18th Sunday after Pentecost

On October 12, on the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy after coming back from his leave. Following the Scripture readings he preached a homily:

“Today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Luke presents us a very difficult advice our Lord Jesus Christ gives. He says: “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return” (Lk. 6, 35). It seems to us that it is something unnatural, not normal to love bad people, especially those who are against you, your enemies. It is also strange to hear that we have to lend without hope of receiving back. These words may seem to be weird, strange and even stupid. However, these are the words of the Lord, the words of Jesus. And if we recall the whole life of our Lord here on earth, we may realize that He acted that strange way. Jesus did not hide from His enemies, did not run away from the danger being apprehended and killed. When He was taken by His enemies He said nothing to avoid being crucified. And when He was tortured and crucified He prayed for His enemies and executioners: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23, 34). Therefore, if we think that a commandment to love the enemies is a strange and unnatural, let us remember that Jesus Christ gave us an example of that.”
“Having such an example of our Lord Himself we still may wonder how it is possible for us to love our enemy or to lend without hope to receive back. And it is really a difficult question. In today’s Gospel lesson our Lord tells us: Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Lk. 6, 31). This advice does not raise any questions in our mind. We know and it seems to be natural to do what you expect the other people to do to you. This is called a “golden rule” which was always in the hearts of men and which was stated by many great thinkers. Our Lord here repeats that golden rule. But stating again that natural order of things Jesus goes further and says: “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” (Lk. 6, 32). The sinners love those who love them and do good to those who do good to them. But when someone does something bad to them? They hate that person. The sinners behave like capricious children: if parents let them do whatever they want, they love them; but if they say ‘no’ to such a child they hear right away: “I hate you!” Our Lord tells us not to be like those children, but to be mature. Thus, if someone does something wrong to us, we should not jump into conclusions. But even if it is obvious that someone is our enemy, let us at least try to act as the Lord did. Let us try to love them. It is very hard. But was it easy for Jesus to humble Himself to the death on the Cross?”
“Another thing that we should keep in mind is that our enemies are also human beings. And every human being can make mistakes. We make them also, and we may also cause trouble to the other people. But God loves all of us. Today we heard the words that God is “kind to the unthankful and evil” (Lk. 6, 35). Sometimes we wonder why God allows bad things to happen and let bad people to live, sometimes live long lives and even prosper. It is because God is kind. We are all His children, good and bad. “And He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt. 6, 45). We also commit sins, and when we do so, we are not quite good. No, we are evil. But God forgives us when we repent. Being the children of God, we should love each other. God does it to us. He awaits our conversion and repentance if we do something wrong. If we do not repent at all, then God will judge us at the end of times. But not now.”
“Therefore, let us not judge our enemies at this point but let us wait for the Last Judgment of the Lord. Let us ask God to give us a soft heart to love our enemies in order to be similar to our Lord Jesus Christ who loved His enemies and prayed for them. Let us also pray for them, so the Lord will grant us according to our prayers.”

Upon the Liturgy dismissal the Rector congratulated our parishioner, Maria Malyshew, on the occasion of her past name day and wished her a special God’s help in her life as a young mother. Traditional “Mnogaia leta” were sung.

Following the dismissal Fr. Igor also announced that our parish property sustained some loss after the two recent windstorms. The falling tree branches damaged our gate and the gutter of the church building. Since we are facing some spendings for repair, the Rector asked the parishioners to show generosity in supporting the church. He also expressed his gratitude to Alexandru Surdu who performed voluntary work at our church property helping to remove the branches from the fence and the church roof.