Sermons & Homilies
Today we stand at the threshold of Great Lent, and prepare ourselves for the struggle of the long journey towards Pascha, the Bright Resurrection of Christ. Again, after another year of sinful falls, defeat by the passions, and entanglement with all the pleasures and distractions of the world, we strive once more, with Christ’s help, to lay for ourselves a good beginning. Because of our human weakness and our nature which so often seems to change with the wind, it is necessary for us each day, each hour, each minute to strive to make this good beginning, but each year on this day especially we are given the opportunity to lay a good foundation for the lenten season of repentance which is about to dawn.
Today’s feast is called the Meeting of the Lord because it refers to the meeting between the Righteous Simeon and Our Saviour.
In the Sayings of the Desert Fathers we read:
One day blessed Theophilus the archbishop came to the mountain of Nitria and the abba of the mountain came to meet him. The archbishop said to him, ‘Father, in this way of life which you follow, what do you find to be best?’ The old man said to him, ‘The act of accusing myself, and of constantly reproaching myself.’ Abba Theophilus said to him, ‘There is no other way but this.’
“I won’t grumble about it, because a monk is the property of the Church. He has no personal life; he is alone. Wherever they put you, start working… Glory to God for all things!”
Recently, we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas. This is not the “Saint Nick” or “Santa Claus” who is so beloved, as well as so mocked and lampooned in our secular culture. This is the 4th century bishop who “dedicated his life to his people and saved the innocent from death.” Our Orthodox faith, so radical and counter-cultural when compared to most aspects of our dying secular culture, is just as radical when facing the reality of the life of St. Nicholas.