Apostle John – Seeking the Kingdom

Apostle John the EvangelistChrist is Risen, Truly He is Risen! In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember the Holy Apostle John the Evangelist, may the holy saint pray for us!

When we reflect upon John 19 and John 21, “Behold your mother!”, we are reminded of our beloved Theotokos, who is also our mother to behold, and that she would intercede for us before her son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John was unique among the Evangelists, as “the disciple whom Jesus Christ loved”, in the emphasis he especially placed in the context of love, and how our faith is defined by love, for God, and for others. The Apostle John’s writings are profound, and he was given the Divine Revelation (or the Apocalypse) that remains one of the greatest mysteries of God. The Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 65:17-19) also showed us the light of Christ Who will come again, when the world would be with joy and there will be no weeping. It is joyful, as much as it is fearsome, as the Judgment would come before as taught in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 21).

However, we as Christians do not turn to God out of fear, but out of love. Likewise, we do not go to others in fear, but with prayers and love. So then, when we seek His Kingdom, we do not seek it because we are afraid, but out of joy we yearn for His unyielding love for us. When we face challenges, we know that God’s immense love refines us into worthy vessels for His Kingdom.

When we read Proverbs 30:1-4, we see 4 questions of “who” and 2 questions of “what”. The first question asked, “Who ascends into heaven and descends”? Jesus Christ our Lord. The second question asked, “Who gathers the winds in His bosom?” Jesus Christ our Lord. The third question asked, “Who wraps up the water in a garment?” Jesus Christ our Lord. The fourth question asked, “Who rules over all the ends of the earth?” Jesus Christ our Lord. The fifth question asked, “What is His name?” To us, Jesus Christ, our Lord. And the sixth question, “What is the name of His children?” Christians, we of the faith who believe in the Trinity, the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit our comforter.

Being a Christian, seeking the Kingdom of Heaven is not an academic exercise of reading the Holy Scripture. There are many who read the Scripture and yet have come no closer to the Kingdom. Yet, there are many who have never read the Scripture, but through contrite repentance, giving selflessly to others despite their poverty, and praying the Holy Name relentlessly for nothing but His forgiveness, they have experienced the strength and love of God. To seek the Kingdom, we must be united to the Holy Mysteries of the Church, and to be seeking the healing through the Mysteries, as Apostle John admonished in 1 John 1:1-7, to partake in the Communion through the Divine Liturgy, and fellowship with one another in repentance, and prayers in unison.

We believe in our Lord, Jesus Christ, and profess Him to be our savior. Let us call on His Holy Name often, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Isaiah 65:17-19
Proverbs 30:1-4
St John 19:25-27; 21:24-25
1 John 1:1-7