CWN - The Italian bishops’ conference, joined by Orthodox dioceses and several Protestant communities in Italy, recently issued a joint statement for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Entitled “Ecclesia semper reformanda est” (“The Church must always be reformed”), the statement was dated November 22 and published on the Italian bishops’ website on December 18.

The statement began by noting the persecution in the Middle East. The signatories then touched on five themes:

  • “Every church is called, in every epoch, to be conformed to the Word of God … Are we aware that God calls us to conversion every day?”
  • God’s fidelity and man’s freedom: “The absolute love of God that is revealed in the Crucified Lord [is] the only way to a world of peace, justice, freedom and solidarity … How do we live this condition of freedom in Christ and of mutual service?
  • ”“The Gospel testimony and the social commitment of the churches today must confront the multicultural and interreligious reality without fear and without preconceptions, because we are called to respond by faith to the questions of the men and women of today who seek hope and salvation.”
  • “How can we interact with culture while remaining a critical and prophetic voice?”
  • “What do we intend when we preach the crucified and risen Christ? Is Jesus still scandal and folly?”

 
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Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

While the Bridegroom tarried, they slumbered and slept: Give ear, ye prudent, to our Lord's parable, for it is all light. All of them slept, both the foolish and the wise -- Which signifies that the good and the wicked die until the resurrection. The same sleep comes upon the ten of them, which is as much as to say, That death is the same for all creation without distinction. One was the sleep of the wise and of the foolish, For one is death, both of the righteous and of sinners. The good die, as the wise virgins slept; And the bad die, as the foolish also slept. Behold, all creation looketh for the coming of the Bridegroom, Christ, Who cometh at the end with His angels. But since He hath tarried, all generations slumber and sleep with the sleep of death, while looking for when He cometh.

A Homily on the Ten Virgins by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh