METROPOLITAN STEFAN’S MEDITATION FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF GREAT FAST

Our Great Fast Meditations have meditated on the sinfulness of living with feelings of entitlement.  Today’s Gospel tells of how two apostles who blatantly asked Jesus to sit on either side of him when he comes into his glory.  It brought out feelings of animosity among the other ten apostles.  Is this not true of life – our life, when we strive for being regarded as in some way superior and thereby more entitled to life’s privileges than others?  It occurs among all of us, between people of all ages, ethnic groups and races, people with different levels of education, amidst hierarchy, clergy, faithful, and so on.  It causes dissension, envy and brutality amidst us. Jesus was calling his apostles to a change of mind, to live with a new vision.  It was not easy for them to understand that greatness meant becoming a servant of others.  Like the apostles, we are slow to grasp Jesus’ vision of joy and peace, slow to accept the truth that sets us free.  Can we grasp the hand of Jesus Christ with His promise that we will not walk in darkness if we follow Him?  Jesus taught that “whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all” (Mk 10:45).   Our Holy Father recently reminded us not to be hypocritical in the celebration of our faith.  As we make plans for Easter celebrations, plan to make the entire journey with Jesus Christ, by participating in the Vespers and Exposition of the Holy Shroud on Good Friday and entering through His sacrifice into the celebration of Pascha, the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I urge you not to be hypocritical with God by choosing to enjoy the blessing of Easter foods and  participating in Easter Sunday services without having entered through the door of Christ’s passion and death on the cross.

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