Having spent a few days in Butler/Lyndora, PA area for the baptism of the newly-born child of God Samuel Bobko, son of Fr. Yurii and Dobrodijka Olha Bobko, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel presided over the Liturgical services at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Lyndora, PA on Sunday, January 15, 2023.
In his homily, the archpastor stated: “…What would you say is the greatest danger facing the Church today? Liberalism, Humanism, Phariseeism, Feminism? Some say it is Christian Colleges, Post Modern Thinking. I have my own personal convictions about those things, but I do not think any of them are the Church’s greatest danger. Rather I am convinced that our greatest foe is something more personal, more intimate with each of us. The story of the Rich Young Ruler contains so many wonderful lessons for the life of a follower of God: lessons about stewardship, humility, worldly riches, and obedience to name a few. Yet it also warns us of our greatest danger.
I have very no doubts that this young man was sincere when he came to Jesus with his question. Holy Evangelist Mark tells us that he ran to Jesus and knelt before him. At least this tells us something about his respect for the Savior and the condition of his heart. He was not like other men who with their power and influence had attempted to trap Jesus with their questions and schemes.
I believe that he truly wanted to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. But when Jesus answered his question, which by the way was not the answer he was looking for, he was looking for approval more than anything else, he could not bear the answer. What was his reaction, do you remember?
Combining all three parallel passages from the Holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke, we see that he became very sad, was overwhelmed with grief and went away with great sadness because he had great possessions and was very rich. In essence, his reply to the one thing he lacked for eternal life was, "I can’t."
"I can’t" are the two most destructive words in Christianity and the greatest danger facing the Church. It is the expression of a heart and mind that does not possess a faith that trusts completely in the power of God. How many times do we say, "I can’t" when faced with a decision where the spiritual challenges the physical?
…Collectively, as a congregation of the Lord’s Church we often fall into the same trap. The church has just as many "We can’ts" as the individual has "I can’ts." We can’t enact a certain program because we do not have the resources. We can’t evangelize our community because…. We can’t….
The Rich Young Ruler said "I can’t." He was right, he couldn’t because he was leaving God out of the equation. Moses did the same thing when God approached him for service. He gave every excuse in the world, "I don’t know what to say, I am not good with words, they won’t believe me." "I can’t, I can’t, I can’t." He too was right. Which brings me to the statement that
OUR GOD IS THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE
After seeing the response of the Rich Young Ruler, Jesus made the comment that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. This shocked his disciples. That would explain their response, "Who then can be saved?"
"The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." God can do the impossible? Yes, that’s exactly what He said. Where we can’t, God can. With our own abilities we are unable, but with God we are able to do anything.
We are talking about the same God who created life from nothing, who at the wave of Moses’ hands parted the Red Sea and produced dry land, and who destroy Satan’s greatest weapon, death, with His Resurrection. If He can do those things, and He did, imagine what He can do with a life that trusts Him completely.
Our Lord Jesus said, "With faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains!" Matthew 17:20
Holy Apsotle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me the strength." Philippians 4:13. All things – anything – everything – with the power of God!
Our doing and working in His Kingdom is not about personal ability, it is about personal faith. It is not about talent, but about desire.
With God all things are possible! He can change our "I can’t" into "I will". He can transform our doubts into rock-solid confidence. Even the impossible, becomes reality.
So, get rid of all of your I CAN’Ts and start saying I WILL!”
The Divine Liturgy continued, offering intercessory prayers for the people and nation of Ukraine, as they faced the newest round of attacks by Russia in Donbas and Dnipro regions.
As the moment of the Holy Communion approached, Archbishop Daniel offered Fr. Yurii Bobko to distribute the Holy Eucharist to the faithful, but most importantly to commune for the very first time his own son – the newly baptized child of God Samuel.
As the choir prayerfully chanted traditional Nativity carols, led by Lydia Rudolf, the congregation approached the clergy to receive their blessing.
In conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Fr. Yurii offered words of gratitude to His Eminence Archbishop Daniel for his presence in the life of his personal family and the entire parish congregation.
The day concluded with a joyful luncheon in a parish hall.
Photos by Subdeacon Maksym Zhuravchyk