SERMON OF 2004
First of all I Thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve Him.
On this blessed day I would like to start with a Spiritual invitation for the busy woman, because nowadays women have so many responsibilities, with commitments and duties at home, at jobs, at church, social functions, etc., It seems that the 24 hours of the day are never enough to accomplish all we have to do. We try to be “Super” women, Super-Moms, Super wives, etc. Have we become like Martha?. (Luke 10:38-42). Who was very involved in her household duties.
As we look at the two Biblical characters of Martha and Mary, we don’t have to struggle between the contemplative, active, duty-filled life and the quiet life. We have to combine both, but we have to set our priorities. There is nothing wrong with being busy, but in rushing through our every day life, let us not convince ourselves that we don’t have time for devotion and for the growth of our spiritual life. This is where the paradox will lie. As caregivers, we want to attend to everyone and everything around us, and often end up forgetting about the “unseen” life, our spiritual life. We have to attend to our spiritual needs so that our Lord’s guidance can help us make the right decisions. Otherwise, we will end up making decisions based upon our flawed will. But when we take care of the spiritual aspect, we will be better at organizing the material areas of our lives.
As women, we have to acknowledge that we are the nurturers and very often are the spiritual force within the family and amongst our friends. As a result, we have to be aware of the responsibility that falls on our shoulders when we fail. Our hectic and fastpaced life must be offset with periods for our spirits to grow to prevent the suffocation of our souls.
Of course, the immediate response is “where can I find the time?” The truth of the matter is, we can find the time when we really want to. If I don’t make prayer, Bible-reading, and Liturgical services a priority in my life the effectiveness and value of everything else I do, will be lessened. God will bless whatever little time I have, so that all the mundane things will be done for the glory of His name.
Prayer must be the cornerstone in our lives, we may not be able to keep the hours, but we must develop a rule of prayer that is unique to each of our lives depending upon our schedules. Each of us is unique in her special way as a human being created in the image and likeness of God. This may mean getting up earlier than the rest of the household to allow for time to pray and read the Bible. For others, staying later at night after all have gone to bed may be more appropriate. For those who work, lunch time can be a good time for spiritual nourishment. Living in Southern California, many of us spend hours in our cars in traffic. We can “redeem the time” by utilizing the time spent in traffic for our spiritual growth by listening to the Bible on tapes or CDs, by praying the Psalms or just saying the “Jesus Prayer”.
Moreover, women have a great roll to play in the religious life of the family, could be a driving force towards other members of the family, for example to encourage them to pray before meals, and read the Bible, and to attend the church service.
We are called to be examples of Christ, and we should do so with joy in our hearts. We all get into routines and habits that we feel comfortable with, but this may be stifling our spiritual growth. If we believe that all our life is consecrated to God, then certainly our time belongs to God. Each day is a reminder of our goal and destination: to be one with our Lord for all eternity. Our earthly life is just but a foretaste of what awaits us. Therefore all of our life should be sacred.
We need to always remind ourselves of our dependence upon God and expose ourselves to rest in the loving hand of our Creator. We do the best we can, and then leave the rest for God to take care of. On Judgment day, we will be asked about what we have done with what we have been given. By God’s grace, and the prayers of the Saints, may we be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Brothers and Sister,
As I am Orthodox Christian I would like to say that the Christianity is a big responsibility, because when the Lord Jesus said in Mathew Chapter 5: “You are the World’s seasoning to make it tolerable, if you loose your flavor, what will happen to the world? And you yourselves will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the World’s Light – a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; Let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father. And in James Chapter 2 said: “If faith dose not show itself by good works is no faith at all, it is dead and useless.
What does the Holy Spirit do in our daily life? And how can we have communion with Him so that we can hear His voice and listen to His guidance?
The Holy Spirit transforms believers, who have been baptized and have received the sacrament of Chrismation from this carnal life to a spiritual one He leads them to the path of repentance, to the life of holiness and witnessing about Christ and even to martyrdom for His sake. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, the person commits sins as if he was drinking water without feeling any blame or remorse for “the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment” (John 16:8).
Moreover, when the winds of the Holy Spirit blow on a sinful person who accepts the Holy Spirit’s conviction and judgment of sins which reside in the flesh, the struggle ensues between the Spirit and the flesh. Therefore if the person leans towards the law of the Spirit he will be able with the power and work of the Holy Spirit to be liberated from the law of sin “for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death “(Romans 8:2). If the conscience is fully convinced of the ugliness and definite danger of the sin, then the conscience has leaned towards the law of the Holy Spirit.
A life of continuous prayer is a divine commandment, Pray always and do not be weary because through prayer a believer gains strength and obtains peace. Since God has enabled the believer to pray incessantly, He has brought him to perfection through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who resides in the believer.
What about the return of our Lord Jesus from heaven to gather all together, this should be the focus of our attention.
During the forty days after His crucifixion, Jesus Christ appeared to the apostles from time to time actually alive and proof to them in many ways that it was really He himself they were seeing. And on these occasions He talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
It was not long afterwards that He rose into the sky and disappeared into a cloud leaving them staring after Him. As they were straining their eyes for another glimpse, suddenly two white-robed men were standing there among them, and said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as he went, He will return”. (Acts 1:9-11).
The fact of the second coming of Christ is the greatest fact in the world. The Lord briefed us of the most important signs that should pave the way to His coming, and the end of the world. He urged us to always be prepared, watchful and vigilant.
It is true that His second coming will be for judgment to the evildoers and unbelievers, but on the other hand, it will also be for rewarding those who put their trust in Him and lived in faith, love and hope faithfully in Him.
In the Gospel of St. John, the Lord Jesus promises, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, I go and prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also, (John 14:2,3).
We all know that in His resurrection, He gave us a new life.
May the Grace of God be with us all,