Reflections on Pilgrimage
Today's homily will be a reflection on Holy Pilgrimage, addressing the Great Commandment in Matthew. 22:34-46, my recent experience at a monastery in Illinois, and the words below on sanctifying space.
GOSPEL READING: Matthew. 22:34-46
"When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question:‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions."
CREATING SACRED SPACE:
"As Orthodox, we have every tool afforded by God to mankind to ward off the influx of evil. When the plagues of judgment hit Egypt, the Hebrew home was marked as sacred space with the covenant Blood of the Lamb, keeping evil at bay and saving the firstborn. When plague hit Israel due to David’s sin of numbering the people, the plague was stopped precisely at the “threshing floor” (place of sifting) when David and the elders fell on their faces. Consider the Holy Protection of the Theotokos. EVERYTHING about Orthodoxy is making space sacred to protect it from evil – the heart, the home, the temple, even the entire city via processions and public blessings. I personally take Holy Water to the “high place” of our city and pray over the city to make it sacred space. If you want to save your city, do processions, or at the very least, anoint it as holy ground with Holy Oil and Holy Water. This spiritual warfare is the birthright of every Orthodox Christian.
Bottom line: In the world of…pandemics and economic upheaval, this is, for the Orthodox Christians, our finest hour. We were made for times like these; we were made so the very gates of Hell cannot conquer us. All we have to do is be true to the Faith, build a future generation of Orthodox and, guess what? We win!! When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s not good, it’s still good (Glory to God for all things).” ~ Excerpt from an Article on "Orthodox Reflections"