Gal 6:1-10, Mt. 25:14-30
It is a great blessing for me to be with all of you here in Brooklyn. In 1890 the first Maronite priest, Father Peter Korkomaz was assigned by Patriarch Youhanna El Hage to serve the Maronites of New York and to visit all places in the United States where there were Maronites. He came with Deacon Joseph Yazbak, who later was ordained a priest in New York and was then sent to visit 23 communities in the United States to see if other priests could be sent and parishes formed. They are good examples of the Gospel today that asks us to make fruitful the gift God gave us.
How important it is that we be faithful to all that God has entrusted to us: our marriages, our children and families, our Church and our country. The Gospel is a bit harsh, however, in regard to the one who was unfaithful, and who buried his gift in the ground. Was it because his gift was not the same as the others? Was he ashamed or afraid and so he did nothing? Why did he hide his gift and walk away from all responsibility.
Brothers and Sisters, each one of us has been given some small treasure. It may not seem like much, perhaps it is not as great as what others have been given, but we have all been given something. The Maronite Church is enriched by our individual treasures, never to be compared to others and found wanting, and never to be hid away and wasted.
A true Maronite needs very little to live on. He does not need all the luxuries of today. Our ancestors lived with very little and they were happy and faithful. Their marriages were strong, their homes peaceful and their faith secure.
We do, however, have great need of something, or should I say someone. We need God in our lives. He loves us and calls us to take what we were given, and in the words of Mother Theresa “make something beautiful for God.”
I wonder how Father Korkemaz, Father Yezbak and your ancestors who came here with little except their faith in God and their love for family were able to make fruitful their gifts. What a shining example they are for us today.
Hold on to your faith, to your values, to your belonging to the culture and identity of Lebanon and the Middle East, to your Catholic heritage.
Yes, we have all been given some small treasure. How we increase this treasure, as did Saints Maron and Sharbel, Saints Nemtallah and Rafka, the Blessed Massabki Brothers and others throughout our history, enriches not only us and our families, but the entire world.
May our prayers, sacrifices, labor, love and faithfulness to our role in life and our vocations be the gifts we offer to God. When it is our time to render an account for the little gift we have been given, may we all be able to say “Lord, here is your gift, I have made 10 more.”
Saint Maron, pray for us. Our Lady of Lebanon, pray for us.
(Reprinted with permission.)