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April 6, 2008

4th Sunday in LentFrgeorge

Without a doubt we look into the future of humankind, neither expecting automatic progress to utopia, nor being overwhelmed by the possibility of tyranny, of war and of death, which most assuredly cast a shadow over our age. We look into the future, believing that good causes are worth fighting for, that society is worthy of improvement, and that there is a point and value in trying to help change the world for the better. All our efforts are based on hope.

Let's include our noble effort here and the surprising progress we have made. Our sacred effort here is to be able to see, as soon as possible the erection of our multi-purpose building on the beautiful lot which we have purchased. Hope gives us strength and courage to overcome. And thankfully we have proved this with all you wonderful brothers and sisters, who never hesitate to volunteer and be of service.

As Christians, we look in hope, not only to life in the future, but to the future life. We do not need to draw pictures of an existence beyond the grave. Because Christ is risen, we look in hope to a future life with God, and we are content to know, with St. Paul, that it is "things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing," and above all, "things beyond our imagining" that God has prepared for those, who love him.

As mentioned previously, a Christian without hope, is like a ship without an anchor. Some years ago one of our newest submarines sank, trapping the crew inside to a watery prison. Understandably, everything within our Nation's Navy was summoned to see how they could help save the crew. For a while it appeared that there was some hope that all could be saved. Unfortunately, even though feverish attempts were made to save them, time ran out.
The last message laboriously tapped out from the submarine before the oxygen failed was this: "is there any hope?"

The Christian's hope is not a despairing hope. It isn't a hope based on a wistful "if only" ---- "if only people would stop fighting wars; if only nations would stop spending billions of dollars on armaments; if only people weren't prejudiced, etc." Our hope is not the despairing hope of a drowning person, clinging onto a small piece of driftwood, which he realizes cannot support him.

While the shallow optimist, the disillusioned and cynical may retreat to indifference about life, the Christian remains strong, -­fortified with hope, because hope is not based on the nature of humans, but on the promises of God. A Christian somehow continues to look for the best in an enemy. He or she hopes for the best in a worst situation, and looks, as we say, for the light at the end of the tunnel, even when so many think that a tunnel is a cave.

Christian hope is a Resurrection hope. It is powered by the engine of Christian love, and steered by the rudder of the Resurrection. It keeps a steady course in life without the danger of being sucked into the whirlpool of shallow optimism, and thrown against the rocks of despair.

Christians of hope look forward to life in the future, and no less to the future life! We look forward into our own personal future neither in shallow optimism, nor despair, believing that whatever sorrows, or trouble, or doubt, ---whatever grief, or pain, or distress, -­whatever loneliness or even persecution may come, we believe that our faith is an anchor as St. Paul stated. We know that an anchor is most vital for any ship, because, without an anchor it is at the mercy of the currents of the sea. Therefore, our hope is the anchor of our life, and that anchor is our unshakeable faith in God.

Without a doubt we look into the future of humankind, neither expecting automatic progress to utopia, nor being overwhelmed by the possibility of tyranny, of war and of death, which most assuredly cast a shadow over our age. We look into the future, believing that good causes are worth fighting for, that society is worthy of improvement, and that there is a point and value in trying to help change the world for the better. All our efforts are based on hope.

Let's include our noble effort here and the surprising progress we have made. Our sacred effort here is to be able to see, as soon as possible the erection of our multi-purpose building on the beautiful lot which we have purchased. Hope gives us strength and courage to overcome. And thankfully we have proved this with all you wonderful brothers and sisters, who never hesitate to volunteer and be of service.

As Christians, we look in hope, not only to life in the future, but to the future life. We do not need to draw pictures of an existence beyond the grave. Because Christ is risen, we look in hope to a future life with God, and we are content to know, with St. Paul, that it is "things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing," and above all, "things beyond our imagining" that God has prepared for those, who love him.

As mentioned previously, a Christian without hope, is like a ship without an anchor. Some years ago one of our newest submarines sank, trapping the crew inside to a watery prison. Understandably, everything within our Nation's Navy was ummoned to see how they could help save the crew. For a while it appeared that there was some hope that all could be saved. Unfortunately, even though feverish attempts were made to save them, time ran out.

The last message laboriously tapped out from the submarine before the oxygen failed was this: "is there any hope?"

That is the question, which is always at the back or our minds. We must come to understand and firmly believe, that we can withstand anything, as long as we feel strongly that there is hope.

As Christians, we have a new birth out of darkness and death, into a living hope, which comes to us through God's mercy. It is the supreme Gift of God's love in Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for us. `Through him," as St. Peter says: "we have come to trust in God, who raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory, so that our faith and hope might be fixed on God!"
 
+ Fr. George Papadeas

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“Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word or our epistle.” - Thessalonians 2:15