Archbishop’s Teaching

2nd Sunday of Advent Sunday of the Renewal of the Church John 10, 22-42

Homily of His Excellency Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

2nd Sunday of Advent
Sunday of the Renewal of the Church
John 10, 22-42

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

After reminding us that our profession of faith in Christ with the apostle
Peter commits us to profess our faith in the Church, sanctified by Christ,
we are invited to celebrate, on this second Sunday of the liturgical year,
the "renewal" of the Church.

To understand the meaning of this renewal, we need to go back to the
Feast of Renewal in Jewish tradition, which was linked to the history and
identity of the people of God, and to messianic expectation: the people of
God awaited a Messiah who would save them from the Roman yoke.
Their expectation was not spiritual but political: for them, the Messiah
had to be a military leader, a rebel who would liberate them from their
enemies by the power of the sword. This is why the Jews came to ask
Jesus: "How long are you going to confuse us? Tell us frankly, are you
the Messiah?"

Jesus announces to them another face of the Messiah, and this is the heart
of the Good News: He is the true Messiah sent by God not to free them
from the Roman yoke, but from the yoke of evil and sin, and who, as the
epistle to the Hebrews recalls, "moved by the eternal Spirit, Christ offered
himself to God as a flawless victim "; his blood will therefore purify their
conscience from acts that lead to death, so that they can worship the living
God. This is why he is the Mediator of a new covenant between us and

To celebrate the Renewal of the Church is to be constantly remember this
truth : we are purified by the blood of Christ, and in Him and through
Him we are sons and daughters of God the Father.

Unfortunately, in our daily lives, this truth is altered by many temptations,
such as our false representation of God and the forgetfulness that He, and
He alone, is our Savior, our Liberator from evil and sin, our only Hope in
times of trial, Our Emmanuel (God with us) in the suffering, illness,
failures and disappointments of everyday life...

As a result, our faith remains a passive adherence to a religion rather than
a personal, living and ever-renewed relationship with Christ, an ever-
renewed trust in Him to discover anew His great mercy and infinite love
for us whatever our situation, good or bad !!!

Our existence as Christians makes no sense if we denigrate this truth, if
we forget that we are living members of a single body called the Church,
whose head is Christ and whose beating heart is the Holy Spirit. Today
and every day, we are called to renew our personal and communal
commitment to follow Christ in response to our vocation as baptized
Christians, to listen to His word by meditating on it in the Gospel, to put
into practice and recognize His voice in our conscience in order to fulfill
His will for us. Thus, we will be His disciples and bear fruit that glorifies
God His Father and Our Father.

May we find in the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother, the
example of the renewal of our faith. Amen.

Lord, once again I believe in you, once again I hope in you, strengthen
my hope, once again I love you, make my love for you manifest in my
relationships with others, despite their weaknesses. Lord, whatever my
situation, I will continue to love you above all and to abandon myself to
you. May your will be done in me every day.

† Archbishop Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

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