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OPINIONS

“Christ Is on Earth,” By Archbishop Sotirios of Canada

December 25, 2022
By Archbishop Sotirios of Canada

The Holy Bible is the eternal book. It provides wisdom from above, the truth that is without limit. We read in the Bible: “God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). “[T]he Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). “He was seen upon the earth and lived among men” (Baruch 3:38). “[T]he fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). What does it all mean? As Gregory the Theologian aptly puts it, “Christ is on earth.” In other words, God is on earth, the God-Man is here.

Go back. Look to the past. See what happened thousands of years ago. Reclaim once more the eternal truth. Listen to the sincere voice of God. Read it in the Bible, in the Old Testament, in Genesis. This is what God said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26), “Then God formed man out of dust from the ground, and breathed in his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). What does this mean? It signifies that man comes to earth. Humankind appears for the very first time.

These are essential moments in the historical evolution of the human race, of the world, of the entire universe. Self-centered? Selfish? Perhaps. But this is the reality. Only humans are psychosomatic entities, having both spirit and body. Thousands of years ago, man appeared in the world. 2022 years ago, Christ came into the world.

God the Creator brought man to earth out of love, for him to live, to rejoice, to enjoy the beauty the world had to offer. He brought him forth in His “image” in order for him to obtain His “likeness.” God comes to earth as man to benefit humankind. God comes because we need Him, for our salvation. With extreme humility, He comes to be crucified, to die, to help us access our divine “image,” to save us, to receive us by adoption. Christ comes because “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Christ is on earth, as the Good Shepherd, to save all of us, to find the sheep which was lost.

God’s infinite love brought man to earth. The fallout, the resulting desolation, the sinful darkness of the world, the desperate need for salvation, this is what brings Christ to earth. What a tremendous contrast in the motivation behind these two fundamental events.

Two millennia since the Incarnation of God, what can we say about the state of the world? There is war, bloodshed, hatred, wickedness. Tragic events continue to unfold in Ukraine, in Iran and almost all over the world. Humanity stumbles. It has lost its compass, its sense of purpose. This is why we all need to consider more carefully the events relating to Christmas, especially the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem. Let each one of us prepare his or her own manger. Let our souls and hearts become our own spiritual mangers, where we will prepare a place for Christ to come and dwell in us. For Him to keep us warm, to cleanse us. We need to get back. We need to change our lives.

My beloved Christians, let us celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Christ this year with true repentance, with humility, with love for Christ and our fellow human beings. Let us come to the knowledge of ourselves. With a pure heart, let us participate in the sacraments and receive Holy Communion. Thus, our union with Christ will be complete. By living on earth with Christ, we may continue to be united with Him in eternity as we pass on from this life. Let our union with Christ be complete and eternal.
I wish you a Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year, united with Christ in this life and in His Eternal Kingdom. All of us together, let us forever be with Christ.

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