7th Sunday after Pentecost


On July 19, on the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Rector of St. George Church, served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Holy Gospel lesson he preached the following homily in English:

”Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s Gospel is about healings of the blind men and of a man who was demon possessed. There are many similar stories of healing in the Scripture. And we should notice that each time our Lord Jesus Christ performs the miracle of healing He asks: “Do you believe? Do you believe that I am able to do this?” When our Lord asks these questions he is knocking at the door of the hearts of men. He is looking for an opening to be let in, so that not only healing, but salvation may occur. This is described for us in the Book of Revelation of St. John where it says “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Rev. 3, 20).”
”While the Lord knocks at the door of our hearts, it takes action or faith on our part to let Him in. We must then also knock at His door and ask for salvation. This is confirmed in the words of our Lord when He says “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Lk. 11, 9).”
”We see both of these aspects of knocking at the door in today’s Gospel. The first knock is in the two blind men calling after Jesus “Son of David, have mercy on us.” (Mt. 9, 27) St. Simeon the New Theologian describes this knock at the door by the blind men in the following manner: “He who prays according to the flesh, and does not also have spiritual understanding is like the blind man that cried out “Son of David, have mercy on me!” But another blind man when he received his sight and saw the Lord, no longer saw Him as the Son of David, but as the Son of God. (Jn. 9, 35-38)” Thus, any knock at the door must be to bring us to God. This is why Christ does not immediately respond to these men. Jesus does not respond because He wants their thirst for God to increase.”
“The second knock is when Jesus asks them “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Mt. 9, 28). Our Lord does this so that they may publicly proclaim their action of faith when they say “Yes Lord.” This should remind us that our faith is not just a personal thing that we keep to ourselves. Faith is something that must be proclaimed in order to bring others to faith.”
“When the men respond with the words “Yes Lord”, they leave their fleshly or earthly understanding behind and embrace the spiritual understanding. This is accomplished through their use of the word ‘Lord’. They no longer recognize Jesus as the Son of David but as the Lord, the Son of God, the God-Man, the Savior of the world. Thus, they are not only healed of their infirmity but they are brought to salvation. This is confirmed by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans when he says “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom.10, 13).”
”All too often we seek after God through miraculous signs of His action in creation and fail to see the spiritual miracles that occur around us. St. John Chrysostom speaks of this in the following manner: “Do not therefore seek signs, but the soul’s health. Seek not to see one dead man raised; nay, for you have learned that the whole world is arising. Seek not to see a blind man healed, but behold all now restored unto that better and more profitable sight; and do you too learn to look chastely, and amend your eye.””
“So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, seek not after miracles. Seek rather after salvation for Christ is knocking at the door of your heart. Open the door of your hearts to Him that you may enter into the New Creation and receive the spiritual miracles that will change you and the world around you. Though this change you will be able to respond truly: “Yes, Lord, I believe” and to receive according to our faith.”

After the dismissal of the Liturgy he Rector preached a short sermon in Russian to stress the main thoughts of his English sermon.