In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Cosmas, Hymnographer, and Bishop of Maiuma in the 8th century. The saint was the foster-brother of Saint John of Damascus, the Holy Greek church father, Syrian hieromonk, who gave us important treatises and writings on the defence of icons, Orthodoxy, and Christology.
Both Saints Cosmas and John of Damascus became monks in Jerusalem, at St Sabas Monastery. Eventually, Saint Cosmas left the monastery and was consecrated as bishop of Maiuma, a port of ancient Gaza. Saint Cosmas gave us writings, poems, and canons, or the liturgical chants. Saint Cosmas, hymn writer and Bishop, pray for us.
Beloved, as we toil in the fields of labor everyday, and meet different people, we are often confronted with many challenges that give us options to choose. We would need to decide on many things, which invariably have consequences, in the near future, and the farther future as well.
While we reflect on Amos 5:8-15, we are reminded that our God created all things, and made all things good. Even in challenges, often, we do not yet understand the mystery of life and His Divine Will. What God wishes from us, however, is that we trust Him in all things, and that even in the darkest hours we perceive, we do not lose sight of Him. For in hellish suffering, it is often simply because we turned our backs to His light, which is always there, always towards us, even if we turn blind to His light by turning away from Him.
Let us examine how we, in our own pride and greed, get challenged daily. First, pride takes many forms, and morphs in many different ways. In blatant pride, we forget that there are those who take slower steps in the daily grind compared to us. In insidious pride, we may have more manners than we have truthful love for one another.
Likewise, the lure of wealth is both a temptation of greed as well as a temptation of idolatry, for we cannot worship both God and mammon. Let us always remember Gospel of St Matthew 6:33, that we are to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. And from the lure of wealth, we may also begin to fall to the temptation of laziness. For God commanded us to labor hard, whether at the workplace, or in His ministry. While we labor, let us also remember that fear is also a temptation, for God whom we trust, is the source of our strength. Let us leave our burdens and fears with Him.
As we reflect on Psalm 37:14-24 (LXX 36), we are reminded that we shall not draw swords against one another, for those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Remember that God would not wish that we bear the inheritance of the pain and debt of hatred and anger, but He wishes that we receive the inheritance of prayers, kindness, and love for one another. When we face the mirror before the Throne of Judgment, what do we hope to see? Would the mirror show us that we have forsaken others and hated God in our deeds, or would the mirror show us to have loved God, and loved others before ourselves?
Therefore, beloved, do not worry, as the Holy Apostle Saint Paul taught us in Philippians 3:1-8, that we are not to care for seemingly having lost things in the daily grind, but that we are to long for and only care for gaining Christ. For all things at the end, before the Throne of Judgment, should be a joyous time when we inherit God’s gift from our lifetime of penance, humility, prayers, charity and love.
When we face challenges, try to call on the Holy Name of Christ our Lord, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. Leave our burdens with God, and may the prayers of our Most Holy Theotokos, Mother of God, intercede for us before Christ our God.
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 37:14-24 (LXX 36)
St Luke 9:7-11