Monday, May 9, 2016

Honor Your Mother by Honoring the Church

The combining of the Sunday of Thomas, the Feast of Saint John the Theologian and Mothers’ Day present a special opportunity to honor our mothers. Our mothers nurture us, they teach us, they maintain the faith for us, and they protect us. In return for their love, devotion and commitment to us and to the Church, sometimes we are too stuck in our own selfish minds and we refuse to believe the Church and the truth of the Gospel. Rather than honoring our mothers we refuse to share the gift of the Church with others. If we really want to honor our mothers we should take the example of Saint Thomas and Saint John the Theologian and become a witness to the joy and truth of the Gospel. If we really want to honor our mothers, we should bring the Gospel as a Light to those around us who might be lost in darkness. If we really want to honor our mothers, we should honor the Church.

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, and 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, 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.

We are exceptionally blessed, I believe, that we are celebrating Mother's Day in this Pasch season, especially on the Sunday of St. Thomas and also on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, all coming together this year in a special way, I believe. Because as we are honoring our mothers, we have to think about a couple of things. How do we honor our mothers? Is it really just enough to send them a card or to buy them some flowers? Or is you mothers received today a little flower when you came into Church?

Many mothers have been known to say, "I just want you all to get along. I just want everyone to be happy." It makes me wonder what really can we be doing to honor our mothers today, and I believe strongly that the one thing that our mothers would love for us to do to honor them would be to be faithful to God. For so many centuries, the Church has understood that the faith of the family is held together by the mother. It is the mother that brings her children committed, dedicated to Church, to learn the faith of our fathers. It is the mother who makes sure before our children go to bed that our children are saying their prayers and praying for their family.

It is our mothers that have maintained the traditions of our Church in the home. Unfortunately, in our modern days, some of these traditions are going about the wayside. We no longer have our mothers burning incense every Saturday in our homes to prepare the family for liturgy. I'm not going to dwell upon the things today that we're not doing right, because frankly, there are too many of them to mention. In fact, if our mothers really paid attention to the way we were living our faith, they might be just too disappointed to pay attention today because most of us are so wrapped up into our own lives, we have forgotten what it means to live the faith of Christ. We have forgotten what it means to live the good news of the Resurrection that we are currently celebrating.

Think of the Gospel this morning. The Gospel picks up where last Sunday it left off. We have Christ resurrected appearing to the disciples, and at first in the morning's Gospel, poor Thomas wasn't there. That is the gospel we heard last Sunday. After Christ leaves, Thomas shows up and the Apostles are so very excited, "We have seen the Lord!" Thomas doesn't trust his own fellow disciples. What must his mother have thought? The people that Thomas walked and spent three years following Christ, the brothers and there were more than just men there, there were also the women there.

Let's talk about just the 12. Now without Judas, the 11. These 11 brothers, who spent day and night depending upon each other for their own well-being. You would think after three years, Thomas would be able to trust them. Really, you saw the Lord? Χριστός Ανέστη, wonderful. Instead, Thomas says, "No. I want to see with my own eyes." The Lord grants him his need because Thomas needed that extra boost from our Lord. Then eight days later, which is why we call today the Sunday of Thomas, it's been eight days since the resurrection, our Lord reappeared to the disciples this time, Thomas was there, and as soon as he walks in, He says, "Peace be with you. Thomas, come here." He doesn't waste a moment because the other knew Him that He had resurrected.

He says, "Thomas, come here. I know what you need. Come, look at Me, feel Me, touch Me, I'm real." Thomas says, "My Lord and my God." Our Lord says, "Because you say Me, you believed?" As if to say, "You didn't trust your brothers. You didn't trust those people who you've put your entire life into their hands for these three years. You couldn't trust them, poor Thomas. You had to wait to see Me with your own eyes?" He says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe," and He's talking about us.

Thomas went on to spread the Gospel in India, and you know our dear friend here Jacob's family is just down the street from where Thomas first preached in India. Talk to him, ask him the stories of St. Thomas, he knows them. Thomas went on to be a great Apostle, but he gives us a lesson today. Are we willing to trust the Church? Listen to the words that we just heard from St. John the Evangelist, who we're also celebrating today. St. John, the only one of the Apostles who did not die by martyrdom. He died an old man in exile. Listen to what he said.

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the Word of Life. That which we have seen and heard, we declare to you," St. John says, "That you also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and these things we write to you that your joy may be full." We are reminded that we can trust the Church. Now I made an interesting suggestion that we are especially blessed today being Mother's Day because the Church is our mother. The Church has been established by God to protect us, to teach us, to guide us, to nourish us as our mother.

If we want to honor our mother, the Church, then wouldn't we take the words she gives us and put life to them? Wouldn't we give the stories that our mother, the Church has given us these 2,000 years about the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Thomas may not have believed his brothers, but the Lord says, "If we believe having not seen, we are the ones who will be receiving the extra blessings." Today’s feast day, my brothers and sisters, is for us, the non-seeing believers. Those of us who are willing to trust the word of the Church, our mother, to trust our earthly mothers who have shared with us the life of Christ.

We have to admit that sometimes our earthly mothers fall short because our earthly mothers are human, and there was no perfect human on the face of the earth save Jesus Christ Himself. Even when our own mothers have let us down, the Church still stands. I'm not talking about Father Athanasios or Metropolitan Alexios or the Parish Council, I'm talking about the Church. You and me together with the holy Fathers and Mothers together throughout the world proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the ones who have witnessed His life.

On this Mother's Day, on this feast, let's try to honor our mothers by honoring the Church. How many times have I buried mothers who have told me of their love for the Church, how they desired so much for their families to be in the Church? Today, that is our call. To honor our mothers, to honor the Church, and to honor the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not merely with words, but with a life. St. Thomas finally believing, took that faith and went across the world to proclaim the Good News that God had come to save humankind. That's how we honor our mother. By taking the news that we have received about Christ and going to share it with others.

Our mothers taught us to be good sharers, didn't they? If our mothers caught us holding on to something that we had received just for ourselves, and hiding it from everybody and not sharing it, our mothers would be disappointed. It's good to share. What do you think this faith that we have received today, this precious gift that we have received from our mother, the Church. If we, my brothers and sisters, continue to keep it to ourselves, we are not honoring our mothers and we are not honoring the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We Greeks should know this more than anybody because we Greeks wouldn't have this Church if the Apostles didn't send Paul to Greece to share the Good News with us. We'd still be lost in the darkness somewhere. We should know better than anybody the importance of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and giving hope to someone who is in darkness. If we, my brothers and sisters, continue to keep this secret to ourselves, we are not honoring our mothers as our mothers would have us do today.

There, I said it. This Church is not just for us. It is not our private club. We are here today, gone tomorrow. The Church has been given to us for only one purpose, to honor God and to share. As it's said in the gospel during Orthros, to go forth to all nations, not just the Greeks, not just the Romanians, not just the Russians, but to all nations, it says in the Gospel, baptizing them, teaching them, our Lord says, "To keep everything that I have commanded you, and lo I am with you even into the end of the age," Christ says. Let that be our Mother's Day wish, to spread the Gospel, to honor God, and to honor our mother, the Church.

 Christ is risen...repeated in different languages.

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 on 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 and support of this ministry may be sent to Be Transfigured, 2990 South Cashua Drive, Florence, South Carolina, 29501, or online at our website at

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