Once again, the United States and its policies are creating chaos, setting up the murder of innocent people, and disrupting an ancient institution. Only this time, it is direct interference in the affairs not just of a nation state, Ukraine, but of a religious institution, the Orthodox Church. And the effect of this is not just on a local, but worldwide level.
We hear in the gospel this morning how the Lord Jesus having been baptized, having gone into the desert, having considered His calling, His ministry, began to preach in the same words of St. John the Baptist, “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” For us also, is a kind of announcement, as it were, (I always take it that way) of that season of repentance which is coming up, the season of Great Lent.
In the three weeks that have led us to this great and solemn first day of the Fast, the Church has set before our spiritual eyes themes of exile. When our ancestors in the faith were led to captivity in Babylon, they wept; they hung up their lyres and said, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither”