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April 26, 2022

Fourth Homily for Pascha Sunday (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

The Lord God has vouchsafed us to enter the Bright Resurrection of Christ. Let us rejoice and be glad on this day, pious listeners!

How can we not rejoice, how can we not be glad on this day! We fear hades - now there is nothing to fear from it, it is now destroyed. We tremble with death - now there is nothing to tremble toward, its sting is destroyed. We are afraid of the devil - there is nothing to fear from him, he is deposed. We want paradise - heavenly doors are open. Everything is ready, whatever our soul desires; everything was brought to us by the Resurrection of the Savior.

However, listeners, despite the fact that rivers of joy flow everywhere, and the doors are open to everyone, even now there are many sad people among us Christians, despondent amid the general joy, gloomy while there is full radiance of joy.

Who are these that are despondent and sad? Despondent and sad are the poor now, however, not only the poor who stand at the doors of the temple, go from house to house, lie in the alleys. These poor people have a voice: good people will not let them cry for long. Today, especially despondent and sad are those poor who have nothing to live on, but do not know how to ask, who are in poverty, but hide their poverty, shed tears of sorrow, but hide them from others. These are people who have their own, poor, condition that does not correspond to their rank, age, dignity. These are poor widows with small children, poor fathers with large debts, houses that were once noble, now in extreme ruin. These poor people are now despondent and sad. Grief is not sweet on simple days, but how painful it is on a bright feast! Needs are always difficult, but how burdensome they are in the midst of general contentment! Of course, with joy of the heart and a cheerful face, in a peaceful family even a stale piece of bread is tasty: but not on a feast, listeners!

Despondent and sad are sinners now; however, not only those sinners who sin against God: one tear of repentance, one sigh of prayer, and God will forgive their sins, and they are cheerful. But now those sinners who sin against us are especially despondent and sad, and often sin only because they live with us or depend on us. These are people who have angered us, with whom we have not yet reconciled; these are our subordinates, humiliated and neglected by us; these are relatives and friends, left by us without any attention; they are slaves and servants who work and serve us for a piece of bread. In general, these are all those people who, having a relationship with us or being with us, or depending on us, do not even now see a kind look, do not hear a friendly word. It looks like those days are gone forever, when quarrels were forgotten for a bright feast, painful propriety was left, differences in rank and status were ignored. Gone and, apparently, will never return those times when on this day a subordinate calmly had fun with his boss, a slave rejoiced carelessly with his master, poor relatives joyfully rejoiced with rich relatives, when a common feast for all was celebrated all together.

However, no one is so bitter now as the poor prisoners. For them, the current bell ringing is drowned out by the rumble of their own chains; even on this bright feast, they barely see the sunlight, shining dimly on them through stone fences and iron bars. It is also bitter for those who suffer, with which hospitals and almshouses are filled, who are still looking forward to a piece of bread from the hands of a greedy trustee, whose cries even now, from excessive joy, are not heard by those who are obliged to listen to them always. It is bitter to the homeless orphans, with whom the houses of charity are filled; abandoned by their fathers and mothers, they are still forgotten by those who undertook to look after them.

And so, here are those who are now despondent and sad: despondent and sad are those whom Jesus Christ calls His lesser brethren, with whom He shares sadness and despondency, as always, so especially now. Amen.