Monday, July 11, 2011

Met. Ephrem's Sermon at the Diocesan Parish Life Conference, Irving, CA

Here is my transcription of the sermon that Met. Ephrem gave at the Diocese of Los Angeles' Parish Life Conference on July 3, 2011. The audio recording of it, which has some quality issues, can be found in Real Audio format here. Pictures of his visit to California can be found here and from his recent visit to Canada here.

In the name of the Father of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

Dear brothers in Christ, you already heard the Gospel today, which, this Gospel is taken from the Sermon on the Mountain and Jesus is talking, is speaking for those who want to walk in the way of the Kingdom and we as Christians recognize that we are supposed to take this way, this way of the Kingdom because we are living in a new testament, in a new life in Christ, in the Church. What is the Kingdom? Our fathers say that the Kingdom of God is not a place. It's like Hell. It's not just a place, it's a sort of state in the heart of man, of the created man. And they say it is an uncreated divine energy, a grace of God. This is what we are searching for in our life. If we are really Christians, believers, we are searching through all our life, through all our earthly life, for salvation, for sanctification, for holiness. This life is not enough for us. It is just a preparation for the true life, which will be after death.

What is Jesus saying in this Gospel? I take only two sentences. The one that says "you cannot serve two masters" we have to choose. You cannot serve god, and he says "mamona", which means money, which means riches. Because we are weak, we are serving the two, but we have to give a priority in our life, if we are really Christians, if we have a certain search for the Kingdom in our life, we'll get there by following these commandments, to the Kingdom of God.

I know and you know that in this world today money is governing. We cannot, we don't have to be slaves to the world. We have to walk with the commandments of God. Then what is he saying? He's saying not to be, not to worry about what we eat, what we drink, what we wear. This is also difficult because we are worrying most of the time about what we eat, we drink, we wear. He says, "Look to the birds in the sky. Consider the lilies in the field. God is feeding them and is clothing them. They do not have to work" It doesn't mean that we do not have to eat, that we do not have to drink and to wear clothes, but once again we have to get the important thing, not for our bodies. We do not have to be slaves to our bodies. What he is eating, drinking, and clothes.

The Christian life is a simple life. We have to give importance to our soul first and to live a simple life. It is not necessary to change clothes every day. We have to be aware of this. Think, worry about the Kingdom of God and God will give you all the rest. This is what we have to see, to remember in all our life, because if we live with these commandments, with this Sermon on the Mountain, if we live with the new commandments of Christ, we will be filled by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will give our life love. It will give us peace.

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