With unparalleled joy still surging within our hearts from the magnificent feast of the incarnation of our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ, we bid farewell to the year 2019 and welcome the New Year 2020.
One of our Lord’s names, “Emmanuel,” means “God is with us” (Mt 1:23). This divine name reminds us that Christ came to earth out of His infinite love, and “dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14), so that it might again be possible for us to be with God. Our Lord became incarnate in order to restore the intimate fellowship with God that we had lost through the fall of Adam and Eve.
He came “as one of us,” tearing down “the wall of animosity” (cf. Eph. 2: 1-5) in order to bring about Peace with God and Reconciliation among humanity.
He came to teach us how to communicate with God and with our fellow human beings, who are created according to His “image and likeness” (Gen 1:26).
He came to instruct us that in no other way can we find salvation than through our neighbor, in whom we encounter God (cf. 1 Jn 4:20; Matt 25:40).
He came to reveal to us that the only way of communicating truly with God and any “other”, is through crucified Love. As His Holy Cross signifies union with God through Its vertical dimension and union with our neighbor through Its horizontal dimension, there is no true communion with God that neglects our brothers and sisters, and no true communion with our brothers and sisters that neglects God.
Therefore may this New Year, endowed to us by God’s infinite philanthropy, be a training ground wherein we rigorously practice inter-personal communication with our neighbors. May we start with our closest “neighbor”, who may be our spouse, our father, mother, brother, or sister. Then let us extends our focus for authentic communication to the “household of faith” (Gal. 6:10), that is, the members of our parish, with our neighbor, our friend, and our co-worker. And beyond these, let our concern for communication and communion embrace those in need, the stranger, the outcast, the younger, or the older.
Beloved, our eagerness to communicate and “be with” others will become the path of the heart that unites us with God, neighbor, and all of creation. In this way, the New Year will make us rich in mercy, love and charity. Indeed, in this way, we shall imitate and resemble the God of Mercy, Love, and Philanthropy, which is the goal of our spiritual life.
Please accept our warmest and most heartfelt wishes for a blessed New Year, with abundant spiritual fruit stemming from the vital theme of communicating with our neighbors in Christ. On behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, our Clergy, and our collaborators in ministry, we wish you all many happy returns with good health and happiness.
With much love and honor in the Lord
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea