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Orthodox Spirituality

Sermons of Archpriest Anthony B. Gavalas

Genealogy of Salvation

23 December/5 January 2002

+ + + In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. + + +

Blessed is the Lord God, blessed be His Name that He has permitted us once again to hear this genealogy which was enumerated for us in the Gospel of St. Matthew. As a prolog to the Gospel of St. Matthew we hear the genealogy of Christ. And St. Matthew because he was writing for the Jews begins the genealogy from Abraham, from our father Abraham. There's another genealogy of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of St. Luke, and that genealogy begins with Adam, because St. Luke was writing for the Gentiles, for all people. And there are some small differences among them, which our holy fathers, the studiers of the Holy Scriptures have explained to us why some generations were skipped and some people were enumerated, and some people were not, and appear in one and not in the other.

But that is not the subject of our very small sermon today. The subject of our sermon today is to bring to your attention this genealogy as a symbol of our salvation, this genealogy as an indication, a sure indication of that Jesus Christ, Who is the Word of God, Who is one of the Holy Trinity, by the good will of the Father and the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, He the Son, He the Son, He the Son and Word of the Father, was humbled even to come down even to the earth, and to join Himself to our human race for our salvation.

For humanity had sought to be saved, humanity wanted to be saved. There was inside of the soul of every human being that yearning, because every human being was able to see the temporariness; every human being was able to see the vanity of this life; every human being desired, and asked, and yearned for that salvation.

But how to be saved? How could anyone be saved unless God Himself came and saved us? And God came Himself indeed and saved us.

And He did it in the most awesome, in the most noble, in the most extraordinary way: by taking Himself on our human nature, and experiencing not in appearance but in actuality all of the things of humanity except for sin. He knew our pain; He knew our hurt; He knew our suffering; He knew our thirst; He knew our hunger; He knew our disappointment; He knew everything that we have to experience as human beings.

And He took on this flesh, He took on this flesh surely from the most holy Theotokos. And it is this assurance that we have in today's Gospel, this assurance that God Himself is with us, that He has united Himself unto us. He has become an intercessor for us before the throne of the Father, and indeed He has become a bridge over which we human beings may cross. For He has united in Himself eternally and without any confusion, He has united in Himself human nature and the divinity.

We praise therefore the Name of our Savior, and in it we praise the Name of the Holy Trinity Who has permitted these things to us, that He has given us again in another year to celebrate this memory. And we celebrate it in great thanksgiving, and we celebrate it in great gratitude. For the sake of our Jesus Christ we have been saved; for His sake we have hope; for His sake we have an expectation and an anticipation of those things which have been promised to us. If we hold fast to Him, if we hold fast to Jesus Christ then all of the things that He has promised us will come to pass. If we will take into ourselves the sanctifying Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, we will be saved and we will have those promises fulfilled in us.

Therefore as we prepare on these forefeasts of the Nativity of our Savior, let us keep all of these things in mind, this genealogy, which now becomes our genealogy, because in Jesus Christ we are united with all of the saints of all ages.

To Him and to His Father and to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity Which has saved us be glory and honor unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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