January 2, 2023

Homily Three on the New Year and the Circumcision of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another" (John 13:34).

For us, listeners, the commandment of mutual love is the newest commandment, because we do not know it, we forget it, we do not fulfill it, we leave it off. And therefore, for the New Year, listen to this new commandment: love one another, love one another.

We are the closest people to each other, the most similar to each other: we are all created in the same image and likeness, the image and likeness of God; we are all redeemed by one blood, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; we are all members of one body, children of one Father and one Mother.

Do you hear this, you who are glad to take from another, do you hear this new truth for you? You take away from the person closest to you, the most similar to you, the most like to you. Is he such a dumb animal that you treat him so cruelly? And is it good to act cruelly with the dumb animal? The righteous one also cares about the life of cattle (Prov. 12:10), but you do not want to show mercy to a person, and not only do you not show mercy, but you act mercilessly. What kind of person are you? You are a pitiful man, you are a lost man!

Do you hear this, the one who does not wish well to another, does not help him in needs, does not even give him what is due, what is lawful? Do you hear this new truth for you? After all, God the Father loves him so much that for his salvation He did not spare His Son, but gave Him to death; and the Son of God, helping to save him, shed His Blood for him.

From you another suffers, from you it is regrettable to him, from you he is exhausted, but you do not feel? Are you in pain? What kind of person are you?! You are not a member of the human body, you are not a person. The members of the body sympathize with each other: when the hand hurts, the whole person hurts; but you don’t get sick, don’t mourn when a person – a member of the same human body with you – hurts, mourns? I ask what kind of person are you? No, you are not human!

And so, listeners, if we do not love one another, if we forget, leave off this commandment, then nothing not only Christian, but also human, will remain in us. If we do not wish each other well, help each other, condescend, yield, then we are not Christians and will not even be people.

And therefore, from the New Year, we will remember and fulfill this new commandment for us - to love each other. Remember this truth: what we do or say to harm another, we do to our eternal destruction; to offend another is to destroy one's soul forever. Amen.