This Sunday August 30, 2020 is unique in that it commemorates the 12th Sunday of St. Matthew Chapter 19:16-24, which is the story of the Rich Man and Eternal life. In this story, the rich young man asks his momentous question, “What must I do to receive eternal life?” To which Jesus answers you must keep the commandments if you wish to receive eternal life. Then Jesus proceeds to recite the commandments, but adds to be perfect you must sell your possessions and give to the poor, then you will have treasures in heaven, then come follow me!
Faith and goods works are not opposed in the Bible and Orthodox teaching. The kingdom of God is always a gift but it is given to those who do something beginning with a permanent commitment of faith and followed by ongoing obedience to Christ’s teachings. Remember God always provides the saving grace. We cannot save ourselves! We can only receive salvation but must receive it actively and energetically in faith, prayer and loving deeds- in a total growing Christian lifestyle.
Yesterday we commemorated the end of the liturgical cycle with the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, the forerunner, which is a strict fast day.
Then on Tuesday September 1, 2020 we celebrate the ecclesiastical New Year and the beginning of the ecclesiastical new year, which comes at the end of summer, when we are preparing for a active year. What will this Church New Year bring? What opportunities and choices lie ahead for us? With what spirit. Attitudes, values and way of life will you meet the events and experiences of Fall, Winter and the other season’s to come. This is an opportune time for us to reorder our lives and prepare ourselves as today’s Gospel states for eternal life by doing good things and centering our lives on Christ who promises us treasures in heaven for those who believe in Him!
Finally this Sunday also commemorates the memory of one of the greatest saints of Russia, St. Alexander Nevsky, who preserved the Russian nation for the Orthodox faith.
So as we conclude summer and welcome the New Year I pray that Almighty God grant all of you good health, happiness and long life.