During the service, His Holiness gave a sermon in which he commented on the Gospel according to Luke 10:17-20. He highlighted the fact that “The Lord is not denying the disciples the right to be satisfied and to rejoice; rather, He is warning them that happiness should be for the right reasons. He is making them aware that there is false happiness in the world, happiness that is built on pride, false power, and personal satisfaction; false happiness that comes as a result of worldly gains and not heavenly rewards”.
“True happiness which lasts” His Holiness illustrated “is what comes from the Lord Jesus, from our faith in Him and commitment to living His gospel.”
Noting the authority given to the disciples, His Holiness added “sending them on this mission, He gave them authority (cf. 10: 19). Their authority is an extension of His power; they could not do it on their own. In order to conquer the world and its lusts, and to win the battles against the evil one, they needed to have a greater authority than that of this world.”
Speaking about the mission of the Church, he said: “It is the mission of the Church today to bring back Christ to all the people of Sweden.”
“Christians, throughout the world but in the context of Sweden also, need to know that danger and rejection are to be expected. For the message of Christ presents a constant challenge to the worldly beliefs and convictions, because we are in the world but not of the world (cf. John 15: 19)”, His Holiness continued, “Therefore, pastors, clergy and indeed every Christian on a mission need to be watchful and prepared for refusal and denial. Nevertheless, the peace that comes from the Lord of peace and that comforts in times of difficulties is indescribable.”
At the end of his sermon, His Holiness prayed for the success of the General Synod of the Church of Sweden, remarking that “We are all more successful if we work together and collaborate, with the same zeal and enthusiasm that the disciples and apostles had when they shared the Gospel, preached it and taught the ‘new’ teaching of Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Kingdom of God”.
Their Eminences: Mor Julius Abdelahad Shabo, Archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin, Patriarchal Vicar in Holland, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, also attended the service.