Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The guests have nothing of their own.

The reading below, found for today's date in The Prologue of Ohrid, has a specially lenten meaning for me beyond its historical and global focus. There is no neutrality -- either I am allied with Christ or I am "aligned with His enemies." Any time the devil gets a victory in my life through pride or laziness, it is loss to His Kingdom.

So when St. Nikolai exhorts us not to be afraid of external betrayers and traitors, I can also apply faith and courage against principalities and powers that would distract and defeat me inwardly, reminding myself and them that "God is with us! Understand, all ye nations [nations of demons should be included here, right?], and submit yourselves, for God is with us!" (from a hymn sung the first week of Lent) Whatever our demons are, they are part of the death that Christ has defeated.

HOMILY -- About the hand of the betrayer

"And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray Me is with Me on the table(St. Luke 22:21).

It is most difficult for a general to wage war when he has an enemy within the camp; not only external enemies, but internal enemies among his own. Judas was considered among his own. However, he was the enemy from within. Rows of enemies crowded and closed ranks around Christ and, from within, Judas was preparing betrayal. His hand was on the table which Christ blessed, and his thoughts were aligned with the enemies where darkest evil, hatred and malice seethed against the gentle Lord.

Is it not also the same today, that the hand of the many traitors of Christ are at the table with Him? Which table is not Christ's? On what table are not His gifts? He is the Householder and He nourishes and feeds His guests. The guests have nothing of their own, nothing! All good and all abundance which is given to them is given to them by the hand of Christ. 

Therefore, is it not so that Christ is present at every table as a Householder and as a Servant? Therefore, are not those also the hands of all who even today betray Christ on the table together with Him? They eat His bread and they speak against Him. They warm themselves by His sun and they slander His name. They breathe His air and they rise up against His Church. They live off His mercy and they banish Him from their homes, from their schools, from their courts, from their books and from their hearts. They trample His commandments willfully, maliciously and ridicule His law. Are they not then the betrayers of Christ and the followers of Judas? 

Do not be afraid of them! God did not command that we be afraid of them but wait to see their end. Our Lord was not afraid of Judas nor is He afraid of all the traitorous hordes until the end of time. He knows their end and He already has His victory in His hands. Therefore, do not you be afraid either. Adhere faithfully to Christ the Lord, both when it appears to you that His causes succeed and go forward in the world and then, again, when it appears to you that His causes collapse and perish. Do not be afraid! If you become frightened, perhaps your hand will be found clenched under the hand of Judas at the table of Christ.

O Lord, All-Victorious, sustain us with Your power and mercy.

--St. Nikolai Velimirovic

1 comment:

Gumbo Lily said...

Oh, that is so good! I have often thought about the fact that Jesus CHOSE Judas and yet knew he would betray Him. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things! (Romans 11)