On Sunday, August 29, the Protosyncellus of the Archdiocese of Australia, Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Church in Marrickville, Sydney, on the feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictive measures.
In his sermon, which was broadcast via the internet, Bishop Emilianos emphasized that the Holy Forerunner was a great example for the faithful because he revealed the way in which they could follow Christ by enduring all the trials, but without experiencing feelings of anxiety and agony and without living with the feeling that they are in danger.
He first noted that, when preaching and saying things against Herod, the Precious Forerunner was not motivated by selfish interests but by his love for God, which compelled him to tell the truth.
“When he does not move out of personal interests but out of love for God, then he knows how to be left in the hands of God,” pointed out the Bishop.
“And when we are left in the hands of God, then there is no stress,” he added.
Then, Bishop Emilianos referred to the fact proving that Saint John the Forerunner was indeed selfless, although he was strict and reprimanded people.
“When he realized that Christ was the Messiah, he told his disciples, ‘Leave me and follow Christ,'” he explained.
“If you want to see if someone really has love in him and if he is really humble, try to take something that belongs to him, try to question his authority,” pointed out the Bishop.
As he concluded, if we humans cannot be deprived of what we have received as gifts and as gifts from God, it means that deep within us our ego dominates.
“And this will not leave us alone until we deny it and replace the love of ourselves with the love of God,” he concluded.