December 2016 English Newsletter Posted January 4, 2017 by admin


December, 2016

My Beloved the Benevolent

Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing

While we are approaching the new year, the year 2017, I would like to wish you all a happy and blessed New Year. The end of a year and the beginning of a new year is an opportunity to self- reflect, to correct the mistakes and begin a new beginning. Self-examining should be a way of life not only at the end of the year. Therefore, I would like to discuss some of the examples of people who did not self-examine and others who did, and corrected their mistakes.

The chief priests, the Pharisees and the elders conspired against Our Lord Christ and gave Him up enviously to Pontius Pilate to be crucified and they were successful in their conspiracy, and Pilate even tried to guard the tomb till the third day, “Therefore, command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” (Matt. 27:64) Despite all of this, Christ has risen from the dead and the guards witnessed His resurrection. The chief priests and the elders did not examine themselves but persisted in their perversity and added to their evil by giving the guards silver and telling them to say that His disciples came at night and took Him while we were asleep. “When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” (Matt. 28:12-13) On the other hand, the centurion and the soldiers that were with him (the ones who had a part in Christ’s passion and crucifixion), when they saw the earthquake and what had happened, they were afraid, reflected and examined themselves and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt.27:54)

In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man was living an extravagant life daily, while Lazarus was at his door full of sores longing to eat the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. The site of poor Lazarus did not move the heart of the rich man, despite his constantly seeing him. The rich man did not realize his mistake until after his death and after the opportunity had passed. And when Abraham reminded him, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” (Lu. 16:25) Nowadays, the rich repeat the same mistake that this rich man did and harden their hearts toward the poor. Therefore, St. John reminds us, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart form him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 Jn.3:17-18) Therefore, those who self-examine themselves now and care for the poor and needy will hear a joyful voice, “Then the king will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” (Matt 25:34-36)

Ahab the king wanted the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite’s and was successful with the help of his evil wife Jezebel to get rid of Naboth and inherit his vineyard when she told him, “Arise take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite’s. Which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” (1Kings 21:15) Ahab did not reconsider, but went to the vineyard to inherit it and there he met Elijah the prophet whom God sent to rebuke him and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Have you murdered and also taken possession? And you shall speak to him, saying, This says the Lord: In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick our blood, even yours.’ ” ( 1Kings21:19) Elijah’s rebuke made Ahab reconsider, and he humbled himself and tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body. He fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went calmly. “See How Ahab has humbled himself before Me, because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I bring the calamity on his house.”(1Kings 21:29)

David the prophet lusted for the wife of Uriah the Hittite and committed adultery with her and killed her husband. He did not reconsider his mistakes until Nathan the prophet went to him so David repented and kept mourning all his life.

Judas Iscariot sinned by betraying Christ and reconsidered what he did and said that he had sinned and betrayed innocent blood and returned the silver, but because he had no hope, he hung himself.

The prodigal son made a mistake, but he reconsidered and repented and went back to his father who accepted him with joy.

Let’s self-examine ourselves with the year ending and offer true repentance and strong hope in God’s acceptance for us.

May the Lord bless all your offerings to support St. Verena Charity Program and fill your hearts with peace.


Metropolitan Serapion