In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember Saint Tatiana of Rome, may the saint pray for us.

St Tatiana was a remarkable saint, in that she showed us how pristine faith in God can bring about wonders that would heal and bring salvation to others. While captured by the persecutors of Christians to denounce her faith and pray to idols, she was beaten and tortured, and throughout her faith in God, angels of our Lord would protect her and heal her. Many who tortured her converted to Christianity upon seeing her pure faith in God. Eventually, the saint was beheaded.

Scripture frequently reminded us that to be Christian is to suffer, and especially to bravely and joyously suffer in the Name of our Lord and Christ (1 Peter 4:12-5:5). Anyone who does not believe that to be a faithful Christian is to suffer, is preaching heresy. The Christian journey, as illustrated by our Lord Jesus Christ, His Apostles, and all the saints throughout history, was by blood and suffering.

Saints throughout history showed us the martyrdom of blood, and their relentless courage as pilgrims who laid their lives for Christ and showed us what exemplary Christians look like. Today, the same rules apply. Christian martyrs are beaten and murdered even today by fanatics and the insane. God received all these martyrs and we honor them as saints, from ancient history till now. May the saints pray for us, and may God have mercy on the mad men who sinned against Christ our Lord.

As Psalm 23 goes, we acknowledge that God is our shepherd, and through Him, we shall need nothing else. While the prayer talks of abundance, the main thing we need to concern ourselves is our reliance upon God, who will lead us through challenges and pains, and emerge ever closer to Him. That should be all we seek – a communion and a reunion with God, however lost we may be along the way.

Many saints were shepherds, following the instructions and admonitions from our Lord as our chief shepherd.

Yet we living in difficult times. There are good shepherds who are after the Lord, and there are false shepherds who would lead people astray.

The Orthodox Church is the faith of our Lord delivered to the Apostles, unadulterated even today. While we hold the Scripture dear to our hearts, we hold the Holy Tradition close to our hearts as well. For in the Holy Tradition, we have preserved the oral and written teachings from Christ to today, through the holy apostles and fathers.

Unfortunately, those who were misled by heresy, went on astray, have preached a different thing from the Scripture and Holy Tradition. As we reflect on Jeremiah 23:1-4 and Mark 12:38-44, we are reminded that there are such false teachers, who would lead the people of God astray, with pompous saccharine and pretentious words, greed for wealth and power.

God however, will recover the people who truly believe, and give them true shepherds who would preach only the Gospel of Christ, the very same true Gospel that promises a journey of hardship, suffering, pain and even martyrdom, in the name of our Lord and Christ. All these is to bring us closer to God, and true shepherds of our Lord will preach only the Gospel, will not mince words, and will remind us that being a Christian is not easy, and our only desire should be reconciliation with God.

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+

Readings:
Jeremiah 23:1-4
Psalm 23:1-6
Mark 12:38-44
1 Peter 4:12-5:5