Archbishop’s Teaching

Time of the Epiphany 1st Sunday after EpiphanyJohn 1 : 29-34.

Time of the Epiphany
1st Sunday after Epiphany
Homily of His Excellency Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

"Look the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world".
John 1 : 29-34.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The Gospel of this Sunday Gospel reinforces the Good News that has
resounded since Christmas: it relates the testimony of another prophet, the
last of the Old Testament John the Baptist, called to "prepare the ways of
the Lord". In a world increasingly engulfed in the darkness of evil, John
the Baptist's mission is to bear witness to the Light. In a world fallen by
evil in all its forms, and seeking to free itself from it, the witness of John
the Baptist is decisive in revealing the One who comes to baptize in the
Spirit, because He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the
Through his testimony, John the Baptist shows us who truly is the Way,
the Truth and the Life. Jesus reveals to us the Truth of our vocation as
baptized Christians: to be children of God, by the grace of the only Son,
who became man in order to offer himself as the Lamb of God, and whose
death and resurrection will take us from eternal death to the eternal life
that is God Himself.
Our relationship with God becomes a relatioship of filial love. We are his
beloved sons and daughters, and we have to live out this filial love,
through the grace of Christ in baptism, and to testify by our lives that
through this love we are saved if we share it with others.

This Good News also commits us to change the way we look at ourselves
and others. No one has the right to say: "I am worthless". And above all,
we should not say it to others. Making such judgments is to destroy
ourselves and others. We all (even the worst unbelievers) have value in
the eyes of God. He considers us all, without exception, as his most
precious treasure. It was for the salvation of all that he came and gave his
life abundantly. If we become truly aware of this infinite and
unconditional love, we will look at everyone in the same gaze as God,
with love and compassion.
Our mission is given to us by our baptism and confirmation. We live it
not in words, but in concrete deeds that glorify the Lord. What remains
for us to do is to take seriously this call from Jesus to love Him, to listen
to His Word and make it alive through our acts of charity, forgiveness
towards others, patience towards them and unconditional respect for them.
Through the grace of baptism, we can bear witness to the One who came,
who is coming and who will always come to give us the strength to hope
against all hope, and to live as beloved sons and daughters of God.
Like Isaiah, like Paul and John the Baptist, we are sent to proclaim the
Good News of God's love and mercy. Yes, we have seen, and we bear
witness: Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior, It is He, the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.

Praise be to you, the only Son of the Eternal Father who came to save us.
Praise be to you who makes faith and hope grow in us and root us in your
love so that we may, like John the Baptist, bear witness to you before all
those we encounter in our lives. Amen.

† Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

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