Thursday, November 27, 2014


"The Lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  And our Lord answers, What do you think?  How do you read the Law?  And the Lawyer answers rightly, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul and mind--and thy neighbor as thyself."

Ah, but it is easy to say we love God, but...what precisely does this mean?  It is a glib response that requires from us no real commitment.  It is a cop out, really, because for most of us, God is little more than an abstract concept, not a living Reality that permeates our whole life--and how can we truly love an abstract concept? 

That is why the second commandment--that we love our neighbor as our very own self--that we love our neighbor as though he or she truly is our self--is so essential to our Christian Faith.  And it is exactly at this point that the question arises--just who is our neighbor?  The answer given within the corrupt, pharisaical tradition was that one's neighbor is one's fellow Jew.  As the Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates, however, our neighbor is everyone. 

For truly, how can we say we love the God Whom we have not seen, when we place our own needs and desires before those of our fellow man?  If you profess to love God while hating your neighbor, your so-called love is a lie.  If we are unwilling to express our love in a concrete way even to our worst enemy--our supposed love for God is a sham and we are in fact unbelievers.

The gift of love God bestows upon us is, after all, neither a feeling nor an emotion--it is rather the willingness to put to death our own egotistic desires for the sake of the other.  In this sense, our neighbor truly is our salvation.  It is only by mortifying our own self-centered thoughts and actions that we can hope to be granted salvation in God's eternal Kingdom.

Monday, November 17, 2014


St. Paul clearly affirms that it is by the grace of God that we are saved, through faith, and our faith itself is a gift of God.  So then: does this mean we are mere automatons lacking the free will to choose the path of Salvation?  Are the Calvinists right after all when they proclaim that God willy nilly predestines souls to heaven or hell?

God forbid!  By grace we are saved, through faith, the Holy Apostle says elsewhere, "Faith without works is dead."  For we are all called to become co-workers with God.  Truly God's grace is sufficient for our salvation, but the grace of God simply cannot penetrate a stony heart that is darkened by the passions.

God's grace is only given to those who strive and struggle for salvation, praying for the gift of humility and a spirit of ongoing repentance.  If salvation were so simple and easy that all it requires is saying "I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,"  it wouldn't be worth much, would it? 

The truth is, we are infinitely precious in the sight of God, created in His image and destined to become gods by grace.  So let us not receive the  gift of God in vain, nor take for granted the salvation He has wrought for us upon the Cross. Rather, let us deny ourselves, take up the Cross of Christ and follow Him, emulating the holy martyrs who have suffered and died for His sake. 

Let us stand aright, let us attend, that through our martyric struggles, strengthened by the grace of God, we may in the end finally attain unto the fullness of glory in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"As a man soweth...."

"As a man soweth, so shall he reap...."  This biblical principle has nothing to do with the Hindu concept of karma....It is rather the law of natural consequences as it exists in this fallen world.  If I stick my face in a fan, it will be cut--and it is going to hurt! 

In a similar fashion, if I chose to live my life apart from God--striving only to receive the "good things" in this life--it is inevitable that I shall be tormented in the future life by the bitter knowledge of my separation from God.

For truly there has to be more to this life than the accumulation of the things of this corruptible world--and that includes not only material objects, but also honor, glory and human recognition. 

The rich man in the Gospel was condemned to hell not because he was rich, nor because he enjoyed the good blessings of God in this life.  It was rather because he was so engrossed in this transitory, earthly life that he forgot about God.  While dining sumptuously, he did not give a thought concerning the real purpose and meaning of life--nor did he give thanks to God for the blessings he had received.

Lazarus, on the other hand, patiently endured the circumstances into which he had been placed, being grateful for the crumbs which  fell from the rich man's table and the dogs that licked his wounds.  Truly, God cannot be a mere afterthought in our day to day lives.  We must strive always to live a life of sacrificial love, affirming with St. Paul, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but God liveth within me."