My dear fathers and fellow people, my beloved children in the Lord,
As we enter the new year of the Lord’s morality, at a time in which dominates the discussion about our health, when we see the inability of our culture to give redemptive solutions to the threat of death, it is worth thinking about what is truly the purpose of our lives, both in time in general and in the times we go through.
One modern saint, Elder Sophronius of Essex of England, writes: “The world knows nothing greater than the calling of the Christian. But the higher the purpose, so much more difficult is its realization “(Saint Sophronius, On Spirit and Life, Edition of the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, Essex, pg. 17).
Indeed, the call to be Christians, children that is, the image of God created in His image and likeness, is the highest purpose that we could accept. And calling means an invitation from God to understand that being a Christian is the best gift a person can receive. Because a Christian is the one who believes in God, who revealed Himself to us and He became a human for us. He presented His orders to us by communicating directly with us. He went through a lot for us and He experienced the most difficult moment of our nature where death is, but he also resurrected us from spiritual death! So whoever accepts this call, proceeds with hope and is not carried away by the secular spirit that puts survival above love.
Therefore, the realization of this call has a precondition for Christ who is our way! Saint Sophronius urges us again: ” When the Love of Christ approaches us, we feel the eternity. This can not be understood by logic. God works on His own way that goes beyond logic. It is enough to keep His commandments, that is, the love for “The whole world, without distinction between enemies and friends.” And he adds: “Christ offered His divine life to those who are created in His image, but received an answer the hate. Today, after two thousand years of Christianity, what do we see? The modern world loses more and more Christ, the eternal life. The deep darkness of the sinners, hatred, oppression, wars of all kinds shape our terrestrial existence. In this case, Christ gives to those who decide to follow His command: to love even your enemies. That is why the world is afraid of such a God “(Saint Sophronius, pp. 24 and 30).
The world today lives in fear and anxiety. But it is not only the risk to physical health that is the cause. There is fear because of the absence of God from our hearts.Because the world wants us to spend time in the passions and desires of the present world, it makes us afraid that we will not be able to enjoy what we want. So when the sickness becomes dominant in our lives and we lose our true orientation.
So the new year is an opportunity for us Christians to remember every moment our call. To increase our participation in church life. Let’s experience God’s love like love for Him and our fellow people. And because “perfect love drives out fear” (1, John, 4,18) let’s trust God who loves us and will not abandon us!
Happy and blessed year, my fellow people ! Have faith, hope, Christ in life and to your families!
With paternal wishes and warm in Christ love,
+ CORFU, PAXOI & DIAPONTIAN ISLANDS
Note: The present message to be read at the end of the Divine Liturgy of the New Year, after the
“In the name of the Lord”, and before the Doxology for the new year on Saturday the 1st
January 2022. Where there is no Divine Liturgy on New Year’s Eve, read it the first Sunday of the New Year.