25th Sunday after Pentecost. Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple


On December 4, on the 25 th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate the 25 th Sunday after Pentecost and feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple. The first Gospel lesson is telling us about a wealthy man whom God called “fool”, although he was not a fool by this world standards. He was a good and successful businessman, a landowner. Yet he was fool in the eyes of God because he grew rich for Himself instead of becoming rich toward God”.
Our Lord says, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Lk. 11, 23). It happens that a man is working all his life gathering his wealth, taking a good care of his business, worrying about making more and more riches and thinking that it will sustain him for many years. But at the end it turns out that all these efforts are useless because this treasure is gathered without God. God is not there, thus it has no worth. Thus all such man’s labors become unsuccessful and fruitless. The only true wealth and true possession is the one which a man does not lose here on earth, but takes it along with himself into afterlife. Such a treasure is gathered in the Lord”.
How could we become rich toward God? All our actions and all our desires need to be in accordance with the faith of Christ. They need to be in accord with the Commandments of God. Jesus Christ has to lead our lives. Then we could gather the treasures that will be in Christ and become rich toward God. And such a treasure will never be taken away from us. Just as Mary from today’s second Gospel lesson listening to the words of Christ acquired a better part than her sister Martha who worried about unnecessary things. The Lord said that Mary will not be deprived of her chosen part (Lk. 10, 42)”.
If you think about Martha’s efforts, you may compare it to our usual preparations for a party. Recently we celebrated Thanksgiving and many people had special dinner at their homes, invited guests. They probably were very busy with cooking and serving. And it is a very good and nice thing – to be hospitable, to treat your family or friends. However, what happens later? The dinner is over, the meals are eaten. The leftovers are given away or stay in your refrigerator. If you are an Orthodox, you were not supposed to eat most of them on Friday, you had to finish them on Saturday and Sunday. Then what? Your celebration is behind, your guests are away, your enjoyment is over. You labored only for that event which is now finished. Same was with Martha: she was right in caring for the guests, especially since Jesus was at her house, but she was wrong in her overwhelming with that. Mary was more correct in taking her time listening to Christ. Because the words He spoke, although at some point He finished speaking them, those words remained in Mary’s heart forever. And they became her treasure that could never be taken away from her, the true wealth that probably led her to salvation. It never finished, was not ended like some celebration we may hold”.
Dear brothers and sisters! The true wealth which may never be taken away from us consists of things belonging to spiritual and eternal world, things coming from God. Therefore, if we do not labor and do not gather with the Lord, we cannot acquire any good or any truth. And if we possess anything without Christ, it is illusionary, not real, not valuable. Therefore, all our efforts and our works will be useless”.
Celebrating today’s feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God, we see the Virgin Mary as a four-year-old girl brought to the Temple by Her parents Joachim and Anna. Their daughter was the most precious treasure they possessed. And they wished to offer that treasure to God. Most Holy Virgin stayed in the Temple until such time as She Herself will accept to become a temple, Her womb becoming the dwelling for God Incarnate. The Virgin becomes the Mother of God, She who from that day on inhabits the Temple, Herself becomes the Temple of God. What treasure can be greater than that?”
Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves: what is our treasure? Does it belong to eternal world, to the divine things? Or it is temporary and won’t last forever? And which world therefore we seek? Which things we wish to inhabit us? Which is our choice? Do we gather with Christ or do we scatter? In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks to us: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk. 11, 28). Let us, therefore, not only hear the words of Christ, but also keep them, inhabiting the world of God, the eternal and spiritual things, so that God will then come and inhabit us”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication the Rector had a petition for the suffering country of Ukraine and its people. He also added a commemoration of the “suffering Ukrainian land” at the Great Entrance.

During preparation for Holy Communion the choir nicely performed the hymns of the feast of the Entrance.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector greeted the faithful on the great holy day of the Theotokos and pointed out that we passed the first week of the Nativity Fast.