Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
"DO NOT LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES ON EARTH,
WHERE MOTH AND RUST DESTROY AND WHERE THIEVES
BREAK IN AND STEAL" (St. Matthew 6:19).
Man must acquire the gift of discernment and seek heavenly wisdom to avoid repeating the same foolish mistakes in his life over and over again. Even after twenty-hundred years, mankind is still preoccupied with the same goals, passions, and material possessions. Instead of worshipping God, he worships things created. Even though "He came unto His own… His own received Him not" (St. John 1:12). Even though He gave us His Divine and perfect agape, we in our spiritual blindness denied Him, we chose to turn away from Him.
Man’s passions and idols today are two, wealth (materialism), and hedonism (pleasure). Humanity instead has chosen to reject Him and prefers to seek the "treasures" and pleasures of this temporary life on earth. Contemporary man has become a captive/hostage by his material possessions. He is truly enslaved by things that are in reality of no consequence or worth. This is why Jesus reminds us when He says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
In verse 24, the Lord again teaches us that "No man can serve two lords." In other words, no person can serve two masters who demand things that are opposed to each other. The lords in question are God and mammon. We make the devil our master when we allow sinful passions to rule over us and become our gods. "For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You CANNOT serve God and mammon." It is obvious and true that it is not possible for a wealthy and unrighteous man to serve God. His love for wealth drives him away from God. He is obsessed with greed and the power that is derived from possessing such wealth.
What man should seek is the heavenly Treasure, the Lord, and Savior of the world Jesus Christ. He that no power can take away from us but is eternal. This is why at the Divine Liturgy the priest inaudibly offers the following prayer:
"It is meet and right to hymn Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks unto Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of Thy Dominion. For Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing
and eternally the same, Thou and Thy Only-begotten Son and Thy Holy Spirit, Thou didst bring us into being out of
nothing, and when we had fallen away didst raise us up again, and didst not cease to do all things until Thou hadst
brought us back to heaven, and hadst endowed us with Thy Kingdom which is to come. For all these things we give
thanks to Thee, and Thy Only-begotten Son, and Thy Holy Spirit, for all the things we know and we do not know, for
the benefits conferred upon us, both seen and unseen…".
Furthermore, "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of
Him Who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that
through these you may be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruptions that is in the world
through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge,
to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly and brotherly kindness love. For if these
things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Set your sights always on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Him alone. Patriarchs, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and Laity are all willing servants of the Almighty God and there to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Triune God, and Creator of all. Our Protector and Divine Leader is one, the One Who gave His life voluntarily so as to save us from sin and death. We are urged and encouraged to keep undefiled the "good soil," to accept without doubt the Divine seed of faith in God in Whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
No one can deny that we live in a fallen world motivated by selfishness, vanity, greed and consumed with the desire to enrich ourselves with material goods. However, our struggle is more about "fighting the good fight" against evil which threatens our very existence and salvation. We must not relent or surrender to the dark and wicked powers of this world. Be of good courage and continue to battle against these evil forces that will never win over us as long as we remain near to God. Protect your dignity, purity, integrity, faith, and stay loyal to our Creator and Heavenly Father. Remember that we are called to "be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (St. Matthew 5:48).
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are are just,
whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any
virtue and is anything praiseworthy–MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS. The things which you learned and
received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace WILL BE WITH YOU" (Philippians 4:8).
How do we confront the daily pressures and challenges of life? First by faith that "the Lord is at hand," present with us, (v.5); refusing to worry, being "anxious for nothing"(v.6); prayer and supplication (v.6); thanksgiving … to God (v.6); meditation on that which is virtuous (v.8); and imitating the godly (v.9).
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George