“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
My beloved children in the Christ-loving Diocese of New York and New England:
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and from His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord and from the Holy Spirit our comforter.
I wish you all blessings from our Lord during this blessed feast of Theophany, in which God manifested Himself to us in the clearest form possible as the Holy Trinity. The incarnate Logos, having humbled Himself and been baptized by the hands of His servant Saint John the Baptist, “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16), and the voice of the Father was heard from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
The voice of the Father, pointing toward the Son and manifesting the eternal love between them, was prefigured in the story of our father Abraham. God said to our father Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2). Our father Isaac was the only son to Abraham from our mother Sarah, and he was certainly a beloved son. Yet, when he was asked to offer him, he did not spare Isaac, but was ready to offer him to God.
Similarly, God the Father offered His only-begotten Son because of His great love for us. Saint Paul wonders, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32). This is why the only begotten Son Himself affirms, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
How great is Your love O Lord with which You have loved me, I the sinner?! Let this unlimited love be a reason for me to repent, and offer to you my life under the cross of Your Son, and proclaim with Saint Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
By God’s grace David, the servant of the Lord’s servants in New York and New England