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Homily for 5/8/11 - Myrrhbearers - We Need Each Other

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  • Fr David Moser
    Acts 6:1-7 Mark 15:43-16:8 We need each other. No one walks the path of salvation by himself, but we proceed all together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2011
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      Acts 6:1-7
      Mark 15:43-16:8

      We need each other. No one walks the path of salvation by himself, but
      we proceed all together as brothers and sisters in Christ. When Jesus
      came to the disciples walking on the water Peter sought to come to Him
      leaving the others behind. But by himself, Peter was not able to come to
      Christ and began to sink under the force of the waves. Jesus came to him
      and raising Peter up by the hand took him and placed him back in the
      boat with the others. We walk the path of salvation together. In the
      epistle today we heard how, in the times of the Apostles, those in the
      Church cared for one another and distributed alms to those among them
      who were poor or in difficulty – particularly the widows and orphans.
      This activity was considered to be so important that the apostles
      appointed seven deacons, men who were “of honest report, full of the
      Holy Ghost and wisdom” and gave them the task of overseeing this care
      for one another rather than see this good work be abandoned. We care for
      one another, we help one another, we support and are supported by one
      another as together we follow Christ.

      In today’s Gospel we heard of another way in which we care for one
      another. When Jesus had been crucified, and after He had given up his
      life for us, it fell to others to care for the One Who had before cared
      for all. The noble Joseph of Arimathea and the righteous Nicodemous took
      His body down from the cross, washed it and wrapped it in fine linen and
      laid it in a tomb. The women who were among the company of the disciples
      made a note of where the body had been laid and early in the morning on
      the first day of the week bought myrrh and sweet spices and came to
      anoint the body and finish the preparations for burial which had not
      been completed due to the lack of time before the coming of the Sabbath.
      Even the God/man Jesus Christ, when He laid down His life for us, placed
      Himself in the care of others at this moment.

      At no time is this need for the assistance of others in working out our
      salvation seen more clearly that at the time of one’s death. As we
      approach death in the natural course of events, we lose our strength,
      the acuity of our senses and even in some cases our ability to think
      clearly. We need others to help us even to live this life, let alone the
      life of Christ. When we die, we are no longer able to do anything for
      ourselves and we become wholly dependent upon others. When we have died,
      we can no longer care for our own body – it is up to others to do so; to
      wash it, to clothe it, to lay it in a restful pose and to prepare it for
      burial. It is up to others to bring the deceased to the Church, to read
      the psalter over the body, to pray at the funeral and finally to take
      the body to the cemetery and commit it to the ground. It is up to the
      living to pray for the departed, who no longer can pray for themselves;
      it is up to the living to do good deeds on behalf of the departed who
      can no longer do those deeds themselves. Those who have departed this
      life depend on those of us who remain to care for their bodies, to
      maintain their memory, and to pray for them.

      Just as those who have departed his life need us, so also we continue to
      need them – especially those who have been filled with the grace of the
      Holy Spirit and who are filled with the light of Christ and so stand
      before the throne of God. These are the saints whose prayers we desire.
      The apostle reminds us that God especially hears the prayer of a
      righteous man. (James 5:16) Who can we say are righteous but those who
      in their lives demonstrated the fruit of the Holy Spirit and who
      completed the course of this life in a God pleasing manner? Just as
      those departed this life still need those of us who remain to pray for
      them, so also we who are still struggling in this life to follow Christ
      rely upon the help and intercessions of those who have gone on before us.

      One might be tempted to think that while we need their help, that the
      saints do not need us. But this is not the case. They are waiting for us
      as well. Their salvation is not complete without us and so the Apostle
      tells us that they wait for us that we might all enter into our reward
      together. (Heb 11:40) No one is saved alone, but we are all saved
      together. We do not enter into heaven by ourselves, but we are lifted up
      by the prayers of those who remain in this life and we are pulled along
      by the prayers of those who have gone on before us. Not even the saints
      enter into their reward without us and we do not enter into our reward
      without them – for indeed there is only one reward and it is bestowed
      upon us together as the one Bride of Christ.

      In all things we depend on one another to work out our salvation. We
      care for one another, providing alms for those who are poor (whether
      physically, emotionally, spiritually or in any other way) out of the
      wealth that God provides us. At the same time we receive from our
      brothers and sisters alms given from their wealth to help us where we
      are poor. We have been placed together into the Church, the Ark of
      salvation, by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We don’t leave our brothers
      and sisters behind to walk across the water on our own to Christ, but we
      travel together, helping one another caring for one another, praying for
      one another. We work out our salvation together and together we enter
      into our eternal reward, the joy of our Lord.

      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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