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Homily for 6/10/07 - All Sts of NA & Russia - Follow Me

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  • Fr David Moser
    Matt 4:18-23 “Follow me” This is the call of our Lord Jesus Christ to the apostles as He began His earthly work. Andrew and Peter and James and John, who
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2007
      Matt 4:18-23

      “Follow me” This is the call of our Lord Jesus Christ to the apostles as
      He began His earthly work. Andrew and Peter and James and John, who were
      fishermen, upon hearing this call, left their nets, their boats even
      their families and followed Him. Such a simple call, and yet it is the
      call that leads us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

      When God created man, He began to show our first father Adam the way to
      go so that he might grow and develop and become like God. In the garden
      of Eden, God said to Adam, “Follow me” and Adam with our first mother,
      Eve followed … for a while. For a while, they lived according to the
      instruction of God, growing and developing according to His plan. But
      the evil one, seeing the wonderful bond between Creator and creature (of
      which he had been deprived because of his rebellion), sought to destroy
      that bond because of his own envy. Taking the form of a serpent, he
      spoke to Eve, tempting her to break the law of God and eat of the tree
      of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve stepped outside the law of God
      and took of the fruit of the forbidden tree and having herself
      disobeyed, she in turn brought this temptation to Adam, who followed her
      in her disobedience. This begins the familiar account of the fall of
      mankind from his original state of communion with God. Adam and Eve, who
      had been following God, stepped off the path of salvation and ended up
      losing their way.

      But God in His infinite love for mankind, did not abandon them or us for
      He Himself took on our fallen and flawed flesh and became Man. He did
      this so that He might restore us to the path of salvation from which we
      had strayed and then show us the way to live so that we might
      successfully walk that path into the Kingdom of Heaven. And so, just as
      He said to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, “follow Me” now He calls
      the Apostles and to us saying “Follow Me”.

      This is the call of Jesus Christ that we hear today, “Follow Me”. It is
      simple and direct. God has become man and dwelt among us that He might
      first restore us to the path of salvation and then lead us along that
      path into the Kingdom of Heaven. We have only to follow Him, to do as He
      instructs us and we will enter with Him into the Kingdom of Heaven.

      There are, however, many difficulties along the way. Although the path
      is simple, it is not easy. Just as Adam and Eve were tempted by the
      words and snares of the evil one, so we also face these same nets of
      temptation. Constantly the demons seek to lead us astray by suggesting
      to us that we will find something better off the path, a shortcut, an
      easier way, a better way; or perhaps we will be able to “take a break”
      from following Christ and briefly indulge our own will and desire until
      the path of Salvation and the way of Christ is but a distant memory.
      These nets of temptation try to pull us away from following Christ and
      return us to the captivity of sin death and the devil from which we were
      freed. Just as the Gospel tells us that Andrew and Peter, “left their
      nets and followed Him” so we also must resist the temptations of the
      demons, leave behind the nets that would seek to entangle us and enslave
      us, and follow Christ instead.

      Other difficulties in taking up this path remain for we have many things
      in our lives which compete for our attention with the path of Christ.
      Because of our fallen nature, we have lost sight of the heavenly kingdom
      and we see only our own worldly concern. Sometimes worldly cares,
      attachments and goals loom so large that they block out the sight of the
      Kingdom of God. Our careers; the desire for worldly prestige, status and
      acclaim; worldly possessions; and so on can compete in our minds and
      hearts with the call of Christ. In order to follow Him, we also have to
      trust Him that He will provide for us all that is necessary and we have
      to see that the Kingdom of Heaven is of greater value than that which
      the world offers. Like James and John we must leave behind the “boat” of
      our worldly ambition and activity and follow Christ.

      The Gospel tells us also that James and John left their father Zebedee
      to follow Christ. In this way we are also reminded that even the
      strongest earthly ties, the ties to those that we love, must take second
      place to the call of Christ. When a family is united in following
      Christ, this is a blessed thing for there is then a common goal to the
      family life and the family members encourage each other and help each
      other to follow Christ. But when the ties of love and friendship and
      family conflict with following Christ, then like James and John, we must
      even leave those behind. By our willingness to follow Christ we may
      bring others along with us, for remember that elsewhere in the Gospel we
      see that the mother of James and John, who had initially been left
      behind, became a follower of Christ, even one of the myrrhbearing women.
      Nothing can be allowed to stand between ourselves and Jesus Christ.
      Nothing can remain that will hold us back or pull us off the path of
      salvation. We must forsake all for Christ.

      Remember last week the words of the Apostle Peter when he said to our
      Lord, “We have left all to follow you, therefore what shall we gain?”
      And Jesus answered him saying, “In the resurrection, when the Son of Man
      sits on His throne of glory, you who have followed Me will also sit upon
      thrones…and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or
      father or mother or wife or children or lands for My name’s sake shall
      receive an hundredfold and shall inherit eternal life.” This is indeed
      the goal – to be with Jesus Christ in glory and to receive eternal life.

      We have talked in the past and will continue to talk in the future about
      the path of salvation and how to follow it. For today let us simply heed
      the call of Christ to follow Him on that path and to leave behind
      anything that would encumber us or hold us back. Let us then abandon the
      web of temptations and desires that pull at us. Let us leave our boats
      and all the worldly cares that are thereby represented trusting in our
      Lord Jesus Christ to give us all that is necessary. Let us forsake even
      the worldly ties of family and friends should they try to compete with
      the call of Christ. Let us then hear and obey the call of Jesus Christ
      to us today for He says to us, as He said to our first parents and to
      the Holy Apostles, “Follow Me.”

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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