July 15, 2023

Homily for the General Epistle for Monastic Saints - Galatians 5:22-6:2 (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


General Epistle for Monastic Saints, or Venerables
Galatians 5:22-6:2
 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
One of the main topics that the Apostle Paul deals with in his letter to the Galatians is the contrast between the spirit and the flesh. We heard an aspect of this topic today in the apostolic reading.
The Apostle Paul advises Christians to live in the Spirit and then they will not follow the desires of the flesh.
The concepts "spirit" and "flesh" in the language of the Apostle Paul have a different meaning than we use them. Spirit is the Holy Spirit and flesh is the man who does not have the Holy Spirit.
Thus, spiritual life is living in the Church and with the Mysteries (Baptism, Chrismation, Divine Eucharist) and the struggle/asceticism to receive the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Then man has within him the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. All these are not simple human virtues, but fruits of the Holy Spirit. A spiritual person is not just the educated, the artist, but in the language of the Church he is the one who has the Holy Spirit.
Then, the carnal life is characterized by the Apostle as a life that is not inspired by the energy of the Holy Spirit and does not have the fruits mentioned above. The Apostle Paul calls "works of the flesh" adultery, fornication, impurity, lechery, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, disputes, jealousies, anger, quarrels, dissensions, schisms, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, debauchery and similar passions.
All these are not just immoral works, but carnal, because they show that man does not have the energy of the Holy Spirit. The Christian with Baptism and all the other Mysteries, especially the Eucharist, when connected with the ascetic life, discards the carnal life and lives the spiritual and ecclesiastical life. He struggles constantly to participate in the Grace of God. This struggle that takes place with the Grace of God is called the crucifixion of passions and desires and then we sre crucified with Christ and resurrected with Him.
Being real Christians is not an inherited right and a habit and social tradition, but it is a blessing and gift of Christ who gives it to us through the Church, but also through our own struggle, in order to respond to this gift.
However, we prove our Christian life, not just with identities and formal participation in church gatherings, but by the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which the Apostle Paul presented today with the reading that was read. We must live this life to be real Christians in practice and life.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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