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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Homily Four on the Nativity of Christ (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

"Strange it was seeing God incarnate, let us therefore shun the vain world and set our mind on things divine; for God came down to earth that He might raise to heaven us who cry to Him: Alleluia!" (Akathist to the Sweetest Jesus, kontakion 8)

Truly strange, unheard of and amazing was the appearance on earth of the Eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

It would seem that standing before the incarnate Son of God, all mankind would have to fall on their faces .... But this was not the case. The attitude of people to this greatest event in the history of the world was very different.

The deeply religious people of the past were so amazed, so shocked that they withdrew from all the interests of the vain world, became indifferent to everything worldly and placed all their thoughts, all their minds and hearts only on the Divine, turned them to the Eternal, All-Perfect Truth.

Very many of these people of the highest dignity changed their lives abruptly and suddenly, completely leaving the vain world for the deserted African deserts or the impenetrable forest jungles of the far north. They sought only the closest communion with God in fiery prayers, vigils and fasting, and even during their lifetime they became angels in the flesh.

But, of course, it is impossible for all Christians to completely leave the world, like these people of a great and mighty spirit, and we are faced with the task, remaining in the usual conditions of earthly life, nevertheless, with all our might, trying to place our minds on the Divine and raise our hearts to the immeasurably highest and best, always thinking about the Eternal Truth, which is only with God, for “God came down to earth that He might raise to heaven us who cry to Him: Alleluia!” dragging our hearts through earthly mud, clinging to the base interests of short-term earthly life.

In order to change and lay our hearts on the Divine, in His immeasurable mercy and goodness He came down from heaven to earth and assumed human flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ. He suffered a lot of suffering, insults and humiliation from those whom He came to save, and suffered a terrible execution on the cross of Golgotha for the sinful human race.

Remember, my brothers and sisters, the deeply important words of the Akathist to the Sweetest Jesus: "Strange it was seeing God incarnate, let us therefore shun the vain world and set our mind on things divine; for God came down to earth that He might raise to heaven us who cry to Him: Alleluia!"

But remember also that the world does not forgive those who withdraw from it and do not keep pace with it, and cause them many sorrows.

However, even in these sorrows, put your hope only in God, remembering the words of the 61st Psalm: “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God” (Ps. 61:6-7).

If you live by eliminating the vain world as much as possible, then our Savior Christ will not leave you without His grace-filled help, and with your life you will glorify the All-Holy Trinity, and receive from Him the inexpressible blessing of eternal life. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
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