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Homily for 10/21/12 - F7C - Living the Faith

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  • Fr David Moser
    Hebrews 13:7-16 Our Lord Jesus Christ did not leave us alone to figure out the Christian life for ourselves. He, Himself, is our first and best example. In
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 21, 2012
      Hebrews 13:7-16

      Our Lord Jesus Christ did not leave us alone to figure out the Christian
      life for ourselves. He, Himself, is our first and best example. In
      becoming man, He not only taught us through His words how to live so
      that we might be saved, but also He showed us how to live through His
      own life. He knew, however, that He would not be with us all forever and
      so He prepared for that eventuality by choosing the Apostles who He
      appointed as His witnesses along with many others of His disciples that
      followed Him throughout His ministry. What we could not learn from
      Christ directly, we could learn from them. But the Apostles and those
      who lived with Christ also would come to the end of their sojourn on
      this earth and so they in turn chose others to teach the faith both by
      word and by deed. Primary among these are the bishops who oversaw each
      local group or congregation of Christians as well as the other clergy
      and faithful. In addition to these we are also given the whole choir of
      saints, who the Church holds up for us to see how to live the Christian
      life. We are not alone, but we have the words and life of Christ, the
      words and lives of the Apostles and of the clergy and of the saints by
      which we are instructed and led along the path of salvation.

      We heard today the direction of the Apostle to us to “Remember them
      which have the rule over you (that is the bishops and other clergy) who
      have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow (that is
      imitate), observing attentively the end of their conduct.” He points out
      here to us this very truth that the example set before us is the bishop
      and other clergy and that we should remember to pray for them. He also
      points out that they teach us both by speaking the word of God and then
      by living out that which they have spoken in their own lives. This is
      the true and living faith – a faith that is consistent not only in what
      is said, but in the way it is lived out. This, at least in part, is why
      the Apostle tells us to pray for those “who have the rule over us”, who
      are given the task by God to instruct us by their words in the faith and
      lead us by their actions into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is not an easy
      thing, and especially when one is held up as an example. Therefore we
      among the clergy, the bishops, the priests, the deacons and all the
      other clergy are in great need of your prayers – do not forget to pray
      for us every day that God may strengthen us to live in the same way that
      we speak and that we might always live and speak the word of God.

      However, we clergymen are not the only ones who are called to live
      according to our faith. We are all called to do this. St James writes
      that faith without works is dead and here the Apostle also tells us that
      works done without faith are useless. This is what he means when he
      says, “It is a good thing that the heart is established with grace; not
      with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied
      therein.” He refers here to the dietary laws of the Jewish people (that
      is keeping kosher) and again reminds us that it is not the strict
      following of laws that saves us but rather grace and any action done
      without grace will “not profit” those who do them. For this reason
      everything we do must be done in such a way that it is consistent with
      the Gospel so that it brings grace to us.

      How do we live like this? How do we live in a grace filled manner? The
      answer to this is that we live according to our faith, that is we use
      our faith to govern and shape our lives. We say that we love God. That
      is good, but we must also act on that love of God and demonstrate that
      we have God’s love in us by also loving our neighbor. We say that we
      trust God – and yet more often than not we are consumed with worry and
      anxiety that maybe things won’t work out or that we won’t have what we
      need (actually we worry more about having what we want) despite God’s
      promise to us that He sees all of our needs and provides for us just as
      He provides for the flowers of the field or the birds of the air. We say
      that we love our neighbor – but we are quick to judge and to be angry at
      our neighbor. We want to make sure that if we love our neighbor then he
      better love us back. But what kind of love is this – even the heathen
      and sinners love those who love them. We are called to a higher love –
      to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. But do we? We
      say that we believe that God is our creator and that we worship Him in
      spirit and in truth – and yet we find excuses to neglect our prayers
      every day and we avoid coming to the services of the Church (well maybe
      on Sunday mornings I’ll come, but any other time, forget it, I have more
      important things to do). We say that we believe in a spiritual world and
      in eternal life and that what we do in this life impacts life in the
      Kingdom of God – and yet we choose the “short term” comforts and
      pleasures of this life every time over the self denial and suffering
      that prepares us for the life to come. How do we live a grace filled
      life? We have to live according to our faith – we have to act on what we
      say we believe.

      Every day in the morning prayers, it is appointed to recite the symbol
      of faith – the “I believe”, the Nicene Creed. This creedal statement is
      a summary of all that we believe (or at least all that we say we
      believe). If we want to live according to our faith, then every moment
      of our lives for the rest of the day should express in some way what we
      have already confessed to believing. Do we really believe in one God,
      the Father Almighty and in one Lord Jesus Christ, Light of Light, True
      God of True God Who for us men and for our salvation became man and was
      crucified, died, was buried, descended into Hades and rose again and in
      the Holy Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life, of one essence with the
      Father and the Son. Do we believe in the Church, the Body of Christ of
      which we are a part, in the life changing power of the sacraments, in
      resurrection from the dead, the Great Judgment and eternal life? Do we
      believe these things? Then we have to act on that belief. We have to
      constantly be mindful of God’s presence with us and commune with Him in
      prayer – if not constantly, then as often as possible. We have to
      imitate Christ in all that we do, we have to remember that we are bought
      with a price and no longer belong to this world. We have to avail
      ourselves of the help and power of the Holy Spirit, in the grace filled
      sacraments. We have to prepare ourselves for death, for resurrection and
      for the life to come. Every moment of our lives has to be shaped, guided
      and directed by our belief.

      We are given by God the teaching of the faith and we are also given the
      examples of how to live that faith. We have to have the right faith, the
      true belief, and this we have preserved for us in the Church. However,
      we also have to make that faith real in our lives – we have to live it.
      For that we have the examples of our teachers, of the saints, of the
      Apostles and of Jesus Christ. Let your faith come alive in you – don’t
      just believe it, but live it as well. This is way to live a grace filled
      life – a life that will bring you great profit in eternity and lead you
      into the Kingdom of Heaven.

      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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