On August 16, on the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George parish family had a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. Following the readings from the Sacred Scripture he preached a homily in English on the appointed Gospel lesson:
“The Gospel lesson of today is telling us about the importance of faith. The disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ were unable to cure an epileptic. Jesus rebuked them and called them “faithless and perverse generation”. He also said that even little faith can do great things, can make the mountains move. “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt. 17, 20)”.
“These days of the summer we celebrate the memory of the Holy Prophet Elijah who spent his life on earth surrounded by the mountains. On one of them, Mt. Carmel he took a refuge and worked a miracle which shamed the ministers of the idols. We also celebrate the great holy day of the Transfiguration, the event which took place on the mountain, on Mt. Tabor. God often revealed Himself to the people on the mountains. Moses received Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Our Lord Jesus Christ preached His first homily on a certain mountain, so it is called Sermon on the Mount. Then the Lord transfigured on the mountain. He also died on Golgotha which was also a hill, an elevated place, often called a mountain. He then ascended into heaven from Mt. of Olives. Many important things in the Scripture happened on the mountains. Naturally, the Holy Land is located in the region full of the mountains”.
“Mountains are important in the Scripture. They should be understood in a literal sense, as well as in a symbolic sense. We should not doubt that even a little, but true and firm faith can do amazing things. If so, it would be able to move physical objects, even so huge as the mountains. But in a symbolic, spiritual sense, a mountain may mean a great achievement, a highness of glory, as well as a great obstacle or a difficulty. We should not forget that our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil also on a high mountain. “The devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and He said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me’” (Mt. 4, 9). Thus a mountain can mean spiritual success, it can also mean spiritual failure. Our Lord overcame the temptation and answered to the devil, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Mt. 4, 10). Will we also overcome the temptation in certain time when it will come? Will we find a proper answer to the tempter? Will we move that mountain of temptation from the way of our salvation? Unfortunately, many times in our olives we cannot answer ‘yes’. Mountains in the spiritual sense bother us and our faith is insufficient to move them away”.
“We should especially understand the disappointment that our Lord felt about His disciples if we remember that the event described in today’s Gospel took place very soon after the Transfiguration. After our Lord showed three Apostles the radiance of His divine glory, made them the partakers of the uncreated light of God – they failed to cure the epileptic. We have also received great gifts from God. We were baptized, chrismated, received the Body and Blood of Christ. But it still does not stop us from falling into sins or being unsuccessful in our spiritual achievements. What should be done about it? Jesus gives us an answer: “If you have faith as a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you”. So, first of all, we need faith. Even if we have it, it must be perfected. Faith means both a belief and a trust. We have to believe in God and we have to trust Him”.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us be grateful for a wonderful gift of faith. But let us also work on this gift in order to make it stronger and greater. As such, it may actually do great things, make us spiritually successful and move the mountains standing on our way to salvation”.
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.
The choir nicely performed Psalm 33 and a hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos during preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector performed the customary blessing of the new honey.