“Saint John Maximovitch, Slave of God”
Sunday 7/2/2023
Fr. John Miller

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In the Name of the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit. Christ is in our midst. (He is and ever shall be.)

So joyful to celebrate with you today that feast of St. John Maximovitch our beloved Father in Christ, whose relic we have with us here in our church, the Joy of All Who Sorrow. The rest of his relics resided the Cathedral of the Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco.

And it's such a blessing to have such a connection with this beloved saint and American saint. A saint who is very close to us in time and space, relatively speaking, it's on the other side of the country, but it's not too hard for us to go and to visit his relics there in the cathedral where he served.

And so St. John is a great example for us an example of heaven on earth, of a true servant of the master. One fully invested with authority.

We heard in the Gospel about this interion who believed in the power of Jesus Christ to save his servant, because he understood how authority works. And St. John was a servant to the master and he had because he was truly completely obedience to the master. He had the Master’s authority, and he healed people just as the centurions servant was healed.

And he also was, as St. Paul says, in the vicinity of the Romans, a slave to righteousness. St. John was a slave to righteousness because of and through his faith.

And he lived in modern times, and bad modern times at that. He saw suffering and he experienced suffering. And all this he endured through faith, and not only endured, but manifested God's power and love.

He manifested the peace that has come through Christ's victory over death in this piece of bytes, and is real despite outward circumstances. So despite his outward circumstances, he had peace and this peace is the presence of the Holy Spirit.

This is what gives peace, not the imposition of our will on our environment. We may sometimes think we would be at peace if everything would just be the way we want it to be. Then we would have peace but that's not where peace comes from.

The Holy Spirit, who is everywhere present and filling all things becomes more present when we acknowledge our weakness and sinfulness and lower ourselves to the position of slaves. Not slaves to our own chosen desires, but slaves to the God given commandments.

And in this position, we strive for holiness, or rather, for the Holy One. We strive for the Holy One. And when he sees our humble and persistent striving, he will come and give us peace.

This is our hope; this is our faith. We do not know the mechanics of this. And it is difficult to measure such things. But we see it in the whole life of St. John. We look at the life of St. John he, from a young age was devoted to the reading of scriptures to the reading of the lives of saints, to strive into obey the commandments to become a slave of righteousness.

And in all his circumstances, he had peace and he gave peace. Yet he was a weak and unimpressive little man with a speech impediment. He one leg was longer than the other he limped to look at him he was nothing. And he was constantly beset by unfortunate circumstances, yet full of peace and holiness and the power of God. And we have also the example of this centurion who came before the Lord, even lower than a slave. He came as a beggar beseeching the Lord to come.

And with faith, he was seeking only a word from the Lord needing - no explanation needed, no show of anything, but only a word. So it was at the divine Word, His servant was healed. And we marveled at the miracle.

But the Lord marveled at the faith of the centurion and truly, this is the more marvelous of the two for what is marvelous about the creator of the world. He who brought all things into being with his word, to use again a word to set right the health of an ailing servant.

But for this same creator, to have given to his creature, the capacity to know Him through faith and to participate in his own life, His peace and His Holiness. This is the marvelous thing.

The faith is marvelous and the centurion, in that he had so little evidence, so few assurances, he had not been given the promises of Israel. He was a Gentile.

Yet he believed. He believed in the power of Jesus Christ. And we, dear ones, have received much more from God than he and we have reason to believe and strive for holiness and eternal life. But if the undesirable circumstances of our life, yet weigh heavy upon us, and make it hard to be faithful, I will leave you with these words from our beloved St. John, which I've shared with you before, yet they are worthy of sharing again.

He says in a homily.

God's grace always assist those who struggle. But this does not mean that a struggler is always in the position of a victim. Sometimes in the arena, the wild animals did not touch the righteous ones, but by no means were they all preserved untouched.

What is important is not victory, or the position of Victor, but rather, the labor of striving toward God and devotion to Him. Though man may be found in a weak state, that does not at all mean that he has been abandoned by God. On the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ was in trouble as the world sees things.

But when the sinful world considered him to be completely destroyed, in fact, he was victorious over death and Hades. The Lord did not promise us positions as victors in this life, as a reward for righteousness. But he told us in the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. The power of God is effective.

When a person asks for help from God, acknowledging his weakness and sinfulness. This is why humility, in the striving towards God, and the fundamental virtues of a Christian.

So by the prayers of our Holy Father John, the wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, may, we humbly strive towards God.


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