Twenty members of the Sabeel Women’s Programs went to visit the Four Homes of Mercy in Bethany located just southeast of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives.
The Four Homes of Mercy was established in 1940 by Mrs. Katherine George Siksek, a Palestinian Christian. It serves people with special needs, especially those suffering from severe physical and/or neurological disorders. Four Homes of Mercy provides them with specialized rehabilitation services (physical, occupational, and recreational therapy) and a loving home. The Four Homes is unique its ability to respond to the needs of residents by providing them with the resources they need to maximize their abilities. For most of the residents, the Homes is truly their home; some have lived there for decades. During their visit, Sabeel groups spent time in all the departments of Four Homes, giving presents to all the residents and singing Christmas songs with them.
Afterwards, Bishop Melatheos Bassal invited them into the Church of the Four Homes, prayed with the group, and gave a short sermon on Advent. The Bishop spoke about the unexpected form by which the Savior came to us and about the Gospel’s startling call on our lives. In the Old Testament, people were anxiously awaiting a savior king, not Jesus of Nazareth, a baby born in a barn and laid in a manger. Jesus was arrested and sentenced to scourging and death on a cross – a series of events that hardly matched up to what the world was expecting in a savior. Yet Jesus’ crucifixion – indeed redemptive suffering in general – are central aspects of Christian theology. So we see that Jesus’ first coming gave to all people repentance, hope and joy. But as we await the second coming of Christ, we must ask ourselves if we are ready to receive him. Luke 3:11 commands that “He who has two coats, let him impart to him that has none; and he who has meat, let him do likewise.” Receiving Jesus means that we must also receive his clear message to help others in need. Bishop Bassal ended his session by asking if we are ready to receive this calling from Jesus.
To close the visit, the General Director of the Four Homes of Mercy gave a brief history of the place up until current day, including their existing programs and their immediate needs for human resources and funding. The Homes hosted the guests for some tasty treats and thanked the group for coming.