Monday, March 7, 2016

Do You See God?

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, He will judge not
your actions, but whether or not see God in the least of His brothers. (Matthew
25.31-46) Our Lord makes it clear that when we are able to see God in every
human being including the lowest of the low will be welcomed into Heaven. Every
human being in created in the Image of God, even if it has been clouded by sin.
Our responsibility as faithful Christians is to be able and willing to see
through sin and seek out the Image of God, and look past the sins of others.
With the coming of Great Lent in just a few days, the Church offers us an
opportunity to repent from our own sin through prayer and fasting, so that we
can feed the lowest of the low who hunger for God. Judgment is coming, and the
question God will ask is, “Do you See God?” What will your answer be?


Hello, my name is Father Athanasios Haros and I'm the pastor here at the Transfiguration of our Savior, Greek Orthodox Church in Florence, South Carolina. I'm your host for Be Transfigured Ministries. Here at Be Transfigured, as we say we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We feature our sermons and our Bible studies and other special events in the life of the Church. We do it to inspire you to join us in living a new life in Christ. I hope you'll join us. I'll be back in a moment after this video, to share some information about our ministry.

Today is the third Sunday of the Triodion. Just to remind you of the past two Sundays, the first Sunday of the Triodion, the Publican and the Pharisee, God reminded us of pride and reminded us that each one of us is a sinner, reminded us that we had to look at our sins and realize the need for repentance. Then last week, again the Lord directed our attention at our sinfulness. In the story of the Prodigal Son, reminds us that sometimes until we get to the lowest of the low, we can't realize just how much we need God's help. The moment we return to him He's waiting to restore us as if we've never left.

This week, the Church draws our attention in the other direction, not on our hearts necessarily but on how we treat others. The story is very common, it is the story of the Final Judgment. Unlike the last two weeks where it's a parable, in this case the Lord says, "When the Son of Man comes in His glory," this event my brothers and sisters will for sure take place in the future. This is to inspire us to have this on our minds this final week now as we prepare for great lent. Great lent is only one week away.

Now the Lord and the Church turns our attention toward other people. He says the very familiar tune, he says, "I was hungry and you fed Me, I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink, I was a stranger you took Me in." We know the story. My brothers and sister, this morning's Gospel isn't really about actions. It's not really about what we do to other people. If you really pay attention to the story in this morning's Gospel, neither those who were sheep nor those who were goats, neither the blessed nor the condemned understood that they were not doing the right thing.

Even the ones who were blessed said to Jesus, what do You mean, when did we see You hungry and feed You and thirsty and give You a drink. He says, "when you did it to the least of these, My brethren you did it unto Me." That's where I want to rest this morning, my brothers and sisters. How do we see the least of the people in the earth? The Gospel's pretty clear, even the goats, even those who were condemned said, "Lord when did we ever see You hungry and not give You something to eat." He says, "whenever you did not do it unto the least, you did not do it unto Me."

Where the Lord is calling us, my brothers and sisters is for us to see God in each other. Not just our friends and family, the real challenge in life is for us to see God in the lowest of the low. God wants us to see that we are each created in the Image of God, in his divine Image that means you and me and everybody outside this Church has the Image of God still in them. Our job is to see it. Not just in the people we like, not just in our family but in the lowest of the low. That's why this morning's Gospel, my brothers and sisters, really isn't about doing things. It's about seeing God.

If we cannot see God in the lowest of the low then we will be the goats. This event is taking place my brothers and sisters. The Lord will come. If all we have to say to God is well, I fed my family, I fed my brother, I fed the neighbor next door because he's really nice and he's really a hard worker. The Lord is going to say, "well what about those who didn't have friends, what about the rest of Me." You see, my brothers and sisters, we tend to look at the lowest of the low and we tend to cast them aside, we tend often times to not consider them of any value. Oh, I have too many things to do. Then when they get to really low status, Jesus included those in prison.

When they get to the really low status and then they have committed some of the most heinous crimes in our society, our job as Christians is still to see God in them. Because God saw our fallen humanity, my brothers and sisters, He saw a people worth saving. None of us deserves God's salvation. Not a single one of us did anything to deserve God to come and take on our humanity and to restore us into the kingdom but in each and every one of us, He saw something of value. That value was His own Image. Each and every human being bears the Image of God. Our salvation, my brothers and sisters, rests solidly on whether or not we can see the Image of God in other people but most especially in the lowest of the low.

The people who we might consider the lazy ones who don't work and therefore well, of course they're hungry. They're not doing anything, they're lazy. They might be lazy. They might not be working. Our job as Christians is to see the Image of God in them and to realize that even the poorest of the poor, even the most despicable criminal, deep down in their hearts, they don't want to live the life they're living. I was speaking with someone who spends much of their time ministering to the poorer neighborhoods of our cities. He was sharing with me that by the time a child gets to ten, 11 years old in these very high crime neighborhoods, they've already learned that their life is destined for crime, their life is destined to be one of the lowest of the low.

They've already been taught that in the way they've been treated, the way they've been raised, many times with not two parents. We know the story. Not a single poor person prefers being poor. Even the person begging under the bridge, I promise you in his heart, he would really rather not be begging. Can we see God in him? The person who might be addicted to drugs or alcohol or addicted to many of the other things that our society's addicted to, all of the crazy immoral behaviors that people are addicted to. Can we see God in them, the Image of God in them? It might be covered in mud. It might be so hidden by the sinful life they have surrounded themselves in but at that moment is when we have to remember the Publican and the Pharisee.

At that moment when we are looking at someone who has totally clouded the Image of God in their own life, before we cast them aside, sometimes even just to inspire us to search for the Image of God in them, we have to first remember the Publican and the Pharisee and realize that we too our sinners. That sometimes when people look at our lives, do they see the Image of God? Sometimes we need a little inspiration to be able to look past people's faults and realize that the lowest of the low in our society, including our brothers and our neighbors and the rest of our friends, all deserve that opportunity of being saved by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Are they hungering for God? Then let us feed them. Are they thirsting for the Lord in their life, for peace? We should be able to give them the peace. So many times we can't even find it in our own hearts. We struggle to find the peace. We struggle to even hunger for God. That's why, my brothers and sisters, if we're really paying attention to the life of the Church, this is why the Church offers us these different readings week after week after week, not in isolation but as a whole picture. Tomorrow we're going to begin fasting. We're going to begin taking our bodies and offering them to God because whether we like to admit it or not, our bodies participate in sin and so therefore our bodies also participate in repentance.

Our bodies participate in our leaving the Father as we spoke about last week, going off and living a far off land away from God. Our bodies have a role to play in that because we're pleasing our bodies, we're pleasing our own selves. Tomorrow we're going to begin fasting from meat this week and then the rest of the fast begins next week as a way to say, well our body participates in our sin, lets also allow our body to participate in our repentance. Sometimes we need a little bit of inspiration for us to hunger for God. We fast. The little bit of physical hunger we might feel during the fast is supposed to remind us that what we're really hungry for is God, then to share with those others who are hungry and then we feed them.

You see it isn't necessarily about a can of soup although we should be doing that too. The basket in the narthex should be overflowing every single week with cans of food that we can bring to the shelter. My brothers and sisters, the basket will never be full so long as we are not able to see the Image of God in the people who need that food. We're too busy only feeding our loved ones. We're too busy only visiting our friends. The judgment is coming. There's no need for us to think of the judgment and run away with fear. Let’s see the coming judgment and use it as inspiration to open our eyes to others.

Even our friends, our neighbors, our family members who we might be estranged from because of one argument or another, they did this, I said this, they said this. This is our opportunity to see God in every one of the people we interact with and then offer them that bit of hospitality that comes from our hearts. Then God will say to us, "come blessed, enter into your kingdom which I have prepared for all time because you fed Me, you clothed Me." We will say, "really?" We remember doing it to all those other people God, that must've been You that whole time. One final bit of inspiration I offer this morning, is our tradition that we have to think that sometimes we are offering hospitality to an angel. Sometimes to give us that chance to see the Image of God in other people, sometimes God sends us an angel in the form of a beggar, in the form of a stranger. Don't pass the opportunity up. Learn to see God in all people and then God will welcome us into his kingdom. Glory to God for all things.

Well I'm back and I hope this video was an inspiration to you. I hope it helps you live a new life in Christ. Please share our message of hope with your friends and family and invite others to live a new life in Christ. Find more information about Be Transfigured Ministries by joining us on our website at You can also find many of our videos at the Orthodox Christian network, our partners at As we say at Be Transfigured, until next week, God bless you and don't forget to live a new life in Christ.

Be Transfigured is a production of the transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Florence, South Carolina and presented by the Orthodox Christian Network. Contributions in support of this ministry, may be sent to:  Be Transfigured, 2990 S Cashua Dr, Florence, South Carolina 29501 or online at our website

1 comment:

Sister of Lady Magdalen said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful message. I just found your website and I'm so very impressed. I wish I lived near you so I could visit your church.