Sunday, January 22 (9), 2023
32d Sunday after Pentecost; Sunday After the Epiphany
Eph. 4:7-13; Mt. 4:12-17
A Christian, who has set upon the path of salvation, armed with “the whole armour of God” [Eph. 6:13], gets today the leaders appointed by St. Paul for his mission, as well as a glimpse of the final goal, as the means to encourage him in hardships. These leaders are pastors and teachers [Eph. 4:11] given to the Church by the Lord; through their mouth He proclaims His directions, guiding everyone towards salvation, as long as one follows them with faith and prayer.
This truth is well known to all who have set out on a godly course, with courage, with no pity for themselves in their battle against the enemies of salvation. They always get help and edification from their pastors, even when it would be totally unexpected by a side observer. This happens because they seek help, sincerely and full-heartedly, not from men but from the Lord Himself Who is always ready to guide and instruct His people through His servants.
As far as the final goal is concerned, it is coming “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Eph. 4:13]. What it means to be a “perfect man” in the usual sense is quite clear, and everyone is certainly willing to achieve such perfection; but what it means to be “a perfect man in the fullness of Christ” is known only to those who have come unto the measure of that stature. This, however, should not be a discouragement for anyone who is striving to attain to it; on the contrary, it should boost our efforts, for what is presently closed to us will be opened up as we ascend to the height of the spiritual perfection which is called “the stature” of a godly life. The Apostle speaks of a perfect man in terms of the fullness of virtues which are manifest in the Lord the Savior Himself. Everyone would agree: this is a sufficient reason to follow Him and pursue this goal, “giving it all diligence” [2Pet. 1:5].