The Church must proclaim the Good News in all humility and love
If she be true to herself, the Church acts with an authority that is grounded in love. She holds within her realm the authority to make her people the children of God. She has the authority to forgive, and the capacity to love. And just as her Head, Jesus Christ, she exists to serve, and not to be served. She guides her people with love, recognizing that each person is unique, and is to be ministered to with an authority that is based on serving, not being served.
Christianity itself is in crisis, and many people are embracing the materialist approach of self-help, rather than ascetic struggle and self-denial. Increased numbers of young people are turning to atheism, or wandering in a wasteland of spiritual confusion, having witnessed the betrayal of Christian morality and faith by many religious leaders.
“The incarnation of Christ was considered and was celebrated by the Fathers of the Church and the worshiping ecclesiastical community as the abolishing of religion and its transformation into a Church. In fact, the memorable Father John Romanides had said in the most categorical way that Christ became human, in order to free us of the illness of religion (Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos).”
Until we put off religion, and put on Christ, we will continue to fail in our vocation as servants. Unless the Church demonstrates, with holiness and humility, and in imitation of the Image of Our Saviour as servant, the Church will have become nothing but a religion that has lost her way, and the authentic witness of Christ will have been lost.
The youth of today are drawn to authenticity, and until they see Christ in the lives of churchman who are living icons of Christ, and who are loving, humble servants of this very Christ, they will continue looking for truth in a wasteland of spiritual confusion. The Church must proclaim the Good News in all humility and love, for “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45),”
With love in Christ,
Tuesday January 8, 2019 / December 26, 2018
33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Hieromartyr Euthymius, bishop of Sardis (840).
Venerable Isaac II (Bobrikov, the Younger), archimandrite of Optina (1938).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander and Demetrius priests (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas, Michael, Nicholas priests and Michael deacon (1930).
New Hieromartyrs Leonidas bishop of Mariysk, Alexander priest, hieromartyr Basil and Virgin-martyrs Anthisa and Makaria (1937).
St. Russian New Martyr, Andrew, bishop of Ufa (1937) and New Martyr, Valentina, (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Gregory priest and Virgin-martyrs Augusta and Mary, Martyr Agrippina (1938).
Venerable Constantine, monk, of Synnada (9th c.).
Venerable Evaristus of the Studion Monastery (825).
St. Nicodemus of Tismana, Romania (1406).
“Vilen-Ostrabramsk”, “Three Joys” or “Merciful”, ” Barlovsk” (1392) or “the Blessed Womb”, “Baibuzsk” (1852) Icons of the Mother of God.
New Hieromartyr Constantius the Russian, at Constantinople (1743).
Venerable Nicodemus the Serbian (Serbia).
St. Archelaus, bishop of Kaskhara in Mesopotamia (3rd c.).
St. Zenon, bishop of Maiuma in Palestine (4th c.).
St. Tathai, abbot of Llantathan.
The Scripture Readings
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
13 And again:
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does [c]give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being [d]tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
The Flight into Egypt
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Massacre of the Innocents
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
The Home in Nazareth
19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”