January 1, 2022

Homily One on the New Year and the Circumcision of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).

Today we have a New Year; without a doubt you all know this, my listeners. Today we commemorate our holy father Basil the Great; this is also rare to not know. But what other feast is it today? Hardly any of you know this. Yes, many, as I know, do not know that today, the circumcision of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, according to the flesh, is celebrated. You see, listeners, what an important circumstance from the life of Jesus Christ some Christians do not remember. Why? Lack of reason? Lack of intent?

However, it is not from this one case that the ignorance of Christians about Jesus Christ can be seen - there are many such cases. Take a look, for example, in another house at the icons of the saints: the icon of the Savior does not have the first place among them, or even does not exist at all. Is this also for lack of reason? Lack of intention? Look at the books: you will see lots of all kinds of books, both spiritual and secular, but the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is either not with them at all, or it lies somewhere far away. And is it also for lack of reason? Lack of intent?

And if you read the books of today, secular books, so often and in such a multitude are published now to educate people, to spread the light of truth among them. Either they do not say a word about Jesus Christ, or, if it was inevitable to say something about Him, they speak in such expressions that you will not soon understand what the writer wanted to say about Jesus Christ, as if he was afraid to call Him by his real name, Lord and God Jesus Christ. Could it be that this is due to folly? Lack of intention? Or listen, when other Christians talk among themselves somewhere, at home or in conversations, in meetings, in society, for their mental and moral education, and in other worldly gatherings, oh, there it would seem strange, almost indecent for many, if someone pronounced the name of our Lord God Jesus Christ!

Ah, Christian listeners, no matter from where and why this ignorance or forgetfulness about Jesus Christ comes - whether from foolishness or from reason, let us suppose that it is also from foolishness - but how can a Christian not understand how not to know Jesus Christ? Or how, understanding Jesus Christ, not remember Him, and forget about Him! After all, we must know Him most of all and remember Him more often; after all, we must use all our mind for the cognition of Him, all our memory for the remembrance of Him. This is precisely what our true enlightenment consists in, this is precisely the true light, in order to know and remember Jesus Christ, His life, His teaching, His deeds. We must also learn everything in order to get to know Jesus Christ better. All our knowledge is useless when we do not know Jesus Christ; our enlightenment is darkness when it does not lead us to Jesus Christ.

We all read and remember everything in order to remember Jesus Christ. After all, everything that is holy only by Jesus Christ is holy; all that is honored only in Jesus Christ is honorable. All the memories we create, when we forget about Jesus Christ, do not serve us for anything. We must all speak and write in order to speak and write something about Jesus Christ. Dead is the scripture that is not written in the name of Jesus Christ; that word is rotten that does not come out of our lips for the sake of Jesus Christ. All our light, listeners, is from Him, and therefore it must shine for us in order to know Him.

So, Christian, from the New Year make it a rule for yourself: to turn all your attention to Jesus Christ. Read and listen about Him as often as possible, so that you remember every step from His life and every word from His teaching; talk and write about Him as often as possible, gaze and pray at His holy icon as often as possible so that you can pray to Him incessantly with your spirit and incessantly praise Him with your lips. All our light is in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; our prayer to Jesus Christ, all our salvation; our praise of Jesus Christ - all our blessedness.

God! Give us understanding by your grace; teach us all, Lord; and we will learn and understand, and we will remember, and we will not forget that You are the One Light, who sanctifies everyone, and all glory, honor and worship belongs to You with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.