Sermon by Archbishop Alypy (Gamanovich) of Chicago and Mid-America
on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers
We heard the Gospel reading about how, “ A certain man made a great supper, and bade many (Luke 14, 16).” But when everything was ready, the invited guests refused to attend, making personal excuses: one had acquired a plot of land, another bought five oxen, a third had married.
This parable expresses God's call and ends with the words: many are called, but few are chosen.
Whom should we understand as called? The list would include Enoch, Noah, Job the Long-suffering, Abraham, and other righteous ones and prophets, for through them the Lord proclaimed his will.
These prophets and righteous ones are forefathers, whose memory we celebrate today.
They all lived by faith and hope in the coming Messiah, that they would enter His Kingdom.
By what signs can we identify the elect? Certainly, through the preponderance of their faith and righteousness.
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Romans 4 ,3). He demonstrated particular faith in his willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac, but was restrained by an angel. This episode in the life of Abraham prophetically prefigured, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3 ,16).”
Because of his righteousness, Abraham's descendants were chosen by God for a special mission, but this special favor was not according to the flesh and those chosen did pass the test. It is said of them that they were distracted by the wiles of the world: one said that he had married a wife, another said that he had bought five yoke of oxen, another, and when the Messiah came, they did not recognize him.
Because the meaning of the parable is wider, then it concerns us as well, that is, God's call goes out to us, too.
Those who answer are in the Church of the called. But it is not enough merely to be called, one must also be chosen.
Who are these chosen? Perhaps it is the clergy, for bishops are the successors of the Apostles. But the Apostles themselves were chose to perform a great service, to preach salvation and their selection was from the beginning, and then one fell away—Judas. The same goes for the clergy, they are also chosen, but for the Highest service.
Being chosen only because of faith and piety can be said only of the saints.
Selection is the same as entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is what we should strive towards, whither the Lord calls us.
The Nativity of Christ will arrive soon. We need to prepare for this holiday. This preparation is expressed through fasting, praying, going to Church for confession and communion.
May the Lord help us, who came to earth for our salvation. Amen.