Archpriest Maxim (Bykov)

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I congratulate you with the feast, dear brothers and sisters!

Listen what the Lord let me understand from this little part of the Gospel (Matthew XVIII:23-35 ), which we have read, listened and tried to comprehend that truth. How should we understand it? God let me know that there are no people on the Earth without at least some fault in God’s eyes. The person who lived on the Earth and did not make a sin does not exist. It is clear that only Our Lord Jesus Christ, who took human body, did not sin. We understand that the person who lived on the Earth and did not sin does not exist. We all constantly make some negative things in our lives, which even concern us. We start to blame ourselves. We like to blame our friends, to criticize those things, which we do not like in them. We even can reproach for some things, which they do in their lives.

We are not able to forgive ourselves for our own lives. We are not able to forgive and let go all people we communicated with and they made a trouble to us. We are not able to understand and let go all situations that happened in our lives. It means we are not able to forgive.

But when we again appeal to God, we fall on knees and start to ask, pray: “Oh God, forgive me! Forgive my sins, my bad attitude towards my life, myself and my close people. Oh Lord, forgive me! Oh God, be mercy to me!” We ask and beg Him with tears of our sincere heart. And Merciful, Sincere, Opened and Loving Father the Lord helps us to rise from our knees again, He helps to renew our souls and hearts. And He expects the same actions from us that we could forgive our close people the same way as He did; that we could let all bad thing go; that things which stand on the way of our communication with God. All bad things prevent us from being happy. Because unforgiveness in our hearts prevents us from salvation and does not give us a chance to be happy on the Earth. Because we constantly remember about that offence, we constantly live with it, we think about it and this disturbance in our heart starts to influence on our life. It destroys our life, our close people and us completely. It happens because of unforgiveness. And if a person starts to understand that he can’t cope with it by himself, he can do only one thing – ask God for help: “Oh Lord, help me to forgive, because I can’t do it by myself. My soul and heart do not have enough power to cope with it. Oh Lord, help me, direct me, give me good thoughts and feelings to do it. Oh Lord, help me! ”

And the Lord feels our sincerity, listens to our prayers and helps us. Drop by drop He gives us forgiveness to people, situations, our life and ourselves. We ask every day: “Oh Lord, give us love and forgiveness, give us love and forgiveness!” These are the greatest gifts, which we can get on the Earth, which we can grow in our soul, life and mind. But you also have to add: “Oh God, give us wisdom. Let love and forgiveness be wise.” It means that we shouldn’t go, hug and kiss our enemies, like best friends. You do not have to do so, because wisdom is given to us. We just understand - that person can make one more trouble to us and bring one more grief. And it is in our power to have no hatred to that man in our soul. Maybe, you do not have great love to that person or a desire to communicate with him, but at least you do not feel hatred, which destroys your heart and soul.

Every man answers for himself on this Earth. However, except spiritual level we answer for each other on physical level, because we help each other, communicate with each other and help to live. It is our spiritual job too. But we can’t take with ourselves in the end of the life all things we have on the Earth. We can take only our soul and all gifts, which we were growing. It means all spiritual gifts, not physical. We can give them as a payment to the Lord to enter the Kingdom of God. We fight for it; we ask and beg for it.

If you pay attention to the situation, which is happening in our country now, on the Russian aggression towards Ukraine, it starts to be clear that it has something in common with the today’s Gospel. How? We understand that there was a debtor and he owed a master ten thousand talents. A debtor is a sinner and a master is God in the Kingdom of Heaven. God forgave him for his sins, for all mistakes, which he made in life, because he asked and begged God. And the Lord said him:”Go, work and be normal person from now. I take your debts, but you have to start a new life, good life.”

But he did not do it. When he met his fellow servant, his friend what did he do? He started to shake him and said: “Give back. Give me that money you own me.” What did the Lord do with him after? He put him in that place, where people suffer that he could pay for his mistakes.

And now when we look at the situation in Ukraine we see that Russia shakes us and says: “Ukraine! Give back everything, what you have, because I think that you own me maybe since USSR.” But the Lord knows where the truth is. He knows what will happen with people, who bring injustice and continue to do it impudently.

And we know what can happen with Russia. We know that the division will happen in society. All people who are guilty in this war will respond for every wrong action in front of God. The government of Russia and all people who participate in war aggression will respond for war in our country to the full.

So, we set our hopes not on people, but on God and His Kingdom. We set our hopes that the Lord is our lives, that He is constantly with us that He helps and will help in the future. We only have to open our hearts and souls to Him that our lives will be filled up with Him, His Spirit.

Let the Lord bless us, give us strength, lead us and help every soul, who needs His forgiveness.

Let the Lord save you.