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The 5th Sunday of Great Lent: Mount of Olives (Debre Zeit)

The fifth Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated to the theme of the Second Coming of Christ, as announced by our Lord on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:1-15). This theme encompasses the signs of the end times, leading to the final judgment and the resurrection of both the living and the dead, believers and unbelievers, the righteous and sinners. It emphasizes the crucial importance of repentance, belief, and baptism in preparation for the arrival of God's Kingdom, to avoid condemnation (John 3:18-20; Matthew 4:17).


Misbak of This Sunday:

"Our God shall come and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him" (Psalms 50:3).


Meaning:

The Misbak highlights the dual nature of the coming of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, to Earth. Firstly, He was born of a virgin to teach and preach about the heavenly kingdom and to heal and comfort those who are physically and spiritually ill. His first coming aimed to restore humanity to its original state, ensuring that no one would face the fires of hell upon His second coming. Secondly, His second coming, Judgment Day, will see Him accompanied by all His angels, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and saints. He will welcome the righteous, saying, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." Conversely, He will tell the unrighteous, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."


Yes, God will come in His glory, with all the angels with Him. He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory, separate people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and judge all nations gathered before Him.


Lesson:

This Sunday, the Church teaches an important topic from the Pillars of the Church - the Mystery of the Resurrection and the Final Judgment, based on the teachings of Our Lord and God at Mount Olive. The Resurrection is the mystery of life after death, where all those who have departed since Adam's time and will do so until Christ's Second Coming will be resurrected in the union of body and soul. The souls of the righteous will abide in paradise, and those of sinners in Hades, until the end of the world. On the Last Day, when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes in His glory to judge the living and the dead, the souls will reunite with their bodies, rising from the earth's dust (Luke 16:19-31).


The reality of the resurrection of the dead has been demonstrated through acts where the departed were brought back to life, as seen in the ministries of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, Jesus Christ, His disciples, and the Apostles (1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 13:21; Matthew 9:25; Luke 7:15; John 11:14). These events affirm the truth of the resurrection, a belief grounded in Christ's own resurrection: "Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and present us with you" (2 Corinthians 4:14).


The final resurrection, awaiting the Last Day at Christ's Second Coming, emphasizes that both the righteous and the unrighteous will rise. At that time, the righteous will inherit the kingdom following Christ, while the sinners will face everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 13:42-49; 25:31-43; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12).


Our Church places importance on this reminder of Judgment so that we remain vigilant and focused on the ultimate goal - Heaven. It is crucial to recognize both God's Mercy and His Justice. We are precious to God, who strives to bring us to Him through various means. However, He is also just to judge our responses to His love, sacrifice, call, and grace.


It is a time for deep reflection on God's efforts to bring us to Him, the price He paid for our wholeness, and the consequences of persistently rejecting His call. Our choices determine our eternal destiny - hell or Heaven. God has prepared unimaginable blessings for those who love Him, reminding us of His patience and desire for all to reach repentance. Yet, the Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, urging us to live in readiness for His coming.


Glory be to God,

And to His Mother Mary,

And to the Glorious Cross.

Amen!



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