Matthew 2:11 “They saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.”
Gathered in worship around the One Lord
When the Magi from their far-away countries arrived at Bethlehem and saw the child with his mother, they worshipped him. In the presence of Christ, this revelation of God among us, eyes are cast down and knees are bent. Similarly at the sight of the burning bush, Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God. When the disciples saw the risen Christ on the mountain in Galilee, they were amazed and troubled. Yet they worshipped him. In the heavenly liturgy, the twenty-four elders fall before him who sits on the throne. Encountering God’s presence, we respond thus: gazing, followed by amazement, leading to worship.
Do we see? Are we amazed? Are we truly worshipping? How many times do we see without perceiving, our eyes remaining blind to God’s presence? How can we worship in truth if we do not first see? In our narrow vision, too often we see only our tangled disagreements, forgetting that the one Lord has given his saving grace to us all, and that we share in the one Spirit who draws us into unity. Often in our pride we follow our own laws and human traditions, whilst often disregarding the love we are called to share as one people justified by Christ’s blood, with a common faith in Jesus as our Savior.
As communities of the Sword of the Spirit we join the Church´s call to walk together towards the Christ-Child to offer him homage as one people. The Spirit of compassion guides us to each other, and together guides us all to our one Lord. Only by following this guide will we be able to “worship in spirit and truth.” Our future in God is a future of unity and love; our way to this destination must reflect that same truth of one-ness in Christ.
Compassionate God, as you did with the blind, give us the insight to recognize you as our Savior. In your mercy, remove the scales from our eyes and lead us, as your disciples, to worship you as our God and Redeemer. Give us the capacity to love you with all our hearts. May we journey together guided by your light, with one heart and one mind, so that together, as the Sword of the Spirit, we glorify you and witness to all those around us. Amen.
Christian Witness: Children of One Father
My name is Nihal Nasser. I am from the village of Yafa-An Nasirat in Lower Galilee, a village located near Nazareth, where the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah.
I belong to the Latin Church (Latin = Western Roman Catholic as opposed to other Eastern Catholic traditions.) and I am a parishioner in my village church. The history of the parish goes back to 1862. The construction of the parish building began in 1868 and it was completed in 1986. Today, the parish consists of approximately 360 Latin-rite families, with approximately 50 of these families living outside the village boundaries. We have 1,150 parishioners. There is also a parish school in our village, which was founded in 1868 and serves townspeople from many different Christian churches and non-Christians as well. In it, five hundred and forty students are receiving their education today.
There are many active and lively groups in this parish such as Scouts since 2016, the Legion of Mary, the Marian Confraternity, Saint Anthony’s Confraternity, and since 2000, the Neo-Catechumenal communities, plus other groups.
The townspeople from all denominations participate in these groups and their activities. During the Easter/Pascha celebrations, parishioners of different communions exchange greetings following the Easter liturgical celebrations, with Latin parishioners greeting Greek Orthodox parishioners and vice versa.
I grew up in this parish and always had the desire to search for True Love. In 2014, I participated in the Life in the Spirit Seminar, with the Jesus Is Alive ecumenical community in Amman. I returned from this seminar with a desire to join a community with the conviction that I must belong to a community in order to grow in my spiritual life. Since that day I have belonged to the Jesus Is Alive community.
For a while, during my university studies, I was not participating in the Divine Liturgy on Sunday in my parish. By committing to the Jesus Is Alive community, however, I was also committing myself to my church, this being one of the elements of the commitment to Jesus Is Alive. As a result, this brought me back to my village parish, to participate in the Divine Liturgy weekly and join in the feasts and religious ceremonies. This commitment reinforced my sense of belonging to the one Church, rather than being a member of a community which is separate from my parish.
The participation by various Christians (Latin or otherwise) in the various events and activities of the parish enhances the sense of ecumenism and of unity, such that we know that we are the children of One Father and that we are one church despite our different Church traditions.
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