Seek Heavenly Gold by Fr. Tavit Boyajian
This week the Olympics are on television. Athletes that have sought excellence abound. Their quest for Gold is intense. Those who achieve their goal rejoice.
So too, I am writing this message to you on the Eve of our church celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven; a time when the apostles themselves witnessed Jesus descending from heaven together with angels, and taking his mother with Him back to heaven. The assumption is particularly significant to us as Christians. By raising his Mother up from the tomb, and into eternal life, Jesus demonstrated that indeed he has the power to bring another person into heaven. That power is a power Jesus intends to use again, very soon, to raise all his faithful to be with him in heaven as well.
In order to attain this great heavenly prize, we would do well to follow the example of Mary. Mary was given a great gift from heaven; the gift of the Son of God in her womb. Mary cared for the gift she was given; and as a result, all of us have been blessed. Mary's spiritual actions earned her heavenly gold; a gold that will never fade away.
Just as God gave Mary a great and valuable gift, so too He has given gifts to each of us. As Christians we understand that the gifts we have received have come to us from God. For scripture tells us that all good gifts and all perfect bounties come from our heavenly Father. Certainly the greatest gift we have received, however, is similar to the gift Mary received. By the action of the Holy Spirit, God entered Mary and dwelled within her. By the action of the Holy Spirit, we too receive God himself within us each and every Sunday when we receive Holy Communion. This is a precious gift. Now, we literally walk with God.
"God in us," is the ongoing source of our spiritual fulfillment and joy. As a faith community we are called to live with and share the indwelling spirit of our living God with one another. With His spirit in us, we are called to love one another with His loving ways.
Loving, as Jesus loved, means sacrificing to serve the needs of others. It means humbly doing whatever is necessary to help the other on the path to eternal life. The mission of bringing people into eternal life was, and is, the mission of Christ, and so it is the mission of his body on this earth, the Holy Church. Our ancestors shed their loving blood to defend this message of truth for us. Their martyrdoms proclaim to us that the love of God is greater than the sin of this world. It reminds us there is no sacrifice too great to make in order to protect and proclaim the gospel of salvation.
The way of our martyred Christian ancestors is markedly different from the way of this world. The world directs us to think selfishly. It encourages us to consider only our own happiness, and to serve only those who can give back to us directly. But in Christ we are called to something greater. We are called to realize that all people are called to be children in the kingdom of our heavenly Father; a love filled kingdom which we are to represent to them. We are to play an integral role in God's mission of saving and growing souls. Protecting the precious life giving gospel, and raising our children to know the perfect love of God is a high calling. It is a divine calling. And it is OUR calling.
As we enter into our Fall church season, you might be tempted to make something other than God your priority. You might be tempted to live a secular life, or to seek only the things of this world. I adjure you to resist that temptation. For the temptation to worldliness is demonic and leads to spiritual destruction.
Keep the Sabbath holy. Attend church. Read Scripture. Live by Jesus' life-giving words. Seek the unfading heavenly gold. Volunteer to serve others. Take up your cross. Give of your time, talent and treasure. For by doing so you will live in communion with the Spirit of God who is in you. You will find peace and joy. You will radiate the divine light of God to a dark world and you will attain the heavenly prize.