Read after the Liturgy's Bible On Friday, the Fifth Week of the Great Lent
Read after the Liturgy's Bible
On Friday, the Fifth Week of the Great Lent
Includes an invocation to have faith; Inspired by His saying in the Bible’s chapter: “if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8: 21-27)
Our Master, may He be glorified went up to the mountain alone to pray on two occasions: the first was before the miracle of bread increase (John 1:2) and the second time followed it (John 6:15). This was to teach us first how to pray alone. Secondly to run from those who wanted to crown Him as an earthly king after witnessing the bread’s miracle. He stayed by himself until nighttime while the boat carrying his disciples suffered the waves because of the strong winds that shook it, which aimed at getting them to endure the tough times and disasters. They spent all night in fear and He only came in the fourth quarter of the night in order to teach them how to ask for Him with insistence and diligence. When they saw Him walking on water, Peter said to Him: “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water. “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).That is all what was in today’s chapter and from it we should learn two things: one thing is that our Lord performed here five miracles: one He walked on the sea, two: He made Peter walk on it too, three: Peter was saved from drowning, four: calming the winds and tumults, and five: the boat reached the harbor in peace (John 6:21).
The second thing is that most of the trials and sadness come to us due to our lack of faith and trust in our God, in addition to our depending on ourselves or the help of others.
The man should then have faith in God and trust in His words Almighty for faith is the basis of salvation and on it are based all good things that God gives to humankind. Also without faith He cannot be satisfied (Hebrews 11:6). This is clearly seen as our Master says to the centurion: “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would” (Matthew 8:13) and He said to the bleeding woman: “Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you” (Matthew 9:22). He also said to the synagogue’s leader whose daughter had died: “Do not be afraid. Just have faith” (Mark 5:36). The disciple also said to the jailor: “Just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your house shall be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Is it acceptable then that our faith may be weak while we are the sons of those who completed their striving adequately? Those who faced the persecution of the strong rulers and cruel kings like Diocletian, Nero and others with great courage and eagerness. 840 thousands were even killed during the rule of one king but their faith was not tarnished but kept safe and sound as received from the pure angels. Could we not get a simple lesson from our Master, may He be glorified, when He reprimanded Peter by saying: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). We learn not to neglect the Godly laws so that we may not serve as a bad example to others because lack of faith makes it easy to disrespect the Godly law and makes it easy for men to neglect all the good things that he was told.
Who between you dear beloved denies these facts which are supported by reason and substantiated by facts? What a wonder! Do we resent the acts of righteousness so that each one of us commits a kind of sin without fear or shame? Here applies to us what the prophet said: “Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;there is no one who does good,not even one” (Psalm 53:3). So if you say what is wrong with that? I tell you the weakening of faith.
It is a real wonder! Very odd and weird!!! We shout every day from the bottom of our hearts saying: “Truly we believe in One God, God the Father, the Pantocrator, Creator of Heaven and Earth, …” while we do every minute something that proves the weakness of our faith? Do sayings prove the true faith? No. it is good deeds that prove the good faith as the apostle said: “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds” (James 2:18). What faith shows that God orders us to love our enemies (Luke 6:35). What do we do for our brothers not our enemies? Not only do we disobey this Lordly order regarding our enemies, no but with our brothers too. We hate and fight with each other until death. We curse and insult. We lay traps, plots, conspiracies, defamations, plaints, trials and persecutions, as well as other evil doings and crimes that are not suitable for the people of Christ. From where did all these come? What is the reason? They come from lack of faith and this is the reason.
The Holy Bible says that our masters the apostles blessed those who cursed them. They endured persecutions. They were mistreated and they prayed and preached those who mistreated them so that they may repent (1 Corinthians: 12-13). Look at Saint Stephan, the first martyr. When he was stoned, he kneeled and prayed for those stoning him saying: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Why do we not follow their example and do like them? What other reason is there then, other than our weak faith and their strong one.
God Almighty asks us every day in His book to give alms: by feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty ones, give shelter to the foreigner, clothes for the unclothed, support the sick and care for the detained and others. He said quite frankly: the poor ones are His brothers and whatever we do unto them we have done to Him (Matthew 25:40). Did we do what we were supposed to do as per His command? No. we turn our faces away from the hungry and the thirsty. We neglect the sick one, reprimand those who are near us or far from us and everyone who asks us for something. It would have been better if we had left him alone, but we insult and reprimand without paying attention to His saying Almighty: “The one who has mercy on the poor is giving God a loan and He shall reward him for his good deed” (Parables 19:17).
Is God a liar? No, God forbid, He rewards a hundred times more (Matthew 19:29) but it is us who have a weak faith. You might say to yourself that I am a believer and I was baptized and saved as the Master of all lands said: “The one who believed and got baptized was saved” (Mark 16:16). To you I say that Peter was a believer just like yourself but the Master reprimanded him saying: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” is your faith greater than Peter? Also JudasIscariot was a believer and a disciple who followed Jesus, to Him all glory, yet he was of little faith. A few silver coins made him lose whatever faith he had left. Our mother Eve also had faith but her faith was weak. Such faith cannot be reliable for the salvation of the soul for it is like still water; it is neither hot enough to purify, nor cold enough to be left alone. Therefore, allow me dear beloved to say with Disciple James: “Faith without deeds is nothing” (James 2:20). If someone claims to be different from what I have said, let him show me how great his faith is through his actions so that I may see if he has trust in God like the trust of the centurion who said: “Lord, say only one word and my boy will be cured” (Matthew 8:8). Or maybe faith like the Canaanite woman to whom the Lord had said: “How great is your faith, let it be as you wish” (Matthew 15:28). If he delves into the Church meekly and not as an observer, or stand in veneration and listen to the Bible and does not run away during preaching time. If he does not speak about his job or trade during worship times, or has mercy on the poor, feeds the hungry, dress the undressed, shelter the foreigner. If he does this, then he is a true believer.
Some say why? Is it because he saw miracles? Like what the Lord said: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16: 17-18). To those I say that it is because of our little faith that we do not see any of these because He says that the miracles accompany those who believe and not those of little faith. Therefore the miracles have stopped because the faith has cooled down.
The evidence to that is the answer the Lord, may He be glorified, gave to His disciples when they asked about the demon saying: “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” and Jesus said: “Because you have so little faith” (Matthew 17: 19-20).
Here dear beloved, we have demonstrated how little faith is the origin of all evil and that faith is the source of all good deeds. We should then take the habit of patience and to be humble, just, compassionate and pure. We should be patient and cover ourselves with the robe of righteousness, while being reasonable, simple and of solid faith, with the grace and compassion of our lord and God Jesus Christ, may He be glorified forever, amen.