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On the Birth of the Forerunner and Baptist John A Sermon of Moses, Metropolitan of Toronto

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    On the Birth of the Forerunner and Baptist John A Sermon of Moses, Metropolitan of Toronto In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 12, 2013

      On the Birth of the Forerunner and Baptist John
      A Sermon of Moses, Metropolitan of Toronto

      In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
      We heard in today's Gospel:
      Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And many of the sons of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.(Luke 1:13-17)
      Today we celebrate the birth of the holy Prophet Forerunner and Baptist John, and the word of God found in 131st Psalm, I have prepared a lamp for my Christ, has been fulfilled. Saint John was the voice of one crying in the wilderness and he prepared the way of the Lord. (Matt 3:3)
      What was the message of Saint John that prepared they way for the reconciliation of the children of Israel to God? It was the message of repentance. Without our repentance and conversion to the ways of God, without our hearts being made ready for the reception of the Christ of God, the whole dispensation of the incarnation is of none effect.
      Today we celebrate the beginning of the manifestation of our salvation. The people of Israel knew nothing of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to our Lady the Theotokos, but the birth of the holy Forerunner was made manifest as a sign, as it is written “and fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.” (Luke 1:65)
      Today the Forerunner receives the name “John,” which signifies grace, a gift. On this day let us seek the free gift of grace that is proclaimed by the voice of the Word by preparing the way by truly repenting from the heart, we who are wayward and disobedient. Let us hearken to the wisdom of the just, yea the saints and friends of God that have gone before us.
      Those of us who have fallen into grievous sins, should take courage from the example of the publicans and harlots who repented and became disciples and friends of Christ through their repentance.
      Let us fear the words of the holy Forerunner addressed to the multitude that came to be baptized, Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,” and also... “now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”(Matt 3:10)
      In response to the Forerunner's message the people of that time asked, What then shall we do?” (Matt 3:11)
      Saint John answered and said unto them:
      He that has two tunics, let him impart to him that has none; and he that has food, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Teacher, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise asked him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.(Luke 3:11-14)
      The God-Man, Jesus Christ has appeared and we are called to be united Him and for this reason, every day of our lives we must ask ourselves “What then shall we do?" and, "How then shall we then live?” We must seek God, not according to our own self-will, but rather seek God on His terms, conforming our mind to the mind of the Church and its traditions. We cannot allow ourselves to be swept up in the spirit of this age and conformed to the spirit of materialism, hedonism and unbelief.
      Let us flee all complacency and self-justification. We are all called to follow Christ the New Adam, the God-Man and the path we must follow is the path of repentance. We are called to live a new way of life in the midst of a world that has grown old in sin. Saint John's message is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago.
      Roused by fear of separation from Christ because of sin, and compelled by love and gratefulness for the great gifts of God, let us on this day have a change of heart and celebrate the birth of the holy Forerunner, by our own careful self examination and repentance.
      Let us think upon these things and seek the grace that we have lost. Let us return and seek the face of God, Whom we have turned away from, and behold the Lamb of God Who awaits our conversion that He may take away our sins and unite us to Himself.
      May the day of the Birth of the Forerunner become a day of renewal for you and your families and may you all be united to “the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sins of the world.”
      To Whom is all glory honour and worship, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


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