April 12, 2023

Third Homily for Palm Sunday (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

"Tell the daughter of Zion: Behold, your King is coming to you, meek" (Mt. 21:5).

Our Holy Church proclaims at every Divine Liturgy: "With the fear of God, faith and love, draw near." Who is invited to this, to whom is this said? In the early days of Christianity, this applied to all Christians standing in the church, because then everyone, without exception, every day came to Holy Communion. In these times, “With the fear of God, faith and love, draw near,” is said to those Christians who have prepared for Holy Communion. Without a special seven-days or at least three-days of fasting and preparation, now none of the ordinary Christians, except for the dangerously sick, can proceed to Holy Communion.

Christian Listeners! One week of holy fasting remains, and not all of you have fasted, not all of you have approached Holy Communion. Out of the duty of my rank, out of desire for your salvation, I now remind you: this week, by all means, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, who have not yet communed.

On two particular pretexts, some Christians sometimes do not take communion: some because they seem to have no time to fast, because they are busy with necessary things; others because they are afraid to take communion, because they consider themselves unworthy of Holy Communion.

You have no time to commune, because you are busy with necessary things, you can’t leave things. But is there any work in the world more necessary than Holy Communion, more necessary than the Most Pure Body and the Life-Giving Blood of Christ? Not only in this temporal life, but also in the future eternal life, nothing will be more needed, because there, in the future life, we will live on the same food and drink, the same Most Pure Body and the same Life-giving Blood. Without the Body and Blood of Christ, you will forever be a dead soul in the life to come, that is, you will forever die there and suffer from hunger and thirst. So leave for a while - for a week, at least for three days - all your affairs and the most necessary according to your concept, in order for you to partake for the remission of sins and for eternal life.

You can't leave things? What are you saying? Your God, the Creator of the world, the Lord of Heaven and earth, your Savior lived on earth for more than thirty years in order to prepare His Body and Blood for food and drink for you. And you do not want to leave your affairs for one week in order to commune - to prepare for the reception of this food and drink? Ah, Christian! If you believe in Jesus Christ, then it is absolutely impossible to believe that you really could leave Holy Communion for work; not only the deeds of life, but this very life you must leave for Holy Communion, because with Communion you will receive the source of eternal life.

You are afraid to take communion because you consider yourself unworthy. Oh don't be afraid! Your King whom you approach is a meek King. He is always meek, but especially when, under the guise of bread and wine, He is given as food to believers; here He is all meekness, all mercy, all goodness and compassion, because all is given to you for your salvation; He gives you all of Himself, His Body and His Blood, so that for their sake your sins may be forgiven you. And for what? For that alone He gives Himself for your salvation, that you approach Him, approach Him with fear and faith, because you are afraid not to approach unworthily, and as you approach, you believe that when you take communion, all your sins will be forgiven you. Yes, Christian listeners, for one thing, if we wish, we ask the Lord to worthily partake of the Holy Communion, if we believe, we hope that through Holy Communion we will be delivered from all our sins, then for this alone He gives us His Body and Blood for the remission of sins and eternal life.

Fear not, Christian: your King is meek; if you have even the slightest spark of faith and hope in Him, proceed to Holy Communion. And your spark, through union with Him, will become a great flame that will burn everything filthy, sinful, impure, vile in you.

You will say: The Body and Blood of Christ is a fire that consumes the unworthy, judgment is eaten and drunk by those who partake unworthily. But who are these unworthy of Holy Communion? These are those who approach without any fear and attention, without any faith and hope - according to one custom, they approach not at all so that the Lord will leave them sins, without any thought of the cleansing of sins. In a word, those sinners commune unworthily, who do not consider themselves sinners, who do not consider Holy Communion necessary, necessary for the cleansing of sins.

If, in fact, you, the listener, consider yourself unworthy, then you still need to fast and prepare, as you should, for Holy Communion, otherwise those who consider themselves unworthy of Holy Communion do not fast, and do not prepare, and do not go to confession. No, this is not how true penitents should act. You fast, you go to the church of God all week, go to confession to your confessor - in a word, do everything that those preparing for Holy Communion do, and do this without fail every year. How else, and when will you prepare for a worthy communion, if you do not begin to prepare? You will say: I fast, I fast, but I don’t go to confession, I don’t go because confession is also a Mystery, and I’m afraid to deceive God in confession: here it is necessary to make a promise to keep from sins in the future, but I can’t keep such a promise, and therefore it is better not to go, than to make a promise and not keep it. This is the suggestion of an evil spirit, listeners. Our Holy Church, as a caring mother, sometimes temporarily removes some from Holy Communion, but never anyone from confession. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ calls to Himself all those who labor and are burdened, so His Holy Church accepts everyone for confession.

No, listeners, it is not the Spirit of Christ that teaches some not to go to confession, but the spirit of Antichrist. So, listeners, by all means partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, who have not yet communed; and those who consider themselves unworthy of Holy Communion, at least speak and confess - open up, tell your spiritual father why you are unworthy. It is impossible to be saved without Confession and Holy Communion. Amen.

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