Homily on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost

25th Sunday after Pentecost – the Merciful Samaritan.

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

“And, behold, a certain lawyer… tempted Him [Christ], saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself (Lk. 10:25-27).

Remember, brothers and sisters, how the Holy Church brought us to this passage in the Gospel narrative. Remember last Sunday how Jairus, a Jewish prince, came to Christ. His daughter was dying and he could find help nowhere. She was dying. And so he ran to Christ, fell at His feet and asked for help. She was dying — his only daughter. Christ went with him and Jairus walked with Christ. Maybe this was not long, but in the mind of Jairus it was the way of his whole life. He should be close by his dying daughter…but he hoped. He hoped because he believed that Christ could perform something great, could perform a healing which no one else could do. And this is like away of life. (more…)

Homily on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost

24th Sunday after Pentecost – the Resurrection of Jairus’ Daughter.

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Last Sunday’s reading from the Apostle told us that we are saved by Grace, and that Grace is received through faith, and this is the gift of God. And we were shown what faith is in a striking example.

And here, even today’s Gospel speaks about faith. To some degree we all possess it. But because it is imperfect, our faith is often subject to temptations. And the most terrible, the strongest of such temptations, is the death of a person near and dear to us. I think that the majority of those present here have already lived through, or are now living through, this incurable grief. But if not, it is something which will inevitably come. Today’s Gospel gives us a classic example of how, in spite of all the difficulty of such an experience, it is possible to endure it. And at the same time it shows us again how much we need faith. For only through faith does God give us and will give us His power of Grace not to fall spiritually in such a terrible moment. (more…)

Homily on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

23rd Sunday after Pentecost – the Possessed Gadarene

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

“Now the man out of whom the demons were departed besought Him that he might be with Him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and tell what great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him” (Lk. 8:38-39).

So, brothers and sisters, ends today’s Gospel reading where, as you heard, the Lord tells the healed man to reveal the mystery of his healing before all the Gadarene people. And this is what he did. The Gospel does not tell us how he related what had happened to him; but according to the meaning of the Gospel narrative, we can fully imagine what he must have said and what he most likely did say. Here is what he must have said: (more…)

Homily on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

22st Sunday after Pentecost – the Rich Man and Lazarus

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Brothers and sisters, have you noticed how the Holy Church for a long time now has been telling us about the Word of God? With His Word Christ calmed the storm, healed the servant of the centurion and the daughter of the Canaanite woman, raised the son of the widow of Nain, and filled five thousand people with five loaves of bread. By His Word, the miraculous catch offish was accomplished. And even today’s Gospel reading speaks about the Word of God. “There was a certain rich man,” relates the Gospel, “which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores” (Lk. 16:19-21). (more…)

Homily on the 21st Sunday after Pentecost

21st Sunday after Pentecost – the Sower

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Brothers and sisters! Did you know that there exists a psychological law by which under the influence of thought, a feeling, a desire is kindled; and from desire comes action. This law was discovered back in the first centuries by the Fathers of the Church, and then it passed on into secular life. In any sphere of life, there isn’t a single action which is not provoked by feeling and desire. And in their turn, feeling and desire are kindled by thought; just as any flammable substance will catch fire if, for a sufficient length of time, one holds over it a magnifying glass through which a ray of sun is concentrated. And so: thought  —  feeling  —  action.

Both readings for this Sunday, the Apostle and the Gospel, are in a wonderful way connected with this law. Even more: without this law we wouldn’t even be able to understand them in all their depth. The Gospel tells us about the Sower, the seed, and the ground. Different kinds of ground are mentioned: the ground by the wayside, the stony ground, the ground overgrown with weeds, and finally, good ground. (more…)

Homily on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost

20th Sunday after Pentecost – Resurrection of the Son of the Widow

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Christ, surrounded by His Apostles and a multitude of people, moved toward the gates of the town of Nain. And at that time, from the town of Nain appeared a funeral procession. A young man was being carried out, the only son of a widow from Nain. Imagine the suffering of the mother: the only one, the favorite, the hope of her old age.

What was the mother going through? But at this time, Christ, with a multitude of people and His Apostles, approached this procession on the road. He came closer and closer. He was walking on the same road on which the deceased was being carried. He saw the suffering of the mother, came up to her and said, “Weep not” (Lk. 7:13). Who could, who had the right to say these words to a mother at the coffin of her son? He alone, because He conquered death. The bearers stopped. Christ took the young man by the hand and said: “Arise!” (Lk. 7:14). And He returned him to his mother. (more…)

Homily on the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

19th Sunday after Pentecost – “Love ye your Enemies.”

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

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 commandments of love for God and neighbor) was manifested in various Christian qualities of the human soul On the Sun-day about “the Canaanite woman” — in deep humility; on the Sunday about “the miraculous catch of fish”  — 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, 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. (more…)

Homily on the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

18th Sunday after Pentecost – the Miraculous Catch of Fish

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

The Sunday before last the Holy Church offered for our attention the parable about the talents. A talent is that strength which God gives to us for the fulfillment of His commandments of love for God and neighbor. Last Sunday showed us the application of this talent to our life. A mother had a possessed daughter. The mother rushed to Christ: “Help me!” (Mt. 15:25). But Christ was silent. Then the Apostles started to speak to Christ, pointing out this Canaanite woman. Christ answered them: But I have come to the children. “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs” (Mt. 15:26). The Canaanite woman cried: “Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table,” (Mt. 15:27). At this moment her consciousness was completely filled with humility; and in answer to this most profound humility, the Lord took pity on her and said: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt” (Mt. 15:28).

And here, today’s Gospel about the miraculous catch of fish shows us how that same talent (according to the Gospel’s expression, used in “trade” (Mt. 25:16), which means applied to life) is manifested in absolute obedience and trust in the word of the Lord and produces the fruit of faith. But what is faith? What does the process of faith consist of? We are given the answer to this in today’s Gospel (Lk. 5:1-11). (more…)

Homily on the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

17th Sunday after Pentecost – the Canaanite Woman

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

So last Sunday’s Gospel told us that the talent is that strength which the Lord gives us to fulfill His commandments of love for God and neighbor.

In today’s Gospel the Holy Church shows us the application of this talent in deeds, in life. A talent is given to us to fulfill the commandments, but sin prevents us from fulfilling the commandment. A struggle ensues, in which we acquire the qualities of Christ. Today’s Gospel shows us one of these qualities. This is the most profound humility of the Canaanite woman.

A mother was begging for the healing of her daughter. She cried after the Lord: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon” (Mt. 15:22). Now see how the Lord tested her. At first, He did not answer her a word. Even His disciples could not bear it. Approaching Him, they asked Him: “Send her away, for she crieth after us” (Mt. 15:23). But here, the Lord not only continued not to pay any attention to her, but simply pushed her away. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 15:24). (more…)

Homily on the 16th Sunday after Pentecost

16th Sunday after Pentecost – Parable about the Talents

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

“We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye accept not the grace of God in vain. (For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation)” (II Cor. 6:1-2).

So says the Apostle this day. And the Gospel tells us that a lord gave talents to his servants: “Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every one according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey…. After a long time the lord of those ser-vants cometh, and reckoneth with them” (Mt. 25:14-19).

So says the parable. How does it apply to us? To us the Lord has also given talents. And essentially the talent is one. What is it? This is what it is. As we heard last Sunday, the entire law and the prophets are concentrated into one commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind….[and] Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Mt. 22:37, 39). (more…)