Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Immediately after the timely and redeeming Feast of the Holy Nativity, the wondrous Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into human history, we now celebrate the beginning of the New Year. Every New Year’s Day is primarily a time to offer praise and thanksgiving to the Philanthropic Lord for His generous gift of another year in our earthly life.But the first day of the new year is also a good time to set a specific goal, as a person but also as a Church, toward which we will have to work spiritually during the course of the entire year.
The global community, of which we are all members, is still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. Many problems of physical and mental health, financial crisis, depression and mourning for the loss of our fellow human beings, continue to challenge those around us and among us.
Despite the fact that each of us has our own problems, as Christians, we must not remain apathetic observers of the problems that plague our society. Instead, we should become good Samaritans to every needy person near us.
Our Philanthropic Lord, Who “wherever He went, benefited and healed all” (Acts 10:38), invites us to imitate Him in His work of Charity. Let us, therefore, become the consolation to the sad and desperate, through our prayer and through our practical and voluntary actions; let us become helpers to the mentally and physically ill, as well as supporters to the financially and socially weak. In short, let us become the “neighbor” to our neighbor.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews assures us that God is pleased with our offering to our brothers and sisters. He specifically writes: “Do not forget to do good and share what you have with others. With such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Heb. 13:16) St. John Chrysostom similarly exhorts all of us to be philanthropic, saying: “No trait is more significant for a faithful person and someone who loves Christ than to take care of one’s neighbor and to make every effort for their salvation” (On Repentance, Homily 8, ΕΠΕ 30: 288).
Charity or, as it is now called, selfless volunteering, is light. It is the very Light that Christ wants us Christians to be in the world. (Mt. 5:14). Light, which reveals to all people the source of light, that is, Christ, Who is the true Light (Jn 8:12). By volunteering, “our light will shine before people” (Mt. 5:16) and we will thus become an occasion for our fellow human beings to praise God.
Let us, therefore, not dwell merely on ideas and words, but, during the New Year, which the Lord’s goodness has bestowed upon us, let every one of us personally and as an ecclesiastical Body engage in works of goodness and psychosomatic support of our fellow human beings. Let us generously and lovingly offer our spiritual or material help to everyone indiscriminately. Let us become the “fine aura” (3 Kings 19:12) of the presence of God in the life of each of our suffering, anxious and desperate brothers and sisters. And you may rest assured that “the God of love and peace will be with us” (2 Cor. 13:11).
On behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan of Pisidia Sotirios, our Clergy and Associates we wish a blessed and Happy New Year for you, your loved ones and for the whole world. Have a blessed New Year!
With much love in the Lord,
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea