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June 25, 2023

Homily for the Third Sunday of Matthew - Divine Providence (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Divine Providence

Third Sunday of Matthew

(July 6, 2008)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The basic message of today's Gospel reading, my beloved brethren, is faith in God's Providence, that is, that God provides for all creation and certainly above all for mankind.

The word "providence" (πρόνοια) comes from the verb pronoo (προνοώ), which means to foresee, to be interested in something or someone. By divine Providence we characterize God's great interest in the world He created and in man who is His most perfect creation.

In today's Gospel reading some specific examples are mentioned, such as that God takes care of the birds of the sky that do not sow or reap or gather goods in storehouses and yet God preserves them, and for the lilies of the field that do not toil, do not spin and yet they are distinguished by such beauty that all the adornment of Solomon of the Old Testament, who was famous for ornamentation, cannot be compared.

From these words it appears that God acts in all creation, nothing is done mechanically and by chance. God does not dwell in the heavens and rules the world from there, but He is the creator, the provider, the sustainer of the world. And since He is interested in the birds and the grass, he is much more interested in man who has a soul and a body.

What does this personal interest of God for us consist of? First from the fact that He created man and then, after his fall, He was incarnated and recreated him. We see this in our personal lives as well. We were born and came from non-existence to existence. This was not a random event, the result of our parents' love, but an action of God, through our parents. Then, God watches over us and intervenes many times beneficially for our healing, because He loves us. Anyone who understands God's love is truly overwhelmed with deep compunction and emotion. The fact that we were baptized Orthodox and remain in the Church and can attend liturgies and receive communion of the Body and Blood of Christ is a great gift of God to us.

How many times while in danger have we not felt the intervention of divine Providence, through various incidents, but also from the help of God's people, whom He sent to help us!

Certainly, God provides for each of us and wants our salvation, but He cannot violate the freedom He has given us. This is why, as in all matters, so in this, our own freedom is required. We must be moved by God's love and respond to His Providence.

Therefore, faith in God's Providence eliminates the lack of faith that many people suffer from in our time, and it also eliminates the anxiety that many Christians have regarding the accumulation of material possessions. Whoever is possessed by lack of faith and anxiety does not believe in God's Providence and therefore cannot be called a Christian. We must firmly believe that God provides and cares for us.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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