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Word Magazine June 1978 Page 26
HOLY THINGS FOR THE HOLY
Homily By Father James C. Meena
In the Church Calendar there are Saints commemorating every day of the year. But we would forget some Saints because there are those who are sanctified by their own actions but are not known to us. In addition, there are those who are being sanctified today by their own deeds and faith. For this reason the Church included the Feast of All Saints in the Calendar (1st Sunday after Pentecost).
Being a part of the Church is actually becoming a part of that body which is in the process of being sanctified, being made holy. (The Greek word for saints is “Ta Agia”, the Holy Ones.) St. Paul refers to us as such in Romans 1:7. He also says, “The time is come for you to wake up now. Our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted.” Taking things for granted, thinking that the world is going to go on the way it has is dangerous. “The night is almost over and it will be daylight soon. Let us give up all the things we prefer to do under the cover of the dark. Let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime. No drunken orgies, no promiscuity, no licentiousness, no wrangling, no jealously. Let your armor be the Lord Jesus Christ. Forget about satisfying your bodies with all their cravings.” This is what is required of us in order that we might become the Holy Ones, the Saints (Romans, 13:11-14).
I know of no people whose language uses the same term as do the Arabic-speaking people in reference to the act of celebrating the Liturgy which we call “Al Quddas”, the Sanctification. The term indicates that we come to be sanctified in Eucharistic worship experience, that we might become holy, and be a part of that Body of Saints which has become so numerous that they are especially remembered on the Sunday of All Saints. “Holy Things are for the Holy” has real meaning.
Since the first purpose of our involvement in the Eucharist is that we become Holy, it becomes necessary to understand that our next function is to reach out in our holiness and make holy all things that we come in contact with in the daily process of our lives. If you think that’s difficult, consider what happens each time you and I come to celebrate the Eucharist. The “impossible” occurs! By the process of our faithful prayers calling upon the Holy Spirit, pieces of bread and a cup of wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. That’s pretty fantastic! But if we believe that inanimate bread and wine, earthly substances, by the mystery of our pious faith combined with the power of the Holy Spirit become, in fact, the Body and Blood of Christ, then believe that you and I can be changed also, and that by the process of change, of being transformed, we are becoming Saints! If you don’t believe that, your whole concept of Orthodox Christianity needs to be reexamined.
What society requires of us has absolutely nothing to do with and is totally inconsistent with what God requires of us. Society requires that we be corrupt and God requires that we be incorruptible. Society requires that we be earthly and base and God requires that we transcend our human nature and that we become godly. “I said that ye are gods”, (St. John 10:34-35). Jesus wasn’t fooling. He wasn’t the kind to make jokes or witless comments, “I said that ye are gods”. That’s profound!
On the Sunday of All Saints, are you included in the prayers of the Universal Church, the Church Militant here on earth and the Church Triumphant, which stands in eternal communion with our Lord by prayers and hymn singing? Are you a part of this special prayerful offering unto God when, once a year, as at every Liturgy, we come together to offer all The Saints, known and unknown, to Him as an oblation? Or are you just kidding around?
“This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name. Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the Saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth until knowing the Love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to Him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21).