May 22, 2023

Third Homily for the Sunday of the Blind Man (St. Luke of Simferopol)

The Kingdom of God Is Within Us
 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on May 30, 1954)
I know that all of you believe in eternal life, I know that you are striving to gain access to the Kingdom of Heaven, but I am not sure that you understand correctly what eternal life is and what the Kingdom of Heaven is.

I know that there are many people who completely misunderstand the Kingdom of Heaven. Their idea is very close to the primitive idea of Muslims: they think that the Kingdom of Heaven is a joyful life in luxurious gardens of Eden, where beautiful young women will delight them with their singing, dancing and music, where they will enjoy luxurious dishes.

To this the holy apostle Paul said: “The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

As you can see, it is not at all what Muslims and people of little understanding even from among Christians imagine - not food and drink, not the enjoyment of luxurious dishes, but something completely different: righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

When the Lord Jesus Christ was once asked about the Kingdom of Heaven, He said: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

Have you ever heard, read, delved into these amazing words? Do you know that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you?

About eternal life, which is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ in His High Priestly Prayer says this: “ And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

Again, not at all what Muslims imagine, again something very deep, again words of great importance. Eternal life is the knowledge of the one True God and Jesus Christ who He sent.

How do we know the One True God and Jesus Christ sent by Him? Who do we know closest and best, is it not the people closest to us, or those with whom we live?

In order to know people closer and better, their deeds, feelings, thoughts and desires, you need to have close communication with them, and, above all, communication in love. For we do not know at all people who are strangers and far from us.

In the same way, in order to know the One True God and Jesus Christ sent by Him, then constant, close, intimate fellowship with Him, with God the Father Himself, with the Lord Jesus Christ and, of course, with the Holy Spirit, is necessary, for the Holy Trinity is inseparable.

How is it possible for us to know the One Great God? It is possible only in love, for we know from the great Apostle John the Theologian that God is love, and communication with Him is possible only in love: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

God is close to us when we have constant fellowship with Him in prayer and works of love. There were many, many righteous people in the world, there is no way to talk about everyone, let me remind you of the righteous people closest to us in the Russian land: Seraphim of Sarov, Sergius of Radonezh, Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves.

Well, shall we really be surprised that the Kingdom of Heaven began in the hearts of these great righteous ones during their lifetime?

The Kingdom of Heaven is where God lives, and the Great and True living God obviously lived in the hearts of these great righteous people, for their whole life was dedicated to God, the knowledge of God, love for God, communion with Him.

What is strange if we believe, according to the word of Christ, that the Kingdom of Heaven began in the hearts of these great righteous already during their earthly life? Their earthly life was completely different from the life of vain worldly people.

They devoted their whole life to God, they were in close communion with Him all their lives. Is it any wonder, therefore, if we say that the Holy Spirit dwelt in their hearts, and they were temples of God, and the Holy Spirit dwelt in them?

Is this how the people of this world live in their vast, overwhelming majority? No, no, not at all: they do not think about God, they do not strive for eternal life and do not believe in it; they have no need of the Kingdom of Heaven, for all their thoughts, aspirations, all desires are directed towards the earthly kingdom alone.

They do not need eternal life, they only need to arrange their earthly life as best as possible, and all their aspirations, all their thoughts are directed only towards this.

And those who have set as the goal of their life the preparation of themselves for eternal life, the acquisition of higher virtues that open the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven for them, these make up the little flock of Christ, according to His holy word.

But it is not only in the hearts of the great saints that the Kingdom of God is revealed already during their lifetime. In the hearts of ordinary Christians who follow Christ and love Him also, the Kingdom of God begins now.

Remember the very important word of the Apostle John the Theologian about the Holy Spirit: “That He dwells in us, we know by the spirit that He gave us” (1 John 3:24).

With every fervent prayer, with every good deed, we feel the quiet breath of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We become peaceful, quiet, meek, silent, we stop judging and divulging other people's sins, and by this grace-filled change in our spirit we know that the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

This is the beginning of the Kingdom of God within us, like the faint dawn of the day, but as the commandments of Christ are fulfilled, this dawn becomes brighter and brighter.

In the hearts of the great saints, the sun has already shone in all its strength, and we have only dawn... But this is the same Kingdom of God within us.

But do not think that this, like the dawn of the day, the beginning of the Kingdom of Heaven will of itself develop further in your hearts. No, I tell you, little flock! Understand the great words of the Lord Jesus Christ: "The Kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."

By the great power of love, by exertion in good deeds, we must unswervingly contribute to the dawning of the sun of truth in our hearts.

We need a lot of work to cleanse our hearts from all sinful impurity, from passions and lusts. And only then will the Kingdom of God be revealed more and more clearly within us.

If such a daily work of purifying our hearts will be the main, most important task of our life, if we devote little time only to the daily needs of the body, then death itself will not be terrible, but a deeply joyful event for us, for it will be a direct transition into life eternal.

Then, at the sound of the archangel's trumpet and the terrible lightning that flashes from east to west, we will rise with great joy, "for our deliverance is at hand." The Sun of Truth, Christ our God, will vouchsafe this joy to us all, if we go through the narrow gate, along the narrow path of fulfilling His commandments and suffering for Him. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.


Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *