Bishop Basil (Nesterenko)

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Glory to Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters!

I congratulate you with the Holy Sunday and Holy Communion. It is a pleasure to see you all. We haven’t seen each other for long time and I have come here today as I come to my own home. I have been on leave and visited other churches during that time. But I did not feel myself there the way I feel here with you. So my soul is happy when I see you and pray with you.

Today we have heard the Gospel (Matthew VIІІ:5-13). It is about the story how Jesus Christ healed the servant of Centurion. We know the history. During that time Israelites were pressed by Romans. They hated and did not like them. And we see that among Romans one Centurion was found, who asked Jesus for help with a great respect. It seems that Centurion had to hate Israelites and considered himself as a higher person according to his position and kind of work. It happened that other centurions had such bad attitude towards his subordinates.

But we read in the Gospel that he was a religious man, he even built a synagogue for Jews. He did good things. And we can get it because he read the Holy Writ. He knew that the Messiah would come in this world. And he had that strong sincere faith that the Messiah would come. Maybe he even knew that Jesus was that Messiah.

We see that Centurion showed all Christian virtues. When Centurion asked Jesus Christ to come and heal his servant, Jesus said: “I will come and heal him.” But Centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.” During that time Jews and Romans did not communicate and to enter someone’s house meant a huge contamination. Centurion knew that that is why he did not invite Jesus Christ to his house. He said: “I have soldiers under my authority and they do what I say. So, only say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

And we hear when Jesus said: “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel I have found such faith.” We may think: “How can it be?” Jesus knew all thoughts and everything before it happened. We see how His God’s figure appeared, that He was God’s man. But He had the same feelings as we have. He could by happy and cry or had the anger to unrighteous people. And here He appeared to be just a Man.

We can see that He said only a word and the healing happened. The centurion’s servant was healed in one moment. And how many centurions were there? Maybe in Israel there was no more centurions except that one.

And I want to pay your attention on the fact that if we have such faith, we will ask only that things, which are useful for our soul and they will come true. It is a pity, but we do not have such faith. We do not have such faith not only in our country, but in all worlds. Because we see so awful things, which happen on the East of our country. The Lord lets this all happen, He makes such difficult trials to all Christians and all Ukrainian people.

People have started to come to the Temples more often, but the grace is not as strong as it should be. There is only the ritualism. People stand there only because they must do it. I can’t see in their eyes the pleasure of coming to the Temple and having a mess.

And today God gives our nation very difficult trials and we have to sacrifice because of our lack of faith. It is very pity that people die. But the Lord wants to convert into the faith all people. Now a lot of people pray for Ukraine and ask for peace, for reconciliation between two nations, that brothers do not kill brothers. We all are Christians and Slavs, but we do not have enough faith and love to each other, to all Christians.

So I appeal us all to pray. Let’s pray ad help that poor people, who are on the East of Ukraine. They need not only prayers, but material help. Who can help? We really have to help. Because we do not have such trials as they have now, but we only have to thank God for that.

So, do not forget that we need sincere faith and love to neighbors. This is the only way we can save our God’s Ukraine.

Let the Lord save You!