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2014-06-22 message

posted Jun 30, 2014, 4:47 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Jun 30, 2014, 4:48 PM ]

This past Thursday was the feast of St. Thaddeus (Jude), the apostle and brother of the Lord. For his feast day, the epistle reading is from his letter. As I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon, the same Holy Spirit that came to the apostles continues to work in us today. However, the Devil also continues to try and bring discord in the world and the same sins and passions afflict us.

The epistle reading speaks of “ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Master and our Lord Jesus Christ” within the Church. It mentions “grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.” I have occasionally encountered a certain nostalgia for idyllic times that are supposed to have existed, either in society or in the Church. The witness of the Bible – as in this excerpt from the epistle of St. Thaddeus, of the Church – in her writings, teachings, canons and practices; and even the mere historical record examined objectively would tell us that perfection has never existed.

Our focus, as Orthodox Christians, needs to be on the risen Christ, His presence in our lives and how we can manifest that presence in the world around us. No, our lives and circumstances are not going to be perfect, but, by God’s grace, that may just be for our salvation.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter