Sermon of Bishop John of Caracas and South America on the Sunday before the Nativity of Christ
Today we celebrate the feast day of the Holy Fathers. The week before was the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. In reality, they are similar holidays, and if we attend the services, we would notice that the idea is the same—the day of commemoration of the Old Testament saints, not all of them this Sunday, only those who were related by the flesh to our Lord Jesus Christ. Last Sunday we remembered those who spiritually preceded and prepared the world for the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In today’s Epistle reading, the Apostle tells us how the Old-Testament prophets lived in righteousness and labored for the faith in the future Christ. They awaited Him and lived in faith and hope for the coming of the Savior. But we do not live in the time of the Old Testament, for the Lord has already become Incarnate, and we know that the Messiah arrived on the proper day, and we must study and understand His commandments. We are not the forerunners, but the heirs of Christ. In today’s Gospel reading we heard the lineage of Jesus Christ according to Matthew and John. The Gospel according to Luke has a different lineage, which begins with Adam.
Matthew wrote specifically for the Jews, and showed where Christ was in accordance with Jewish prophecy, that He was the descendant of King David. These lineages seem somewhat mundane for us, but think of the honor given to these prophets, that their names are recorded in Holy Scripture, something no one else will ever be given. This great glory is not open to us. At the same time, Holy Scripture contains names that are remembered for wickedness, such as Judas the betrayer, Heron, or the cruel queen, or Cain, the first murderer, etc. And this is a special disgrace and condemnation.
Therefore we cannot be marked in Holy Scripture, but we must understand that if we are devoted to Jesus Christ, then our names will be recorded in the Book of Life in the Kingdom of Heaven, and we will be written not as the forefathers preceding Christ, but His heirs, and for this we will receive heavenly life.
1 January 2023