A Sermon on the Gospel reading for the 9th Sunday of St Luke By Metropolitan Moses
A Sermon on the Gospel reading for the 9th Sunday of St Luke
By Metropolitan Moses
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In today’s Gospel reading, the foolish rich man experienced prosperity and because of this he planned to store all of his abundant goods for many years and live a life of luxury and eat, drink and be merry. “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night shall they require thy soul of thee: and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?” (Luke 12:16-21)
This man forgot about God and forgot about his own mortality. Prosperity can seduce any of us into just such forgetfulness. Is not this man an image of the common lot of many people today? The media attempts to manipulate us into seeking meaning in our lives through buying more and living a life of ease. Our public school system teaches the philosophies of Naturalism and Darwinism, instructing students that if they want real answers they must forget about God and His revelation. The present formula for fulfilling our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is to pursue material solutions to life, acquire material things, then eat, drink, and be merry, so it seems.
Presently we are in the midst of what many call the “Holiday Season.” In the historical lands of Christendom the word holiday referred to a Christian holy day. Sadly, the theme of the Nativity of Christ has been largely replaced with a shallow emotional connection to “the season” while ignoring the original purpose for the festival in the western world. One can contend that this is not good and that there are greater dangers to the Church to worry about than emotionalism. Yet, is not the greatest danger to the Church today the Pan-heresy of Ecumenism and is not this heresy largely served by a message of shallow emotionalism that teaches a false concept of humanistic “love” that rejects the truth?
As Christians we are called upon to have empathy and love for all men. We recognize and honor the bond of relationship in family and community. We pray for all men. Yet, there is a hierarchy to our relationships. We are called upon to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matt 12:30) This love for neighbor must be a saving love, not mere emotionalism and flattery. A self-serving, emotionalist, pseudo love that overturns the order of the Church does not serve God. As Christians we are called upon to serve the God-Man, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To be a faithful member of the rational flock of Christ requires one to practice obedience to the teachings of the Church with discernment in ones’ life.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt 6 24)
A Christian cannot serve the idol of emotionalism and the God of Israel. Emotionalism leads to confused thinking, which leads to error, which eventually leads to separation from Apostolic Tradition and teaching. Through emotionalism one can lose even a basic concept of the essential nature of the Church.
As Christians we are called to be partakers of great gifts. We cannot allow ourselves to be separated from these great gifts because of a misguided emotionalism that discards Holy Tradition and the Canonical order of the Church.
We are only a few days into the Fast for the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ and yesterday we celebrated the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple and progress of this holiest of holy persons in preparation for the Incarnation.
Our Creator and God is the Everlasting Source of life. All creatures partake of life, be they angels or men. Yet, God the Word, the Son of the Father, has crossed the gulf between the Creator and His creatures and in a mystery beyond comprehension, put on our human nature and is born the God-Man of the holy Virgin. On this feast of the Entry into the Temple we encounter mysteries that were hidden from before the ages and the subject of this mystery is a three-year-old child. She who, though of the same nature as us and made of the earth like unto us, enters the Temple and is prepared to become a new creation. The Virgin enters in and the whole world is made new. By the unceasing direction of her will towards the Sun of Righteousness, the most holy Theotokos is granted the grace to become the “heavenly tabernacle” as it says in the Kontakion for the feast.
Through her entrance and progress into the Holy of Holies, we enter into the Holy of Holies. Truly, “Today is the prelude of God’s good will, and the heralding of the salvation of mankind…” for the incarnation and dispensation of her Son and our God culminates in a new life wherein we participate in the life of the Holy Trinity.
Our God prepares this new heaven and she walks the earth and enters the Temple that we might be lifted up from the earth and become temples of God and inheritors of His everlasting habitations in the heavens. To benefit from all of this we must strive to follow in her footsteps, according to our strength, in applying ourselves in prayer, spiritual perception and remembrance of God.
Let us not imitate the foolish rich man of today’s gospel reading and put our hope in the things of this age, but rather let us ever seek union with the God-Man, Jesus Christ, and remember the words of Saint Paul that, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor 2:9) Amen.Go to Orthodoxyinfo.org for a wide variety of articles on the Faith