St Eligius and St Philaret – Vineyard belongs to God

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember Saint Eligius and Saint Philaret of Amnia, may the saints pray for us.

St Philaret the Merciful of Amnia, in Asia Minor, though born from a rich and renowned family background, did not crave for wealth. He empathized with the suffering of the people, reflecting on the Gospel and the Epistles (Matthew 25:40, 1 Timothy 6:7 and Psalm 36:25), and distributed alms to the poor. God blessed the saint with longevity, and when the elder lived till 90, he knew his end was coming and he set off to Rodolpheia Monastery in Constantinople after giving all his wealth away to the poor. He reposed in 792 peacefully and was buried at the monastery. After his death, a demon-possessed man touched the saint’s coffin and the demon left the possessed man, and many other miracles and healing happened at the saint’s grave.

St Eligius was born in Gaul (modern France) in 588. He became a counselor to King Chlothar II and earned honors and wealth. But the saint saw through the fallacy of material wealth and gave away most of his wealth to the poor save for bare necessities. The saint was so well-known for his charity that when visitors asked for direction’s to the saint’s house, people would tell the visitors to look for a house surrounded by beggars. The saint washed the feet of the poor, fed them first, and then ate only the leftovers after everyone ate. Later, the saint would found monasteries, and evangelized to pagans. He reposed in 660. When his tomb was opened a year later, people discovered the incorrupt and fragrant body of the saint.

As St Eligius and St Philaret taught us, material wealth and worldly honors are transient, and do not help us in our spiritual pilgrimage. God does not care whether we are rich or poor, with or without worldly honors. All God hopes for us is to reconcile with Him, by following the path He has laid for us, through His Laws and the Gospel of His Son and our Christ (Psalms 143:9-12).

Apostle Paul also taught us that all of us who are servants of our Lord, as we evangelize the Gospel to the world, we must not be after money. There are many false teachers in the world who would show their true colors as adherents to wealth rather than adherents to the Gospel of Christ (Titus 1:5-2:1).

God is the owner of the vineyard, and we are mere tenants and occupants on the vineyard. If the vineyard is wealth, all wealth belongs to God. If the vineyard is property, all property belongs to God. If the vineyard is fame, all fame belongs to God.

Let us always remember that God is the Creator and the owner of the world, His vineyard, and we do not own any of it (Isaiah 5:5-9). We may be called to be stewards of some parts of His vineyard, and we are to provide for those who are occupants like us, through the sharing of the fruits of labor in God’s vineyard. We are never to hoard or usurp the vineyard as if it is ours. The title deed of such a vineyard, belongs to God.

Luke 20:9-18 goes further, where Christ showed us that there are no heirs to God’s vineyard, except those who would honor His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Those who submit to God and love Jesus Christ, will have hope in reconciliation with God. Those who deny Christ as their savior, are denied the entry to the Kingdom of God, and are outcasts. Let no false teacher twist the truth of our Lord and Christ.

Remember God is the owner of the vineyard, and despite the relentless failings of us, He would send His Son to our aid. This we know, and we collectively profess as the Truth from God. This is the gift God gave us, as the occupants of His vineyard.

Throughout Biblical history, we know that being a Christian is to follow the footsteps of our Lord and Christ, that we would be spat on, despised, ridiculed, bullied, and even martyred. Look around us, increasingly, that is the case.

And yet, we are never to lament or be afraid, for God is with us. We are to submit to God, live through His footsteps through His Will, Commandments and Gospel, and to confidently with faith brave through life with just one goal – reconciliation with Him and to be with Him in His Kingdom (Psalms 143:9-12).

Let us 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+

Isaiah 5:5-9
Psalms 143:9-12
Luke 20:9-18
Titus 1:5-2:1