February 3, 2023

Fifth Homily for the Day of the Reception of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"So he came by the Spirit into the temple" (Luke 2:27).

The Reception of our Lord Jesus Christ is such a feast in our Church, of which we have only twelve in a year, and therefore it is called a Great Feast. Who receive our Lord Jesus Christ - where, when and how? Righteous Symeon received our Lord Jesus Christ in the temple of Jerusalem, on the fortieth day after His birth, when His parents, according to the law, brought Him there.

Christian Listeners! And each of us will certainly receive the Lord Jesus Christ in this life. If we don’t receive Him, then we won’t find peace in life, we won’t be calm at death, we won’t rest with the saints even after death – for all the ages, for all eternity we will worry, suffer from sins, if we don’t receive Jesus Christ.

Where can we receive Him? Righteous Symeon received Jesus Christ in the temple, and we cannot receive Him anywhere else as in the Orthodox Church. If someone says to you: there is Christ, among schismatics, for example, or among heretics, then do not believe it; in one Orthodox Church  is Jesus Christ, and in some Orthodox Christians.

How can we receive Him? Not like the righteous Symeon. He apparently receive Him, saw Him with bodily eyes, held Him in his arms; but now we can receive Him spiritually, with noetic eyes we can see Him, and only in our souls, we must hold Him in our hearts. How can we receive Him spiritually, to see Him with noetic eyes?

To receive, to see Jesus Christ with noetic eyes means to believe in Him, to believe as if He is before our eyes. Yes, when you receive and see Jesus Christ with noetic eyes, you will believe in Him as if He is before your eyes. With our noetic eyes we see invisible things just as we see visible things with our bodily eyes. Does every person have such noetic eyes? Everyone, but not everyone sees with them. Others do not see anything with these eyes, because they do not open them, because they live without caring about anything spiritual.

How can you know that you have received and see Jesus Christ with noetic eyes? If you are sure in your soul that Jesus Christ will save you, cleanse your sins, save you from eternal torment, then this is a sign that you have received Him, you see Him with noetic eyes. He receives, sees Jesus Christ, who is sure of his salvation through Him. It is impossible to believe in Jesus Christ and not be sure of your salvation; one might say, it is unnatural.

Are you sure, Christian listener, that you will be saved through Jesus Christ? Are you sure that Jesus Christ will cleanse all your sins, forgive you, save you from eternal torment, redeem you? If you are not sure, then you have not yet received Jesus Christ, you still do not see Him with noetic eyes, you still do not hold Him in your soul, you do not have in your heart.

What can we do to receive, to see Him? Go to the church of God more often, listen more attentively to what they sing and read, look more diligently at what they do, accept more diligently what they teach, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ especially more often, asking and praying unceasingly that the Lord open your noetic eyes, shine upon you with His light, and you will see with noetic eyes Him, the Invisible One, you will believe in Him, you will keep Him in your heart, have Him in your soul and be sure of your salvation, you will find peace in life, you will be calm at death and you will rest with the saints after death.

Go to the church of God; but do not imitate those people who walk without a goal, without thought, and sometimes, even worse, stand and mentally judge, condemn the ministers of the church or those standing in the church. The ministers of the church are the servants of Christ, and therefore to judge and condemn them means to judge and condemn directly in the person of Jesus Christ Himself. After all, He - the Lord Jesus Christ - chose us, the servants of the Church, and appointed Himself to be a servant. And the earthly king does not allow his servants to serve in thin, torn rags; he will dress them at his own expense if they are poor. Is it possible that the King of Heaven will not have mercy and grace to dress us, His servants, in decent clothes? Does He not have the strength and wisdom to strengthen and instruct the weak and needy in His holy service?

Forgive me for saying a few harsh words in defense of the ministers of the church: for the sake of your salvation, I stood up for their honor. Whoever judges and condemns the ministers of the church will never receive, see Jesus Christ and, consequently, will not see his own salvation.

So, listeners, go to the church of God, go more often, go while your feet are walking, while there is strength, there is an opportunity - and you will receive Jesus Christ, see Him with noetic eyes; be assured of your salvation through Him, find peace in life, die in peace, and rest with the saints after death; although you may be walking for a long time, you will receive Him sooner or later. And the righteous Symeon waited for Him for many years, but he waited. Wait for, listeners, the expected Savior and the desired salvation. Amen.

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