20150423_holymartyrs_sqIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Christ is Risen, truly He is Risen! Let us glorify Him! Dear beloved, let us remember the Holy Martyrs Terence and his holy companions, and the newly glorified martyrs of Armenia. May all the holy martyrs and saints, pray for us!

We remember the Holy Martyr Terence, and the 40 who were martyred with him, during the times of emperor Decius. Despite grave torture such as burning with hot metal, vinegar and salt on wounds, tearing flesh with metal claws, these martyrs were steadfast and resolute in their faith in Christ our Lord, and our Lord sustained them. All of them were eventually beheaded when the officials could not force the saints to denounce their faith.

We are strengthened in our faith whenever we encounter these holy martyrs and saints, during each of the days we seek healing in the Church.

Martyrs line the entire Scriptural narrative, from the first martyr, Abel, in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 4:1-8), right up to our contemporary times. The newly glorified martyrs of the Armenian people have also shown holy strength, something that can only be gifted by God Himself. All these martyrs died professing their faith in our Lord and Christ, without thinking of any compromise.

For them, Christ was all that mattered, just as the Psalmist professed that God would preserve him, and that the only joyous things in life was God, and nothing else mattered (Psalm 16:1-11).

As we celebrate life as we proclaim “Christ is Risen” to all our spiritual families, we frequently remember the beloved Apostle John who recounted in St John 5:24-30, that we are assured of everlasting life without judgment and would pass from death into life, when we believe in all that our Lord and Christ said, and in God our Father.

Woe to them who have not heard the call of our Lord into each of our hearts, calling to that deep spiritual yearning each of us have, knowingly or unknowingly. Woe to them who have heard our Lord and yet turned away with pride, because our Lord’s love and light is for all, and we are blessed to be bathed in His love, just as the holy martyrs before us were blessed of the same and sacrificed everything for this priceless gift.

What does God hope in us as children of the faith?

Trust.

In God all things are possible. In God all things are renewed. In God all ailments of the soul are rejuvenated and healed. In God all pains and sorrows are soothed by fortitude and mercy. In God all things of the world become worthless when we begin to walk closer to Him, recognizing the narrow struggling journey we must all persist till the end.

God has called some to martyrdom. And God calls us, the living, to living martyrdom, where we will confront all obstacles in life and brave on with faith in God.

We read from Acts 4:23-31, that we are to be brave as children of God, proclaiming in total faith and trust in our Lord, that Christ is Savior. We are told to be bold, just as martyrs from time memorial have shown us to the same, fearlessly proclaiming our Lord Jesus Christ as savior, and struggling through life with repentance and prayers till the end.

In times of difficulty, and whenever we struggle, keep Christ our Lord close to our hearts, as we pray,

“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+

Readings
Genesis 4:1-8
Psalm 16:1-11
St John 5:24-30
Acts 4:23-31