THE SECOND SUNDAY OF
THE GREAT FAST
Taken from “Sparks From The Apostles”
by Augoustinos Kantiotes, Bishop of Florina in Greece.
Beloved, we live in a beautiful world. This beautiful world which we see and enjoy is a wonderful delight to behold. And what doesn’t it have! It has plains and mountains. It has rivers lakes and seas. It has plants and animals. Take birds for example, what an amazing variety from sparrows to eagles! The different kind of birds are distinguished by their sounds, color, beaks, flight, nesting location, habits. Length of life, and many other characteristics. It is the same with all animals and plants, flowers and trees. They are each created with such perfection that the greatest scholars of the world marvel at them. Each species is like a factory that works with marvelous precision, For example, consider the nightingale, whose song we wait for each spring. If we were to weigh this songbird, we would find that it weighs no more than an ounce. Yet this tiny creature is a small and lively machine – not a dead one but a living one that has all that is needed to move and work. It also has some fine chords in its larynx that enchant you when it sings. It is like listening to a guitar. But what am I saying? No musician can equal its music. And I ask you, Is it possible that these things that we see here on earth are accidental! Who made matter? Who molded it so that it takes on different forms and shapes? Who hid different attributes and strengths in this matter? Who imposed such power in a particle of matter that if it were freed could move thousands of railroad cars and ships? Who taught music to the nightingale? Who taught the bee to build its honeycombs with such skill, as though it were an engineer or architect? Who taught the ant to make its underground dwellings and to work as an organized community? The questions are endless. There is however one logical answer: God!
Yes, the earth along with all that exists and lives upon it, is God’s creation. But is the earth God’s only creation? No, the earth – this enormous planet that the astronomers tell us weighs millions of tons– this earth, in comparison to millions and billions of other heavenly bodies, is like a grain of sand, just a drop in the sea. Again we ask, who created these countless heavenly bodies?
Who gave them their first movement? Who set their courses that they move inside the endless universe and do not hit into each other? Who gave light to the sun? Who set the distance of the earth from the sun to be such that the earth neither burns to a crisp nor is it totally frozen? Who set the course of all the stars? Again the logical answer is God!
Everything is amazing! But something else is the most amazing thing of all. It is that God became a man and walked on this earth because of His infinite love for us. God’s human incarnation is the miracle of miracles. Our Lord Jesus Christ is is both God and man –the Godman!
He is the second person of the Holy Trinity. In cooperation with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He created the world. David proclaimed this great truth in the Old Testament, and the Apostle Paul repeats it in the epistle read in the Church today. “And you Lord, in the beginning has laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands” (Heb. 1:10).
Our ancient forefathers marveled so much at creation that they considered all that they saw in this beautiful world to be divine. They made everything gods, the sun, the rivers, the seas, the plants, the animals, the birds. This was a serious error but the Word of God, Holy Scripture, freed them from their error. It teaches us that the differences between God and His creatures are enormous. God is immaterial, timeless, incorruptible. Matter, from which the universe is created, does not have these godlike qualities. Matter is not eternal; is not incorruptible and at some point of time it will end. The day will come when the sun which has lighted and warmed the world for thousands of years and seems to be eternal to some, will go out, just as a lamp goes out when there is no more oil. And the earth shall be destroyed, just as all the planets, all the stars, and all of the material universe.
Although the physical universe will be destroyed, its Creator and God, our Lord Jesus Christ will always exist. No change can terminate His existence. That is why the Apostle repeats the words of David today who says: “. . . but you are the same, and your years shall not fail.”
A fundamental change shall take place in the material universe. A new world, which will be infinitely more beautiful than the one we see, shall come out of the destruction. And the Creator of the new world shall again be our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ is above all matter, whatever form or shape it may take. He is above the sun and the planetary systems. Not only is Christ above the physical world, He is above all spirits– much higher than people. Even those who were distinguished for their wisdom and holiness. Who is, I ask you who are the wisest, the holiest of people? No one when compared to Jesus Christ. Above all people of all centuries that have passed and the centuries that shall come, to the last person who shall be born and live on our planet – far above them is Christ! What am I saying Christ is above all angels and archangels. And even these immaterial spirits recognize the indescribable grandeur of Christ. They bow down to Him and worship Him and sing the sublime hymn: “Holy, holy. holy. Lord of Sabbaoth, heaven and earth are filled with your glory.” This leaves only the demons and unbelievers who do not recognize the authority of Christ. But even the day will come when their power will be totally destroyed, and the power and authority of Christ shall dominate everywhere.
Christ! You are the true God and true Man. You are our Creator and Maker. You are the King of the universe. All creation bows before you. All angels and archangels worship you. And we humble and sinful creatures fall before you, venerate you and ask for your mercy. Yes Lord, we ask for your mercy.