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Treasures of the Fathers: Second Sunday of the Holy Fifty Days (The Bread of Life)

The saints and those who truly practice virtue, "put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire (which is idolatry)." [Col. 3:5]. As the result of this, they are pure and without spot, confiding in the promise of our Savior, who said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." [Matt. 5:8] Having died to the world and renounced the merchandise of the world, they gained an honorable death; for, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." [Ps. 116:15] They are also to say with the Apostle "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me." [Gal. 2:20] For that is the true life, which a man lives in Christ; for although they are dead to the world, yet they dwell as it were in heaven, minding those things which are above, as he who was a lover of such a habitation said, "While we walk on earth, our dwelling is in heaven." [Phil. 3:20, Matt. 21:2]

Those who live this way, and partake of such virtue, are alone able to give glory to God. It is this that constitutes a feast and a holiday. For the feast does not consist in pleasant discussion at meals, nor splendor of clothing, nor days of leisure, but in the acknowledgment of God, and the offering of thanksgiving and of praise to Him. [1 Tim. 2:9] Now this belongs to the saints alone, who live in Christ…. For it is written, "The dead shall not praise You, O Lord, neither all those who go down into silence; but we who live will bless the Lord, from henceforth even for ever." [Ps. 115:17, 18] So was it with Hezekiah, who was delivered from death, and therefore praised God, saying, "For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth." [Is. 38:18].

For to praise and bless God belongs to those only who live in Christ, and by means of this they go up to the feast. The Passover is not of the Gentiles, nor of those who are yet Jews in the flesh; but of those who acknowledge the truth in Christ, as he declares who was sent to proclaim such a feast; "Our Passover, Christ, is sacrificed." [1 Cor. 5:7]

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

April 9, 2009