March 20, 2022

Homily on the Second Sunday of Great Lent (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"And He preached a word unto them" (Mark 2:2).

At one time Jesus Christ came to Capernaum. When it was heard in the city that He was in a house, many immediately gathered, so that there was no room outside the doors. "And He preached a word unto them." They came to Him with a paralytic, who was carried by four men. And not being able to reach Him due to a multitude of people, they opened the roof of the house where He was, and breaking through, lowered the bed on which the paralytic lay. Jesus, seeing their faith, says to the paralytic: "Child, your sins are forgiven you." Some of the scribes thought in their hearts, "Why does He blaspheme so? Who can forgive sins except God alone?" Jesus, immediately realizing in His spirit that they were think this way in themselves, said to them, "Why do you think this way in your hearts? What is easier? Should I say to the paralytic: your sins are forgiven? Or say get up, take your bed and go? And so that you may know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins on earth (he speaks to the paralytic), I say to you: get up, take your bed and go to your house." He immediately got up, took the bed and went out in front of everyone, so that everyone was amazed and praised God, saying: "We have never seen anything like this" (Mark 2:1-12).

Christian Listeners! In the last three years of His life on earth, what did Jesus Christ do most of all? Did He do miracles? No, He taught. He worked miracles more in order to teach something, to prove something, to explain something. Yes, wherever He went, wherever Jesus Christ appeared, first of all He taught, preached a word, a lesson. Teaching others was His first and foremost work. This is how He spoke about Himself: "For this reason I came down to earth, to teach" (see John 18:20). "My Father sent Me so that I would teach" (see Luke 4:43). And what did the people call Jesus Christ? Most often they called Him "Teacher". And to His disciples, His apostles, what was the most important commandment? "Go, teach everyone." And arranging His Church, what did He do most importantly in it? He appointed teachers, appointed shepherds.

Why did Jesus Christ consider teaching to be the first and foremost thing? Because everyone needs learning first. Man needs bread, but teaching is even more necessary. Teaching to us is both light and life, but ignorance is darkness, the darkness of death. Yes, to live without teaching is the same as to die in your soul, to perish, decay. Why do we have different vices? More from ignorance, from non-education. You will say: scientists sin no less, they live no better. But what scientists? Those who have learned and are learning not what Jesus Christ taught. How can we learn from Jesus Christ? In the Church, in the Church where all His teaching is preserved and where the teachers appointed by Himself teach. The light of Christ alone enlightens and saves everyone.

Therefore, listeners, the first and main thing for all of us is teaching, Christian teaching; teaching is the beginning of everything, the foundation of everything. It is necessary to pray to God - but without teaching, what is prayer? Good deeds are needed - but without learning we do not have real kindness. Fasting is good - but without teaching, fasting will not be pleasant and pleasing to God. It is good to give alms, and alms without learning are of little value.

So, study, listen, strive to understand, all your life you ought to learn. It is a sin not to study, because ignorance leads people to great sins. Jesus Christ came to earth primarily so that we could learn, reason, and listen. Jesus Christ is a light, a light for the whole world and for all who thirst for His divine teaching. Amen.