Passages: Is. 3:1-11; Rom. 11:13-24; Matt. 14:13-21
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Եսայ. Գ 1-11; Հռոմ. ԺԱ 13-24; Մատ. ԺԴ 13-21
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
How many of us like sweets? Candy, ice cream, baked desserts, etc.? I love a good chocolate chip cookie. Hard on the outside but soft, rich and chocolatey on the inside. The truth is most of us like something a little sweet, a sugary treat from time to time. From time to time, it’s not too bad! But when we have an excess amount of sugar, processed sugar especially, then it leads to many other health issues. Because do you know what else loves sugary treats? Cancer cells. Whether we ourselves have suffered through the diagnosis of cancer or we know of a loved one who has, cancer is a horrible, deadly foreign invader that poisons not just one organ of our body but spreads and kills healthy cells all throughout. Now whether we should have sugar or not and in what quantities is between us and our doctors however, all of us know the horrific reality of cancer. And cancer cells, through a long and complicated process of metabolizing sugar feeds off and grows from sugar far more than any other food we put into our bodies. And so doctors are looking at certain therapies to understand why this is, why does cancer feed off of sugar and if possible to find a way to prevent cancer by removing sugar. A form of therapy to starve cancer by cutting sugar, especially glucose and other processed sugars from our diets.
In today’s Gospel, we read the story of the feeding of the 5,000. From this event, we know of how Christ feeds multitudes of people through 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. The feeding of the 5,000 shows a deeper reality of our Christian faith which is that God will always feed us and keep us satisfied when we come to Him and trust in His word. Feeding us with more than just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread; and not merely with physical food but with everything that we need as His children to grow, learn, and be strengthened. In the same way when we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, Hayr Mer – “Give us this day our daily bread” «Զհաց մեր հանապազորդ տուր մեզ այսօր» does not mean we are praying only for physical bread or sustenance. Rather, we are asking God to give us, to feed us, to cloth us and fill our lives with all that we need to help our faith grow. However, sadly all of us more often choose to be fed not by God and our “daily bread” which strengthens our faith. But rather, we choose to feed off of that which feeds the sin within us.
My dears, sin is a cancer; a foreign invasion in us, meaning God did not create it for us. And as deadly as cancer is to our physical bodies, sin is even deadlier to our souls. When we hear our doctor gives us the diagnosis of cancer, we try everything in our power to change our lifestyle in order to get better; we stop smoking, cut our sugar and red meat, exercise more, etc. My dears, a sinful life is like that sugar that feeds our cancer. Each time we reject God, we choose to live in an ungodly manner, we justify evil we feed the cancerous sin that not only kills the body but also send our soul to hell. Remember the words of Christ, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28 RSV) And yet, when we are confronted about the sinful life we live, rather than choose to change, find ways to better ourselves in order to rid ourselves of sin, we choose to blame everyone else in the same way Adam and Eve blamed God.
My dears, when we hate, when we lie, when we cheat, when we act mercilessly or when we look down on others and even down on ourselves, we feed sin. When we comment out loud or in our hearts in a negative manner about those around us, whether in Church or outside, we feed sin. When we think we are immune to sin, or think we are not as bad as the rapist, the bigot, the gambler or alcoholic, we feed sin. We’ve all heard the motivational rhetoric, that if you tell a lie long enough, you’ll start to believe it yourself. The same is with sin; the longer we deprive our faith from God, the longer we feed off evil the more we become sinful and ungodly – the more our body is consumed by that cancer. Therefore, like doctors who are looking to starve cancer by depriving it of sugar, we must examine our life what can we do to starve the sin in our life? How are we feeding our sin and how can we be fed from Christ instead?
Can cancer and many other sicknesses still happen in our bodies even if we don’t eat sugar or never smoke? Yes, because cancer does not discriminate with age or gender, nor does it care how healthy we try to live or not. There are things we can do to help avoid cancer, such as not eat excess sugar, not smoke, have a healthy diet, etc. but we still might get sick. Likewise, we are all sinners; sin does not discriminate, and all humanity is susceptible to it. However, with God we can do things that can help us strengthen our faith. By starving sin, by entrusting God to feed us our daily bread than even when sin does appear, our faith will remain strong, and we can overcome that sin through the grace of Christ Jesus, who is the only sinless one.
My dears, trust God to feed us. Come to His Holy Altar, read His Holy Word, pray to Him and He will feed us. Starve the sin in you by choosing to only be fed by God. And know that even if we sin, God, the true physician of souls and bodies will help remove it from us, cleanse us and heal us in ways we could never imagine. We will be fed, we will be made stronger and we will overcome the sin in our life and in this world through the grace of God, our Heavenly Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to whom is befitting glory forever, Amen!