St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

September 11, 2010

by Fr. Rodney Torbic

Nine years ago the world's attention was focused upon the unprecedented attack on America. The loss of lives and devastation seemed unreal and produced shock. An immeasurable degree of pain and hurt occurred. Lasting caution and fear were struck in the hearts and minds of thousands of people. Measures of security were instituted at all levels of government.

At the time America was attacked nine years ago, many Orthodox Christians were attending the Divine Liturgy in their parish churches commemorating the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The beheading of St. John the Baptist was violent and senseless. A holy man, St. John the Baptist, the Prophet and Forerunner, was beheaded at the command of Herod (Mk. 6:14-30)

Centuries and centuries have passed since the beheading of St. John and since the time of Christ. Peace remains elusive and at times seems more fragile than ever. In recent days, hatred and distrust have readily come to the fore in the international community. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells us the message of St. John was: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mt. 3:2) The Gospel of St. Mark says: "After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'" (Mk. 1:14)

The message of repentance continues to be relevant. The need to reduce senseless and unnecessary violence continues to exist. The need to defend against hedonistic authoritarian figures in power that seek to stamp out good is still valid. The need for Christians to imitate Christ and follow the path of Christ is acute. What kind of society is being created? What relationships are being fostered and developed in this land and across the globe? What kind of examples are adults setting for the current and future generations? Immoral behavior was an issue at the time of St. John the Baptist. Immoral, unethical and violent behaviors are issues today.

The time to repent is now. The time to be civil with each other is now. The time to stand for the Gospel and adhere to the Gospel is now. The time to be unyielding on moral and ethical issues is now. The time to say "no " to corruption at all levels is now. The time to love Christ and to put that love into daily practice in our relationships is now.

The world will get better when good people no longer tolerate that which is not good. The world will get better when good people get better through repentance and following the Gospel. The world will get better when Christ fully lives in the hearts, homes and lives of all believers. Lukewarm believers tolerate that which should not be tolerated and give silent consent and approval to that which should not be approved or tolerated. This is a time for the strong of faith to say "no more" to the unethical, the immoral and the violent.

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
August 29/September 11, 2010. Beheading of St. John the Baptist

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