9 June OS 2021: The Third Day of Trinity, Tuesday of Pentecost Week; St. Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria; St. Columba of Iona
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Having completed reading the Acts of the Apostles on the Saturday before Pentecost, we now begin the great annual cycle of the apostolic epistles, hearing today St. Paul’s opening words to the Romans:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. – Romans 1: 1-7, 13-17
“The just shall live by faith.” St. Paul begins his annual tutorial for us on what it means to be a Christian by stating his main thesis. First, we must have faith. But also, by the power of that faith, we must be just.
There are people who think that if they strive for justice, they do not need faith in Jesus Christ. These are the humanists, the Freemasons, and the universalists. They think they can be right and do good without the right faith in Jesus Christ. On Judgment Day, they are in for a surprise.
There are other people who think that if they have faith in Jesus Christ, it does not matter whether they strive to attain the virtue of justice or not. These are all they who are not humbled by the moral demands of faith but are, on the contrary, smug about having faith while others do not. They think that “being saved” gives them a free pass not to struggle with sin. On Judgment Day, they are in for a surprise.
How do you know if you have the potential to be just? Well, first of all, ask yourself if you are in the True Faith. Apart from the true faith and the true baptism, all of man’s “justice” is worthless. How do you know if, assuming you are in the True Faith, you not only have faith in its potency but are also co-energizing with the grace you have received unto salvation? Well, ask yourself if you are consciously struggling, with total reliance on the all-sufficing grace of Christ’s Sacrifice, and according to the unerring apostolic and patristic tradition, to overcome your passions and sins, and thereby to attain the Original Justice man had with God in Paradise.
By the prayers of St. Paul and all the Holy Apostles, O Christ God, have mercy on us and save us.