On June 17, on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian.
In his homily the Rector interpreted the New Testament distinguished teaching of Christ regarding not worrying about material things from the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. The Lord said, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Mt. 6, 25-29).
Literally and superficially those words of Christ sound strange. However, if we think of it deeply, we may find a great sense in these words. If we believe in God, if we admit that He is the Creator and the Ruler of the universe, we understand that nothing happens without His blessing or His permission. All our actions won’t be successful if God would not allow them to be. Of course, we need to work and earn a living: Jesus did not say not to; He only said not to worry, not to be anxious about those things.
This teaching of Christ calls us to set our priorities correctly. What is spiritual and eternal is much more important than material and temporary things. Our religion affirms that spirit is primary and the matter is secondary. In today’s Gospel lesson the Lord teaches that saying, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” (Mt. 6, 22). “The eye” here means our spirit, our mind which leads and governs the body. Therefore, we need to seek the purity of the soul which would lead both the body and the spirit to live a pious life leading to eternity. And the material things will be added to us if we do our work trusting in God.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in English conveying the main thoughts of his Russian homily. He also congratulated our men on the occasion of Father’s Day. The traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.
After the liturgical celebration the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals at the coffee hour.