On August 6, on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as on the feast of St. Boris and Gleb, our Parish family conducted a nice celebration. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed the Divine Liturgy in our temple. Following the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:
“Today we heard from the reading of the Holy Gospel that our Lord Jesus Christ was walking on the water during the storm (Mt. 14, 22-43).”
“The spiritual meaning of that miracle is the following. A stormy sea where the Disciples of Christ sail is a spiritual image of our life. Our Church hymns often compare our human life to a sea. And this is true. Our life could be quiet and peaceful, but it could have some winds, some small problems. But sometimes it could be a huge storm, a storm in our life filled with sufferings and misfortunes.”
“The boat in which the Apostles were sailing is an image of the Church of Christ which helps a man to overcome the difficulties of life.”
“Today we also read that Apostle Peter heard the command of Christ to come to Him on the waters, and he began to walk (Mt. 14, 29). Apostle Peter walked on the waters in the same way as Christ did; he did walk because he had truly believed in the power of God, and he had been given according to his faith. But suddenly he saw that the wind was boisterous and he became afraid. And at the moment he got scared, he began to sink (Mt. 14, 30).”
“Dear brothers and sisters! This is also an image of our life. As long as we hear the voice of God and walk through our life with God, according to God’s Commandments; as long as a firm faith is burning in our hearts; as long as we are certain about our Orthodox way and strife to live according to our faith, – we fear nothing. No difficulties, no sufferings and pain, no storms of life are threatening us. But the moment we will doubt, that very moment when despair and dejection will appear in our heart, we will begin to sink in that sea of life. That very moment when it will be difficult for us to pray, when it will be hard to refer to God, because some laziness will overcome our soul; that moment when we will deceitfully think that it’s not really a bad thing if we will sin a little, for God is merciful and will forgive us; that very moment when we will act not according to God’s Commandments but according to our human cleverness – that moment we will be spiritually sinking in the depth of sin, in the abyss of the sea of life. Perhaps each one of us felt that way in his or her life.”
“And thus, when Apostle Peter began to sink, he cried out saying, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus told him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14, 29-30). And the Lord stretched out His hand and saved Peter from the depth.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! And this is also an image of our soul. When our soul begins to sink in sins, we should not despair. Like Peter, we should cry to the Lord from the abyss of our heart and say: “Lord, save me!” And the Lord gives us that great Mystery that saves us from the depth of sin, the Sacrament of Penance. In Penance the Lord is stretching out His hand to us and pulls us out from the abyss of sin, to which we are attracted by this world. The Lord saves us through repentance. But He also indicates a reason why we begin to sink: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””
“Our lack of faith is the reason for many of our misfortunes and sufferings. And the first thing we should ask the Lord to grant us is a holy and firm faith, so such faith could become a solid foundation for our life. In today’s Epistle reading we heard that we have to build our life upon a solid foundation of faith in our Savior Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3, 9-17).”
“Dear brothers and sisters! By the Divine Providence we gathered today for a prayer. We heard the Gospel story about a miracle performed for our instruction. Let us then ask the Lord that He may grant us a gift of faith. Let us remember that we may safely travel on the sea of life only being on the boat of the Holy Church of Christ. And let us remember that our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ may save us from any depth of sin. And let us, sinful, cry out to Him saying, “Lord, save us!””
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian to convey the ideas of his English homily.
He also congratulated his relative Maria Mitkevych who attended our service on the occasion of her past name day and presented her with the Theotokion prosphora. Traditional Polychronion was sung.
Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company. A toast in honor of Maria celebrating her name day was raised.