24th Sunday after Pentecost


On December 5, on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the Gospel reading he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s pretty short Gospel reading tells us about man’s foolishness in the eyes of God. A man had a good harvest, he had a lot of riches and he was planning to store them. At the first look, there is nothing wrong with his reasoning. People who have certain possessions or business, do plan for the future. It is natural and necessary to look at the future perspective of your affairs. There is even some area of scholarship called “business planning”. Thus that man appeared to be reasonable”.
“But God calls him fool. And God says, “This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Lk. 12, 20). We may say that God is right because very often we do not know when we will pass from this world. Very often death is unexpected. And this is the first lesson from today’s Gospel for us. We have to be prepared. Holy ascetic fathers always kept thinking of death. “Memory of death” is considered a very important ascetic tool. “Remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin”, says the Scripture (Sir. 7, 36). Many ascetics were praying, “Lord, grant me the memory of death!””
“St. Ignatius Brianchianinov wrote, “Remember and mourn yourself alive, says the memory of death, I came to disappoint you charitably, and I brought with me a host of thoughts, most beneficial to the soul…. She is a performer of the will of the Most Holy God. Once she hears the command, she rushes for execution just like a lightning. She will not be ashamed neither of a rich man, nor a hero, nor a genius, she won’t have mercy for youth, for beauty, for earthly happiness: she relocates man into eternity. And by death a servant of God enters into the blessedness of eternity, and the enemy of God into eternal torment””.
“Thus, let us remember about the end of our earthly life. Holy Apostle Paul says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5, 15). Here again, we hear the word “fool”. St. Paul calls us not to be as fools but as wise. He teaches to “redeem time”. That means that the time of our life has to be spent in good works, in spiritual endeavors and in acquiring the grace. He is warning us that the “days are evil”, meaning that we never know when our soul will be required of us. Thus, time must be used for salvation, for the purpose of becoming “rich toward God” (Lk. 12, 21)”.
“Now we may come to the second lesson from today’s Gospel. It teaches us that all our earthly achievements, treasures, ranks, educations, talents, powers and riches – all this is in vain if we do not become rich toward God. All this will pass away. Only our riches acquired with God, our treasures laid up in heaven will remain forever. But how can we be rich toward God? The answer to that is simple. We have to use our talents, or anything else we received from God in this life, to serve God and to serve the neighbor. Not everybody enjoys material wealth like the person in today’s parable, but everybody is gifted by some talent, some achievement. Thus, that gift we have to use, we have to share it with others”.
“Yesterday we celebrated feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple, and today we continue its church observance. We commemorate that the holy parents of the Most Holy Theotokos, righteous Joachim and Anna, brought their 3-year-old daughter to the holy Temple in Jerusalem. She was their most precious treasure; She was the dearest person they had. Yet they entrusted Her to the Lord and left in the Temple to be educated and instructed there. And we all know how rewarded they were because the special daughter became the Mother of the Savior, the Bearer of God, the living Temple of the Most High”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Hearing the words from the Scripture and from the wise Saints, let us strive for becoming rich toward God, for being not fools but wise, for redeeming the time of our earthly life, for having the memory of death and for acquiring everlasting treasures in heavenly Kingdom!”

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.

The choir prayerfully performed the magnification of the feast of the Entrance, and for the pre-Nativity hymns from the Christmas canon.