September 5, 2022

Homily on the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).

One rich young man asked Jesus Christ: “Good teacher! What good must I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus Christ told him what he should do, and in conclusion he added that he should seel his property and distribute it to the poor.

Hearing this, the young man departed with sadness, because he had a large estate. And he wanted to inherit eternal life, and it was a pity for him to part with the estate.

On this occasion, Jesus Christ said to His disciples: "Truly, I say to you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

And he said to them: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." A camel, this huge animal, how can it pass through the eye of a needle? Impossible. This means that it is impossible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God with wealth.

When the disciples heard this, they were astonished and said to one another, "Who then can be saved?"

Christian Listeners! The rich cannot be saved. Do you think it's easy for us?

If we are not rich, then we constantly desire wealth, we constantly think about it, we try with all our might to acquire wealth, we are annoyed, we grieve that we do not have it, we are not rich. Thus, because of wealth, we do nothing for salvation. The rich do not do good for the salvation of their souls, for the life to come, because it is a pity for them to sacrifice wealth for this, and the poor do nothing because the desire to acquire wealth takes away their time to do something saving. The former do not want to engage in salvation, but the latter do not have time at all.

The rich could do good, but they don't want to; the poor would like to, but they cannot. Why should the rich think about the Kingdom of Heaven? They live well, have fun, calmly. And why should the poor think about the Kingdom of Heaven? They are constantly worried about how they live here.

Ah, listeners, if we analyze ourselves better, in more detail, more impartially, analyze our lives, if we consider what we are mostly busy with, what we do every day, then we will be even more confident, we will see that all of us, rich and not rich, have very little or we do almost nothing to save our souls, to receive the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now we have a holiday. We came to church. Why did we come? In order to use something to save the soul or to hear something saving for oneself? Hardly. We ask for the forgiveness of sins only, it seems, in order to live more peacefully here, and not in order to enjoy eternal peace in the future life. Eternal rest, eternal life, the Kingdom of Heaven, eternal bliss - oh, how little we care about this!

We think and worry much more about how we can spend the day, which all consists of some twelve hours, than about how we will spend the future life, which will last for endless ages!

So, not only the rich, but also the poor, it is impossible for all of us, the listeners, to be saved, it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Who will be saved after this? The one who recognizes himself as weak, incapable of anything good and holy; whoever feels that it is impossible for him to save himself, and, realizing this, asks God for help, prays for His mercy. Yes, the consciousness of one’s own impotence and one’s impossibility to be saved should not lead us to do nothing, but to more diligently resort to God’s help and hope, trust in His boundless mercy.

Yes, Jesus Christ alone, our true God, through the prayers of His Most Pure Mother and all the saints, will have mercy and save us, for He is omnipotent, for He is good, for He is philanthropic. Can't we be saved? With God all things are possible. This means that He can and will save us. Amen.