Reflections by Fr. Brendan April 2020
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!
On this beautiful Sunday of John of the Ladder, I am reminded of the hymn which we sing at Great Compline during Lent. The chanter begins the hymn, "God is with us! Know it, you nations, and be submissive." Then everyone sings, "For God is with us!" It is no accident that this hymn is sung at Great Compline at this time of year. We are recalling the crucifixion of the Lord, when the sky turned dark and the curtain was rent into two, and "He was hung upon a cross, who established the Earth upon the waters". For the disciples, this was the most difficult moment of their lives. Few could have imagined that on the third day, the angels would say "Rejoice! Go and tell the disciples that He is risen from the dead!" This was proof that God is with us.
Today, it is the same with us. We are facing a difficult time for the entire world--not as difficult, perhaps, as some of the wars and pestilences that have been on the Earth, but difficult nevertheless. Not only are many of us enclosed in our homes, but some are working to keep us safe and healthy, risking themselves for our sakes. And apart from this, last Sunday the St John Prodromos community said Goodbye to your beloved priest, Fr David, and Presvytera Vasiliki. After so many years, this cannot have been easy. But God is with us! Our "goodbyes" are really only, "until we meet again." Here is proof:
For me, it is a special honor to be able to serve in Fr. David's place this coming Holy Week. Fr. David was the first Orthodox priest whom Presvytera Sharon and I met in the United States, a little more than forty years ago; and Presvytera Vasiliki is the person who brought us together. It is therefore humbling and also miraculous that somehow, after all these years, we remain in contact with one another; and now, as a priest and spiritual son of his, I am able to come to you on the most beautiful and profound week of our year. So, God is with us!
As some of you may know, I left an icon of St Brendan on the Holy Table at St John when I was with you last time. I am asking his prayers to join yours and mine, both for you and for us all, but also for the healing of our nation and the world. It is not too much to ask: for if we were to ask anything less, it would not be faith on our part, and we cannot ask for anything more that would honor God.
Now may the God of peace who brought back from the dead the great Shepherd of the Sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all and bless you, until we meet again!
with love in Christ, +Fr Brendan