The Prelate’s Sermon, November 21, 2021
On the eleventh Sunday of the Elevation of the Holy Cross the Gospel, the reading is from Saint Luke 11:1-13. A dear prayer to all Christians, known as the Lord’s Prayer, is the core of the reading. Today, being 21 November, is also the ancient feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple, when she was three years old and where she was raised with the Grace of the Holy Spirit to be prepared for the highest and sacred calling. And today, we start our fifty-day journey of Advent in preparation for Armenian Christmas.
What a beautiful coincidence of having on our spiritual menu three superb dishes which nurture our earthly existence. Therefore, I would like to briefly highlight the importance of each of them to feed our body, mind and soul, and to grow and “come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of the God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4:13).
- The Lord’s Prayer in modern terms is the metabolism—the Living Bread—that sustains our spiritual, mental and physical functions. By reciting it and livingeach and everyword of it, we are privileged instantly to communicate with our Heavenly Father as His children, to be enriched with His Universal Wisdom, and to be bestowed with His life-giving Spirit. We find in this prayer the basics of the vertical and horizontal relationship and connection with our Creator. “Give us this day our daily bread” is the characteristic of this prayer, because like a multivitamin, it nourishes our essentials to survive, to face and to overcome challenges, visible and invisible, and to look forward with a positive perspective.
- The Presentation of Saint Mary theTheotokosto the Temple is the best example for parents of all ages consciously to pay attention to the growth of their children’s spiritual growth from their earliest childhood. It is not mandatory for us to present our children at the age of three to the Temple, yet it is imperative at the earliest age to grant them the opportunity to be familiarized with the Unknown and, in the course of their growth, gradually they will become acquainted with our heavenly Father who embraces all children and encourages them to be an example to all adults.
It is so gratifying to see mothers who teach their children the love of God, crossing themselves, lighting candles and reciting verses from Psalms or prayers. King Solomon, the great treasurer of wisdom advises us, “Train children in the right way, and when they grow old, they will not stray” (Prov 22:6). And what is the right way if not He who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6).
- The Advent is the beginning of our spiritual journey, like the three Magi, to find the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the source of our joy and the goal of our existence. Wholeheartedly we should commit ourselves to this mission. It might seem very frustrating at first and awkward in its appearance in a poor manger, yet when we humbly kneel down as He humbled Himself, only then may we celebrate the crowning of our search, as the Psalmist says, “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you, mywhole bodylongs for you” (Ps 63:1).
We are so fortunate that along with these three life-granting blessings, we are prepared as a nation to celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving. While we will be gathered to thank the Lord for all His bounty and pray for those whom we lost for different reasons, let us fervently look for what is the ultimate good for our being. For Saint Paul reminds us, “Whenever we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all” (Gal 6:10), for our Father who sees everything will reward us (Mt 6:4). Therefore, let us thankfully praise the Giver of all-goods, The Holy Trinity. Amen.