My priest, Father Chris, preached a homily this past Sunday, entitled, “Sheep or Goat”. You can watch it by clicking the link here.
I added a comment that I would like to share. It is more meaningful if you watch the homily first. Here is my comment,
“Yesterday, I felt a similar situation in reverse. I lost my baptismal cross in the gym while working out. I notified the folks at the front desk. No, sorry, nothing reported. A bit later, one of the attendants came to me and presented me back my lost cross. I was overjoyed, and told him so, and then asked where it was found. He replied that a lady had spotted it and turned it in. I am not able to say thank you to her, nor do I know if she knows how wonderful it was to have it returned. But, hopefully, her blessing of this act of kindness, and the attendants for bringing it to me are significant. What a joy to be able to perform little and meaningful acts.”
I have only recently discovered Walter Williams, but he is so frank and clear and brilliant in his analysis, that I hope you find time to discover him as well. He recently wrote an article, “We Don’t Need Bad Law” which I find very compelling. Here is the quote I offer from that article,
“There’s a question about reputation that never crosses even the sharpest legal minds. Does one’s reputation belong to him? In other words, if one’s reputation is what others think about him, whose property are other people’s thoughts? The thoughts I have in my mind about others, and hence their reputations, belong to me.”There is also a great essay about the concept of blackmail linked in the article. Check it out here.
I am fascinated by names, words, etc. They all come from something. The First Lady of the US, shares her name with this pious woman from the 4th century. The other very interesting thing is the misunderstanding from most westerners that the Middle East and North Africa has always been populated as it is today. However, it is clear that this area was rife with Christians and the Christian faith. Many of our earliest Church zealots came from this region. In this case, from present day Tunis.
Reading from the Synaxarion:
Saint Melania the Younger, who was born in 388, was the grand-daughter of Saint Melania the Elder (see June 8). Her father Publicola was an Eparch of Rome. She was joined in wedlock to a husband and became the mother of two children, both of which she lost shortly thereafter. Thus, having agreed with her husband to pass the rest of their lives in abstinence and chastity, and taking her mother Albina with her, she went off to Africa. They ransomed 8,000 captives; furthermore, they built two monasteries – one for men and one for women – in the city of Tagaste, which was in the district of Tunis. After seven years they moved to Jerusalem. Thereafter Melania shut herself up in a small and narrow hermitage by the Mount of Olives, and wearing away her body with fasting and vigil, she reposed in 434.
Sometimes, we are so overjoyed with the pageantry of the celebration of the Nativity, we might forget the intense struggle of Christians to “bring” us the true faith. Christmas should be a time of joy and celebration, but let us not forget the struggles of past believers:
20,000 Martyrs burned in Nicomedia
Reading from the Synaxarion:
All these Saints, some 20,000 in number, were burned alive in the year 303, while they were gathered in church. This came to pass during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian. According to the Synaxarion, this took place on the day of Christ’s Nativity. Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. VIII, 6) says that, of the Christians then living in Nicomedia, all were slain by imperial decree – some by the sword, and others by fire, and that, because of their divine and inexpressible ardour, both men and women cast themselves into the fire.
This time of year is so beautiful and meaningful for us. Our lives are so intertwined with the, almost 10% of the year, involved with the “holidays”. So, it is so important to remember the entire reason for this festive, and yes, hectic time.
The celebration of the special relationship that we have with God. We, who were created by a Creator, were joined by that very Creator, in a manner that is indescribable. He became one us, his own creations!
Wow! Amazing. Beautiful. Special beyond words and measure.
I find this translated into Arabic especially poignant. I hope that you do as well.