Homily of His Beatitude Youssef Al-Absi, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine – 14 February 2023
In today’s Epistle, the apostle Paul presents a significant statement, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10: 1-10). This statement builds upon the declaration in the Gospel of Mark, which states, “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (16:16). Paul’s words provide added clarity, emphasizing the importance of faith that flows from the heart.
True faith extends beyond mere intellectual understanding and requires humility and an acknowledgement of our limitations. This heart-centered faith, which stems from a personal encounter with Jesus, cannot be explained through human language and transcends mental, emotional, and intellectual differences. Regardless of one’s level of knowledge, this faith is equally accessible to all, making it truly a mystery and grace. As Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe.”
In addition to heart-centered faith, another condition for salvation is to confess with our mouth the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This means openly declaring our faith in him, not keeping it hidden within ourselves. As Paul says, it is our duty as Christians to spread the good news of the resurrection, using not only our words but also our actions to show the world the transformative power of Jesus’ love.
With this in mind, the goal of the upcoming Synod is to further the mission of announcing the risen Jesus to the world. As we march forward together, despite any differences that may arise, we strive to maintain a unified vision and love for one another. Paul reminds us, “Let there be among you the same thoughts and the same love.”