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Homily for 9/4/11 - P12 - life is short, use it well

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  • Fr David Moser
    Matt 19:16-26 Last week we celebrated the Great Feast of the Dormition or “Falling Asleep” of the Mother of God. This feast is like a little Pascha for we
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2011
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      Matt 19:16-26

      Last week we celebrated the Great Feast of the Dormition or “Falling
      Asleep” of the Mother of God. This feast is like a little Pascha for we
      remember the death of the Virgin Mary and then also that the promise of
      the Savior was accomplished in her as a surety for us – her body was
      resurrected and she was taken up body and soul into heaven to there live
      the eternal life in the presence of Jesus Christ. She is the first of
      all mankind to follow Christ even after death and in her first is
      fulfilled the promise of Christ that “I am the resurrection, and the
      life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”
      (Jn 11:25).

      The Dormition also reminds us of the inescapable truth that we shall all
      face death. The most perfect human being who ever lived, the fruit of
      centuries and generations of God’s care for the chosen people, the
      Virgin Mary herself did not escape death. How can we who are full of
      sins and who are far from perfect hope to surpass her fate. We will, one
      day, (maybe tomorrow, maybe many years from now, God knows) all die. Our
      life in this world is temporary.

      Not only is our life temporary but it is also brief. The psalmist tells
      us that the span of our life is “three score years and ten, perhaps four
      score years”. Seventy, eighty or even a hundred years might seem like a
      long time, but when we put it into the context of eternity it is a mere
      spark, a flash. This life that we experience is the brief beginning of
      our whole existence for God created us to live in eternity. The purpose
      of this brief time that we live is to prepare for the rest of eternity.
      It is essential that we gain this perspective for it puts everything
      else in the proper context. We must realize that we are destined to live
      in eternity and what we accomplish in this life will lay the foundation
      of that life. The purpose of this life is to prepare for the next.

      When the rich young ruler came to Christ asking how to be saved, he
      heard, “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. … Thou
      shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not
      steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy
      mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. … If thou wilt be
      perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
      shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” For what purpose
      did He tell the young man these things? What good does it do us to
      follow all these commandments when even these are not enough. Was not
      the Mother of God herself the perfect follower of the commandments and
      the first and most perfect follower of Christ – yet she did not escape
      death? What is the purpose, then of following the commandments and of
      following Christ?

      We are born into this life spiritually blind and deaf and unable to
      move. Although we can perceive and react to the physical world, the
      spiritual world remains for us a dim concept at the edge of our
      awareness. We know that it exists and that we are a part of it, but we
      do not know how to properly perceive it and react to it. The necessary
      purpose of this life is to develop our spiritual senses, to learn to see
      and hear clearly and to move purposefully in that world. The proper
      healing of our spiritual senses is possible only by applying to them the
      grace of God. How many healings our Lord performed in His earthly life –
      and each one is a lesson for us, declaring to us the need that we all
      have for such healing in our souls. We are blind and so need the healing
      of our spiritual eyes that we might see – we are deaf and so need the
      healing of the ears of the soul that we might hear (Remember the words
      of the Lord “seeing they do not see and having ears they do not hear”?
      We need to avoid falling into this unfortunate condition.). We are mute
      and cannot pray and so we need One to open our mouths and teach us to
      pray aright. We are paralyzed by sin and death and we need Someone Who
      will release us from those chains, Who will heal and strengthen our
      souls that we might be able to move and so follow Christ. This healing
      and strengthening is accomplished only by the grace of God and while
      that grace is poured out upon us freely and without condition, it is the
      keeping of the commandments that are the tools by which we capture and
      properly use that grace.

      Christ is Risen! He has passed through this life – the same life that we
      live. He has passed through death and defeating death, breaking the
      gates of hell, and freeing the captives and He rose again victorious. He
      ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and calls us
      to join Him. Our only task now is to follow Him. To pass through this
      life, to pass through death, to be raised from the dead and to ascend
      into heaven. This is our destiny and calling. In order to do this we
      need to be whole and strong of soul, so that we might see and hear and
      cry out to God and get up from our bed and walk after Him. For this, He
      pours out His grace upon us and through the teaching of the commandments
      and the beatitudes gives us the tools to collect this grace and to use
      it that we might be healed and being whole and strong might be able to
      follow Him.

      The Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary is the first to follow Jesus, and
      she is the one who leads us all as we follow Christ. She shares the love
      and care of her Son for us and so she too lends and hand to lift us up
      and to intercede for us before the throne of her Son with the power and
      clarity of a mother’s prayers. But just believing all this won’t make a
      difference to us – we have to follow Christ ourselves, we have to put
      forth the effort. We have to use this brief and temporary life to its
      greatest benefit so that we might enter into the next life whole:
      seeing, hearing, speaking and with strength. Seeing Jesus Christ;
      hearing His voice to call us and guide us; calling out to Him in prayer
      and walking the path that He sets before us – we take the same path as
      the Mother of God and follow our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven there to
      live throughout eternity in His light, His joy and His love.

      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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