9th Sunday after Pentecost. Feast of the Icon of Our Lady of Smolensk

On August 10, on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost and on the feast of the Icon of Our Lady of Smolensk, Rector of St. George Church served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.Following the Gospel reading he preached a homily:

“Today’s Gospel lesson tells us about our Lord Jesus Christ walking on the water. There is nothing amazing about that. He is the Son of God and He has a full dominion over nature. In fact, at the end of today’s reading the Apostles confess their faith in Him worshipping Him and saying: “You are the Son of God” (Mt. 14, 33). What is amazing is that His Disciple, Peter could walk on the water also. It is not surprising that God can do amazing things. The real miracle starts when He invites man to do amazing things.”
“The Gospel tells us that Holy Apostle Peter wished to come to Jesus on the water. The only provision he has is that the Lord will command him to do so. Jesus quickly answers with one word: “Come” (Mt. 14, 29). Then Peter comes down out of the boat and starts walking on the sea, just as Jesus did. However, he could not make all his way to Jesus. Peter saw that the wind was boisterous, became afraid and began to sink. He cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” Jesus saved him and rebuked him for having too little faith.”
“Today’s Gospel teaches us that with God we are able to do anything . Having firm faith and sincere hope generates greatest powers in man. Our faith and our hope become our comfort in difficulties and our foundation in calamities. What do we need to stand on something or to walk on something? We need foundation and comfort. Naturally, we are unable to walk on the water because it does not have sufficient foundation for our body. But St. Peter could do it, at least for a brief moment, because his faith and trust in Jesus became his foundation.”
“In today’s Epistle lesson we also find thoughts of the Holy Apostle Paul regarding that. He calls Jesus Christ the foundation of our life in Him. “No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3, 11) Having such a foundation we may build our life on Him. God will empower us to do many amazing things. St. Paul teaches that we may build using gold, silver or precious stones. He refers to a fruitful and rich life in Christ, life full of virtue and good deeds, life of holiness. This kind of life is very hard to conduct, it may even seem to be impossible, just as walking on the waters. But as an example we have a great number of people whom we call Saints. They could live such a life. They were always trying to do impossible things because they had faith as a foundation and they never lost the Christ from their sight.”
“But even if we fail, if we became overcome by doubt, by fear or by something else, Jesus still stretches His saving hand to us. Even if we start to sink, like Peter, it would be enough just to cry out: “Lord, save me!” And help will come. St. Paul tells that some may build their structure with wood, hay or straw. Although such building will not be strong, it still has a very strong foundation. It may be damaged, destroyed, but it could be rebuilt again. Thus when we experience difficulties, go through troublesome life, when we fall, let us not forget that our Lord Jesus Christ may help us and save us.”
“Let us attempt to have firm faith and full trust to do amazing and great things for the glory of God. Let us try to walk on the waters of our uncertain and unreliable earthly existence. God will help us. But even if we doubt, even if we become afraid, even if we fail, even if we fall and begin to sink, let us remember that Jesus is with us. Let us call Him. Let us say even a little prayer. He will come and help us. He will come and save us. For He is our Foundation, our Comfort and our Hope.”

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector reminded parishioners that on the coming week the Church will begin the Dormition fast. This two-week period is dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God and has strict rules of fasting. Fr. Igor called the faithful to observe that fast in honor of the Blessed Mother. He also made a short speech about the Icon of Our Lady of Smolensk which was celebrated on that day.

Following the Liturgy the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company at the coffee hour.