June 11, 2023

Homily Two for the Sunday of All Saints (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea
(Delivered on All Saints Sunday - 1956)
Every day of the year the Holy Church dedicates to the memory of the saints - those whose holiness is obvious, most often witnessed by miracles from God performed during their lifetime or emanating from their relics. Their number is small, and there is no doubt that there are still immeasurably more people who have served the Lord before His eyes, “Who alone knows the heart.” Here is how the holy Apostle John the Theologian describes it: "I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands … These are those who came from the great tribulation; they washed their clothes and made their clothes white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9, 14).

In commemoration of all the righteous, known only to God, the Church dedicates the first Sunday after Pentecost. He, the One Knower of the Heart, knows the unknown to the world, the poor in spirit, crying silent tears about their sins, about the grave sorrows and falsehoods of the world, who do not exalt themselves over anyone, sincerely consider themselves sinners and worse than others. They hunger and thirst for the truth in relations between people and nations, but their meekness and love do not allow them to achieve this truth through participation in revolutions and wars. And they desire not only earthly truth, but to a much greater extent the highest, Divine truth. They pity the suffering and the needy with all their hearts, but they themselves are poor, and can give only a little to those who need even more of them. But their small good deeds are as great before God as the last mite of a widow placed in the treasury of the temple (see Mark 12:42; Luke 21:2).

Constantly cleansed by humility and tears, meekness and mercy, their hearts shine before God with their purity. With gentle words of loving exhortation, they reconcile the warring. However, their love for God and good deeds prick the hearts of people who live without God, and they are persecuted by them, revile them, vilify them, and lie against them. All this is seen and heard by Christ. He loves His servants for the immutable fulfillment of His commandments, and often during times of persecution He Himself appears to them, and in eternal life He prepares for them great and endless joy. He evaluates the life and deeds of these saints, who are known only to Him alone, not by the unjust judgment by which the world judges, for that which is highly esteemed among people is an abomination before God (Luke 16:15).

Let us live in such a way that at death we will be found worthy to join the host of those dressed in white robes, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. And with palm branches in their hands, eternally glorify the one God in the Trinity and offer unceasing praise and thanksgiving to Him. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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