My beloved the benevolent
Ikhristos Anesti Alisos Anesti
I would like to congratulate you on the glorious Feast of Resurrection.
The Feast of Resurrection carries to us a message of renewal. Christ resurrected from the dead to give us a new covenant. As St. Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” [2Cor. 5:17] The new covenant is a covenant of reconciliation with God. Therefore, as ambassadors of Christ, as if God is preaching through us, we ask through Christ, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” [2 Cor. 5:18-20]
Christ the Lord spoke of renewal through this parable, “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” [Lu. 5:36-38] Through Christ’s glorious resurrection, He gave us new nature, new life, and new understanding. Let us contemplate on our ministry, the ministry of the needy in light of the glorious Resurrection.
- Ministering to the needy is the ministry of washing the feet, which is bowing down and humbling ourselves to care for others. Thus Christ gave an example of Himself on the eve of His passion by washing the feet of His disciples, and our church highlights this new understanding of ministering through the Lakkan prayer on Covenant Thursday. Christ, after washing the feet of His disciples, said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” [Jn.13:12-15]
- Ministering to the needy is a ministry of love and it is the measure we will give account for on Judgement day. Christ, in preaching in the temple before his crucifixion talked about this, and unveiled to us how we will give account on Judgment day, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left. 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.’” [Mtt. 25:31-36] It is obvious that these are all merciful acts that care for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned, and all acts that express love. Because acts of mercy that are performed without love from the heart does not benefit us anything, as St. Paul said, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” [1Cor. 13:3]
The command of love is a new command that Christ gave and made it a sign to His discipleship: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [Jn. 13:34-35]
The measure of love is to love one another as Christ loved us. The ministry of the needy should be provided through a new context, and that is the context of love.
- Christ made serving the needy a serving aimed toward Him when He said, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” [Mtt.25:40]
In light of the resurrection we see the ministry of the needy as a ministry of humility, a ministry of bowing down to wash the feet of the needy and a ministry based on love. Love that is measured by Christ’s love for us and a ministry to see Christ in the needy. It is not to be preoccupied with the personality of the needy or his weaknesses, as this would stumble our ministry, but to look toward Our Beloved God and see Him in every needy person, to be glad and rejoice in the fact that we meet Him every time we offer service to a needy person.
May God bless your offerings to support The programs of Santa Verena Charity.
With Many Happy Returns,