December 26, 2021

First Homily on the Second Day of the Nativity of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

On the second day of the Nativity of Christ, the voice in Ramah is heard, mourning and a great weeping: Rachel weeps for her children and does not want to be comforted, for they are no more (Matthew 2:18).

Do not weep, do not lament, do not grieve much when people offend you, oppress you, take away your happiness, deprive you of your peace of mind. They will not take God away from you, and they will not deprive you of eternal salvation. On the contrary, for the fact that people take away your happiness in this life, the Lord will reward you with blessedness after death; and for your temporary anxiety here, which you endure from others, will reward you with eternal peace there.

Rather weep, lament and sorrow when you begin to offend and oppress others, when others weep and grieve because of you. The most unhappy being is the person who makes others unhappy. The Lord will punish every offender, oppressor, annoyance; afterwards all these people will weep and grieve bitterly. And it would still be a great mercy to you if in this life you were punished for your evil deeds, if here you could mourn your sins against your neighbor and atone for them with good deeds. Whom the Lord punishes here, He will have mercy on in the future life; those who repent here will not suffer from lack of repentance there. But if you remain unrepentant and unpunished until the future life, then the eternal punishment will be there, where forever you will weep and grieve from your evil deeds.

“Which of these do these words refer to for us?" - you say. "We do not seem to offend others; none of us knows this sin."

God grant that we will never know this sin; may the Lord save us all from this greatest misfortune - to make others unhappy. To offend others is so sinful that it is a great sin to both say an offensive word and a desire to offend another. Now speaking about this, I do not mean any of you: I only say it this way, as a precaution for myself and for you and for everyone. I was given an opportunity today to talk to you about this, the following words from the Gospel read today: "The voice in Ramah is heard, mourning and a great weeping: Rachel weeps for her children and does not want to be comforted, for they are no more." You know when it was; when, by order of King Herod, all male babies from two years old and below were killed in the city of Bethlehem and its environs. Fourteen thousand died then. Ah listeners, reading the description of this terrible event, which happened long before us, we, and the innocent in it, seem to see and hear how these poor babies are killed, how their unfortunate mothers weep; and we hurt for them, and we are ready to weep with them. But Herod is inhuman - he reads a description of this event in Hell, and he will forever read it there, and he will forever see these sufferings of babies, and he will forever hear these laments of mothers, and he will forever be tormented by them, and will forever suffer from them.

Yes, listener, now you do not feel what evil you are doing, that you offend and oppress others; you do not know how inhuman it is that you bring others to tears and sorrows; you do not feel how painful it is to weep and grieve from your insults and oppression; maybe you don’t know and don’t want to know that others are weeping and grieving because of you. In the future you will find out everything; you will learn, you will experience for yourself all the evil of your evil deeds. With your resurrection into the life to come, all your evil deeds will revive before you; then that which is hidden in the darkness will be illuminated, and the heart's intentions will be revealed (see: 1 Cor. 4:5); then you will hear the weeping of the offended, you will see the tears of those oppressed by you; and these tears will burn you with unquenchable fire, and these tears will gnaw you like an unrelenting worm. Yes, evil will forever torment those in whose memory it will forever remain; their worm will never die, and their fire will never go out (see: Mark 9:48).

No, do not do yourself eternal harm, that is, do not offend, do not oppress others, do not unnecessarily bring anyone to tears of bitterness, never bring it, even if that is why you yourself had to weep and grieve, be in need and be in poverty.

If you decide to endure want and poverty better than to offend others for your own contentment and enrichment, then your poverty will be better before God than any sacrifice that is rich to Him, because this poverty will save you from sin.

If you decide it is better to weep than to bring others to tears, then your tears will be more pleasing to God than any of your praises, because they will be an expression of your praises, because they will be an expression of your love, laying down your soul for your friends (see: John 15:13).

Why, it’s comforting to weep, and you don’t want to bring another to tears; and poverty is joyous, when you are in need, you are in poverty, but you don’t take away from others, you don’t take someone else's belongings. Then you are poor, but owe no offense to anyone; there are often tears in the eyes, but in the soul there is no sin against one's neighbor. However, you will not be poor is you just work honestly, do not offend others, do not oppress anyone. The Lord will bless your labors, and you with the blessed meek will inherit the earth (see: Matthew 5:5); you also won’t weep, at least you won’t be for a long time, if only others didn’t weep because of you. The Lord will soon comfort you with the blessed weeping ones (see: Matthew 5:4). No, listeners, no matter what it costs you, do not offend others, do not deprive anyone of their satisfaction and happiness, do not deprive anyone of their peace of mind. Woe to those who have enjoyment from the weeping of others, woe to those who are full while others remain hungry; woe to you, the rich, if you make wealth through offenses, oppression and other falsehoods; not here, in this life, will you have grief, but there, beyond the grave, - where the voice in Ramah, once heard, will forever be heard by the inhuman Herod. Amen.