On September 3, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:
“Today’s reading from the Gospel is telling us a parable about evil tenants of the vineyard. This parable speaks about the history of Israel, about the relationship between God and His chosen people. However, we may interpret this parable in a number of other ways. We may say that today’s Gospel parable is related to us. The vineyard is then our life and soul. And here in some way we resemble those evil tenants.”
“Our life and our own soul is the vineyard the Lord planted exclusively for us. He granted us the gift of life, He gave us different other gifts to support that life. If we are Christians, let us recall that being baptized we are given an opportunity to live a blessed life in God’s eternal Kingdom. We are also chrismated by the seal of the Holy Spirit and we are able to live a holy, joyful and happy life. But we are called to bring the Lord and Creator “His share of the grapes”. That means that our life has bear a fruit, our soul has to show the works of mercy, love and piety. We are expected to love our fellow men, to show mercy towards the needy and we are also expected to be pious. In the parable we hear that the owner dug a winepress and built a tower (Mt. 21, 33). The winepress is the altar and the necessity of offerings. The tower is the temple. Thus we are called to make sacrifices and to honor the temple. We are expected to live a pious and religious life.”
“Let us now ask ourselves, “Do we bring the Lord His share of the grapes? Do we bear a fruit of love, mercy and piety?” If we are honest, we may see that it does not happen all the time. Therefore, we resemble those evil tenants, those wicked vinedressers.”
“But we may try to justify ourselves and say, “Do we kill the messengers of God like those evil tenants?” Let us think. Do we always listen to voice of our conscience? Remember that our conscience is the voice of God within us. Do we listen to that voice sent to us by God or we try to silence, to hush it, to kill it in ourselves because we do not wish to change our sinful life? How many times our conscience chastised us but we silenced it and chased it away, so it may not disturb us in our way of living? Then we may ask, “Do we kill the “heir of the owner”, the Son of God?” But if we read the Holy Fathers and if we are knowledgeable in spiritual matters, we may recall that every time when we sin, we crucify our Lord Jesus Christ. For the Son of God took all our sins upon Himself, and thus every our sin is a mockery of His sacrifice on the Cross.”
“Realizing all these things makes us understand that the parable of the wicked tenants is related to us. Very often we do not fulfill the will of the Lord, do not bear a good fruit in our lives, and disrespectfully treat our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. What should we do to change our attitude? Jesus asked the Jews in today’s Gospel, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: the stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone” (Mt. 21, 42). Here Jesus was speaking about Himself, the Chief Cornerstone on which our salvation is built. Therefore, our only way is to put Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of our life. It would mean that we will have to base our lives on the faith in Christ, to live a pious and religious life according to the Gospel, to show the works of mercy and love. Only then the Lord will not treat us as the wicked tenants of His vineyard but will award us and bless us for eternity.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Hearing that serious and convoluted parable about evil vinedressers, let us pray that the Lord Creator, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother, will grant us strength and ability to cultivate the vineyard of our life and our soul entrusted to us, so we may bear a good fruit of piety and Christian life leading us to life everlasting!”
Our Cantor, Olga Roussanow beautifully performed hymns in honor of the Most Holy Mother of God during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English to convey the main ideas of his Russian homily.