It’s election season! You can’t turn on the radio or the internet without being bombarded by political commercials or arguments. There is no secret that many of the issues that plague our society are based on morality, and that morality often pits Church against State in the courtroom and congress hall. What is our Church view on the state law and our religious law?
We all the know the pain of being hurt by the words and actions of others. Too often I hear “I forgive but I don’t forget.” When we refuse to forget what others have said or done to us, we truly haven’t forgiven them, but we are holding on for some future moment when we can hold it over their head. Christ has warned us, it is only when we forgive AND FORGET, just as He has done for us, can we be forgiven by God and welcomed into paradise.
The Gospel lessons we hear each Sunday don’t often include Christ’s direct warnings about the future judgement. More often we hear the Lord teach in parables, as He does today, but the lesson is often left in poetic terms for our hearts to peel back the layers of the parable to determine which part is for our inspiration. Today’s lesson is different because it ends with a very clear warning from Christ, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you, if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18.35)
(edited from an original post "Why Last Night’s Prayer at RNC by a Greek Orthodox Bishop Didn’t Give Me “Warm Fuzzies” to reflect current events)
When confronted with illness, most especially when healing does not come, we are tempted to challenge God, “Why!?” The same was true for the Disciple who were unable to heal a boy who had a demon. Christ’s response to them, and to us, “Because of your unbelief.” We must take the seed of faith planted by our parents at our baptism and nourish and cultivate the seed to become a great tree of faith strong enough to move mountains. The seed of faith requires prayer and fasting and the sacramental life of the Church.
When we are faced with the storms of life, it can be very tempting to focus on the storm rather than Christ. It is very easy to become crippled with fear when we take our eyes off Christ. God is present in the Church and He promises that when we need Him, we will find Him in the Church. When we turn our attention to God, and when we leave the cares of life outside the doors of the Church, we will be comforted and protected by God.
God has given to each person, whether a believer or not, certain gifts and talents to assist others. When we are faced with the needs of others, sometimes our temptation is to excuse them away to others maybe because we fear we don’t have enough resources, or maybe we think we don’t have time. In either case, it is only when we allow God to bless others through our cooperation, through our efforts, that God’s mercy and blessing is experienced by others.