By Metropolitan Sotirios
Today's society closely resembles humanity during the time of Christ. Poverty and uncertainty exists all over the world. The mighty rule and the powerless suffer. Terrorists and pirates spread feelings of fear and death throughout the world. The economic crisis plagues the human race. In the midst of this distressing situation, Christ comes and seeks a place to dwell and to find refuge.
Does Christ live as a person in today's society? Yes He does! He lives in the face of the person who is in need. Did He not teach this? "If you do good to one of the least of My brethren, you do it also to Me," Christ said. Therefore, in this sense, every person is a small 'Christ'. Is not every human being a living icon of Christ?
Little Alexander, who fell ill in Athens and had no means to come back to Canada to continue with his treatment, is a small "Christ" that was asking for a place to dwell in today's society. Many Christians responded to the voice of Christ, funds were gathered and little Alexander returned to Toronto. Of course, there were those who doubted. They slandered. They judged. Through this situation, they tried to reap benefits. Unfortunately, these events also occurred. We, however, will not judge them. We hope and pray that they will repent. If they do not in this life, they will be judged by Christ at the Second Coming and His righteous Judgment. At that time, it will be too late for them. We hope they do not neglect their repentance and do not reach the stage where they must give an account to Christ on that Last Day.
In today's society, the elderly person also asks for a place to dwell and find refuge, just as Christ did. In Greece, many elderly had found accommodation and rest and care and joy and happiness in a nursing home. Yet now, due to the financial crisis, the Nursing Home is closing its doors. Where will these elderly persons find accommodation?
Many young persons in Greece who have dedicated their lives to post-secondary education, have graduated and earned their University degrees, but cannot find work. They also are seeking a place to live and find refuge. They leave their motherland, which they love so much, to find a place to live and work in foreign lands.
The father and mother who lost their jobs, and who now cannot provide for their family, also seek a place to dwell and find refuge. Who will open the door to them? Who will give them work? Who will give them a bowl of hot soup and clothing to protect them? Whey they can not pay their rent, and are thrown out on to the street, where will they go to live?
Young persons who have been caught up in doing narcotics and are the victims of drug traffickers, also seek a place to dwell and find refuge. The daughter, who has been forced to walk the streets and sell her body so she can eat a piece of bread, also seeks refuge and security.
Is there a place for all these people to live and find security in today's day and age? Where is this place? Who is its owner? Who is its manager?
This dwelling place is none other than the earth with all its goods and material resources. God is its owner, for God is its Creator and the Creator of the entire universe. Those who are invested with caring for this dwelling place are none other than you and I. In particular, the powerful ones of the earth who are blessed with material wealth, have the financial means to provide for the proper caring and support of those less fortunate and for those in need.
If we, as the managers and stewards of this dwelling place here on earth, do our duty and provide properly for those in need, no one would go hungry. No one would be on the streets. No one would suffer. There would be a dwelling place and a refuge for all the people of the world who seek food, clothing and shelter, if things were administered properly.
The grave situation around the world proves to us that, in today's day and age, the earth’s material resources are not being administered properly. This is why there is a global economic crisis. This is why there are people who are unemployed. This is why there are people who are hungry. This is why people are homeless. This is why two-thirds of humanity today suffers.
With this problem of bad stewardship and mis-management, great chaos ensues around the world. Both young and old suffer. Everything is turned upside down. The rich become poor and some of the poor become rich. Above all, people lose their sense of ethics, their spiritual direction. As long as this goes on, the situation will only become worse. It is a vicious cycle.
Humanity today, now more than ever, needs Christ. They need Christ to reprimand them and to say to them: "Stop! Stop the economic exploitation of others. Do not devour each other. The earth has enough material resources and goods for everyone. These should not be reaped only by the few, but by all. You can’t take it with you. Repent before you hear the fearful verdict, 'This night, your soul is required of you".
Beloved Christians: Celebrate the Birth of Christ with all your strength and being. Open your hearts and souls to Him and give Him a place to dwell and seek refuge. He will bring you true joy, peace, happiness. Do you recognize Him? He is the One who was and is God, who took on human flesh from the Ever-Virgin Mary and became man. He is the One who is Lord of the living and of the dead. He is the only Redeemer and Saviour of the world. He is the One who will come to judge both the living and the dead. He is to be found in the face of the person who suffers and is in need. Open your hearts to this person as well. Extend your hands to help this person. May your Christmas be a most blessed and joyous celebration!
With fatherly love and fervent prayers in the New-Born Christ,
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of Toronto
Head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Canada