February 6, 2018

Leave-taking of the Encounter; Our Venerable Father Boucolus, Bishop of Smyrna; the Holy Priest-Martyr Sylvanus, Bishop of Emessa and Those with Him

Jude 1-10; Luke 22:39-40; 22:7-39

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Imagine if next time you ran into a friend you hadn’t seen for a while he or she asked you, by way of greeting, “How your repentance was going?” You’d be caught off guard, that’s for sure. Our whole society thrives on the collective “I’m ok, you’re ok” mantra in all that we say and do. And yet, we pray every Divine Liturgy that we may be blessed with a life of “peace and repentance.” Repentance for the Christian is the norm, not the exception.

St. Peter is one who shows this forth in our Gospel today. Sitting by the fire and witnessing the mistreatment of his Lord, he shrinks back in fear and denies Him, just as he was told he would. Upon seeing the merciful gaze of Christ, he breaks down and weeps over his sinfulness. This truth is what will empower him to love Jesus truly through serving Him faithfully for the rest of his life and dying a martyr, being crucified upside down in Rome.

This Lent, make it a priority to focus on repentance. This time of year is given to us as a beautiful gift where we renew our baptism, perhaps even through our own tears of repentance, in order to deepen our relationship with the one who went to the cross and death for us. St. Ambrose writes: “There are water and tears: the water of Baptism and the tears of repentance.” May we be blessed this upcoming season in being moved to tears over our own condition in order to be raised up by Him who is powerful to save!