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Archbishop Makarios of Australia: “The voice of the people is not always the voice of God”

“Let us keep love in our souls, in order to cultivate it and to teach it to our children.” This was the paternal exhortation of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia to the pious faithful of the Parish of Saint Paraskevi, in the suburb of Blacktown, Sydney, where he liturgised on Palm Sunday morning, 28 April 2024.

The Archbishop received a warm welcome upon his arrival to the resplendent and crowded church. At the appointed point of the Matins Service, he blessed the traditional palms, which were then distributed to the congregation, while during the Divine Liturgy he preached the holy sermon, focusing on the event of the triumphal entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

After introductorily describing the festive atmosphere that prevailed that day among the people of Jerusalem, he then hastened to distinguish that “only one person was sullen and full of thoughts, and it seems that he did not participate in this scene of joy.” That person was Christ, His Eminence observed, for he knew that a few days after the cheering and celebration, the same people would cry “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“The Fathers of our Church, and primarily Saint John Chrysostom, say many times that the voice of the people is not always the voice of God,” the Archbishop pointed out and continued: “There are people today who have an opinion about the Church while they are atheists. Although for all other issues we usually turn to the experts, unfortunately for the issues of the Church and Theology everyone has an opinion. And this, the fact that everyone knows something and everyone wants to impose their opinion, led the people of Jerusalem within a few days, from where they were shouting “Hosanna”, to shouting “crucify him” and “his blood be upon us and upon our children”.

Recalling, moreover, the prophetic dimension the Jews acquired by the cry “his blood be upon us and upon our children”, His Eminence urged the faithful to be sparing in their words and careful when criticising and condemning someone. “When we go to say something good, we should say it without thinking,” he urged. “And when it comes to doing good”, he added, “let us not think about it”. “But when we are going to say bad words, when we are going to judge and accuse”, he objected, “then we must all be careful, because judgment against our neighbour is one of the greatest sins that Christ condemns”.

In closing, His Eminence, after thanking the Parish Priest Father Alexios Kapandritis and the Council of the Parish-Community for the invitation and warm hospitality, urged everyone to walk in a spirit of unity, love and mutual respect and prayed for God to always bless their works.