Christ 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 martyr St Basil, bishop of Amasea, may the saint pray for us!
Holy martyr St Basil, bishop of Amasea, was persecuted by the emperor and locked in prison. Despite suffering in imprisonment, the holy bishop consoled his people. The emperor insisted that St Basil convert to paganism, but the saint was resolute, and was ordered to be executed. During the execution, the saint told the executioner, “Friend, do what you are ordered to do” and calmly received the sword. The soldiers threw the saint’s remains into the sea. His disciple Elpidyphoros received a vision from an angel of God, “Bishop Basil is waiting for you in Sinope.” Elpidyphoros and some deacons sailed to Sinope and managed to find fishermen to sail out to sea. Initially, they found nothing. Only when Elpidyphoros asked the fishermen to lower the nets in the Name of God, they received the head and body of the holy saint Basil. The holy relics of the saint were buried in the church built by the saint in Amasea.
When we reflect upon St John 6:48-54, we know that everyone of us, from bishops, presbyters, kings and people, are in need of healing. The Church is our hospital, and all of us seek to enter with tears of repentance, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, our Lord who heals us.
The holy martyr St Basil of Amasea is just one of thousands of examples of faithful Christians who laid down their lives for Christ and others with love and prayers. Their sole purpose in their lives was centered on Christ, and held together by the foundation of Christ. They saw, heard, breathed, talked, and died in Christ. They found and were with Christ, and Christ was with them.
The Psalms tell us so much about our relationship with our God. As we reflect upon Psalm 139:1-13 (LXX 138), let us remember the line, “if I ascend up into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” God has never forsaken any one of us, and only we can, through our foolishness, forsake God despite His everlasting and unyielding love for us. We can choose foolishness and turn to hell believing all the lies of the evil one, and God awaits with the same light and love for us. Or, we can turn to God with our tears, repentance and prayers, and behold, God is there, all along, healing us with the same light and love. God has been there for us before we were formed, and He is there when we breathe our last.
God tends to sinners and saints alike, for one of the best we know is Apostle Paul (Acts 8:40-9:19), who was saved by Christ from damnation, when he was still Saul of Tarsus. Just as the thief on the cross with Christ could repent and accept Christ as Lord and be received, any one of us are the same. God never gives up hope on us.
The times are troubling, and many snares surround us, even entrenched in our midst. As we reflect upon Daniel 12:8-13, we know that the Holy Scripture was revealed to the prophets and saints, that the time of judgment will come. As we struggle along the days of our lives, keep this goal in our sights, not just of the Judgment, but of the Kingdom that God promised to those of us who struggle relentlessly with repentance and prayers. That is our life, to find Christ, to be centered on Christ, and to die in Christ.
Call on our Lord 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.
Psalm 139:1-13 (LXX 138)
St John 6:48-54