On May 14, on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, we had a nice liturgical celebration in our temple. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily in English:
”In today’s Gospel lesson, we can clearly see how our Lord Jesus Christ combines within His Person two natures, human and divine. We see that as a human being, He could become tired, thirsty and hungry. The Gospel tells us that Jesus was thirsty and He asked the Samaritan Woman for drink. On the other hand, we see that He is also divine. Living as God in eternity, He knows the present, past and future of all. Thus as God He knows that the Samaritan Woman has already been married five times and that at present she is living in sin with another man. Also He tells her that He can give her “living water’” from an Eternal Well, and He tells the disciples that His “food is to do the will of Him that sent Me” (Jn. 4, 34).”
”As a man, Christ was a Jew, and His disciples were surprised to find Him conversing not only with a woman, but with a Samaritan Woman. A Jew would never speak with a Samaritan, especially with a Samaritan Woman. It is mentioned in today’s Gospel that “Jews had no dealings with Samaritans” (Jn. 4, 9).”
“As God, however, Christ does talk to those who are able to accept Him as the Messiah, for the vocation of Christ is universal. He says that “salvation is of the Jews” (Jn. 4, 22), but this salvation is only for those who accept Christ, and not many Jews accepted Him. According to the Jews, the Samaritans were heretics; they had rejected the importance of Jerusalem and much of the Old Testament, rejected the Prophets; they had confused pagan idolatry with the Old Testament. On the other hand, the Jews had rejected Christ. The Jews turned the truths and revelations of the Old Testament into a dry legalism and an arrogant racism. They had denied that Messiah, a Jew as a man, could, as God, come for the salvation of all the nations. It is that ideology which still to this day insists on what you may call “an ownership of God” – the Jews claim that they own God and that God owes to them because He proclaimed them a chosen people. The Jews had kept the letter of the Law but had rejected the spirit of the Law. And without the Spirit they were unable to recognize Christ.”
“The Samaritans had rejected the letter of the Law, but some of them, at least, did not stubbornly insist on their errors but were open to its spirit, for they were open to Christ, the Word of God, the Inspirer of the Law. If the Jews rejected Christ, the Samaritans, as we heard today in the Gospel, kept Him with them for two days and many believed in Him (Jn. 4, 40-41). And when our Lord returned from Samaria to Judea, He had to say that “a prophet has no honor in his own country” (Jn. 4, 44).”
“Why does the Church commemorate the Samaritan Woman today? Because this is the first Sunday after Mid-Pentecost, the feast that stands half-way between Easter and Pentecost. At Pascha the great truths of the Church are being revealed – that Christ is both God and man, that He is crucified and risen from the dead. However, these truths, may remain rather abstract until at Pentecost we understand their inner meaning, their implications for our daily life. By the coming of the Holy Spirit, these truths become living, and we worship Christ in spirit and in truth. Thus the Church reads to us the words that, “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4, 23).”
“And this is why this world still continues today, why the world has not yet ended. Until the Gospel of Christ has been preached in spirit and in truth, that is, in Orthodox manner, in all lands, throughout the world, the world cannot end. For as long as there are new Samaritans, new nations, new tribes to hear the Truth, as long as there are people who can still potentially become Orthodox, the world must continue, for there is harvest still to be reaped (Jn. 4, 38).”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us pray that we too like the Samaritan Woman may bring others to the Church, testifying like her to the Divinity of Christ, becoming reapers of that which we have not sown.”
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian stressing the main ideas of his English homily.
On the occasion of Mother’s Day the Rector congratulated all the mothers of our parish wishing them God’s blessings and joy in their children and grandchildren. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.
The Rector also performed an order of Blessing for the Traveling by Air for the Malyshew family who are going to leave for Moscow and stay there for a month. He wished them a safe trip and a protection of the Guardian Angels.