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Homily for 10/22/06 - P19 - golden rule

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  • Fr David Moser
    2 Cor 11:31-12:9 & Luke 6:31-36 In speaking about this Sunday’s Gospel, I offer today not my own words, but the words of Archbishop Andrei of Novo Diveevo:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2006
      2 Cor 11:31-12:9 & Luke 6:31-36

      In speaking about this Sunday’s Gospel, I offer today not my own words,
      but the words of Archbishop Andrei of Novo Diveevo:


      Starting with the Sunday about "the talents," the Sunday readings have
      been showing us how a talent (the strength given to each of us by God to
      fulfill His com¬mandments of love for God and neighbor) was manifested
      in various Christian qualities of the human soul. On the Sunday about
      "the Canaanite woman" - it is revealed in deep humility; on the Sunday
      about "the miraculous catch of fish" - it is revealed in obedience to
      the word of God, in unshakable faith. And here in the Apostle and Gospel
      readings for this Sunday¬ in great patience in sorrows, this talent is
      revealed in great spiritual comfort, and especially in the unspeakable
      joy which is hidden in mercy and love for one's enemies. The last one,
      by human standards, appears to be unnatural; but because of the strength
      of the Lord's talent, it is possible, joyous, wonderful.

      This is what the Apostle says today: "The God and Father of our Lord
      Jesus Christ, which is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not" (II
      Cor. 11:31). What is this? What is the Apostle going to say further if
      he makes such a beginning in which he affirms, "I lie not"? Further on,
      he reveals what happened to him in Damascus: "In Damas¬cus the governor
      under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison,
      desirous to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was 1 let
      down by the wall, and escaped his hands" (II Cor. 11:32-33). As you can
      see, a terrible epoch of martyrdom was opening up, which the first
      Christians lived through after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ,
      at the beginning of the preaching.

      The Apostle Paul was going to Damascus to persecute the Christians. But
      on the way, the Lord Himself appeared to him in a vision and said:
      "Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" (Acts 9:4). And here the truth was
      revealed to the Apostle Paul. The Messiah, the true Messiah appeared to
      him on the road to Damascus. And when he arrived in Damascus, instead of
      persecuting the Christians, he him¬self started to preach Christ.
      Knowing his past, they did not believe him at first. But later, when
      they did believe, they began to consider him a traitor, an enemy of the
      Jews. This is why the Apostle Paul begins this passage with the words:
      "1 lie not." Because in order to preach Christ as the Messiah Who had
      come, strength was required; and a special grace of God was needed, that
      talent which God gives to his servants, to strengthen such a preacher.
      And here the same talent which strengthened the Apostle earlier in
      Damascus, when he was almost caught to be martyred (and only a miracle
      delivered him from their hands); this same talent supported and
      encouraged him even now.

      And further on in this Epistle, the Apostle Paul shows us in more detail
      what actually strengthened his spirit in such a difficult struggle. "I
      knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I
      cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
      such an one caught up to the third heaven" (II Cor. 12:2). A mysterious
      revelation. There, Christ appeared on the road, and here, Christ
      revealed to him a great mercy. He revealed the state in which the soul
      perceived "the third heaven," a state of spirit, a peace of heart which
      is ineffable.

      So in giving us this reading today, the Holy Church shows us that there
      was something in the martyrdom of the first Christians which supplied
      them with that strength in which appeared an unearthly force, which is
      this same godly talent, the gift of God . This was a peace of soul which
      covered all suffering, covered all earthly sorrows, which was completely
      above everything. Here is the state of spiritual strength which is
      presented to us today for our edification. We must follow the Lord. But
      how do we start on this way? Today's Gospel shows us the beginning, the
      first steps which a Christian must make in order to walk. If you
      remember, the Gospel said: "And as ye would that men should do to you,
      do ye also to them likewise. If ye love them which love you, what thank
      have ye?" (Lk. 6:31-32). And further, "If ye lend to them of whom ye
      hope to receive, what thank have ye? ...But love ye your enemies, and do
      good [to those who hate you] , and lend, hoping for nothing again; and
      your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest"
      (Lk. 6:34-35).

      "Love ye your enemies." This is the first step which today's Gospel
      reading offers us, so that we may receive that strength which the
      Apostle Paul also received in a vision of the third heaven, as did all
      the martyrs. If we will fulfill what the Holy Church gives us in the
      words of the Gospel, then let us only start to do so; let us step on
      this new way. And we will receive that revelation which will help us in
      those terrible moments when grief invades our soul, when sorrows
      surround us. The grief and sorrows will go away. Yes, they will leave
      us, because in that moment these points of grace, this godly light of
      Christ, will be revealed to us and will give us strength to bear the
      burdens of our earthly life, so that we may be comforted in Eternal Life
      with Christ.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Ask Fr David: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frd_private/
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