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July 11, 2022

Homily One on the Fourth Sunday of Matthew - The Word of God (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homily on the Fourth Sunday of Matthew 
The Word of God
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The centurion of today's Gospel passage, who was a Roman soldier, had great faith. Not merely an abstract faith in some God who dwells in the heavens, nor in a Supreme Being who rules the world, but he had faith in Christ. He believed that Christ is God and not a simple man who has some ability, and he asked Him to heal his servant who was paralyzed and remained at home. This faith can be seen from the words he said to Christ: "Speak a word and my servant will be healed" (Matt. 8:8), that is, say a word, even though you are far away, and my servant will be healed. The word "pais" (παίς) means either a son at a young age or a slave at any age, which is the case here. Christ accepted his request and the paralyzed servant was healed.

It is important to underline this request of the centurion: "Speak a word". The word of God has energy and regenerates people, works miracles, creates change in the inner world of man. The Fathers say that just as every material object has energy, so God has energy. The difference is that the energy of material things is created, i.e. it has a beginning, decay and an end, while God's energy is uncreated, i.e. it has no beginning, decay and end. Just as the sun illuminates, warms and enlivens creation, so the spiritual Sun, which is the Triune God, has energy that illuminates, warms and enlivens man, but also all creation. Everything that happens in creation is the result of God's energy.

In this sense we say that the word of God has a strong, powerful and effective energy. The centurion understood this very well, because, as the Evangelist Matthew says, "his servant was healed at that hour" (Matt. 1:13), that is, the miracle took place without Christ visiting the servant in his home. And when we have faith and invoke God's help, we can feel the power of the energy of His word. This is done when we read with faith and love the Holy Bible, in which is included the will of God which was revealed by Christ Himself to His Prophets and Apostles. The study of the Holy Bible can cause real revolutions in our soul, to illuminate it, to warm it, to strengthen it. When we read the Holy Bible, we feel a light within us, since we understand all that was previously unknown, our heart is warmed by love and a sense of God's presence, and our whole being is strengthened. It is a blessed habit to read a chapter from the Bible every day.

Also, the energy of the word of God illuminates, warms, enlivens and strengthens our inner world, when we pronounce the name of Christ in prayer, when we often repeat with faith, love and fervor the prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me", which is a development of the small cry we address to God during our worship gatherings, namely "Lord have mercy". And, of course, when we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, after preparation, we feel the Grace of God within us.

And people's words have energy and power, but they cause malice, confusion, create problems, because many times they come from their passions. That is why today we hear many things people say that disturb us.
We must trust in the word of God which pacifies our heart, comforts it, strengthens it. Let's test this truth. The word of God has more power than nuclear energy, than the atomic bomb, since it creates regenerated people in a peaceful way, who will remain eternally in the Light of God's love. Try, my brethren, this great power of God's word.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.