Sermon – Feast of Ss. Cosmas and Damien 2020
By V. Rev. Timothy Baclig
November 1 – Ss. Cosmas and Damien, the Unmercenary Healers
Today’s Epistle is from St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians and was chosen because of the commemoration of Saints Cosmas and Damien: The scripture addresses three manifestations of love in Greek: agape (ἀγάπη), or unconditional love as demonstrated by God’s love for us; philia (φιλία), which is brotherly or affectionate friendship between two equals that governs our love for humankind in general; and eros (ἔρως), which is human desire or sensual love. The famous passage of today’s epistle described by St. Paul addresses the first aspect of love (ἀγάπη - agape). He defines it not abstractly, but in term of its operation: love is patient, kind, and forgiving. This reminds us of the astonishment of people observing the early Christians: “See these Christians, how they love one another!” It also enables us to understand an important Christian concept: forbearance. St. Paul would not have needed to mention patience, kindness, unselfishness, long-suffering, and forgiveness if these virtues had not been put to the test. The truth, however, is that the church at Corinth was a microcosm of the Church at large, both then and now. It was troubled by moral problems, it was torn by dissensions, composed of a diverse population, and it was very much in need of the healing prescription suggested by St. Paul.
It is relatively easy to love when everything is going our way, but much more challenging when we are being thwarted and tested. It is not too difficult to love any human being in the abstract – as an integral part of God’s creation, but quite difficult to love the person who may not only frustrate our plans, but who may also reject our best efforts to express love for him or her.
Almighty God, our help, our consolation and our strength, assist us we pray Thee, and grant us your peace amidst the many challenges of each and every day. Keep us under the shelter of Thy wings and guard us with your Word that we may be found faithful and diligent servants of Thy will, for blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father who is from everlasting and Thine all-Holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. A-men.