Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we prepare in earnest to once again celebrate the Holy Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we cannot help but observe the global climate of political and economic uncertainty and violence daily in headline news.
This past Sunday, in addition to reports of more aggressive fighting in Syria and foreign tampering of the US election system, we were horrified at the bombing at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, the largest cathedral in Cairo and the Middle East, killing 25 innocent Orthodox Christian worshipers.
We mourn the passing of these new martyrs of Christ, and join with the world in condemning the atrocity of terrorism toward all people.
In the popular secular culture of Christmas, it is not uncommon to hear carols and songs reflecting on “peace on earth.” As Orthodox Christians, we understand this peace to be that of the Holy Spirit – “the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him nor know Him” (John 14:16).
St. Paul reminds us that “those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6).
Therefore, let us, who have received the Holy Spirit, be the more vigilant in our prayers, fasting, almsgiving and love for one another as we conclude the Advent season, praying for those who have departed as well as those who continue to commit these wrongful acts.
Let us take consolation and solace in the words of the Psalmist who writes, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence” (Psalm 42:5). And, again, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).
May it be so with all those who love the First and Second Coming of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and through Him, all people.
Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos