July 16, 2023

Homily Four for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod - The Light and the Lights (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod
The Light and the Lights

(Matthew 5:14-19)
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Today's Sunday is dedicated by the Church to the Holy Fathers who gathered for the Fourth Ecumenical Synod in Chalcedon and dogmatized regarding about the two natures in Christ, the divine and the human, and about how these two natures acted in His single person.

The Gospel reading refers to the words of Christ He told His Disciples that they are lights in the world and that they should shine with their teaching and works. But to be able to shine both in teaching and in works one must be a light himself, having received the Light of God within himself and having a connection with the eternal uncreated Light, the Light of God. After all, the Disciples first received the Light of God and then shined with their whole being.

We should look a little at this course taken by the spiritual light, about which Christ refers. Let's say it's a triangle. In the upper corner of the triangle is God who is the Light of the world, as He Himself has said. This Light is sent to the Disciples who are at the bottom of the triangle, so they also become lights, because they partake of the eternal Light. The Disciples must not keep this light to themselves, but send it to the people, who are at the other corner of the triangle. And as soon as people see the Light of God, through the saints, then they glorify the eternal Light, God, that is, the Light returns to the upper corner of the triangle. Thus, this spiritual Light comes from God, is directed to the Apostles and Fathers who are illuminated, and through them it radiates to people and returns to God again.

If at some point there is an interruption of the movement of this Light, then there is an obscuration, what we call a "blackout". Then man and the world are in darkness and they paralyze everything. What is done in the sensible world is done in the spiritual world. It is terrible for man to live in spiritual darkness, not to know what God is, what is the purpose of man's creation, what Christ brought to earth with His incarnation, what salvation is and how it is achieved, etc.

The Apostles and the Holy Fathers were the Light of the world, not because they were good people and had studied the science of their time, but because they had a relationship with the eternal Light, God himself. One does not become light by being a good person and having virtues, but by receiving the Holy Spirit within. Saint Symeon the New Theologian says that the blacksmith, in order to make various shapes with the iron, also uses tools, but if he does not have the fire to heat the iron, the tools cannot help. For our spiritual training the tools are the virtues, but the fire is the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

We should trust the Holy Fathers, because within them is the Light of God that illuminates them. But we should know that whatever gift we have, God, the Heavenly Light, must be glorified with it, because from Him all good things come and to Him they must end up.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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