Our lives are like the stormy waters of the open sea. We are sailing amid the towering waves and howling winds. Sometimes, we do not even know where we are going. Often, we succumb to fear. We are tormented by uncertainty and doubts. We blame our woes on our ill fate. We think that if only we could change our circumstances, our lives would improve - and find out that we are mistaken.
The sad truth is that no change of circumstances can make us more comfortable. We are equally unhappy about chilly weather and hot weather, a dry spell and a spell of rain. Some have complained that they have too few temptations in their lives and others that they have too many. Some say they are happy, but worry that this might change and dread it very much. One woman complained, - - "My husband always does what I ask him. He never objects. I am bored. Sometimes, I wish he talked back to me. That would add some excitement to my life. But he does not. He always says yes." - People are fretful. They have no inner peace, nothing makes them happy.
Their woes are not unique. Take Apostle Peter, for example. Sailing in rough waters in the same boat with the other apostles, he gazed at the waves and was frightened. When he experienced God's love and saw him walk on water, he exclaimed, "I am coming with You".
However, much like the people of this day, they could not withstand the trials and sorrows along the way. They forgot Who they were following and Who was calling them to the Kingdom of Heaven. When they realised that they were in trouble, they appealed to God, "Save me! I am dying." It is fortunate indeed when people humble themselves and cry for God's help. It is good news if calling to God becomes the norm for us. For it is at these moments that we realise that our inner troubles come from our disconnectedness from God and our lack of trust in Him.
At some point, we will become weak, only to find out that we had neglected our spirits and not prepared them for the life to come. Therefore, as we call for God's help, we should not ask him to turn around the circumstances of our lives. Instead, we pray that He would give us the strength to bear our cross. We must trust that that is truly the cross that we must bear to the end, to our very last minute. It will take fundamental changes to our thinking and perception of life.
There is still some limited time left to make the changes. We do not know how much and must view our every day as our last. That way, our spirit will become attuned to a life of vigilance, struggle and reflection, and to the search for Christ. The Christ who never hides from our view, but is always amongst us. There is only one thing that we will need to do - stop and pray to the Lord, "Show show us the way, O Lord, and I will follow and surrender my soul to You."
Christ provides for His people. He feeds thousands with a few loaves. Christ is always with us, and no storm will make us perish as long as we are on the boat which He is steering. That boat is our Church, where Christ is at the helm. He says to us: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid? I am at the helm!" He is not the king of this world. He is the king of Heaven. That means that we must start preparing ourselves for our journey home. We must begin to part with things that prevent us from living in God and stand in the way of our liberation. We must learn to live our inner lives that guide all aspects of our human lives. By doing so, we will learn to be grateful for what we have. To be thankful for the warm weather and for the gift of being at the Liturgy today. We will remember that love is the sole nourishment to our spirit. We will learn to love our neighbours, even those who show little understanding or do not take kindly to us. We all have a learning programme from God, and a responsibility to complete it.
We have come to the Church in order to break away from the captivity, from the darkness, from the pit, and to start a new life where everything will be in God: my health issues, my salary, all relationships that I have.
There is so little and so much that is expected of us: to meet with patience and humility the things and people we may not fully like. By leading their lives in prayer, fasting and hard work, the great saints attained the glory of God.
We long for miracles but forget that Christ is near and ready to say to us "Stand up, pick up your mat and walk! Walk after me."
We can fight off the virus by wearing a mask and keeping our distance, but to keep at bay the spirit of hostility is much harder, as it attacks us from afar.
Bowing before an icon, we do not worship matter or the talent of the painter, but the Creator of Matter. We venerate the Mother of God and the saints. Every human being is an image of God, and therefore an icon.
Master, it is good for us to be here (Luke 9:33) – this is what we can say now to our God, Who came to this world to save humanity. Today we are here because this is where God’s love dwells — the love that heals all fatal wounds, corrects all…
Living separately from the Lord is like living in a void; however hard one tries to fill it; by living apart from God, one will never succeed in meeting the true needs of one's spirit - for peace, purity and humility.