As Father Michael is just returning from vacation, we offer this Mid-week Reflection, adapted from an article by Presvytera Ourania Chatzis, who reflects on what we enjoy when we learn to trust God more.
The seasonal weather changes are comparable to the seasons of life. “There is a season for all things . . . a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; . . . a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:2–4). Yet do we welcome all that life brings? Do we trust enough in God? I dare say no, at least not wholeheartedly, though maybe if we did, we would find joy and inner peace. The “seasons” of our lives have many parts, including our day-to-day relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers, as well as the unexpected events that occur and the people whom God allows us to encounter. How do we react or respond, especially to things that are out of our control? Do we have love in our hearts for our neighbor?
Let us consider Christ and how He welcomed all people, all circumstances, and everything that may have been unexpected. He engaged each person; He never turned anyone away regardless of how He was treated. And when it came time for Him to be arrested, He accepted this too; He trusted God in all things. What an example for us! What did Christ do when He heard the sad news that His friend St. John the Baptist had been killed? “He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.” (Matthew 14:13) But when He realized that the multitudes were following Him and they were hungry after a long day, He didn’t say, “Leave me; I want to be alone now,” even though His disciples thought it would be best for Him to do so. Instead we see Christ’s empathy for the people, how He looked beyond Himself and His own needs. In His mercy He healed the sick among them, and He fed them with the miracle of the five loaves and two fish. So did Christ willingly accept the unexpected? Did He put His wishes aside for the sake of others? Yes, of course He did. This may have seemed easy to do, a nice little story, but His whole life was truly an act of love, of selflessness, and of surrendering His will.
As we head into the approaching season of a new Church Year, let us trust God and offer to Him our time and talents. Let’s allow Him to lead us and guide us. Our lives will be so much fuller and more enriched! The start of a new Church Year is time for each of us to “roll-up” our sleeves and engage in the activities of the Church—the Camelot Block Party, the Middle Eastern Dinner, one of the upcoming conferences, the baby shower, tutoring, the golf outing, or making breakfast at Family Haven. Additionally, there are many ministries in the Church that need you. Can you visit or send a card to the sick or homebound? Can you drive a college student or homebound person to Church? Can you greet visitors and fellow parishioners, pass an offering tray, or straighten the books in the pews on a Sunday? Can you help with the bread baking or icon decorating? Can you lock the doors of the Church after a service or clean out candles from the candle boxes? Every ministry in the Church is in need of help. The Church is you and me working together side by side in love while encouraging one another and growing in our Faith. Whatever you have—your time and talents are needed to do the work that God has set before us. All of our lives are busy, and we all face challenging circumstances in our jobs and families. However, don’t allow yourself to be robbed of the joy that is found through serving Christ and the Church. Let’s all get involved in the work of the Church!