Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Be sober at all of the Lord's feasts

Sharing: "Be sober at all of the Lord's feasts and especially at Pascha and remember the poor": Homily for Sunday of St. Thomas by St. John of Kronstadt

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Dan Everiss

Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 1:26 PM

Homily for the Sunday of Saint Thomas
By St. John of Kronstadt

Christ is Risen!

Beloved brothers and sisters,
So Bright Week has passed
and taken with it our deeds to the throne of the
Heavenly Master and Judge: there, brothers,
there are our deeds now. I say this in order to
frighten with the fear of the heavenly judgment
those who unworthily, not Christian-like, miss-spent
the feast of the bright Resurrection of Christ
and to comfort those who spent it with
temperance and spiritual joy.
How did very many spend the feast of the
bright Resurrection? I would not like to call to
remembrance those foul human deeds but they,
together with those that performed them, need
to be remembered and judged on behalf of God.

The all-bright feast was met, after the bright Paschal service, with dark deeds:
intemperance and drunkenness, fights, cursing, and all types of sin. Consider that we
fasted before the feast only in order to, with even more eagerness, rush into all fleshly,
sinful deeds so that we can unashamedly and with insolence indulge in every iniquity.
Alas! Woe unto us!

All those who met the feast with intemperance and drunkenness, adultery, cursing, and
other similar deeds of the flesh lost all the benefit which they had received (if they even
received any) from the fast, lost the benefit from repentance and communion of the
Holy Mysteries, trampled them as an unreasonable animal under their feet, lost the
acceptable time for salvation, given them by the mercy of the Lord, time which will not
be returned. It was proper to say to you during the fast, behold, now is the accepted
time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2) for it was just then that you had
come to the saving font of repentance and to the all-cleansing, true Mysteries of the
body and blood of the Lord. Now your confession and communion is put off until the
next fast but who knows if the Lord will vouchsafe you to again confess and commune?
Who knows if you will repose in those very iniquities with which again, after the font of
repentance, you have defiled yourself? How painful, how piteous, beloved brothers, that
so soon you have turned out to be betrayers of Christ and have given yourself over to the
devil to serve him, the original murderer, the author of, and instructor in of every type of
sin! You are, using the words of the Saviour, and I, a great sinner, am as well are of your
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do (John 8:44).

What, then, remains for us to do, beloved brothers? To pray and weep for our sins. To
weep that not Christian-like and not even human-like did many of us meet the feast but
like vile idol worshipers and like wild animals, which have not been fed for a long time
with their favorite food. To weep that we have trampled upon the great, soul-saving
Mysteries of Christ, that is, repentance and communion, and counted them as nought.
To weep that the time, given for salvation, we have thoughtlessly lost. May we weep and
pray to the Lord that He “not become angry with us neither destroy us with our
iniquities” (first morning prayer) but would return us to the way of repentance and
make us skilled performers of His commandments. Let us firmly decide from now on
not to give ourselves over to intemperance and drunkenness and all the sins which
follow, and with tears ask the Lord that He, with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, would
strengthen us in our intentions and good deeds.

Brothers! May we all shed tears for we all unworthily met the great feast of the Lord and
angered our Lord; not in this way, not in this way indeed, should we meet the feasts of
the Lord. We need to meet them with spiritual joy in the Lord, for our deliverance from
sins and for our eternal salvation through Christ, the Son of God, with deeds of mercy,
temperance from passions, visiting the church of God in spirit and truth and with
simplicity in food and clothing.

O, you, decorated with gold and a multitude of precious fabrics, women and maids! In
the name of the Lord, I direct my speech to you! What a multitude of poor would you
have been able to cause to rejoice on the all-bright day of the Resurrection of Christ and,
in that way, worthily meet that great feast, if you would have, in generosity and
Christian love, changed even a few of these decorations into money and given that
money to the poor who are so many in our city? Would it not have been reasonable, in a
Christian way, if you had fewer precious clothing and the money remaining you had
given to the poor? What rich mercy would you have received on that day from Christ the
Lord? Yes, truly Christian-like would you have then met the feast of Christ’s
Resurrection. But now what? You are decorated like idols but the members of Christ are
without clothes; you are satiated but the members of Christ are in want; you roll in every
possible pleasure but those are in tears; we are in rich and decorated dwellings but those
are in cramped conditions and uncleanness, in dwellings which are often not any better
than a pigsty. We do not have Christian love and, therefore, there is no true feast of the
Resurrection of Christ, for those truly celebrate the Resurrection who himself is raised
from dead deeds to deeds of virtue and Christian faith and love, trampling on
intemperance, luxury, and all of the passions.

Brothers and Sisters! May we celebrate the feasts of the Lord as Christians and not as


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