On November 1, on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, our parish family had a nice celebration. St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:
“Today’s Gospel reading contains very famous parable about the Sower who went to sow his seed (Lk. 8, 5-15). The seed falls to the different ground, and in most of the cases it did not produce any fruit. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself explained that parable to His disciples saying what it means. We easily learn that the seed is the Word of God which is sown by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Sower of the Word. Now, the grounds are different types of people, different types of human souls. And the Lord tells us what kind of souls He is talking about. In one case they hear the word but the devil comes and takes the word away. In another case people have no root for the word and fall away at the time of temptation. In the third instance the people are too busy with their daily cares, riches or pleasures, so they cannot grow the seed of faith. Only in the fourth example Jesus talks about some “good ground”, about those who have a “noble and good heart”. They hear the word , keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
“As we may see, our Lord teaches us in a very simple and easy way. Christianity is a simple and direct teaching. It may be hard, but it is not complicated. And in today’s Gospel we are given four different way of receiving the Word. Three of them are inappropriate, failing. Only one is right and appropriate. It looks like a multiple choice question with one correct answer. How can we find the right answer? The right answer is given in today’s Gospel in twelve simple words: “But that on the good ground are they, which in a noble and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Lk. 8, 15).”
“First of all, so that the seed of God does not fall by the wayside and may not be trampled down or devoured by the demons, we must have an ‘honest and good heart’. Our hearts must be ready to receive the word.”
“Secondly, so that we do not fall into careless excitement, we must cultivate the seed of God, giving moisture to it, so that it puts out roots and develops, in other words, we must ‘keep the word’. How the word is kept? By obeying the Commandments. If we live according to them, then we keep the Word of God”
“Finally, so that the seed of God is not choked with the thorns and weeds of our passions, we must ‘bring forth fruit with patience’. We cannot expect sudden and astonishing progress, with our many worldly cares. We have to be patient and persevere, making what at first may only be a mere interest into our priority and living it as a way of life. Sometimes people complain that they fight their passions and sins but see little or even no progress. We have to be patient. It could happen that we do not totally overcome certain sins in our life. However, if we repent and fight those sins, the Lord may still bless and receive us into His blessedness, for we were patient in our fight. Such a fight can produce a fruit.”
“Thus today Christ gives us not learned volumes of complicated instructions to live by, but three simple rules for salvation: to have an ‘honest and good heart’, to keep the word, and bring forth fruit with patience. If we follow that simple rules, we may become a good ground for the seed of God to grow and to make us worthy of eternal blessedness.”
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English to stress the main thoughts of his Russian homily.
After the Liturgy the Rector performed a memorial service (Litia) for the victims of the Russian aircraft crash occurred in Egypt.
Our Sunday celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.