In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
‘Many are called, few are chosen’. At first this may seem to us to be a hard saying. And yet when we look around in this country and many other countries and see half-empty or even totally abandoned churches, then we can see that this is true, for all are called to come to church, but few choose to come and worship Christ. Today’s Gospel of the marriage-feast remains as true today as when it was first spoken. If we ask those who do not come to church why, they will give various answers.
Some hide behind excuses, which mean only that their faith is not a priority for them:
‘I’m too busy’.
‘I’m too tired’.
‘I’m seeing someone’.
‘I don’t like the other people’.
‘I’m buying a new car’.
Others at least have the merit of being honest:
‘I have lost my faith’.
But whatever the reason given, ultimately there is only one reason why people do not come to church – because they are ignorant of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth.
Last Tuesday we commemorated a saint who lived during the childhoods of our oldest parishioners: St Silvanus the Athonite who reposed in 1938. He prayed constantly throughout the First World War and on the eve of the Second World War that the whole world would yet come to know God through the Holy Spirit, and so be comforted and possess the Truth. He wrote, for example, that:
‘If people kept Christ’s commandments, there would be paradise on earth, and with little labour every man would suffice his needs, and the Spirit of God would live in the souls of men’.
‘And we, if we wish to preserve grace, must pray for our enemies. If you do not feel pity for the sinner destined for the pains of fire, it means that the grace of the Holy Spirit is not in you, but that an evil spirit lives in you’.
‘It is given through our Orthodox Church through the Holy Spirit to understand the mysteries of God’.
‘We can only know God by the Holy Spirit, and the proud man who aspires to know the Creator with his intelligence is blind and stupid’.
‘With our minds we cannot come to know even how the sun was made…Humble thyself and thou shalt know not only the sun but the Creator of the sun’.
‘The proud always suffer from devils’.
‘The Holy Spirit is love and sweetness for the soul, mind and body’.
‘The man who has not known God through the Holy Spirit cannot seek Him with tears, and his soul is ever harrowed by the passions; his mind is on earthly things’.
‘Jesus Christ is made known through the Holy Spirit’.
‘Know all ye peoples, that we are created for the glory of God in the heavens. Cleave not to the earth, for God is our Father and He loves us as His beloved children’.
Let us this day hear the words of the saint of God, and then we will not refuse to enter into the marriage-feast of salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven.