His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel Sunday addressed the believers present at the National Cathedral’s Chapel stressing that ‘we should not be afraid of unclean spirits if we have a strong faith.’
The Patriarch of Romania attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated Sunday, July 1, at the Resurrection of the Lord Chapel of the National Cathedral in Bucharest.
His Beatitude offered his reflections on the day’s Gospel reading saying that ‘today’s Gospel shows us that even demons recognize the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and indicates the Saviour’s wish to free people from evil spirits.’
The Patriarch pointed out that the initiative to go to the region of Gadara to free the two men from demonic possession belonged to Christ Himself.
‘Jesus, out of love for humans and their salvation, came to Gadara without being invited to show that He came to the world to free people of sin and of the demonic powers’ possession.’
‘He Himself went there where human dignity was humiliated and tormented by demons. Here we see His merciful love, for He does not wait to be invited where there is suffering,’ the Romanian Patriarch said July 1.
Although Christ the Saviour did nothing to them, ‘the demons possessing the two men felt tortured by the physical presence of Jesus,’ the Patriarch explained.
‘The demons were tortured by the kindness, the merciful love of Jesus that contrasted with their wickedness.’
Patriarch Daniel went on to explain why Jesus allowed the demons to enter the animals saying that He did so ‘to show that demons have no unlimited power, and when Christ God orders them to free humans (of their possession), they do free them.’
His Beatitude noted that one of the reasons why Jesus allowed the demons to enter the herd of pigs, thus causing a material loss, was to correct the citizens of Gadara who ‘were the slaves of material gain from trade and too indifferent to the suffering of the two men.’
Instead of thanking Jesus for curing the two demon-possessed men, who were now peaceful, the citizens of Gadara asked Him to leave their region. ‘We observe here their total lack of gratitude,’ the Patriarch stressed.
This Bible reading is the proof that ‘Christ does not preach the Gospel only through words, but also through miraculous gestures and actions. He is not indifferent to the suffering of men, but goes even where He is not invited,’ Patriarch Daniel noted.
Reflecting on the service of Holy Baptism, Patriarch Daniel said that the program of Christian life is to renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his angels, and all his service, and all his pride, and to unite ourselves with Christ, whom we profess as King and God.
‘When we unite with Christ through prayer, by listening to the Gospel, by our participation at the sacred services, especially by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we become spiritually strengthened, thus demons have no more power over the faithful man who has a fervent faith,’ His Beatitude said.
The Patriarch prayed for the help of God ‘so that from today’s Gospel we may see first Christ’s merciful love toward men, and His humble and omnipotent power.’
‘Jesus Christ is humble and omnipotent. Humble in the sense that He works no miracles to praise Himself or to be praised by people, but He works wonders from His merciful love.’
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel urged the believers ‘to do good not to be praised by men, but to show merciful kindness to our fellows, thus resembling the merciful God.’
At the end of his speech, the patriarch appreciated the liturgical and missionary activities carried out by the priests, chanters, and volunteers of the National Cathedral’s Chapel.
His Beatitude especially congratulated the Chapel’s volunteers for their dedication and sacrifice in serving their neighbour.
Over 19,000 people from the rural area have been assisted or counselled in various medical specializations as a result of the charity programs carried out by the Chapel’s volunteers.
Finally, the V. Rev. Archimandrite Paisie Teodorescu thanked Patriarch Daniel for his homily.
The liturgical responses were given by the Anastasis Byzantine Choir of the Chapel of the National Cathedral.
Photography courtesy of ZL