Good wishes for a happy feast!
Eid ul-Adha
12 September 2016 AD/ 10 Dhul Hijjah 1437 AH

In the Middle East, it is a thing of beauty to see feasts of faith becoming feasts for the children of faith. Indeed, our Muslim and Christian feasts are common feasts: this was and always will be so in our Eastern countries.

Thus blessed Eid ul-Adha unites us through the story of Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son. That is why Abraham is called our father in faith, as he is one “with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself.1” The story is a lesson for us all, since God, having called upon Abraham to sacrifice his son, then required him to spare his life, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad.” (Genesis 22: 12 cf. Surah As-Saffat 37: 105) This divine revelation in Scripture was a lesson aimed at abolishing child sacrifice as an expression of faith in God. This passage calls on us all rather to form a united front to defend life, which is a divine gift to mankind. That is why Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 10) God says, “I desired mercy and not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6: 6) As in the venerable Qur’an, God is “merciful and compassionate.”

 

It is to this that Eid ul-Adha calls us. Adha is the feast of life! Adha is the feast for working to preserve human life and dignity. This feast is a summons to all of us Christians and Muslims to make every effort to preserve life. Adha is a call to set up an international Muslim-Christian pact for life, to defeat takfiri ideology that kills arbitrarily, pretending that it is killing for faith!

The values of Eid ul-Adha are common to us Muslims and Christians! That is why I am glad to offer my cordial good wishes to my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, expressing my solidarity with them and my love, as I did in my Letter from an Arab Christian Patriarch to his Muslim brethren.

I offer these good wishes to all my dear brethren, in my name and that of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchs in Syria, and the Churches, because I write these good wishes during the holding of the Middle East Council of Churches, in which I am participating. They all wished to affirm the importance of the Christian presence in the cradle of Christianity and the departure point for Islam, so that we may remain together side by side with and for our Muslim brothers and sisters, to build together the civilisation of life and love for our future generations.

Happy Feast!

+ Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem

1 - Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions Nostra Aetate No. 3 (1965)


Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"And when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. And for three days he could not see." (Acts 9:9)

By no means would he [Saul] have been able to see well again unless he had first been fully blinded. Also, when he had rejected his own wisdom, which was confusing him, he could commit himself totally to faith. Since he had not believed that the Lord had conquered death by rising on the third day, he was now taught by his own experience of the replacement of three days of darkness by the return of the light.

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles from the Venerable Bede