On August 5, on the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as feast of the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaev, we gathered at our temple for a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the reading of the Holy Gospel he delivered a homily in Russian.
In his homily the Rector interpreted the Gospel lesson assigned for this Sunday (Mt. 17, 14-23). He said that the young man possessed by a demon and suffering from epilepsy is a symbolic image of all humanity possessed by the power of sin and evil. Especially it was so before the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one could help that young man, even the Apostles. Only Christ was able to heal him.
Now the throwing of that young man to the fire and to the water symbolizes the extremes we are thrown into by our sins. The fire and the water are two opposite things. So we may be thrown into the opposite extremes. The fire may mean any passion, for instance anger, hatred or envy. The water, on the other hand, signifies the cold of despair, dejection or indifference. In order to be freed from those extremes, we need faith. But our faith is too small. The Lord tells us how to grow our faith and to cast out the evil – to practice prayer and fasting.
Only the power of Christ can help us but prayer and fasting invokes that power and makes us strong in faith. Thus we need to ask for God’s help and for the help of the Most Holy Mother of God (whose feast of the Icon of Pochaev we celebrate), as well as to ask for help of all the Saints. Thus we may avoid the extremes of the fire of passion and of the cold of despair. Prayer and fasting may lead us to the victory over the evil in this life, so we may inherit life everlasting.
The choir prayerfully performed hymns dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God during preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English conveying the main ideas of his Russian homily.
Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.