Archbishop Oleksandr (Nehodenko)

Glory to Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters!

When we have read the Gospel today (Mathew IV: 12-17) maybe someone had a thought: “Why did they do it? Why did saint fathers separate such short part?” I was thinking about it and I realized that it happened because it was a very start of all Jesus’ Christ ministry.

Jesus had two natures – one was human, other one was Divine. If He showed only Divine nature, people would not understand Him. Later He told Apostles that Earth man can’t speak about High things. Earth man speaks only about those things which he knows, about the place he came from.

Jesus came from the Heavens; it is a high level, very high. And He understood that He had to have a background in order to see His work. He was waiting. He was waiting the moment when God would allow Him to start preaching. And it happened when John had been arrested. He could not preach earlier, because He understood that good should not be separated and stand against each other. He waited for His time. And that time came.

Why Jesus did not start to preach in Nazareth? Why did He leave Nazareth and come to Capernaum - a pegan city? Because He told later: “The prophet is not welcomed in his own country.” He could not preach there.

Later Jesus returned to Nazareth and started to preach there, but people asked Him: “Is it Mary’s son, whom we have known for many years? How can He preach for us, if He has been growing with us? Why does he say such things, which we can’t understand?” He knew that it would happen in such way that is why He went to Capernaum and started His ministry ther.

The last line of today’s Gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – was the device of Jesus’ Christ whole life. He explained how to confess, how to ask for Love, how not to be sinner, how not to be hard-hearted person, how to be different from other people. But in the beginning He told: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Maybe it is not exact translation; maybe we must understand His words the other way that the kingdom of heaven is coming to your soul and will be inside you. Because later Jesus explained that the kingdom of heavens is already in your soul. It is not in Europe or the USA, it is in the soul. And when we build it inside our souls, it will become here, on Earth.

That is why we have to build the kingdom of heavens in your soul, otherwise Christ will not come. There will be no sense to come down on this Earth. He said: “It is yeast, it is small, but it influences on whole bread.” We have to be that bread, which Jesus made, that we could become completely His children.

It is very easy to say: “Lets love each other, let’s be kind, wise.” It is easy to say, but difficult to do. Apostles told that the kingdom of heavens can be achieved by force. If it wasn’t so, it would be very easy like a switch. Turn on the kingdom of heaven, turn off the kingdom of heavens. But it does not work in such way. It is very hard work, but it is creative; it helps people feel themselves as they are creators of their souls.

If you can help a man – do it. Jesus told about it and Apostles repeated too. Be that Samaritan, who did not pass by a suffering man. Don’t be like those men, who just passed by a pained man. It happens in our lives too, when we see injustice or a person, who needs our help, but we pass by. We are busy with work and family. We think of it sometimes, but we look for excuses, which calm us down and we stop our sufferings in such way. The person asks for some money, but you have got only three ghryvnas. So, give 50 coins and your duty will be fulfilled.

That is why I tell you once again: fight, fight and gain the victory, because the Lord gained a victory over His human nature; taking into consideration that He had two natures: human and Divine. He was fighting with his human nature. Do you remember how He prayed? First he lost His heart and asked God: “Maybe this chalice is not for me? Can it pass by? Maybe I should not suffer?” Everything He had to overcome opened for Him: sufferings, mockery and crucifixion. But God strengthened Him with His powers. And He told: “Oh God, if I have to do it, if it is Your Will, I can’t say No.” And He did everything, what He had to.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It is inside everyone, because God confirmed this kingdom and He made a signet with His death on humanity, which we have been carrying out till now. We are consecrated and sanctifies by God’s death. It sounds very tragically, but we mustn’t forget about it

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Let these living words always be in our hearts, in our souls and give us the strength to overcome evil with God in hearts. Because we can gain the victory only with God. Any army, any weapon can win. Because only God can win, who gives understanding, wisdom, weapon, skills, experience. He gives everything, you only should have a desire to do it.

Ukrainian people have very difficult times now, but we believe that this irruption of evil will be stopped and conquered. We have to overcome this trial. We were relaxed, told good words, but did not do everything we had to. Now we have understood that independence of our country and the meaning of the word “Ukrainian” are things, which are basic during this period of time for us, because Ukraine consists of people.

I want to wish you wisdom and strength during this had times. Ask God and He will help Ukraine, us, everyone. And ask for love, despite everything, because love covers everything.

Let the Lord bless, sanctify and help our Ukraine and us.

Let the Lord save you!