“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)
God’s love is personal. He knows us better than we know ourselves and he promises us an undending life that grows and flourishes long after our short and—for many—difficult sojourn on earth. This is hard to explain in times of disaster and suffering. Except that in watching the news, or in our own experience, we see acts of unselfish kindness and heroism that reveal how alive the image of God remains in human beings.
For Saint Paul, like his Lord, the love of God is personal. He isn’t merely a preacher of abstract, academic truths. He rolls up his sleeves and is engaged in the messy business of personal relations with the men and women of his communities. Look at today’s little excerpt from Colossians. In a few verses he names Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke “the beloved physician,” Demas, Nymphas and Archippus. He is intent too on bringing people together, so he mentions that the community in Colossae should share this letter with the Laodiceans, and they in turn should share their letter (now lost to us) with the Colossians.
Of special note here is that relations with Paul didn’t always go well. If you go to Acts 15:36-41 you will see that Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp contention” about Mark. Barnabas wanted to take him along on the next missionary journey but Paul didn’t. Mark had failed them in the past and Paul didn’t want to risk the mission again. The argument was bad enough that they split up and went in different directions to preach Christ. But here in Colossians we see that there has been a reconciliation. Paul and Mark are now together in prison, suffering for the same Lord. “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him). If the Colossians had heard that there was some past bad blood between Paul and Barnabas, Paul was now making it clear that peace was restored. What a hopeful message that is for all of us engaged in the work of the Church!
Today is the 40th anniversary of the repose of Father Joseph Pishtey, the first chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America. May his memory be eternal!
Today is also the 10th anniversary of the episcopal consecration of Bishop Ireneu (Duvlea) of Dearborn heights, Auxilliary of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
La mulţi ani, cu sănătate, să vă dea Domnul tot ce doriţi. Zile senine şi fericire la mulţi ani, să trăiţi.
Many years to you with health, may God give you all that you wish, beautiful days and happiness , many years, live long.