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Homily for 11/25/07 - P26 - Life, Light and darkness

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  • Fr David Moser
    Luke 12:16-21; Eph 5:8-19 This parable of the man who had a great harvest and who died before he could enjoy it reminds us to always keep our eyes and hearts
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2007
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      Luke 12:16-21; Eph 5:8-19

      This parable of the man who had a great harvest and who died before he
      could enjoy it reminds us to always keep our eyes and hearts oriented
      towards the acquiring the Life in Christ rather than the life of the
      world. St Justin of Ochrid, in speaking about the incarnation says:
      “Before the incarnation of God…it was as if life did not exist on Earth.
      The life that was there, however much there was, had the appearance of
      life, a surrogate life, a fake life; simply, a pseudo life.” His
      observations, while directed at the incarnation also apply just as much
      to this parable. In this parable we see how this man, like many of us,
      clings to this pseudo life and it’s trappings, all the while ignoring
      the true Life of Christ. The parable ends with the death of the man who
      then has nothing of value, for he cannot take the pseudo riches of this
      pseudo life with him at the end of that life. St Justin continues: “What
      kind of life is that, in which death exists and which ends in death? …
      The only life that is worthy to be called life is the life that does not
      die, that does not end with death, but conquers death and through
      resurrection builds a bridge to immortality. Eternal Life, in actuality,
      is the only life.” Thus if we struggle to gain those things which are
      not eternal and to life that life which ends in death then we have
      nothing. However, if we struggle to gain those things which are eternal
      and which extend beyond the grave, and to life that life in which there
      is no death, then we are, as the Gospel says, “rich towards God.”

      How then do we acquire this eternal Life and the things of that life. St
      Justin identifies that true Life with the incarnate Christ Himself,
      “Life and Eternal Life are synonymous. There is no life without Eternal
      Life. With the God-man, life was manifested in our world of death and
      pseudo-life. Only in Him we have seen true life, we have seen what life
      is; we have seen and still see that only the eternal life is -- real
      life. That is what is most evident in the God-man. The entire God-man,
      and everything of Him, breathes and radiates eternal life.” He then goes
      on to point out that if we wish to have this eternal life, then we must
      live in communion with Jesus Christ who is that Life. “Living in
      communion with the Lord Christ, having communion with Him, is, in fact,
      to be located in the eternal life. That life, in actuality, is communion
      with the Trinitarian Divinity. To commune with the Trinity, through the
      God-man, and to come to know the Trinity is nothing else than living the
      eternal life. … Christians are distinct from other people because they
      have the eternal Life but live it here on earth. … Everything in them,
      in that respect, is founded upon personal … communion with the Eternal
      One.” Therefore we see that to live in Christ is to live the Eternal
      Life and to become, “rich towards God”

      As we heard in the parable, there is a difference between the pseudo
      life of this world an its works and Eternal life and the riches that God
      bestows. St Justin says of these works, “Through the life in the Holy
      Trinity, through communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
      the human being is filled with true joy, which is nothing other than
      divine blessedness. Without this, the human being is filled with grief,
      sorrow, and woe. If not with that, then with what can death fill it, or
      before death – sin. Through every sort of sin, into the soul pours forth
      if not a current bitterness, then sinful pleasure that gradually changes
      into bitterness. In any case, through every sin that is committed, at
      least a drop of bitterness falls on the soul and unnoticeably spreads
      through the soul (and) grows into an enormous grief.” Here again in the
      words of St Justin we hear expressed the futility and bitterness of this
      man in the parable whose worldly contentment was turned into grief and
      bitterness when it was lost to death. Is this not our own bitterness and
      grief, knowing that all we have in this world will come to nothing when
      faced with our death.

      The Epistle that we heard also continues on in the same vein for it says
      “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” and that
      “Christ will give you light.” These worldly works which turn to grief
      and bitterness are the “unfruitful works of darkness” which the Apostle
      tells us to avoid. He says that it is better to receive from Christ the
      light, for, as St John the evangelist writes, “God is light, and in Him
      is no darkness at all” “That means” says St Justin, “(God) is the cause
      and source of everything that is of: light, truth, good, righteousness,
      and immortality; but is not by any means a cause … or source … of evil,
      sin, death and lies.” Jesus Christ has rightly said of Himself, “I am
      the light of the world” and because He is the Light, He gives the Light
      to us; this in fact is His intent – to give us that Light. “Just as He
      is Light, so we must become light; as He is in the light, so must we be
      as well.” Here is the truth of the Apostle’s words, “Christ will give
      you light” for in doing so He gives us Himself in communion with Him we
      live in the Eternal Life.

      The Apostle says that we should “have no fellowship with … darkness” St
      Justin reminds us, “Darkness is caused by sin. The darkness of sin is
      poured forth on all human beings without exception … ‘The true Light’ is
      only that person who is completely without sin: sinless. This person is
      Christ, the God-man” The light of Christ exposes the sin and darkness in
      us and it also does away with the darkness and cleanses us of our sin.
      It is the light of Christ in us that makes it possible for us to
      recognize the sin and darkness which hides within us and to confess our
      sin, for “if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us
      our sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”

      Once we have been given the light then the Apostle tells us to “walk
      circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time” and
      “understand the will of God” and “be filled with the Holy Spirit”. This
      is the way in which we acquire for ourselves not the earthly treasures
      which are the works of darkness and which bring only bitterness and
      grief, but rather the heavenly treasures which are part of the Eternal
      Life that we have in Christ. We are encouraged first to “walk
      circumspectly” and “redeem the time” and to “be wise” In this the
      Apostle reminds us that we must be diligent in focusing our efforts and
      resources not on filling the barns with the wealth and good things of
      this world, but rather to choose to do those things which bring us the
      grace of God. This grace is indeed that which has eternal value and
      which comprises “richness before God” When he encourages us to
      “understand the will of God”, this means that we should fill our mind
      with those things which teach us about God and which lead us into closer
      communion with Him. At the very basic level this means the reading of
      the Scripture and spiritual writings. We should also become familiar
      with the lives of the saints for they show us how to live the eternal
      life in this world. We have a lot of competition from the world for our
      attention – secular books, television, internet, entertainments and so
      on. In order to follow the Apostle’s injunction here to “walk
      circumspectly” and “redeem the time” we must choose more and more often
      to fill our time and attention with the spiritual riches rather than the
      worldly things. We are also encouraged to “be filled with the Holy
      Spirit” rather than to be in dissipation. This does not refer only to
      drunkenness which is obvious dissipation, but rather to anything that
      scatters our mind and heart and robs us of the Light of Christ which
      would fill our soul. Christ brings us light, but the world tries
      constantly to fill us with darkness. We must set our minds and hearts
      firmly on following Christ and reject the various distractions of the
      world that break our attention and dissipate our souls.

      The rich man of this parable spent his life and all of his resources
      acquiring the things of this world which are transient and full of
      darkness. In the end he was called a fool by God and all the anticipated
      comforts and pleasures that his work brought him were turned instantly
      to bitterness and grief for they were “works of darkness” We are called
      not to the works of darkness which bring bitterness and grief, but to
      the Light of Christ which fills the soul with Eternal Life, which brings
      us into communion with the Holy Trinity and which results in the joy and
      peace of the soul. O my brothers and sisters, do not be fools, toiling
      away your whole life to gather the fruits of works of darkness which are
      nothing, but rather use your time, your resources, your energy to
      acquire instead those things which are filled with the Light and Life of
      Christ.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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