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August 9, 2020

Homily for the Ninth Sunday of Matthew - Three Movements of God Towards Man (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homily on the Three Movements of God Towards Man

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

(Ninth Sunday of Matthew - 14:22-34)

Today's Gospel refers to the cessation of the storm that tormented the ship on which the Disciples were. And this calmness came about by the miraculous energy of Christ.

Christ, after the miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves, ascended the mountain to pray, while on the ship the Disciples suffered from the waves. At this difficult time Christ came walking on the waves and first healed Peter's lack of faith and then calmed the wind so that the other Disciples could calm down.

If we read this passage carefully we will see many ways in which Christ helps us, but we also respond differently to His Grace. However, in order for a meeting to take place, there must be coordination.

Christ moves towards us in a different way each time. Sometimes He withdraws from our lives, suspends His Grace and leaves us to be tested, so that we can understand our weaknesses and so our freedom can be expressed. There are many such cases in our lives that it seems that the problems are many and we are alone, abandoned even by God Himself. Sometimes Christ comes in the waves of our lives, in the temptations that torment us and asks us to get out of the ship of our lives, that is, to get out of our selfishness and egoism and to walk on the waves because there our faith will be tested. But we begin to lack faith, we do not have the mental courage to get out of the shelter of ourselves, and we are locked in the prison of our ego. And sometimes Christ enters the ship of our life and then comes great peace and tranquility. Christ uses all three ways to help us and save us.

But we too respond differently to every move of Christ. Sometimes we become disillusioned with the apparent removal of Christ and lose our courage or turn against Him, without realizing the importance of this pedagogical energy of Christ. Sometimes, while He calls us to come out of ourselves, from our passions and free ourselves from their bondage, we become intolerant and protest. We say, "Why are you bothering us, God? Leave us alone. We do not want to follow you." And sometimes we let Him come into the ship of our lives and our families, so we experience His beneficial presence.

Christ uses many ways to heal us, but we also use many ways to accept or deny Him. Happiness will always be in tune with the way Christ uses each time to help us, if we endure His silence, if we respond to His call to be released from the prison of the passions, and if we open our hearts to receive Him within it. For, if He prefers silence and we want to talk, if He cares about our liberation from the passions and we like the life of the passions, if He wants to come into our hearts and we deny it to Him, then there cannot be a meeting. Every encounter, including our encounter with God, must have the element of coordination. Otherwise God will be considered inaccessible and unknown.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.