Today is the 32nd Sunday after Pentecost and the 13th Sunday of Luke Chapter 18: 18-27 in which a certain ruler asked Jesus who can inherit eternal life, to which Jesus answered, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.
Jesus said to the ruler, obey the commandments and sell all you have, give it to the poor and come follow me, after which the ruler became sorrowful for he was very rich. Then those who heard this said to the Lord, “then who can be saved?” Jesus said in conclusion, “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God”.
In this lesson, Jesus speaks to us of the importance of helping the poor but more so to leave the riches of this world and follow him as many men and women have over the centuries in the hope of inheriting eternal life.
Today is a very special day in the hagiography of the Orthodox Church for this day, January 17, is dedicated to the memory of St. Anthony the Great, the founder of Egyptian monasticism. St. Anthony viewed monastic life as a life centered on Christ and on such evangelical virtues as prayer, poverty, simplicity, chastity, humility, vigilant warfare against demons, fasting and love.
The gospel for this Saint is from Luke 6:17-21 in which Jesus tells those assembled the Beatitudes which have become a major part of our Liturgy, sung every Sunday, concluding with the fateful words, “rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great will be your reward in heaven…”. What beautiful words the Lord gave to those who followed him and believed on Him, the same words He gives to us, each and every liturgy, ushering us into the Kingdom of God.
Let us cherish the work of St. Anthony the Great for providing the Church with monastics who are in constant and unending prayer for the benefit of all mankind!