April 11, 2023

First Homily for Holy Tuesday (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"You know that in two days it will be Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified" (Matthew 26:2).

The closer the days of the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ approached, the more clearly He told His disciples that He needed to suffer in order to thus gradually prepare them for His sufferings. Let us prepare, listeners, and we ourselves for the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ by thinking about them.

When thinking about the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the following thought often comes up: why should the Lord not renounce suffering? He was free to go or not go to suffering, whole legions of God's Angels were ready to intervene for Him. It's all true, listeners. But what would have happened to us if Jesus Christ had not gone to suffering? If He had not suffered, we would have to suffer forever. No matter how we lived on earth, we would not have escaped hades if Jesus Christ had not descended into hades. And now, when Jesus Christ suffered, we are free from eternal suffering, now it completely depends on our will whether to go after death to hades or heaven.

The temporary sufferings of Jesus Christ have replaced our eternal sufferings; what we should endure forever in hades for our sins, all of it He endured for us on earth. Imagine that some criminal for his crimes must go into exile, to eternal labors. The determination is already signed; an execution that could replace this exile, the criminal cannot bear, and therefore he must certainly go, and now he is already going. But suddenly an intercessor appears who undertakes to endure the execution determined for the criminal, so that the criminal will be released from eternal exile for this; and so the intercessor endures, and freedom is restored to the criminal. This is what Jesus Christ similarly did. All people, as criminals of the Law of God, must endure eternal torment, but Jesus Christ suffered for them, and now they are free from these torments.

Imagine, listeners, what were the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ! Collect the sins of all people - those who lived, and those who live, and those who will someday live, lay the blame and the burden of all these sins on Jesus Christ and judge what His sufferings must be! What was it like for Him to be tormented for the sins of all people, and tormented in such a way that this torment was equal to eternal torment? What was it like for Jesus Christ to endure in a few days what the human race had to endure for all eternity?

But you ask: was it really impossible to do without it? Surely God could make sure that we do not suffer, and Jesus Christ does not suffer? What do we, listeners, have to say about this? God did it, apparently, otherwise it would have been impossible to do it. Let us better judge how merciful God is to us sinners, and how strict to our sins. God wanted His beloved Son to suffer, so how can we not suffer? The justice of God demanded that the Most Holy of Holies suffer, what kind of mercy can sinners expect? Jesus Christ suffered so much for the sins of others, what should we expect, we ourselves who sin? God in His Only Begotten Son could not spare the sins He took upon Himself, can He spare us for our own sins?

So, this is where reflections on the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ should lead us, these are the thoughts that should occupy us especially in these days! Christ suffered for the sins of others, can we avoid suffering when we do not cleanse our sins by repentance and do not atone for them by faith in Jesus Christ, who suffered for us? Amen.


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