The Earth is the Lord’s – By Father Gabriel Alkass

Today we recognize the faithful departed who went to heaven, paradise. Of course, they are enjoying real life with God.

We pray for them for every Holy Liturgy, but today is a special day, and they may pray for us as well.

Remembering what happened in the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, where many passed away, today’s sermon is called, “The Earth is the Lord’s.”

Earth belongs to the Lord from Day One when he created everything else. This is when we know everything was desolate, full of darkness. And in six days, He created everything that humanity could wish for. He made it as beautiful as a bride on her wedding day. This is because God loves us.

So, our lovely God, out of His abundant love, created us to be eternal. He gave us the freedom to choose good or evil. He also taught us how to avoid evil. Deuteronomy 30:15-16 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”

So this is the first point to remember: Earth belongs to God, and God also shows us the two ways.

The second point is to understand the Earthquake’s timing. This is a day nobody knows, yet it was a day when all were sleeping and so much was destroyed. Homes, schools, highways, and – yes – even churches. As of today, over 50,000 have died. One expert said this was equivalent to 500 nuclear bombs.

Can you imagine? In just one minute, God allows something to happen and look what happened.

So, anything can also happen to any of us.

Jesus kept warning us how to be spiritually vigilant for that specific day. “You don’t know the day or the hour,” as He says. So, we need to get ready.

So, I ask, my beloved, “are we spiritually ready?”

Yes, we may have the courage to do that, but do we know where we are going to? Which side? That’s WHY we must be vigilant.

One more thing about the timing. The earthquake happened on the first day of Nineveh’s fast.

Now is that a coincidence in Christianity? We don’t believe in “coincidence” – we believe in God’s arrangements. This is a serious message for our church which first established Nineveh’s fast.

Let me ask two questions, every year, why should we remember a city that should be turned upside down?

And the second question is, what saved the city? Is it prayers or fasting? Neither did. But what saved the city was repentance.

With prayers or fasting, it is very easy to go back.

But what makes the city it means NOT going to the sins again because you get such power from God, the Holy Spirit, where you gain genuine fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

So, what would God say today about the earthquake? He would say, “My answer will be the same answer I passed to my own people 2,000 years ago. The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment day because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.”

The third point is to ask, “Is this the wrath of God?” Is he mad at us? We must know that the Good Shepherd Lord knows nothing but to do good. But He allows it to happen.

If you plant apples, you reap apples. And the same for figs. But if you plant evil, you will reap evil. The same way. This is the nature of this earth. This is what God created.

“Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,” God said to Abraham.

Genesis chapter 18 says these cities planted evil and got evil. And Nineveh planted repentance and got eternal life. And that is the nature of eternal life.

And, finally, as it says in Matthew 24:29-30.

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

Learn more from Father Gabriel’s sermon video here.

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