|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - August 2005|
Let Us All Follow Our Lord Jesus Christ with Love
When we come to accept our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, an abundance of spiritual riches and grace opens up to us as His Holy Spirit lives within us. It's as if we have spent ages waiting for the doors of some great library to open: Once inside, we can be almost overwhelmed by the power, glory and graciousness of God that we find revealed.
Suddenly a bright light shines on our "old" life, such as St Paul describes in his First Epistle to his young friend Timothy:
Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (self-inflicted wounds!). But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, to which you were also called... (1 Tim. 6: 9-11).
So there is a great richness of spiritual life to be found in Christ our Savior when we follow Him with love. In the Holy Gospel we hear these words, which are an invitation to us all:
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," and immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
Read the Gospel lesson from St. Matthew 4:18-23. It is a wonderful story of His calling and our obedient response.
These early followers of Christ were convinced that there was both hope and promises for them in Christ. For our lives, too, are often as empty as theirs were before they met Him. They knew the same feelings of helplessness and anxiety that we know. Emptiness is all about us, and it is not cured by money or many possessions. Instead of finding fulfillment, we are threatened by strife and surrounded by injustice, and we meet greed and anger, lust and brutality at every turn. The corridors of life seem endless, doors never open, walls grow higher, and the hoped-for answers never seem to arrive.
Into this emptiness comes one man, one hope, Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. It is He who opens his arms to us in welcome, offering all His fullness, bringing us meaning, and brightening our tomorrows with hope. He is the Lord of all worlds, including our own. Creator of the universe, yet concerned with every detail of our lives. And all He asks is that we turn and follow Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole mind.
Let's now reflect on how we as Christians, or followers of Jesus Christ, can respond to the call of our Lord with love:
"Take and eat, this is my body" (Matt. 26:26).
Do we really endeavor to come and satisfy the hunger of our immortal souls? If we knew the location of a great treasure, we wouldn't stay at home and do nothing about it! We would claim possession of it before someone else had a chance to find it. In the Holy Blood and Body of Christ our God we have found a treasure of hope of the eternal God Himself! He gives Himself to us so that we may live in a relationship of blessing and happiness, both with Him and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
So a very important question must be asked: Why don't we take advantage of this Holy Mystery (Sacrament)? Are we afraid? Is it so difficult to come to Him out of a simple love? Or would it be true to say that we care too much for the treasures of this world and not Christ our Savior? We must try to understand that if we possess the Creator of the universe, we possess everything, including the peace and hope that mankind has been seeking for centuries.
We learn from Holy Scripture and from the lives of the saints of our Church, that Holy Communion is Godís greatest gift to man. Our Lord Jesus Christ meets with us in the Sacrament, bearing the gift of eternal life if we follow Him with love. Our entire Divine Liturgy is a most perfect sacrifice of peace, thanksgiving and praise possible for man to offer God, the most powerful and joyful celebration of our relationship with Him. So, we beg you, no more excuses. Come and be united with Him, and experience the fullness of His love and grace, and discover His joy!
Who prays for you!
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(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes