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Sixth Sunday after Pentecost and St. Olga Day

Math. 9, 1-8

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The omnipotent Lord not only sees all our deeds; He knows our thoughts and all our plans. We cannot hide our inner feelings from God. He sees and knows everything. He is always with us. Regardless if our thoughts are pure or evil or contaminated by temptations of this world, the Lord knows all. Nothing can be hidden from Him. We heard in today’s Gospel lesson about Old Testament teachers who could not hide their thoughts from Jesus. When Jesus healed the paralytic, he said to him: “Son be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you”.

Old Testament teachers did not believe that Christ is Son of God, they thought how could He say: “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus knowing their thoughts asked them: “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, ‘Arise and walk?”

Jesus Christ performed many miracles not for His glory but in order to strengthen the faith of His Disciples and Apostles. He achieved his goal. Only the Old Testament teachers did not want to believe Him. They were crafty in their thoughts. Slyness blinded them and closed the path to God, whom they worshiped in accordance with the Law of Moses. As the result of their slyness they crucified Jesus Christ on the cross.

The person, who lives his or her life by untruth, is serving the devil who is the father of falsehood. Our Lord does not like people who live by slyness and untruth. Every Christian must reject all falsehoods and live by truth. Our relationship with our neighbors must be based on truth. We must be truthful to them and have only good intentions in our relationship with them.

We often see as some people are covering their evil deeds with half-truth and are making us to believe, as it was a complete truth. Many Christians are trying to cover their evil deeds with a mantle of outside good behavior. Jesus is comparing such people to wolves in the sheepskin. Judas kiss, by which he betrayed Jesus for suffering and crucifixion, is a very good example of hypocrisy.

When we transgress against our neighbors, we should not be afraid to admit our gilt. By clearing our conscious we will experience joy and our life will be meaningful. Only if we live by truth we will please God. The Lord is our way, our truth and our life. We will never be disappointed in our goals if we will believe in God’s truth and live by His words: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Today on this Sunday our Orthodox Church commemorates the memory of the Blessed Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Princes Olga. The Church praises Olga’s judgment and calls her “the star who shines in the darkness of idolatry and opens the path to all of us to Christ.” Saint Olga’s exemplary life influenced her grandson, Volodymyr the Great in baptizing Rus-Ukraine in the Orthodox faith. In today’s Liturgy we sing praise to Saint Olga reciting the Kodak: “Today, let us chant the praises of God, the Benefactor of All, who has been glorified in Rus-Ukraine by Divinely Wise Olga. May He grant us the forgiveness of sins through her prayers.”

Amen.

Fr. George Bazylevsky

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