Realizing the Value of Having a Church and the Importance of Receiving the Sacraments

There is a saying that we do not know what we have until we lose it. Thanks to the coronavirus crisis and experience, we all view life and life’s priorities very differently. It is almost common among people to want to take everything for granted. Things such as life, husband, wife, children, relatives, friends, co-workers, health, church, sacraments, opportunities, jobs, country, home, and even the many blessings bestowed by God. Unfortunately, it takes a horrific virus such as this to come to our senses and to the realization of who we are, how long we are to live on earth and to finally appreciate what we have been given by God.

For all of our life, we’ve had the blessing and the privilege to have a place of worship where we assemble to praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to receive His Holy Body and Precious Blood. However, over many years, worship, and Holy Communion, have been marginalized and reduced to habit or routine. It is only now, and through this tragic experience, when the faithful of the local parish are no longer able to worship in their church and/or receive the sacraments that we come to the realization of its great importance.

How should one live while on earth? As though it is his last day! Life is precious but brief. It is, therefore, important that we value our life, that we live knowing that it is a God-given gift, that whether we chose to remain single or have a family, life will be appreciated and lived wisely.  Every day of our life has a purpose and each day produces new opportunities for us to do good. What makes our life meaningful is to use a unique opportunity to touch, in a positive way, the life of another human being. In other words to make a difference in another person’s life and in the world that we live in.

In the eyes of God, all human beings are important and a part of His Divine plan. When I think of humanity, I think of it as a giant mosaic Byzantine holy icon of Christ. If you have seen a traditional mosaic icon you will recall how colorful, bright, and beautiful it is. The mosaic icon is composed of many small and colorful pieces of glass. Every piece has a specific place and a definite purpose. Every piece is important and necessary in order for the icon to be complete. It doesn’t matter whether the piece of glass is green, red, blue, gold, purple, or white. If any piece is missing from the overall icon image, the icon will be incomplete, and the figure on it will suffer.  So, is humanity in the overall plan of the Almighty of God. Every person, every soul, is important, necessary, and valued by God. After all, we believe that we were created in the image and likeness of God, is that not true?

The same applies to our beloved parish. Every one of our members or stewards is important and necessary to form the local parish. Everyone is needed and everyone contributes to the holy mission of the church by giving of himself and/or of his/her talents. Through the Holy Eucharist, we become one with one another, and with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We become His Body and He, the Head.

The divine services now, due to the coronavirus crisis and threat, are on-air. Live-streaming the divine services is a brand new experience for a priest of fifty years in Christ’s service. It is an uncomfortable and most unusual way of serving everyone in the parish. I realize, of course, that none of us has a choice under the present circumstances, however, there is a feeling of profound sadness to deprive all of you of the opportunity to worship and to receive the Holy Body and Precious Blood of our Savior Christ.

Now that we all know and realize the importance of having a church and of its sacred mission in the world and in our lives, there is only one other thing that we must do, and that is to thank God.  It is Him that we worship and Him that we glorify. As Saint John Chrysostom said always, “Glory Be To GOD, For All Things!”

I ask all of you to be prayerful and be patient. When this deadly virus comes to an end we will resume our worship in our beautiful and mystical parish church. May our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ bless each and every one of you and may He keep all of you, safe and in good health.

With sincere agape,

+ Father George

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