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Excerpts from Sermons: The Only Thing You Have to Do Is Not to Judge Anyone…




By Fr. Demetrius Basalygo

We must turn back to this anticipation — the genuine anticipation of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Without it, we are not Christians yet. We are still far from being Christians if we don’t look forward to meeting Christ.

I have always been amazed at the words of the Creed, “I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” “Looking for” means actively seeking and anticipating something. That is what we have lost: this yearning and anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. We are afraid of the events that will allegedly precede it.

The Church has always felt and professed that She is on the road and travelling. Our final destination is the eternal life and the Kingdom of God. We must turn back to this anticipation — the genuine anticipation of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Without it, we are not Christians yet. We are still far from being Christians if we don’t look forward to meeting Christ, to the resurrection of the dead and the restoration of the human nature. The human nature must not just be restored but also transformed together with the entire world. If that is not our goal, are we really Christians?
(Sermon after a Divine Liturgy on September 1, 2017)

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The Lord tells us, No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, neither do men put new wine into old bottles: for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Likewise, the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. (cf. Matthew 9: 16, 17). This parable allegorically refers to the faith. You cannot put pieces of Gospel cloth to your past life. You cannot add the Good News of the Gospel to your own mental representation of God. It’s impossible. We must open our hearts to the Gospel and the teaching of the Church in its totality, even if we don’t understand much. Instead, we are looking for the solutions to our problems, peace in our souls, or a resolution of some daily issues, and that’s when we turn to God. There are so many people who are disappointed after they turn to Christ with hope! The reason why they are disappointed lies in this story. We find it unachievable to open our hearts to Christ, accept the Gospel in its entirety, and trust the doctrine of the Church as the new life. That’s why we are heading towards a dead-end. The Lord keeps saying that to each one of us. It is vital that we realise that only in unity with God and with all other people through God can we be able to preserve the new wine of the Kingdom of God.
(Sermon after a Divine Liturgy on June 16, 2017)

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The Lord came into this world to show us a new way of life — the eternal life — and to allow us the entry into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a physical location. First of all, it’s where God and man stay together, where all people are open-hearted and joined by love, trust, and fidelity. The Lord came to give us a life without limits and bring us into this life. There are so many issues in this fallen world that divide us, e.g., race, nationality, social status, gender, and occupation. The Lord tells us that our individuality must unite, rather than divide, us. He does not just call us to unity: He has brought us into that unity through the Sacrament of Communion. He unites us with himself and thanks to this unity we can have communion, love, and unity with all the rest. We must thank God for everything that He does.
(Sermon after a Divine Liturgy on June 23, 2017)


By Fr. Alexander Pashkovsky 

When we try to touch the hearts of our neighbours and friends to reveal to them what the Lord has revealed to us, we must be aware of the fact that something might be too challenging for them, at least for now. That’s why we’d better stop talking too much, and start praying for them and showing them the good example of our lives. Our prayers are much more powerful and efficient than our words. Especially since we don’t have enough humility when we say those words. We have too much pride and too little love.
(Sermon after a Divine Liturgy on November 1, 2017)


By Fr. Eugene Pavelchuk 


Do you remember the story of the woman diseased with an issue of blood who first consulted all doctors and traditional healers and when nothing helped called unto God? We do the same: instead of walking straight to our Helper, we tread from one place to another and struggle with many difficulties. Regrettably, our hearts don’t see the right way and don’t humble down until we go through all those battles. The main stumbling block is our pride that makes us blind and rigid, drowns us into the vanity of this world and drives us into the abyss. The Lord says, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole (Matthew 9: 22). He tells it to all of us, not just that woman: Be of good comfort; be brave; realise that you cannot do anything without God — not even make a single step, to say nothing of reaching the Kingdom of God. 

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Many people say, “I haven’t taken communion for a long time because I feel that I’m not ready yet. I haven’t prepared myself to go and partake of the Chalice.” What do you mean by being ready? Imagine if I or someone else read everything and observe all fasting routines, and did everything that is required, and then say, “I’m ready,” and then go and take communion. Is a person who feels that he deserves the Chalice really worthy of communion? Of course not. Hence, canons, prayers, and fasts are a means to the goal of beholding your ineptitude and impotency. Even if an individual does not read some of the mandatory prayers but he realizes that without communion he would not be able to pull through with his life, he may ask, “O Lord, please accept the weak and powerless person that I am.” If you have the courage to do so, I don’t think it will harm or kill you. (Sermon after a Divine Liturgy on November 19, 2017)



By Fr. Valery Zakharov 

The Heavenly Kingdom… The only thing that you must do is not to judge anyone. How do you pull the beam out of your eye and not see the mote in your neighbour’s eye? Do you have to fall to do so? It is through falling that the Lord leads one to recognise his weaknesses and sins. The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17: 21), and that’s where we ought to look. We should keep our eyes on our own souls and keep them clean. If someone falls into a sin, it is the Lord leading him through the road that He only knows, to make him repent and admit his worthlessness, and not for us to pass judgement on that person. It is useful for him but pernicious for us. How do we learn at last that we are not judges? There is the Righteous Judge, and He knows why things happen. Furthermore, one’s actions do not determine one’s intentions; we don’t know what causes other people to do this or that and what makes them act in a certain way. Only the Lord can judge humans. We should pray to God on our own behalf and on behalf of other people, so that we could be able not to condemn those people and they could improve. The Lord says, Ask and you shall receive (Matthew 7: 7).
(Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on June 17, 2017)


By Fr. George Glinsky


If someone calls himself a Christian but remains supine (while he must be filled with the power of God), he becomes salt that lost its power. If someone consents to injustice and tolerates it; if someone is eager to justify injustices and turn a blind eye to them as if nothing happens, eventually it will become an avalanche that topples his life and shows his true attitude towards other people and events. We forget that the Lord sends us forth like sheep in the midst of wolves, as we’ve heard in the Gospel passage today. He was sent by his Heavenly Father to stay away from injustices, falsehoods, iniquities, and sins but at the same time to participate in the lives of human beings and to lift them up to the heaven. He entered this world with the fiery force of love. He triumphed over the sin and death and opened the door to the Heavenly Kingdom for us. He is the ultimate model for us.
(Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on November 7, 2017)



By Fr. Andrew Malakhovsky

We must be comforted by hope. The sorrows that we encounter in our lives, make us stronger and more powerful. They are like a blacksmith who forges us into a sword. A piece of iron will be hammered several dozen times before it becomes a useful thing.
Similarly, the Lord has to test a person time and time again by sorrows, hardships, and illnesses, until he finally becomes a clear image of God.

We should accompany all our actions with prayer because prayer is a way to have a conversation with God. It foreshadows the Kingdom of God. A man is known by the company he keeps. If we talk with God, we will become godly, albeit very slowly. If we give up prayer, we will spin like a spinning top: although we would have plenty of time, it would be meaningless. That is why the saints advise us to rejoice in hope; be patient in tribulation; continue instant in prayer. May the Lord help us to carry it out in our lives.
(Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for the Mentally Challenged on November 3, 2017)

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May the Lord help us to remember that we are called by God to travel on the spiritual field. The Lord wants us to perform spiritual actions. He manages the rest of our lives. Things that occur may not come about as or when we would like them to: instead, things happen when God allows them to happen and to the extent that He considers to be useful for us. This is why if one learns to rejoice in this life and give thanks to God, his life will be full of spiritual joy here on earth.
(Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for the Mentally Challenged on November 10, 2017)

By Fr. Sergius Faley

You see, when you do something good, you may catch yourself thinking, “I don’t need any money. I just want someone to praise me.” You want someone to thank you, to appreciate what you did, and to let others know about it. Ultimately, it is no different from conceit and self-interest. So if you want to work for the glory of God, brace up for insults and alienation for all the good that you do.
(Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on November 11, 2017)


February 20, 2018

St. Elisabeth Convent

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