teaches us to live in the joy of the resurrection. For the resurrection according toSt. Paul is the foundation of our faith, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Cor 15: 14). Without the resurrection the cross appears to be weak, but now Christ is risen and the cross has been revealed as the “power of God” (1 Cor 1: 18).
For that reason we stand strong against any doubting in the truth of the resurrection, knowing that the devil by this means to destroy Christianity from its foundation. But we are sure though that He who watched over His church strong and firm from the beginning, is able to watch over it till the end. Our responsibility as a church is to pray and teach, so that “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18: 8).
I would like to mention an important fact: that resurrection did not happen by chance in the life of Christ, but like the cross we see that the Old Testament prophesies about the resurrection in many different verses. Here are few examples:
v “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me” (Psalm 3: 5).
v “Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever” (Psalm 44: 23).
v “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16: 10).
v “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in” (Psalm 24:7).
The Gospels mention in many different situations that Christ himself also talked to his disciples about his crucifixion and resurrection so that they would be prepared for the events “The Son of Man … and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day” (Mark 9: 31). The strange thing is that after Jesus was arrested the disciples were scared and were in hiding, while the Jews remembered what He had mentioned about His resurrection: “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, `After three days I will rise.'” (Matt 27: 63), so they asked Pilate to guard the tomb “Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away” (Matt 27:64). From the fear of His disciples and the remembrance of Jews, came up another proof for the truth of the resurrection!
For the news of the church, the main chandelier has been installed, which added to the glory of the church’s celebration during Easter. We also remind you with the church’s website:www.philopateer-mercurius.com, and looking forward to receive your feedback and recommendations on it.
Asking your continuous prayers for the church, its priest, its servants and all its services.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, May 1, 2007