Passages: Is. 17:7-14; 2 Corinth. 13:5-13; Mk. 11:27-33
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Եսայ. ԺԷ 7-14; Բ Կորնց. ԺԳ 5-13; Մկ. ԺԱ 27-33
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
In life we often forget things! We forget appointments, we forget dates from the past and we especially try to forget any embarrassing moments we have experienced. It is quite normal to be forgetful. On occasion, if I’m really tired or my mind is elsewhere, I will forget to plug my phone in overnight to charge. When I awake and realize I have no battery I become frustrated, “how could have I forgotten?” What is most frustrating is that all my contacts, my schedule and all the little important things I have to remember to do, are now forgotten because I forgot to charge my phone. But being forgetful is natural especially with how busy our lives can get nowadays. We forget to sleep, exercise, eat properly; we forget to pray, slow down and think; we are forgetful. This becomes especially dangerous and painful when we forget those around us. Not just literally forget due to some illness like dementia, but forget to care for, spend time with, and make a priority in our life. Whether this means our friends, our kids, our parents, our spouse, or even ourselves, what happens when we begin to forget? There is some consequence in forgetting a date, an event or even forgetting to charge your phone, but what about when we forget our loved ones? What about when we forget God? To be forgetful is normal, we are all forgetful at times however, this really only applies to the mundane and small things.
Why do we forget people and especially God? Forgetting friends or family is not about forgetting who they are, nor is forgetting God about not believing in God. Rather, forgetting is a symptom of something greater- indifference and pride. Last week during Bible Study as we have began looking at the book of Genesis, we read that St. John Chrysostom teaches us that Adam and Eve sinned not merely by eating of a forbidden fruit but by having grown indifferent and prideful towards God’s love and commandments. They sinned because they didn’t care about what God had to offer or taught; they became prideful and arrogant that they knew what was best, they had their priorities in order. And this indifference and forgetfulness continues throughout the Old Testament. The Israelites became indifferent to what God was offering as we read in Isaiah today, “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;” (17:10).
My dears, likewise, we, society, our homes, our communities, each one of us have grown indifferent to God and so we have forgotten God in our lives. We believe and know God is there, perhaps we have questions and uncertainties, but we don’t ask, we don’t seek, we don’t make time for and prioritize our faith and Communion with God in the same way, we don’t seek out, make time or make our loved ones a priority in our lives until all too often it’s too late. Isaiah continues, “therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and set out slips of an alien god,though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow; yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain.” Though God you do all these things for us, we still think we know best. That is why in today’s Gospel we read of the Pharisees asking Christ, what authority he has to do and teach all that he is doing? “And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?’”(vv.27-28) They are not asking because they genuinely care and want to know about Jesus’s authority rather, they are mocking and asking, how would you know, who made you boss? They are asking this because they have forgotten the commandments of God, they have forgotten the prophesies, and teachings that is why they did not recognize who Christ Jesus is.
That is what it means my dears, to forget God. It means to not recognize all the blessings God has given us, not recognize His love and sacrifice on the Cross. To forget God’s love my dears, ultimately reflects in us forgetting the love of all those around us as well. 1 John 4:20 “If any one says, “’I love God,’” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” He who forgets God, forgets everyone else. Why? Because we have grown indifferent and prideful. Forgetting to charge your phone might be normal, but we must never forget to charge and be energized in our relationships with each other and especially with God. Forgetting a date might not be dire, but we must not forget that Christ Jesus, God the Son, died for us upon the Cross because His love could not bear to see us perish. Forgetting to say thank you might be rude, but we must not forget to love one another and make time for each other because God commands it. And the best way to remember and love one another is to pray for each other as God commands us.
That is why, in the Armenian Church we have a prayer of remembrance “Heeshya Der” where we list teachers, parents, leaders, caregivers, friends, those who feed us, pilgrims, those who hate us and who despise us. We pray God have mercy on them, remember them even if we forget. Remember to love them in the same way you remember us. And, my dears, we must always remember God, remember His love, remember each other in prayer, in love and mercy, we must no grow indifferent towards Him. And rest assured, God never forgets us, will not turn away, will continue to bless and give us strength. God will never grow indifferent to us. May we grow in our love for Him, Amen!