June 14, 1998. First Sunday after Pentecost. The Sunday of All Saints
1. God's Word: Hebrews 11:33-12:2; Matthew 10:32-33;37-38;19:27-30.
2. Meditation on God's Word: EVERY ONE WHO ACKNOWLEDGES ME BEFORE MEN, I ALSO WILL ACKNOWLEDGE
After Pentecost comes the Sunday of All Saints. We are reminded of what every one who responds to Jesus' love is called to do: to become perfect - holy, just, merciful. We are called to become like Jesus - in the image of His Father and our Father.
But how difficult it is! It seems much simpler to just follow the rules of religion and trust in them, like an incantation or a magic charm. We want formulas! We want to be certain! We don't like doubts. We hate painful questions such as: why do bad things happen to those who are good, while the evil, it seems, live in peace and enjoy the goods things of this earth?
But the road to perfection and sanctity often leads through valleys of tears and agony. And the hilltops - well, they seem to be little ones, like the one upon which Job sat in the ashes, scratching himself with a broken piece of pottery, suffering and trying to answer the most-asked question in the world: Why?!
But in today's Gospel Jesus clearly says that our life will be like that. Certainly, He promises, we shall have the houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children and lands that we have lost by following Him - "in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on His glorious throne". That is, at the end of human history as we know it - not today!
Thus for today we must find our refuge under the wings of faith. For it is now that we must declare our fidelity to Jesus. When His glory is visible to all the world, when it is clear that He has won - then it will be too late. Jesus will deny us, if we have denied Him during the time when it was difficult to proclaim Him.
But lets be heros! Lets be courageous! The trials and sufferings we have, have not come to break us and crush us. They have come to give us an excellent opportunity to unite with Him in suffering and to grow in the perfection of children of the living God.
The Very Rev'd Dr. Ihor George Kutash, Pastor