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June 25, 2023

Homily One for the Third Sunday of Matthew (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Let Us Reach Out With All Our Souls to the Light of Christ

Matthew 6:22-23

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on July 15, 1945)

"The lamp of the body is the eye" (Matt. 6:22). Through the eyes we perceive the light, everyone knows and understands this. Science has accurately studied everything that happens in the eyes and in the brain when light acts on the eye. But science cannot explain at all what is meant by what follows: “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). We do not see that our bodies emit light. But Jesus Christ says that our whole body can be light - science does not understand this. God reveals to us the mystery of being, which is known to Him alone, the Creator of the world. And we need to understand the meaning of these amazing words of the Lord.

You saw a rainbow in the sky. You know that she shines in various colors: green, yellow, red, purple. A rainbow is caused by the refraction of sunlight in clouds. Passing through the clouds, sunlight, which seems homogeneous to us, breaks down into its component parts. This is how we learn that it contains the wonderful colors that we see in the rainbow. Hence, the composition of sunlight includes all these different rays. Sunlight appears white to us due to the fact that they mix.

But everyone who has studied physics knows that not only heavenly clouds can refract sunlight. It is known that if a ray of the sun is passed through a glass prism, it also breaks up into many colors. We will see a band consisting of different colors, which is called the solar spectrum, but it contains not only those visible rays that we know by color, but also many invisible ones. It is known that those rays that we do not see, but which are contained in sunlight, have extraordinary, mysterious properties, quite unlike the properties of sunlight in its totality. We do not know how invisible rays affect our body. Only the Lord knows the actions of all the rays that make up the sunlight.

All living things reach for the sun. You know how bright and joyful we feel on a clear, sunny day. What kindness, cheerfulness, energy, what a joyful mood takes possession of us! Our whole body seems to glow from the energy of light. This is what Jesus Christ is talking about, but the essence of which we do not understand. The Lord told us about ordinary, solar light in order to show the difference between this light and spiritual light, the light that shines not only on the souls, but also on the bodies of saints. The face of the great prophet Moses shone with such a spiritual light when he descended from Mount Sinai, holding the tablets with the commandments inscribed on them with the finger of God.

This is the light that, by the will of God, our Venerable and God-bearing Father Seraphim of Sarov showed to his dearly beloved friend, the landowner Motovilov. While talking with him, Father Seraphim suddenly said: “Look at me.” Motovilov was terrified when he saw how his face shone with divine light. “Look, don’t tell anyone about this, I showed it to you alone,” the monk warned.

The whole being of good people is permeated with the light of the soul, the light of a pure nous. For many blind people, their grave misfortune turns out to be a great beneficence of God, for they, not entertained by anything, seeing nothing vain, deeply concentrated, look into their own heart, note its every movement, and such observation gives them spiritual light. The saints were always immersed in the contemplation of their hearts, and their whole being shone with great spiritual light.

Twilight light is inherent in the souls of people who are completely devoted to the cares and passions of this age, to worldly fuss. They live in spiritual twilight. There is no light of truth and love in their souls. And only occasionally, when the Lord visits them with His grace, sending them misfortune and suffering to stop them on their vain path, to make them think and evaluate their lives, then the light of their souls flashes brightly for a while.

There are people who are completely devoid of spiritual light. Their hearts are always filled with eternal darkness. These are all bitter, prideful enemies of God who have rebelled against Christ. Many of them think they bring light because they are well educated. But they are deeply mistaken: the whole body and all their thoughts, which they consider deep, are dark and devoid of truth, for the truth is only in God, who said: “ I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Whoever rejects Him rejects life itself.

The Lord speaks of these unfortunate ones: “So, if the light that is in you is darkness, then what is the darkness?” If you yourself are dark, great spiritual darkness surrounds you, and you see everything in darkness, because you do not carry spiritual light in your heart and mind. Such were the scribes and Pharisees, and, denouncing them after the healing of the blind man, Jesus Christ said: “If you were truly blind, then you would not be guilty of sin; but since you consider yourself to be seeing, then woe to you, for you do not understand that you are in outer darkness, and call yourself teachers of the people, and undertake to teach people” (see John 9:41).

Let us reach out with all our souls to the light of Christ, so that eternal darkness does not embrace us. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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