Sunday, September 5, 2021

Homily on the Eleventh Sunday of Matthew (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)


 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you..." (Matthew 18:35).

Pious listeners! Do you remember the Gospel parable of a king who wished to settle accounts with a servant? Remember how this king at first completely forgave his debtor ten thousand denarii, and after that he was so angry with him that he put him in prison, no matter how much he asked for mercy? And remember, of course, why the king was suddenly so angry with his debtor? For the fact that that debtor himself did not forgive a small debt to one of his comrades, he did not forgive at the very time when he asked the king for forgiveness.

This is how God does with us. No matter how we much ask Him, no matter how much we plead with Him, He does not forgive us a single sin, does not forget any of our bad deeds, if we ourselves do not forgive our neighbors, if we do not forget the insults we endure from them. On the contrary, if we do not take malice at our neighbors when they offend us, if we forget every evil that they do to us, then God also forgets our evil deeds, leaves us of our sins, no matter how grievous and insulting to Him. Even so, listeners, prayer, fasting, alms, and other good deeds are not pleasing to God when we harbor malice against our neighbors. On the contrary, God is merciful to us, although we pray little, give little alms, and do little other good deeds, as long as we only forgive and forget all the insults that others do to us.

In one monastery there was a monk who spent his entire life in laziness and neglect. When the time came for him to die, the brethren of that monastery gathered to see him how his soul would be separated from his body. Since his careless life was known to everyone, they thought that he would suffer, so they worried. But what did they see? A careless monk died the death of a righteous man - he died happily, calmly. Everyone marveled and approached the dying man with a request: "Tell us, our brother, why are you dying so calmly and cheerfully, in spite of the fact that you have spent your whole life in all carelessness?" The dying monk, strengthened by the grace-filled power of Christ, got up and said: “Honorable fathers, I have spent my life in neglect, and recently the Angels of God brought me the handwriting of my sins, of which there are many, and, having read them, they asked me: 'Do you remember these sins?' 'I remember,' I answered; 'but remember also the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: Do not condemn and you will not be condemned, forgive and you will be forgiven. And from the very day I renounced the world and tonsured my hair, I did not condemn a single person, did not harbor anger towards anyone, forgave everyone everything. May the words of my Lord be fulfilled in me!' Before I had time to say this, the Angels immediately tore apart the handwriting of my sins. That is why I am now dying so calmly and so merrily. Everything is forgiven me, because I forgave everyone everything." Having said this, the sick man lay down on his bed and departed the world in an eternal sleep.

Listeners, how blessed is it for us to forgive everything of our neighbors. When God forgives us, he forever forgets about our sins, as if we had never sinned before Him, He loves us, as if we have always done what is pleasing to Him. So we must forgive, that is, by forgiving we must all forget, never remember that this person did evil to us; we must love him so much, as if he did not evil, but did good to us.

From this you, listeners, can see that our forgiveness, for which God forgives us everything, is a very difficult task, it is even higher than our strength, it is a gift from God. Yes, we must ceaselessly ask the Lord God to help us by His grace to learn to forgive all offenses and forget all the offenses we endure from others. Forgiveness is all the more blessed for us the more difficult it is for us to forgive. So, when it is difficult for you, and you do not want to forgive, and in spite of that you ask God to help you forgive, and finally you forgive, then your forgiveness is pleasing to God and saving for you. Amen.
 
 
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