A Sermon on the Prodigal Son

Sermon given at the vigil for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, in the Holy Trinity Church, Moscow, February 11, 2017.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

What amazing words we have heard today in the Church’s hymnography: “Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver. For my spirit rises early to pray towards Thy holy temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled…”

In these words is an awareness of yourself, your place in the world; in them is repentance, which God expects from every one of His sons and daughters. But by far not everyone rises to those spiritual heights at which the understanding comes that you are at fault for the defiling of God’s temple—that very temple that God has entrusted to your soul. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Cor. 6:19).

Tomorrow at the Divine Liturgy the parable of a father and two sons will be read for us. One of these sons was outwardly obedient to the father. The second ran away from his father’s love to wallow in sin and passions. But it so happens that the latter is the one who was able stop and shudder as he becomes aware of the scope of the monstrous act he has committed before Heaven and his father. His spirit ascends to the highest heights attainable to human beings—he entered into the awareness that the temple of his soul is monstrously defiled. He himself had robbed and defiled his father’s inheritance; namely, life, love, care, goodness, and tenderness. He himself trampled upon the best of everything he had, destroying it and profaning it.



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