Season of the Cross

Gospel Message & Recording

Today is the second Sunday after the Festival of the Cross in the Orthodox Church calendar. The season after September 14th is called “Season of the Cross”. Readings from the New Testament during this season will be mostly on the Second Coming of the Lord. The signs of the “End of the World” are meditated upon during this time.

I would like to share a single thought for our meditation from the passage from St. Mathew. In today’s reading Jesus warns the disciples of the “leaven” of the Pharisees and Sadducees who asked for a sign from heaven for them to believe in Him. Pharisees and Sadducees are the most learned people in the Jewish community and the most tenacious observers of the Law of Moses. Jesus had warned the people about their teaching and their life style. “Obey their teaching but do not follow their life”, “the whitewashed tomb” “the hypocrites” and so on. It was not uncommon for a Jew to ask for a sign from heaven because Jehovah’s guidance during the Exodus period the community did see sign from heaven in the form of “pillar of fire during night and cloud during day”, “Manna”, “water from the rock”, “quails” and so on. In fact, Jesus just worked the miracle of feeding the five thousand and healing the sick. But still they were asking for a sign from heaven!

This is a basic tendency in each human being. All miracles of Jesus were related to human need and human suffering. But that was not enough for them. We can see the same kind of people today: they get so much blessing from the Lord and still they look for signs and miracles. If a patient is healed at the hospital it is not a miracle. If you get a job it is not a miracle. When children are born to you it is not a miracle. When you have a nice community, it is not a miracle. When you have parents, it is not a miracle. When your neighbor helps you, it is not a miracle. When the parents pay for your education it is not a miracle. It is the weakness of humans to identify miracles in normal life but it they hear of someone healing with a touch they run after them. If they hear of someone predicting the future, they will run after them.  Many “human gods” are now exploiting our people who seek the “sign from heaven”. Jesus said it is the adulterous generation that looks for sign. Looking for signs is not the pursuit of a believer. A believer puts the total trust in the Lord. Nothing unusual will excite or worry the believer. But a materially minded man will look for signs.

We should be able to see God’s miraculous work in every moment in our life. Put our trust in him regardless of ‘sign from above’. Remember: those who obey the Lord will not look for a sign but those who live sin will look for a sign. When we surrender ourselves to God we would not look for sign because everything that we get is a miracle.