Archbishop’s Teaching

3rd Sunday of the Season of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross The great desolation, the return of the Son of Man Matthew 24 / 23 – 31

The Time of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Homily of His Excellency Msgr Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

3rd Sunday of the Season of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The great desolation, the return of the Son of Man
Matthew 24 / 23 - 31

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

1. The Lord Jesus continues to tell his people "in advance" what is going to happen.
This passage remains highly relevant today.
The Lord Jesus continues to foretell his people "in advance" what will happen. "The secret of the Lord is for those who fear him" (Ps. 25:14).
Since the Lord Jesus announced that there would be false messiahs, their numbers have only increased, and their lies have multiplied. Some expect heavenly salvation and spend their time trying to hasten His return. They choose the most suitable place for the Messiah's return. And they are ready to sacrifice everything to be in the right place at the right time, so that they can be the first to witness the Lord's return.
However the text of Matthew is very explicit on this subject, "do not believe it"!!!!
On the other hand, pay no attention to heaven at all, believing that we don't know the time, the day or the place anyway. That's why they just go about their daily lives, completely ignoring the idea of waiting for the Lord's probable return. They think they should concern themselves with

earthly matters and forget about heavenly concerns, which are not ours to know.
Both positions seem to lack confidence in the Lord's promise of his glorious return. Tradition attributes a response to various saints, suggesting that trust in our Lord is the most accurate answer to all these questions. When asked, "What would you do if the Lord's return were imminent?" the saint supposedly replied, "Well, I would continue playing as I usually do." I believe that the Lord has announced His return, not to frighten us, but to invite us, as many saints have done and understood, to keep an unfailing trust in him.
2. We must always be ready, for Jesus may return at any moment
This chapter of Matthew is an important one, warning of the potential dangers we face every day; but if we faithfully follow Jesus' word, then we will be free from the danger of false messiahs seeking to deceive us.
However, Jesus warns us to be vigilant and ready for "the coming of the Son of Man". When Jesus speaks of "the coming of the Son of Man", he is referring to his second advent, or return to earth. This event is also described as being "like a flash of lightning". Jesus then describes various signs of the end times, including famines, earthquakes and persecutions. He reminds us that we must remain vigilant and obedient if we are to be rewarded by entering His glorious Kingdom.
The events of the world and the galaxy are not meant to captivate us with the extraordinary but to confirm us in the ordinariness of what we can experience. Since the angels will come to gather us from the four corners of heaven, what do we have to fear? Let nothing disturb us, let us trust in the word of the Lord, and let his return, today, tomorrow or at the end of time, be for us a source of peace and joy.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.

† Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

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