On October 23, on the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council, we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. Our Parish Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian.
Reflecting on the Gospel story of the resurrection of the young man in the city of Nain the Rector said that from the men’s perspective it is a story about human grief. We encounter sorrows all the time of our life. The most terrible sorrow is our death which is inevitable. All this causes grief. But we should not live in such a negativity. How to deal with grief? A very constructive way is to let the tears flow. It is natural for us to cry. However, some cultures and teachings do not approve of that. The ancient stoic philosophers used to say, “Do not mourn. Self-control is the answer to sorrow”. Reading today’s Gospel story we may think that our Lord Jesus Christ teaches the same. He said to the widow of Nain who mourned the death of her son, “Do not weep” (Lk. 7, 13). But Jesus never condemned those who wept. On the contrary, He taught, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt. 5, 4). And Jesus Himself wept when His friend Lazarus died (Jn. 11, 35). As to the widow of Nain, the Lord told her to stop weeping because He had already come and was about to comfort her.
St. Paul teaches us not to mourn as those who have no hope (1 Thes. 4, 13). We need Christian hope. We may weep and mourn but we should remember that our sorrow will find comfort when we will encounter Jesus. Same happened in today’s Gospel lesson: there were two processions that met. One was a funeral procession which signified despair, grief and sorrow, the helplessness and hopelessness of man. At the head of it was a dead man. Another procession signified salvation, hope, joy and eternal life. At the head of it was Christ, the Son of God. Small wonder that the people cried out, “God has visited His people” (Lk. 7, 16).
As God has visited His people resurrecting the son of a widow in Nain, so He visits us to grant us hope and comfort in our sorrow.
During the Divine Liturgy the Rector for the first time proclaimed one of the Little Ektenias in the Georgian language which will hopefully be the constant practice in our parish if we have Georgian-speaking people attending the service.
The choir beautifully performed the hymns dedicated to the Holy Fathers honored on that Sunday.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector delivered a short sermon in English stressing the main ideas of his Russian homily.