April 11, 2023

Life is Short - The Lord is Waiting for Your Repentance (A Homily of St. Luke of Simferopol)

Life is Short - The Lord is Waiting for Your Repentance

Luke 13:1–9

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea
(Delivered on November 22, 1947)

“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish'" (Luke 13:1-3).

Tell me, isn’t there gloating in you about the fact that one of your neighbors suffered God’s punishment, and you think: “Thank God that I am not so sinful that the Lord did not punish me!” It is this exaltation condemned by Christ in the quoted passage from the Gospel.

“Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:4–5). Terrible misfortunes, heavy punishments the Lord sends to some people, not because they were more sinful than others, but in order to reason with those whom He leaves without punishment for the time being.

Do not think that everyone is more sinful than you, think that you are more sinful than everyone else. Do not rejoice that God did not punish you, but think with fear: “Well, I’m even more sinful! Why didn’t the Lord punish me?” Repent, for the Lord says: “Unless you repent, you will also perish. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees” (Matt. 3:10; Luke 3:9).

The Lord added to His words the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree (see Luke 13:6–9 ), which did not bear fruit for three years. The owner ordered to cut it down, and the gardener was merciful, he took pity on the fig tree and asked to wait another year: “I will do my best to make it fruitful. I will dig it in, I will cover it with manure, and if this year there is no fruit, then cut it down."

And among us there are people like a barren fig tree. They are threatened with being cut off from the tree of life, and the Holy Church, merciful to them, asks God to prolong His long-suffering, uses all means to stop sinners and lead them to the path of repentance.

Always remember that life is short, but we are burdened with a heavy burden of sins. We are like a barren fig tree, and the Lord expects from us the fruits of goodness and righteousness - repentance. Do not miss the time allotted for repentance of sins before the terrible ax rises, lying at the root of the tree of our life. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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