Bishops serve as Christ among us, and priests as the presence of the bishop among his people
The bishop is to be both a servant to his people and father to his flock. He represents Christ in the midst of his diocese, and must be compassionate, sweet, longsuffering, humble, and kind hearted. He must be available to his people. The bishop must be humble, lest he fall into the trap of seeing this sacred office as his divine right to lord over those under him.
The love and respect shown to our bishops is the same as the love shown to fathers by their children. As Christ in their midst, the bishops rule not by tyranny and fear, but by love and holiness of life. They serve as archetypes of the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for his flock.
The honor we show our bishops is honor that is shown to Christ Himself, just as when we kiss icons, our love and honor are passed on to the archetype. We call our bishops Lord in the Liturgy, not because they are princely overlords, but because they are Christ in our midst. We love and honor them, because they, like Christ, first loved us. And the love and honor we show them (as icons of Christ) are passed on to the prototype, Christ Himself.
Just as bishops serve as Christ among us, so too the priests serve as the presence of the bishop among his people. They must also be humble and holy servants of their people. They must be loving fathers in the midst of their congregations, knowing that they represent the bishop and therefore Christ Himself.
The love of Christ must be visible in the fatherly humility of the priest for his people, and he must lead his people in showing love and respect for their bishop. Priests must support their bishops, realizing the heavy burden that rests upon their shoulders. The priest must pray for his bishop, support his bishop, and love his bishop, even as his own father.
Keeping these biblical images of priests and bishops, the Church is able to keep Her focus on Christ and is protected from becoming like the worldly governments and institutions that surround Her. The Church, in Her wisdom, knows that the world does not need another worldly institution but rather the saving power of a hospital for the soul. The world is in terrible decline and desperate for the example of the selfless service and sacrificial love that only the Church can offer.
The world needs Christ, not simply religion, and the Church can not be Her intended self without her bishops and priests becoming simple, humble, holy servants. The Church’s clergy must serve in imitation of the Lord, in all humility and love. If we priests and bishops are to be true to our vocation, we must remember, “a servant cannot be greater than his Master (John 13:16)”.
Love in Christ,
Monday April 27, 2020 / April 14, 2020
Second Week of Pascha. Tone one.
St. Martin the Confessor, pope of Rome (655).
New Martyr Sergius (Trofimov) of Nizhni-Novgorod and one with him (1918).
New Hieromartyr Alexander confessor, priest (1941).
Martyrs Anthony, John and Eustathius of Vilnius (Lithuania) (1347).
Martyr Ardalion the Actor, who suffered under Maximian (3rd c.).
Martyr Azat the Eunuch and 1,000 Martyrs in Persia (341).
“Vilna” Icon of the Mother of God.
Monk-martyr Christopher of Mar Sabbas (797).
St. Cyriacus, bishop of Jerusalem (4th c.) (Greek).
Apostles Aristarchus, Pudens, and Trophimus of the Seventy (Greek).
New Martyr Demetrius of the Peloponnesus, who suffered at Tripoli (1803).
St. Euthymius the Wonderwoker (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
Water Turned to Wine
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.