Homily on the Peaceful Pattern

It is both the second Sunday before the Nativity and, at least for most of our neighbors, the day before the Nativity.  In this homily Fr. Anthony talks about why we remember our Forefathers on this day and gives us advice on how to make peace the center of our pattern. Enjoy the show!
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The Second Sunday before the Nativity
St. Luke 14:16-24

This is the second Sunday before we celebrate the Nativity of Christ. The day we remember and celebrate the lives of all the Righteous Ones of Holy Forefathers; those that lived before the Law; our first father Adam, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and those who came after the Law; Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel and David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, and with them the Twelve Prophets: Elijah, Elisha, and all the rest, Zachariah and John the Baptist.

Why do we celebrate them? Why do we celebrate the lives of the heroes in our own families? Surely not just because of their heroism, but because they are part of our family. Their lives and our lives are connected; their heroism is our heroism. It is the heroism of our family, the family that we ourselves are part of. We are ennobled by their nobility. It is the same with this; we are not just celebrating the deeds, heroism, and nobility of these Righteous Ones: we are celebrating them because they are part of our family in Christ. Because we are connected with them through Him, their stories are our stories. We participate in their righteousness through the righteousness of the One Who Connects Us All: Jesus Christ, the God-man. The same Jesus Christ whose birth we are preparing to celebrate.

Today’s Gospel is Christ’s meditation on the word’s of the man who said; “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (St. Luke 14:15b)

Of course it is not just the second Sunday before we celebrate the Nativity of Christ; it is also when most of the Western world celebrates that same Nativity. And because we are also connected with them; their joys are our joys and we would be remiss if we did not celebrate with them. It is within the context of this celebration, a celebration that is too often marked by the unnecessary and voluntary stresses of a commercialized holiday, that I share these words from a modern saint, St. Paiusius of the Holy Mountain;

Worldly people say, “How lucky are the wealthy that live in big and luxurious mansions and have all the comforts and conveniences!” Blessed, rather, are those who have succeeded in simplifying their lives and freeing themselves from the noose of worldly progress, from the many comforts that cause much discomfort and have rid themselves of the dreadful anxiety of today’s times. If we refuse to simplify our lives, we will suffer. If we live simply, all our anxiety will go away.

#9 from Acquire Peace Hope and Joy – 23 Spiritual Insights from St. Paisios of Mt. Athos.

Today’s Gospel is a reminder of the same thing: we have to order our lives in a way that puts the “one thing needful” in the center.

  • Every life has a pattern. You can tell what is most important to someone based on the the thing that is at the center.
  • It is the thing with the most gravity, if you will.
  • Our individual lives MUST revolve around a peaceful and loving heart. We show our seriousness when we our habits revolve around the maintenance of that peace and love. Daily prayer is central to this.
  • The life of the family MUST revolve around a peaceful and loving home. The center of the home is the table. Daily meals, taken together are central to this.
  • The center of the community of the community must revolve around a peaceful and loving Church. Sunday worship and the Eucharist are central to this (the center is The Table).

Let us commit ourselves to this peace in our lives, our families, and our church as we continue our worship and prepare to join the Lord at His Holy Table.


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