April 13, 2017

Homily On the Hand of the Betrayer (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table" (Luke 22: 21).

It is most difficult for a general to wage war when he has an enemy within the camp — not only external enemies but also internal enemies in his own ranks. Judas was considered among his own. However, he was the enemy from within. Rows of enemies crowded and closed ranks around Christ while Judas was preparing betrayal from within. His hand was on the table that Christ blessed, but his thoughts were aligned with the enemies, where the darkest evil, hatred and malice seethed against the gentle Lord.

Is it not also the same today, that the hands of the many betrayers of Christ are at the table with Him? Which table is not Christ’s? What table does not hold His gifts? He is the Householder and He nourishes and feeds His guests. The guests have nothing of their own, nothing! All good and all abundance which is given to them is given by the hand of Christ. Therefore, is not Christ present at every table as a Householder and as a Servant? Therefore, are not the hands of all who betray Christ today at the table with Him? They eat His bread, and they speak against Him. They warm themselves by His sun, and they slander His name. They breathe His air, and they rise up against His Church. They live by His mercy, and they banish Him from their homes, their schools, their courts, their books and their hearts. They willfully and maliciously trample His commandments and ridicule His law. Are they not the betrayers of Christ and the followers of Judas? Do not be afraid of them! God did not command us to be afraid of them, but to wait to see their end. Our Lord was not afraid of Judas nor is He afraid of all the traitorous hordes to the end of time. He knows their end, and He already has His victory in His hands. Therefore, neither should you be afraid.

Adhere faithfully to Christ the Lord, not only when it appears that His work is succeeding and advancing in the world but also when it appears that His work is failing and perishing. Do not be afraid! If you become frightened, perhaps your hand will be found clenched beneath Judas’s hand at the table of Christ.

O Lord, All-victorious, sustain us with Thy power and mercy. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.