Homily Meatfare Friday
2 Jn 1-13 & Mk 15:22 25 & 33-41
(© Br Seraphim of Mt Tabor Monastery, Redwood Valley CA)
Glory to Jesus Christ!
In logic and in math, one starts with a set of terms that are undefined; one is not allowed to do
circular definitions. However, in real life, in practice, we do circular definitions: we define things in
terms of one another. What is a star? Oh, it’s one of those tiny lights in the sky. What are those tiny lights in the sky? Oh, those are stars.
Today we get our one and only shot at readings from the 2nd letter of St. John because his 2nd letter is so short; we just read the whole thing. He’s doing circular definitions. What is the Father’s
commandment? To love one another. And what is love? That we follow his commandments. It goes in circles, so it might drive some people crazy, but only if they don’t know what love is, and don’t know what the Father’s greatest commandments are. It is interesting that while the elder is commanding the elect lady and her children to love, he is also telling them who they should not receive into their house,who not even to give a greeting. I guess that’s how they are to love people when the people arrive but do not bring abide in the doctrine, in the teaching. He is speaking obliquely, in case his letter falls into the wrong hands; for the same reason, he does not entrust very much to this writing but will wait and tell them face to face. Already there was persecution of Christians. One had to be careful. This, too, may be love.
In the meantime, we are also hearing today from the Gospel according to the evangelist, St. Mark.
Clearly this week’s way of preparing us for the Great Fast is by steeping us in the Passion of the Christ, a reminder that we will do so much more intensely during Holy Week right after Lent. Today is already the condemnation of Jesus Christ by the religious and secular authorities of his time, his torture and crucifixion at mid-morning; the darkening of the skies from midday till He died at mid-afternoon, while reciting a psalm from his sacred heart, the centurion’s conversion, and the many women who witnessed his entire event. Of the apostles, only St. John and St. Peter were present at the night trial before the Sanhedrin. Of the apostles, only St. John was the only one present with the many women at the Cross, keeping Jesus company while He died on the Cross. Of the apostles, not even one failed to desert Christ when he was being arrested, for they all fled – even that young fellow wrapped in nothing but the linen he had to shed to avoid himself getting arrested.
And this is Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the one anointed by our heavenly Father to come
sacrifice Himself to cleanse us of sins, if only we’re willing. This is the Son of God. This is the Son’s
love, and this is one way the Son obeys the Father. Put into practice, it’s not math, and is free from the rule against circular definitions. It’s a doctrine or teaching in real-life action – and in real-death action.
As we find later on in this amazing adventure, it is also a doctrine or teaching in real-life resurrection,ascension, and eternal glory.
When following Christ, it is important to follow through.
Glory to Jesus Christ!
(Given on 2-10-23)