October 3, 2021

Homily on the Second Sunday of Luke (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Love your enemies" (Luke 6:36).

This is the commandment given to us, listeners, by our heavenly Teacher Jesus Christ: He commands us to love our enemies. Your neighbor has done you evil, but in spite of that, love him, pay him good for evil. Why did Jesus Christ give us such a seemingly strict and difficult commandment? This is why he gave it, listeners: that it is very necessary for us, necessary for the present life, necessary for the future as well.

And in fact, what would have happened on earth if God had not commanded to love enemies, if he had allowed evil to pay for evil? Then there would be no end to quarrels and confusion, then they would live on earth as in hell. It is impossible to stop and suppress evil by evil, it can be stopped and suppressed only by good.

Yes, listeners, good is most likely to pacify an evil person: the good deed that we do to him, like fire, burns him, burns until he stops doing evil. And therefore, when someone offends others or offends you, then try to do something good to him as soon as possible, and he will cease to be angry with you. If you do not win him over with good, then try to win him to yourself with other things, with prayer. Prayer for the enemy is an incense, most pleasing to God and most unbearable for our enemy; the heart of stone will tremble, soften, when we pray to God for him.

If, with all the efforts of your love, you do not win over your ill-wisher, then leave him: God is with him! There is nothing to be afraid of those enemies to whom we do good. These enemies will not harm us, for the evil that they do to us or want to do, God will turn for our good. Dangerous for us are only those enemies whom we ourselves do not love; evil from them is really evil to us, for then we ourselves do evil. Thus, by doing good to one another and praying for one another, we will destroy or at least diminish evil on earth.

But if love for enemies is necessary in the present life, then it is all the more necessary for the future life. The present life is given to us so that we prepare ourselves for the life to come. But what do you think this preparation should mainly consist of? It is precisely that we here learn to love each other, to love everyone, even our enemies. Life on earth is a school of love. It is impossible for him to be in paradise, who here does not learn to love everyone. You will say: there are people of whom it is impossible to love. If you have such people of whom it is impossible for you to love, then be sure that it is impossible for you to be in paradise. Your enemies will not be there if they are angry, and you will not be there if you are angry with them. Jesus Christ, who for this purpose descended from Heaven to earth in order to prepare people for eternal bliss, taught us to live in love not only with some, but with all. It is not yet love when we love those that like or love us. If you love those who love you, what thanks to you, says the Savior, for sinners also love those who love them. But you are to love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing; and you will have a great reward, and you will be the sons of the Most High (Luke 6:32, 35).

So, listeners, we will love each other, we will love everyone, even our enemies and ill-wishers. But whether they love us or not, we don't have to worry much about it; we will only care so that we love them. It is impossible not to have enemies, it is impossible for everyone to love us. But we can love everyone very much. Amen.