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“Guests from Heaven”  A Homily by His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Milan of Blessed Memory

“Guests from Heaven”  

A Homily by His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Milan of Blessed Memory

Often, I would meet one of the junior high school students and he would ask me, “Where are  you praying tomorrow?” I would tell him the name of the church and city, to let him know it would be far for him. Nevertheless, I would find him coming to the late liturgy during the fasting periods after school. I would often reproach him, with the hope so that he would focus on his studies. Instead, he would look at me, smile and ask me to forgive him. I loved him very much.

One day, I was struck by the news of his sudden departure from this world. When I visited his home, his father took me by the hand and led me inside, saying, “Come see where the one who loved you used to pray!” I walked through a small corridor and saw the image of our Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the wall, with the verse written on it, “Keep them through Your Name” (Jn. 17:11).

His father told me, “This is your son’s room.” He informed me that his son used to use the little pocket money he had to rent a bicycle so that he could attend the divine liturgies! At that moment, I realized that I not only had a friend on earth, but he was a guest from heaven!

There are many who surround us like this person; they form a great cloud of witnesses and saints moving on the earth while their hearts dwell in heaven. They are a cloud moving in every country in the world. They are infants, children, youth, adults, and elderly whose knees have not bowed to Baal. Perhaps they have not been seen by prophets like Elijah the righteous prophet, but God is their only witness (1 Kgs. 19:14, 18).

Among these people there are those who had a responsibility and took on an important job. Despite their numerous commitments and responsibilities, they have neither deviated nor changed. They do good in other people’s hearts.

These people may not have been known to everyone, but they are a joy to the Lord. In their personal lives they may be hurting, but they work to relieve the wounds of others. The tears they shed over their personal problems do not prevent them from comforting and wiping away the tears of every sad and suffering person.

The Lord loves those guests. He loves them since they are ambassadors to His heavenly home (2 Cor. 5:20). They work in silence and labor quietly throughout their lives. They speak the language of their country, the language of love and they talk about it through their silence. They are ambassadors, and through them we are able to discover the work of the inhabitants of heaven. Their function is to praise and glorify the Lord.

The Lord loves them because they are His epistle known and read by all men. (2 Cor. 3:2). His epistle that could be read by the blind; so his heart can see the beauty and sweetness of his Creator, and one by which can be grasped by  the hand, attracting and guiding those to observe the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The Lord knows them as they are the fragrance of Christ everywhere (2 Cor. 2:15). Where there is hatred and envy, their fragrance of love spreads. Where there are conflicts and turmoil, their fragrance of peace that dwells in them spreads everywhere. Their blessed fragrance of virtue is stronger than the smell of the world behind which hides  a bitter reality.

My friend, you meet many people and many people meet you. You speak with them, and about them; and they speak with you and about you in lengthy conversations and about various topics. But at the end, what did you feel? Have you felt among them that there might be someone who lives like a visitor from heaven? Have you felt that these people are with us, and close to us, but their deeds demonstrate that they are guests from heaven?

After all, what is your desire? Do you wish to be a guest like them, to go about doing good? Or was it enough just to know them? Have you changed for the better? Or is it enough just to speak about them?  

My friend, in the midst of the many commitments and worries around us, always feel that you are a guest on earth and a guest from heaven. And in your ears whisper with all your soul that you are a guest and that one day you will return to your homeland above. For heaven is the dwelling place of those who have a heart full of pure love. Always tell yourself, “Sooner or later, I will return there” and say, “My heavenly homeland, my home, and my dwelling place will not reject me as long as I have neither denied nor neglected my love to my Creator nor forsaken His commandments.  

Jessica Shalaby