Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada



HE IS OUR PEACE!

(Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost)

The time of Advent is nearly here: the Lord is coming! Soon we shall be singing the praises of the New-Born Child who is God in the flesh. Soon we shall be joyfully proclaiming the peace which He has made for all eternity between God and human beings, having united Divinity and humanity within Himself in a perfect union. At this time when wars are still raging on our planet, when people are still riven apart because they refuse to feel the pain of the victims, it is necessary for us to ponder again the sovereign act of the One who was born to be at once Victim and Victor.

The Apostle Paul, in today's Epistle (Ephesians 2:14-22), says: "He is our peace who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility". To be one with Jesus Christ is to become part of an immense community of diverse people who are really one - in Him.

All too often we forget our common heritage: God Himself. Too often even Christians look at each other, not from the perspective of having ever so much in common (in fact the only thing that truly matters), but from the point of view of being divided by various (usually secondary) matters. Even us!

If that is so even with Christians, then one might be tempted to say, that there is absolutely no hope that the whole world could ever come to be as one - a unity in diversity, just as God, who is One in Three Persons, the Most Holy Trinity. Yet this is a season of HOPE. It is no accident that Christmas, that most blessed even, comes to us in the midst of winter. When it appears that nothing at all can survive the chill, He comes into the world - naked, small, defenceless...

Jesus did not think it was a hopeless cause after all. He knew that He would find hearts that were ready for Him, and that His message would take hold and grow. So once more, as we take part in the spiritual endeavour of Advent (which simply means "Coming") we are invited by the Church to prepare our hearts that we might become instruments of His peace. Yes, it is possible for you and me!

We start by becoming friends with God, accepting His gift of forgiveness and peace. Then we become our own friends by accepting ourselves as imperfect and yet perfectible, by forgiving our own selves, and determining to keep on striving for growth and health. At the same time, we turn to our brothers and sisters and start to see in them, not competitors and enemies, but fellow-sufferers and, potentially, fellow-victors. In Christ, our peace with God, we find peace with each other. May that come to be in our lives and in the world!

V. Rev. Ihor George Kutash