Living fruit-bearing Lives in Christ

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Living fruit-bearing Lives in Christ
15th Sunday after Pentecost
20 September, 2009
2 Corinthians 4:6-15 ; Matthew 22:35-46


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The main difficulty that we human beings have faced in the course of our own history is ourselves. This is one of the main reasons that we always want to be in control of every situation. We actually put ourselves very often in the place of God. This is a very dangerous thing to do. However, we do it because we are afraid. We do not know why we are afraid, but we are afraid.

Very often we behave towards the Scriptures with a similar disposition. For instance, we have an example of this today when our Lord is showing to the Pharisees that they are doing such things. They had decided what the Scriptures say without actually reading them clearly. They were insisting that our Saviour must be the Son of David. This is half true. Our Saviour then says : “‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right-hand’” (Psalm 109:1). In saying this our Saviour is making it patently clear Who He is. He, Himself, is the Lord who is sitting at the right-hand of the Lord, the Father.

Very often even until this day, we, in our wilfulness, try to make Jesus Christ into something or Someone other than Who He is. How many times are we reading in English (and I am sure it is the same case in Russian) that Jesus Christ is some nice “Philosopher-Person”. This is the most common way to treat Him, but some people treat Him as some sort of magician. Even nowadays people avoid facing Who is Jesus Christ. They want to try (if they could) to tame God. However, God cannot be controlled by us, and He cannot be tamed by us. God is our Creator ; we are not His creators. We are the product of His love. God created us to be in His own image, and that image is love. This love is selfless love.

Our Saviour has shown us by His words and by His actions how this love works in our lives. Wherever He is going, He is putting things in good and right order. He is healing people from diseases. He is raising people from the dead. He is releasing people from slavery to devils. He is correcting their misunderstanding, as we see in the Gospel reading today. The Lord, in fact, is enacting His love by serving us. Therefore, when He said to His apostles at the Last Supper that we should wash each other’s feet (and in fact, the feet of everyone) if we want to follow Him, He is showing us concretely that the servant is not greater than the master (see John 15:20).

We must serve as He serves. His love is self-emptying love which empties itself for our sake. This is the true expression of humility. Those who live in this way understand that the more one gives love like this, the more God renews this love and increases this love. It is because Saint Seraphim of Sarov, and people like him, were filled to overflowing with such love that they would receive visitors hour after hour after hour. Saint Seraphim gave good words from God to hungry people. There are many true Elders alive today (in fact, I have seen them in Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and other places) who are doing the same thing. Less than 100 years ago, there was the famous Saint Silouan of Mount Athos. He was so full of God’s love that he spent all his days praying for the whole world. When people are praying in such a way, they are also suffering greatly because of love, and because the world is suffering so greatly.

Brothers and sisters, it is important that we remember what the Lord is calling us to do and to be when He says to you and to me : “‘Follow Me’” (Matthew 4:19). The Lord speaks His love to you and to me. He enacts this love for you and for me. It is our place to respond to this love, and to learn how to live in this same love. It is not for us to say to God : “I know what I want to be, and what I must be in life”. Instead, it is for us to say to the Lord : “How do You want me to walk in this life ?” “How do You want me to serve You in this life ?” The Lord will and He does show us what He wants us to do. Accomplishing His will is always done in the context of selfless love. It is life-giving. This means that if I am a plumber, and the Lord is asking me to do plumbing, this is a very good and life-giving service. To be a plumber is a very difficult and unpleasant job, but it is absolutely necessary for our life as we are living it nowadays. It is certainly an honourable trade. The same thing could be said of most trades or professions. If we are living in harmony with God’s will, and exercising the gifts that God has given us, our lives will have a clear direction. Our lives will be fruit-bearing.

Let us ask the Lord to renew our hearts today by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Then we will be able to ask : “Lord, what do You want me to do ?” Let us ask the Lord to put our lives into the correct order, in harmony with His love, so that we will grow into being our true selves. In so doing, in every way, our lives will glorify our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.