On January 5, on Sunday before the Nativity, St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached a homily.
In his sermon Fr. Igor was pointing out the importance of faith which was indicated to be the main cause of the endeavors of the holy men and women of the times before Christ, as St. Paul says in his Epistle reading assigned for today.
“How amazing this thing called faith. For example, how amazing that the shepherds, when the heavens were opened and the Angels sang, could have believed that the Savior was born in Bethlehem and would be found in a cave among animals. How amazing! How it is unbelievable! They should have said, “How can this be? Why should God open the heavens so that Angels should sing to lowly shepherds? Surely, if God had an announcement to make, He would make it to the king or to the high priest, not to us”. How astonishing that the shepherds believed that they would find God’s Son being born not in a palace, but in a stable! Yet they believed.”
“How amazing that the Wise Men believed when they came to Jerusalem and found no festivities for the birth of a prince. All was still. The Wise Men might well have gone home. Instead, they inquired and searched the Scriptures, and did not hesitate to go to tiny Bethlehem. How amazing that they should believe that the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world, the promised Messiah, would be born in a backwoods village instead of at Rome or Athens! Yet they believed!”
Speaking and explaining how we can define faith Fr. Igor compared faith to one of our senses. “Faith is the eye by which we look to Jesus; the hand by which we lay hold of Jesus; the mouth or the tongue by which we taste how good the Lord is; the foot by which we go to Jesus”.
Fr. Igor concluded his homily saying, “If you believe that there is no one at the helm of this universe, that you are just flying endlessly through space, then you have a right to be angry, to go crazy and to end it all. But if you have faith and believe that there is Someone in charge of the universe; that that Someone is the God who ‘so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have life everlasting,” then you, too, like Gideon and countless others mentioned in today’s Epistle lesson, can conquer kingdoms.”
Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector reminded of the approaching holy day of the Nativity of the Lord and wished that everyone can appropriately prepare for the celebration of the Birth of Christ.