Bishop Basil (Nesterenko)


Glory to Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters!

I congratulate you with the Holy Sunday and the Holy Communion.

Today we have heard the Gospel of Luke (X:25-37), where God told us a parable about the good Samaritan. But when we listen to the Gospel we always have to think over it and try it on our own lives, how can we use it today in our country.

Today we have heard like one lawyer wanted to tempt and checked Jesus Christ. He asked a question: “What should you do to inherit eternal life?” And God said to him: “What is written in the Law?” At that time Jews and especially lawyer knew the Law very good. They knew that they had to love God with all heart, all soul and love your neighbor as you love yourself. It is a pity, but they did not follow it. They could not love close people. They even did not understand who their close people were.

It is also a pity, but a lot of Christians do not understand who their close people are. All think that close people are your best friend, relatives, family, people you love. But the Lord shows that it is wrong idea.

We know that every normal man needs love. And what is Love? Love is a sacrifice, which we must pay. This sacrifice doesn’t have to be material. The sacrifice can be time, which you will give to some person. It can be your attention, your physical efforts, which you use to help or share.

Love can’t be exhaustive. Big sacrifice brings more love. The Lord said: “There can’t be a bigger love as to give your life for your friends.” And it is true. It is a great God’s Love. Not every person can do it. At least we have to do merciful doings.

So we see that Jesus Christ changed the Jew’s opinion about surrounding world. When He preached the parable about the good Samaritan, we can only imagine the reactions on faces of all lawyers. And He leaded them to the thought that your relatives can be enemies to you. The difference between Jews and Samaritans was very small, only some ethnic difference. But Samaritans considered being enemies. What difference did Jews and Samaritans have? They had different ideology and tenets. They were separated politically and ethnically. They did not understand that they all were the children of Abraham. They prayed in different Temples to One God. And it seems to be strange, but the Lord showed them who their close people were.

He showed not only in theory, not only with the parable. He also showed in practice how they should act, how they should love their close people. He showed with His Earth life the greatest love, God’s Love – He gave His life for all sinful people.

And it is truly the greatest love. He died in torments on the cross, He prayed for that people, who crucified Him.

We can turn this parable to our life, our Ukraine. And it suits a lot. We see that we are separated. Ukrainian people of East and West were artificially separated. We are separated according to the language, churches. Some people visit one Temple, some – another, although all believe in One God.

And we see the hatred and cruelty that appeared to brothers, even blood brothers. Maybe someone heard: own brother stood against his brother. He had so much hatred, so he said: “I would kill him, if I see him.” They were not far from each other and waged war. It is better for them not to see one another. What hatred should be in people’s hearts that they hate each other so much? And people forget that the truth is – “love God and your close people.”

If we go into our historical past, not far – 1932-1933, we will see what Soviet government and its servants did with its own people. They killed Ukrainian nation. And there were Ukrainian people inside that government. The brother went and destroyed his own brother. If people understand that, they would appeal to God, unite and be unconquerable.

We can see it in imitation of Maidan. God showed all people what has happened, when people united on Maidan and prayed every day, twenty-four-hours. We appealed to God. And not many people without arms overcame such power, even if were sacrificed one hundred people. But there always has to be a sacrifice to turn people to God, that they could face God.

We must remember that and think: How many victims have to fall, how much blood has to be split, that the light of hatred and cruelty to each other would be off?

And the Lord lays a great responsibility on us for our children, grandchildren, all brothers and sisters. We have responsibility in front of God. As long as we are on the Earth, as long as we are alive, we have to remember all tragic history of Ukraine. And we have to understand that without God, Love to God and love to close people we will not be able to build happy and friendly Ukraine.

Let this parable be a reminding of the way we must live and what is a background of happy life.

Let the Lord save you.