A MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO KILL US
FR. BOULOS GEORGE COPTIC PRIEST
ST. MARK, CLEOPATRA, CAIRO, EGYPT
THE CRUCIFIED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Today, Palm Sunday 2017, two bombs exploded in Egypt, one inside St. George’s Church in Tanta, and one just outside St. Mark’s in Alexandria when Pope Tawardros II was praying. On the eve of the Monday Paschal service, Fr. Boulos George gave a most powerful and compelling sermon. Because we English people are deprived of 90% of the beautiful things that come out of the Church, I tried to translate as much of this clip as I could in my weak understanding. It gave me so much comfort and so much strength, and I felt it would be wrong not to pass it on. Tamer Mina did what I could not—he created a subtitled video of the clip which originally inspired me. My translation is a shadow of the force of Fr. Boulos George and the Holy Spirit that fills it. I am confident that Coptic priests across the globe gave similar messages.
THE MESSAGE IS ENTITLED
The first thing we will say is thank you very, very much, and you won’t believe us when we say it. You know why we thank you? I’ll tell you. You won’t get it, but please believe us. You gave us to die the same death as Christ and this is the biggest honor we could have. Christ was crucified and this is our faith. He died and was slaughtered and this is our faith. You gave us, and you gave us them to die.
We thank you because you shortened for us the journey. When someone is headed home to a particular city, he keeps looking at the time. “When will I get home? Are we there yet?” Can you imagine if in an instant he finds himself on a rocket ship headed straight to his destination? You shortened the journey! Thank you for shortening the journey.
We thank you because you gave us to fulfill what Christ said to us: “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). We were lambs; our only weapons: our faith and the Church we pray in. I carry no weapon in my hand. We are so grateful that you helped us fulfill this saying of Christ.
Thank you for helping us achieve our goal. You’re helping us and you don’t even know it. I know you don’t understand, but I’m trying to explain it to you. There are people we visited at home to encourage them to come to Church, three, four, five times. Still they don’t come. What you’re doing here you’re bringing to Church the people who never come. Believe me—it’s bringing to Church the people who never come.
People who were living in sin and away from God, after the bombing of St. Peter’s Chapel in the Cathedral, they were saying, “You never know when your number is up. Better take more care of our spiritual lives.” All these visitations we do—you’re so much more effective. You’re filling up our Churches. You’re filling our Churches.
Let’s speak plainly here. Usually attendance at the Eve of Monday Paschal Service is very small. People are usually so tired after a long Palm Sunday Liturgy they don’t come to the Monday night service. When I came in tonight, there were people on chairs outside the sanctuary. There were people in the balcony. The Church is completely full. There isn’t even one empty seat. Thank you. We are so grateful that you’re helping us fill up our Churches.
When you do this, you irritate the soul of the person who was lazy before. You make up his conscience and the love of God within him prods him to come to Church. Can you see why we thank you? We’re not being deceptive. A priest holding a microphone can’t lie to you. I say to you, thank you. Thank you for all you have done for us without knowing it.
WE LOVE YOU
The second part of the message we want to send to you is that we love you. And this, unfortunately, you won’t understand at all. Maybe you won’t believe us when we say we’re grateful. But this you won’t even understand. Why won’t you understand it? This too is also a teaching of our Christ. I want to explain to you about our Christ. I want to tell you about how wonderful He is.
See what Christ said: “If you love those who love you, you have no profit or reward with me. Even thugs and thieves love those who love them. Any gang loves its members. Even the drug dealers love each other and take care of each other. Right? But I want to tell you that “if you love those who love you, what reward have you? But I say to you, love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:46).
We Christians don’t have enemies. We don’t have enemies, others make enemies of us. The Christian doesn’t make enemies because we are commanded to love everyone. And so, we love you because this is the teaching of our God that I’m to love you no matter what you do to me.
I love you very much. And I want to say one last thing to you: we’re praying for you. Because the One who told us to love you told us to “bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). So my instructions from my loving God make it my duty to pray for you.
In one of our dioceses there is a man who gets on the microphone every week to say terrible things about Christians, he says unheard of things. So the servants of this diocese are hearing this man and get upset. We didn’t do anything to this man. He’s just taken a vow to curse us. Every Friday he comes out and curses the Christians.
So the Bishop is sitting with his faithful, and he asks them, “Are you upset by what this man says?’ And they say, “Of course we are upset. What is he doing to us?” The Bishop gets quiet and his face darkens with sorrow. The faithful say to him, “You have a right to be upset from what he says, your Grace. You have a right.”
“I am not upset with him,” the Bishops says. “I’m upset with you. You are faithful of the Church. How many of you pray for him every day? Because if he tasted of the love of God, if he knew who our Lord is, he could never hate again because God is love.”
“How many of you are praying for him? Aren’t you servants of God? Aren’t you Christians? So you are faithful teaching in the Sunday School here, and you’ve broken the commandment of Christ to pray for this person.”
“So what do you think? How about we make a commandment to pray for them? Pray that they know the God of love. Pray that they experience the love of God. Because if they knew that God is love and experienced His love, they could not do these things, never, never, ever.
They are a wretched lot. And because they are a wretched lot, we must pray for them. But when someone loves God, he won’t know anything but love. We need to pray for them so they can sleep at night. A person who has all this hate inside himself, how can be sleep comfortably? Can you imagine? We are being slaughtered and the King of Peace gives us peace to sleep. And the one, who slaughters us, cannot sleep all night.
You know where this happens in the Bible with Daniel and the King. Daniel is put in the lion’s den and he stays up all night praising God and praying for the King. And the King is up all night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep.
Pray for them. Take it as a command. Take it as a duty. Take it as the application of Christ’s instructions. We must all pray for them today that God opens their eyes and opens their hearts to His love because if they knew Him, they could never do this.
I don’t want to take too long. God comfort us. God give us understanding. God give us joy because Christ’s promise is truth. He said: “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” (John 16:22)
I am embarrassed to say at the beginning of Holy Week that the Church, though she is in pain, rejoices because today, I don’t know what the final count is. They said 40 something and of course there are many people in the hospital and we will visit them. All of these are crowns. The victims are rejoicing with God and they will attend the Resurrection of Jesus up there. And they are praying for us. The rest is up to us. O, you lucky, lucky ones until it is our turn.
GLORIFIED IS THE NAME OF GOD IN THE LIVES OF HIS HOLY MARTYRS
ΔΟΞΑ ΤΩ ΘΕΩ ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΑΥΤΟΥ