Sermon on the Apostolic Reading (Tit. 3: 8-15) of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of Fourth Ecumenical Council

Sermon on the Apostolic Reading (Tit. 3: 8-15) of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of Fourth Ecumenical Council

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Metropolitan of Pisidia Sotirios

 

Today we celebrate the “Synaxis of All the Saints of Pisidia, Side and Antalya, along with the “Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalkidon.

This common celebration was approved by the Holy Synod of our Ecumenical Patriarchate for two reasons: Firstly, because among the Fathers who took part in the Fourth Ecumenical Council, there were also several Bishops of the Metropolises of Pisidia, Side and Antalya. Secondly, because today, just as in previous days and those that follow, we celebrate the memory of over 15,000 Martyrs and various other Saints of our Greater Metropolitan District.

Our Church has established today’s reading to be taken from the last part of the Epistle sent by Apostle Paul to his Disciple Titus, whom he had placed as Bishop of Crete. One may wonder, why.  Because in this passage, St. Paul advises the new Bishop to do what all other Bishops and Saints had applied in their lives, and whose memory we celebrate today: that is, love in action.

He writes to Titus: “Those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” (verse 8).

In the preceding verses, the Apostle writes that our God has been compassionate to us and saved us through Holy Baptism, and by His Grace He blessed us to inherit eternal life (verses 5-6). That is why the faithful, who have so much benefited from God, must imitate Him and be beneficial to their fellow human beings. Not only should they themselves benefit others through their good works, but also, they should encourage others to play a leading part in good works.

That is, those who believe in Christ should not support the notion that only by believing in God is enough for us to be considered genuine Students of Christ. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) writes St. James, Brother of the Lord. He also addresses anyone who thinks that he will be saved by faith alone, without good works: “Show me your faith without your works, I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2, 18) .

Let us, therefore, not turn a sympathetic ear to those who, by misinterpreting the meaning of the passages of the Holy Bible, argue that man can be saved by faith only. It is necessary for the Christian to confirm his faith in Christ with works pleasing to God; his faith ought to produce beneficial fruits. The believer’s main care should be charity.

Moreover, a Christian believer should not expect someone to knock on his door and ask for help; instead, he should seek himself to create opportunities to do good works. And he should also motivate others toward this direction. This way, not only does he benefit those whom he helps and shows compassion, but also those who do good works with him. For by doing so, he helps them also be rewarded by Christ in His Second Coming! (Matthew 25:34).

The Apostle Paul places no limits in his advice on good works. At the end of his Epistle to Bishop Titus, he urges him to make specific manifestations of love: “Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing” (verse 13). And on the occasion of this preparation, by your exhortation and example, “let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent material needs, so that their lives may not be fruitless “(verse 14).

Not only does St. Paul, but also our Lord Jesus Christ compare Christians who lack works of love with fruitless trees. Let us remember the fig tree that had no fruit but leaves only and Jesus made it dry up (Matthew 21:19). Awakening are the words of the hymnographer: “Feering the sentence of the fruitless fig tree, brethren, let us bring forth fruits … to Christ” (Holy Monday Aposticha)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us understand this very well: The soul of the believer who lacks works of love and charity eventually becomes dried up. Even “faith without works is dead”, we heard Saint James saying. And those who will appear in front of “the terrible Seat of Christ” on Judgement Day with empty hands of works of love, Jesus has warned us that He will tell them“Depart from me” (Matth. 25:41).

My beloved, may all of us, who today honor the memory of thousands of our Saints, imitate them, both in their faith and in the holiness of their lives as well as in their true love and good works, so that we may, too, be blessed to be with them around the heavenly throne of God’s grace. Amen.

Source: pemptousia.com

 

 

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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.