My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
"BEHOLD NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION" (2 Corinthians 6:12)
On the Great Feast of Palm Sunday Saint Gregory Palamas delivered the following homily. He states, "In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee", said God through Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah 49:8). It is good today to speak these words of the Apostle to your charity (agape): "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). "Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us work the works of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day" (Romans 13:12-13). The commemoration of Christ’s SAVING PASSION is at hand, and the news, great spiritual Passover, which is the reward for dispassion and the prelude of the world to come. Lazarus proclaims it in advance by coming back from the depths of Hades and rising from the dead on the fourth day just by the voice and command of God, Who has power over life and death (John 11:1-45). By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, children and simple people sing praises in advance to the Redeemer from death, who brings souls up from Hades and GIVES SOULS AND BODIES ETERNAL LIFE.
"What man is he that desireth life and to see good days? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile: depart from evil and do good" (Psalms 34:12-14, cf. 1 Peter 3:10-11). Evil MEANS GLUTTONY, DRUNKENNESS, AND DISSOLUTE LIVING. Evil MEANS LOVE OF MONEY, BEING GREEDY FOR GAIN, AND INJUSTICE. Evil MEANS VAINGLORY, ARROGANCE, AND PRIDE. Let everyone turn aside from such vices and do those things which are good. What are they? SELF-CONTROL, FASTING, CHASTITY, RIGHTEOUSNESS, ALMSGIVING, FORBEARANCE, LOVE, HUMILITY. That by so doing we may worthily partake of the Lamb of God Who was SACRIFICED FOR OUR SAKE, and so receive the earnest of incorruption, and keep it as an assurance of the inheritance promised to us in heaven. Is it hard to do what is good, and are the virtues more difficult than the vices? That is certainly not how I see it. The drunken, self-indulgent person subjects himself because of this to more sufferings than someone who restrains himself; the licentious person suffers more than someone chaste; someone striving to become rich more than someone who lives in contentment with what he has; the person seeking to surround himself with glory than someone who passes his life in obscurity. Since, however, the virtues seem more difficult to us because of our love of comfort, let us force ourselves. "The Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence", it says, "and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12)…
"…Blessed are the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3). The poor in spirit are those whose spirits, or souls, are free from boasting, love of glory, and fondness for pleasure, and therefore either choose to be poor in external things as well or else courageously bear involuntary poverty. Those who are rich and comfortable, and enjoy fleeting glory, and in general all who long to be like them, will yield to more harmful passions and fall into other worse traps of the devil, which are more difficult to deal with. When someone becomes rich, he does not lay aside his desire for riches, but increases it, grasping at more than he did before. In the same way pleasure lovers, power-seekers, the dissolute, and the debauched increase their desires rather than renouncing them. Rulers and eminent men increase their power so as to commit greater injustices and sin…
"By saying, ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord", they showed that He was from God the Father and that He came in the name of the Father. As the Lord said of Himself, "I CAME IN THE NAME OF MY FATHER" (cf. John 5:43) and I proceed forth and came from God" (John 8:42). On the other hand, by saying, "Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh", showed that this was the kingdom of which, according to prophecy, the Gentiles too, and indeed the Romans, were to believe. For this king was not just Israel’s hope, but also the expectation of the Gentiles, according to Jacob’s prophecy: "Binding his foal unto the vine", where "foal" refers to the Jewish people who were subject to Him".
"…Let us all, young and old, rulers and subjects, be childlike in innocence, that God may empower us to make a public show of the trophies, and carry aloft the symbols of victory, not just of victory over THE EVIL PASSIONS, but over visible and invisible enemies, and may we find the grace of the word to help in time of need (cf. Hebrews 4:16). The young colt which the Lord deigned to ride for our sake PREFIGURED, ALTHOUGH IT WAS ONLY ONE, THE GENTILES’ OBEDIENCE TO Him and we, governors and governed alike, are all Gentiles comes from them.
In Christ Jesus, there is neither male nor female, nor Greek, nor Jew, but all, according to the holy Apostle, are one (Galatians 3:28). In the same way, in Him there is neither ruler nor subject, but by His grace we are all one in faith in Him, and belong to one body, His Church, whose Head He IS. By the grace of the All-Holy Spirit we have all drunk of the ONE Spirit, and have all received ONE Baptism. We all have ONE hope and one God, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all (Ephesians 4:6). So let us LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Let us bear with one another, seeing THAT WE ARE MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER. As the Lord Himself said, the sign that we ARE HIS DISCIPLES IS LOVE. When He departed from this world, the fatherly inheritance He left us WAS LOVE, and the last prayer He gave us when He ascended to His Father WAS ABOUT LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER (John 13:33-35).
Let us strive to attain to this fatherly prayer and let us not lose the inheritance He left us nor the sign He gave us, lest we should also lose our sonship, our blessing and our discipleship. If that happens, we shall fall away from the promised hope and be shut out of the spiritual Bridechamber. Before His Saving Passion, when the Lord entered the earthly Jerusalem, not just the people, but also the true rulers of the Gentiles, the Lord’s Apostles, spread their garments in His way. In the same manner, let us all, rulers as well as subjects, lay down our natural garments before Him, by making our flesh and its impulses subject to the spirit, that we may be made worthy not only to see and worship Christ’s Saving Passion and Holy Resurrection, but to enjoy COMMUNION with Him. "For if", says the Apostle, "we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also in the likeness of His Resurrection" (Romans 6:5).
To which may we all attain by the grace and love towards mankind of Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom belong all glory, honor, and worship, together with His Father without beginning and the Life-Giving Spirit, now and forever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. [Source: Saint Gregory Palamas. The HOMILIES]
"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