6th Sunday after Pentecost


On July 19, on the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Today we heard the reading from the Holy Gospel about the healing of a paralyzed man. That miracle has a spiritual meaning for all of us. A human being is supposed to act but a paralyzed man cannot move or act. Every human soul is supposed to move to God, to perfection. It is called to perform the works of love and mercy. However, how often we see that we are not able to make certain movements, to do good things or to live a spiritual life. Didn’t we notice that it is sometimes so difficult for us to pray? Didn’t we notice that we are in some kind of spiritual paralysis? The miracle our Lord performed over a paralyzed man reminds us of the necessity to heal our paralyzed soul, to restore it to a normal life”.
“Before the healing of the paralytic our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Mt. 9, 2). He said so because all our spiritual infirmities and shortcomings of the soul are caused by sin. When we commit sin of any kind, we damage our soul. When we envy, we poison our soul. When we are angry, we deprive our soul of movement. When we have no mercy or compassion, our soul becomes bound by wickedness. And it is very dangerous because we get used to the sins. At first we consider those sins small and insignificant. Or even if they are grave, we may try to justify ourselves saying, “What a big deal that I judged someone? Is it so bad that I failed to help someone? Nowadays everybody does it”. Thus a person keeps thinking and justifying himself, so the soul becomes paralyzed”.
“And if our conscience is not totally silenced, sometimes we feel bad about our spiritually paralyzed state, we feel guilty about our sins and we are troubled by our inability to change things. Therefore, the Lord said to the paralytic, “Be of good cheer” (Mt. 9, 2). God always wishes us to be happy. He desires to cheer us up. And God can always help us, heal us from spiritual paralysis, deliver us from the infirmity of the soul. But for Him to help us, He needs our desire. It is noted in today’s Gospel lesson that Jesus saw the faith of the people who brought a paralytic to Him. Seeing their faith the Lord began to speak, to forgive the sins and then to heal. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, God desires to see our faith in order to rescue us”.
“Very often our faith is too small, so it rather helps us to be spiritually paralyzed than to be spiritually active. We see that we are bad in prayer, in doing good works, in living in purity and chastity. We need help. And today’s Gospel story is telling us that the paralyzed man was also very weak and unable to act by himself. He needed other people to carry him to Jesus. And for us those other people carrying us to God is the Holy Church. When we turn to the Church, we get a lot of help to come to the Lord. Being in the Church we encounter the multitudes of the Saints interceding for us, the Angels begin to bear us in their hands and cover us with the shadow of their wings, the Most Holy Mother of God begins to cover us with Her precious protection. The servers of the holy altar, the priests begin to offer their prayers for us and to give us the Holy Mysteries bearing the divine grace. And then our Lord Jesus Christ seeing the faith of His Church forgives us our sins and grants us healing from our spiritual infirmities”.
“To confirm that need for us to be helped by the Church the Lord said in today’s Gospel lesson that the healing He performed was to show that “the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (Mt. 9, 6). Thus the healing was a sign of forgiveness of that man’s sins. And Jesus declared His power to forgive, the power of God He possesses. For us, dear brothers and sisters, it means that the Church of Christ has the same power to forgive our sins, to loose and bind. So, if we turn to the Church, to her Holy Sacraments, especially to Confession, we acquire the grace and forgiveness of our sins”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us practice repentance turning ourselves to the Holy Church to receive forgiveness of our sins. Let us ask the All-Merciful Lord Jesus Christ to deliver us from the spiritual weakness and infirmity, to cheer us up and to heal all our infirmity of the soul”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease. After the Litany he also offered a special prayer for the deliverance from pestilence.

Before the Holy Communion the choir prayerfully performed Psalm 33 and a hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian conveying the ideas of his English homily.