November 15, 2021

Homilies on Holiness and the Saints - The Honorable Forerunner and Baptist John (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

The Honorable Forerunner and Baptist John

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Hagiou Vlasiou

During the past two months, in the short Eucharistic sermons, we analyzed what holiness is in the Church and who belongs to the army of saints. We saw the Prophets, the Apostles, the Evangelists, the Fathers and Teachers, the Martyrs, the Venerables and the Ascetics, and especially Christ and His Mother, our Panagia.

In the category of saints, however, belong all those who strive to keep the will of God in their daily lives, those who have Christ in them, those who have the mind of Christ and have a sacred desire to enter the Kingdom of God.

The purpose and mission of Christians is to become saints. The command we have all received is, "Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" (Lev. 10:44).

In the ancient Church the members of the Church are characterized as saints. This is how the Apostle Paul called them. For example, sending a letter to the Christians of Ephesus, he began: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:1). They are called "saints" because they were sanctified and had become holy by the Grace of God through the mysteries and because they were advancing in sanctification, which was their ultimate goal, that is, to become saints, by communion with God.

In the chorus of saints there are billions of saints of every age, profession and lifestyle. There are infants and young children, married and heads of families, whole families who were martyred, military and other professions, simple and wise people. It is a sanctified and blessed army that is in the Kingdom of God and was seen by the Evangelist John who recorded in Revelation that they are dressed in white garments and holding in their hands the palm tree of glory and triumph.

Such saints existed throughout the history of the Church, and there will always be as long as the Church of Christ exists. The end of the world has not taken place yet, because other saints will be manifested to enter the Kingdom of God. Nobody can argue that they cannot become a saint, that is, to enter into communion with the Grace of God. Nobody can come up with an excuse that they could not implement the will of Christ in their life. Because such saints are found in every historical moment and in every part of the earth. They can be by our side and we do not recognize them, because we are spiritually blind. They can be in our home, our neighborhood, our city. And of course, at the Second Coming of Christ we will be surprised by what we will see. We will see people whom we lived among and did not give importance to who are found to be in the light of the glory of God.

And because today is the feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Forerunner, we must remember that Saint John the Forerunner was a great figure. He was a Prophet and Apostle in the highest sense, as well as a Venerable and Martyr. That is why in every sacred service, when the Bishop and the Priest give the dismissal, they mention his name: "...through the supplications of the Honorable, Glorious, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John". He was born of holy parents, who prayed for his conception, he lived in the wilderness, he baptized Christ, he confessed the truth, and was martyred to obey God's will.

May Christ, the Panagia, the Prophets, the Honorable Forerunner, the Apostles, the Fathers, the Venerables, the Ascetics, the Martyrs, the Confessors and all the Saints intercede for us so that we do not forget our destination and be included in the choirs of the saints of the Church.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.