Sunday, November 13, 2022

Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)


 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 9, 1951)

The parable of Christ about the merciful Samaritan, which you have now heard, is infinitely deep and important for us, and therefore I want you to remember it well.

You heard it in the Slavic reading, now listen to it in Russian translation. (The Gospel of Luke chapter 10, 25-37 is read.)

Why do I consider this parable of Christ one of the most important and profound of His parables? Because in this parable the Lord gave us a genuine revelation, a revelation about who we should consider as our neighbors.

In the ancient world, the concept of neighbor was extremely narrow. If they considered someone to be their neighbor, then they were members of their family, their friends.

There was no mercy - then it was a despised concept. Philanthropy was laughed at as weakness, and giving alms to the unfortunate was considered a foolish act.

And the Lord Jesus Christ in this parable reveals something great to us: He teaches us that we should consider our neighbor every person, every unfortunate person, everyone who needs our help, no matter who he is.

The Samaritans were unclean for the Jews, they were despised; of course, they did not consider them their neighbors. But the Lord in His parable reveals to all of us that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy to the unfortunate Jew who was truly his neighbor.

So, in this parable, the Lord Jesus Christ established mercy and love as the most important law, as the norm of Christian behavior.

And how many of the Christians even now, almost two thousand years after this parable was told, consider all people to be their neighbors, all people to be their brethren?

Oh, how few, how infinitely few there are!

And until now, a completely different law reigns in humanity, not the law of mercy and love, which, if it were accepted and followed, would transform the whole world, making wars and all untruth of social relations impossible.

Now in place of this great norm, commanded by Christ, another, evil norm has been put in place - the law of power, guided by hatred and enmity.

And to this day, in some Christian countries, there is a completely unacceptable, extremely sinful attitude towards people of other races, whom they consider inferior to themselves.

About 60 million Negroes live in the Southern States of America. Americans treat them almost like dogs: Negroes are not allowed to sit in a tram or railroad car in which Americans ride, Negroes do not dare to go to a restaurant where Americans dine; Negroes are killed without trial.

And in South Africa, this is the same attitude of the Europeans living there towards the Hottentots and newcomers from India.

But am I only talking about these extreme examples of unacceptable treatment of people of a different race?

No no! We are all guilty of the same sin, because many of us are disgusted by people who are unlike us, with facial features of a Mongolian, Chinese or pronounced Jewish type.

They do not want to be considered neighbors, they are alienated. Very many of us have not even risen to the point of considering all the people of our people as neighbors, and consider only those who are truly very close to them as neighbors: their family, their friends, at best, their neighbors, people of their class, but not people of another class.

And this extremely sinful division between people has survived to this day, as it existed at the time when the Lord spoke His marvelous parable about the merciful Samaritan. And this division between people, this monstrous deviation from Christ's commandment to love one's neighbor comes to the point that Christian civilized peoples commit unheard-of, monstrous atrocities in the unfortunate Korean country.

These atrocities are so terrible that I won't talk about them.

Well, why are Christians exterminating the unfortunate Koreans? Well, these are not their neighbors? They are exterminated only because they have a Mongolian type of face and yellowish skin, and for the sake of dominating them. How long will it be?

How long will it be? I'll try to answer this question.

God's chosen people of Israel repeatedly committed the gravest sin of apostasy from the true God - Jehovah - every now and then falling into idolatry, and it came to unspeakable wickedness.

There was King Ahab in Judea, who, imbued with the veneration of idols, forgot the law of Moses so much that he placed the idol of Astarte in the temple of Jerusalem, and moved away the altar on which sacrifices were made to the True God, and in its place he erected an idol altar after the model of Babylon.

And in the valley of Jehoshaphat, nearest to Jerusalem, he erected the golden idol of Moloch, to whom he commanded children to be sacrificed, commanded all the Jews, and himself set an example, sacrificing his son to Moloch.

There was another king like him, Manasseh, extremely wicked and sinful. And what?

No matter how the Israelites retreated from their True God, He nevertheless raised up from this people the Savior of the world, who assumed human flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ.

You see that no human sins can exceed the mercy and love of God.

Since the Lord spoke His parable about the Good Samaritan, there have been many violations of this Divine commandment.

Both in France and in Germany many years of bloody wars were fought between Catholics and Protestants, in which a huge number of people died.

There have been infinitely many deviations from Christ's law of mercy in all countries, in all ages.

So, what can we expect after this?

Should we wait for the history of the present human race to end the way the history of the people of Israel ended - with the glory of Christ?

Yes, yes, we must wait for this, Christ Himself spoke about this, we read about this in the Apocalypse of John the Theologian. Here are the words of God written by him: “Let the unrighteous still do iniquity; let the unclean be still defiled; let the righteous still do righteousness, and let the saint still be sanctified. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according to his deeds” (Rev. 22:11-12) .

The Lord is patient, the Lord is waiting, for God is infinitely patient.

Let the Americans and other peoples do lies in unfortunate Korea, let them do lies in other countries as well - the time will come when the holy truth of Christ will shine, triumph over the world.

It will shine when our Lord Jesus Christ appears again, no longer in humiliation, but in the terrible glory of the Judge of the whole world.

Then truth will triumph, the great, holy truth.

But I want to reassure you a little: no matter how terrible the atrocities of the oppressors of small nations, no matter how terrible the wars of Christians against Christians, know that the perpetrators of these wars were and still are those who forgot the true God, despised the Lord Jesus Christ and erected for themselves a golden idol.

At Mount Sinai, the Jews demanded from the high priest Aaron to erect a golden calf for them. And to the golden calf, although then destroyed by Moses, those who reject Christ continue to bow down to this day.

They, the insatiable seekers of gold, whole heaps of gold, making huge capital on wars - they are the culprits of these terrible wars, these atrocities!

The people are not to blame, for we know that the vast majority of mankind, more than 600 million, signed the appeal for the conclusion of a peace pact between the four powers, they do not want war, they condemn the atrocities in Korea.

Ordinary people have always been and will remain supporters of peace, love and mercy linger in their hearts; they sincerely regard all people as their neighbors.

So shall we all, the little flock of Christ, be among them: let us hate the terrible wars and the atrocities committed during them; let us remember the parable of the merciful Samaritan, let us regard all people as our neighbors, all without exception.

Let us consider as neighbors all those who need our care, for Christ commanded us to be merciful, as our Heavenly Father is merciful.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
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