Resources‎ > ‎Past messages‎ > ‎

2012-12-16 message

posted Dec 19, 2012, 8:39 AM by St. John's Webmaster
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim. 4:1-4). We read St. Paul’s words to St. Timothy this past Tuesday and they seem appropriate as we prepare for the coming in the flesh of the one who is “the way, the truth, and the life.”

Hearing the truth can be uncomfortable. We know that it was uncomfortable even for the saints. Going through the New Testament challenge, about ten days ago we read St. Paul saying “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19). It is easy, when placed in uncomfortable situations to shrink back and deny that anything is wrong. In some ways, it is not unlike an addict insisting that he is in control and nothing needs to change. Today, unfortunately, almost without exception, whatever shortcoming the Gospel would point out in us, there will be someone to tell us that it is okay, it is the way we are, we need to accept it, and have others accept it as well. It is, therefore, very easy to accumulate teachers to suit our own liking, as St. Paul warns.

We see this happening all around us. There is an increasing number of people who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” In most cases, the people saying this will agree with certain teachings and practices from a variety of religions without subscribing to any. Yet, this is but a veiled way of saying, “It is easier to make God in my image, than to transform myself in the likeness of God.” It is, indeed, easier, but it is also not for our salvation. God is “forever existing and always the same,” as one of the prayers of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom says.

We cannot change God to fit our desires. If we could, God would not be the God of truth (Deut. 32:4), for truth, as my Old Testament professor liked to remind us, was from the beginning tied to faithfulness and stability. If we attempt to change God, we are not faithful to the truth of His revelation; we are not faithful to Christ. Let us instead, for our salvation, ask for the intercessions and follow in the footsteps of the saints who undertook the ascetic labor of working with God’s grace to shape themselves in His likeness.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter
Parish Priest