On Friday, we observed Halloween, while dressing in costumes of happy characters, we tried to avoid thoughts of ghosts and scary monsters. It's a time for collecting candy and avoiding the ghoulish things. Would we want to admit that they exist amongst us? Do they? Yet each and every year when we hear the tunes of the smash hit of 1984, Ghostbusters, we are reminded...who's afraid of the ghosts. If that isn't bad enough there was a ghost hunters special on television, in which the existence of spirits in a haunted house, which an exorcism had been performed in the late 1940's, was scientifically being proven, utilizing recording devices, electronic equipment, temperature measures and even provocation. This in an effort to prove that ghosts remained, and are present in substances, like wood, present in the home. It was an eerie presentation. The viewer was to believe that activity had transpired and was recorded.
The story of ghosts goes way back. Even the gospel gets in on the subject when, as mentioned in (Matthew, Chapter 14:26), eyewitnesses became troubled while on the fourth watch in the middle of the sea in a boat, being tossed about, as Jesus was approaching them, walking on the water. They said: "It is a ghost!"
Today's gospel tells the story of poor Lazarus the beggar who died "and was carried by the angels" (Luke 16:22). In contrast, the stingy rich man, could see Lazarus in heaven while he resided in hades, tormented. (verse 26). "There is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." Clearly there are other places, not all good.
On the subject of angels, you are assigned one at your Baptism and your guardian angel is invisibly present with you always, (Matthew 18:10). We can take comfort in their existence.
The church offers us armor in our battle against unforeseen forces such as: the cross, holy water, blessed Icons. Each year, we are given the option of having a home blessing. Why are they available if not needed? Two thousand years of experience is compelling evidence.
The commentator on ghost hunter said that some spirits did not like the presence of holy water, which we know is sanctified. Also mentioned was the name of Jesus, and St. Michael. No need to ask why on both accounts.
Coming back to the response to the disciples on the boat in Matthew 14, by Jesus, verse (27), "Be of Good Cheer, It is I, Do Not Be Afraid." We have confidence in God's protection as read in (Psalm 91:15) "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. (16) With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation."
(1John 4:4) "You are of God, little children, He who is in You is greater than he who is in the world."(1John4:18) "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (19) We love Him because He first loved us."
(1Corinthians 13:8) "Love never fails."
As someone wisely told me, "You are never alone..." Trust in the Lord for he is Good and a lover of mankind.
Today is Sunday, and it's cold and extremely windy, and we're in the month of November. Before you know it we will be celebrating our parishes 90th anniversary of the founding of the church of St. Michael. So much to look forward to, thankfully now that Halloween is over.
All scriptural references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
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