February 12, 2023

Homily for the Epistle Reading on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

(Homily on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

By Archimandrite Constantine Haralambopoulos

The denunciatory discourse of today's Apostlic Reading regarding the corruption of the flesh awakens us and reminds us of our duty as Christians, as people of God, not to surrender to the power of the passions but to tame the body through self-control and to purify the spirit through prayer.

At all times, my brethren, man is carried away by the sirens of lust and falls into the sins of the flesh. Therefore, the words of the Apostle, supported by the Great Father of the Church Basil, in his discourse "On Fornication", make us responsible for obeying the flesh.

In our age, sensual pleasure and worship of the flesh is promoted. Modern man's behavior is unnatural while it is projected as normal, abolishing the naturalness of life and transforming society into a society of animalistic violence and dehumanization.

The people of globalization and the destruction of our honorable nation are making us addicted to one mentality that accepts immorality as something very normal and does not react to corruption. Everything is delivered to the body and we live only for it and the pleasure arising from it.

The Church opposes this mentality because the human body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of God's grace. The Son and Word came in the flesh in order to honor the body by demonstrating the honor for which surrounds the creation of His hands.

Above the body, however, there is the spirit. In the body as the Temple of God dwells the immortal soul, "for which Christ died". For this reason the body was not created for sin, but for the service of the soul in the struggle for sanctification.

A divine example and a gift of God's grace are the fragrant grace-flowing relics of the Saints.

The purity of the body, is the crown of asceticism.

The image of the Christian should be adorned with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, our own holiness being the will of God.

With the Church's own weapons of asceticism and patience, the battle against the passions is won. It requires a daily struggle, guidance from a spiritual father and the placing of human hope in attaining for the one who longs for it the mercy of God, "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:14).

We are passing through the period of the Triodion, which becomes a spiritual door for our entrance into the Holy and Great Lent. Through the divine weapon of fasting, we will fight against the sin of gluttony, and through the great weapon of prayer, our thinking will be purified. Through abstinence, the sensual movements of the flesh will be mortified, through repentance the wounds of the passions will be removed, and through the Holy Mysteries of the Church and through confession and the Immaculate Mysteries, we will receive healing divine grace.

The human body is a member of Christ through the Mystery of Holy Baptism. It is irreverent for an honorable member of Christ to become a member of dishonor. We are to change our body from a dwelling place of demons to a sanctified dwelling place of God's glory on the day of judgment. Will the voice of the Just-judging God be heard at our frightening confession to Him through His divine question: "Art thou the man of sin?"

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulois.

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