Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we experience the special spiritual gifts of Holy and Great Lent in anticipation of our celebration of Pascha, we continue in our preparations for our 44th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress and the national meeting of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society which will convene July 1-5 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Our theme for our Congress and meetings is All Things are Possible to the One Who Believes in Christ. This theme and our understanding of its implications are critical to the work of our Parishes, our Metropolises and our Holy Archdiocese. From the truth of the Gospel and the words of our Lord who said, all things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23), we affirm that our faith in Christ makes the impossible possible, the unreachable reachable, and the unachievable achievable. Our belief in Him defeats the power of sin and death, transforms our lives, and leads us to salvation. We know that our unwavering faith in Christ will help us overcome any challenges, will extend our witness in new and dynamic ways, and will lead others to Christ and the blessed life in Him.
Throughout the Holy Scriptures we see the power and potential of faith. Faith is shown in the marvelous works of God among His people and the amazing miracles of Christ. Through His life and ministry and His glorious Resurrection, we see that through faith we can have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) We also see the power of faith in the lives of the Apostles and the Saints and Martyrs who were committed to the way of the Lord and to sharing the Gospel. This was true not only in the inspirational and miraculous that came through their ministry, but also through all they endured.
The Apostle Paul acknowledged this when he wrote of the many trials he faced during his journeys: Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers…in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. (2 Corinthians 11:25-27). Through faith and the assurance of the promises of God he endured all of this and much more, knowing that all things are possible to the one who believes. In his letter to the Philippians he affirmed this: In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13)
This acclamation by the Apostle Paul that all things are possible through faith in Christ affirms the fulfillment of the promise of our Lord to His followers and to us. He said, He who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do. (John 14:12) Christ is telling us that through faith, the impossible is now possible. He is saying that the power that works miracles, that heals, that brings hope in the midst of hopelessness, that offers life abundant and eternal, is the power given to those who believe to do even greater works than the Son of God. All things are possible! Amazing and marvelous things that transform lives and save souls!
All things are possible to the one who believes in Christ, and with the assurance of this promise we hear Him say, If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14). Through faith, through the power of His grace and presence, we have His word, I will do it. Consider the limitless potential of what we can do. Reflect on the boundless possibilities of our lives and ministry. Contemplate the tremendous and immeasurable opportunities before us in the work of our parishes and throughout our Holy Archdiocese. Through our faith in Christ all things are possible!
In our journey through Holy and Great Lent, I ask that you prayerfully reflect on our theme and its meaning for your life and for the ministry and witness of our Church in America. In future articles we will explore the implications of the promises of our Lord in these areas, so that we can come together in Boston to consider the great and marvelous works that will come through our faith and through the power and presence of Christ. May His abundant blessings be with you, and may you be assured and inspired by knowing all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America