September 3, 2023

Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Matthew (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Matthew

"He will destroy those wicked men." (Matt. 21:41)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

An estate owner planted a vineyard, arranged it properly, did everything necessary for it, left it to the vinedressers, and he himself went to another country.

When the time came to gather the fruits, he sent his servants to the vinedressers to gather their fruits. But the vinedressers beat all the servants, and killed others. The owner sent others, more than before, but the vinedressers did the same with those. Finally, he sent his son - they will pity, be afraid, be ashamed, he thought, to kill his son. But they also killed his son - so that after him, as they said, they would take possession of the inheritance, the estate.

This, listeners, is a parable of Jesus Christ to the chief priests and Pharisees of the Jews. Having said it, Jesus Christ turned to them and asked them: "When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do with those tenants?" They tell Him: "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants" (see: Matt. 21:33–41).

Let's look at this incident not as a parable, but as a real event, because in reality it happens, perhaps.

How is it that the tenants were not afraid to beat and kill the servants of their master? How did they not regret, were not ashamed, to finally kill his son? Greedy, avaricious, they were, they wanted to take possession of someone else's property, but people who are greedy and avaricious have no pity, no fear, no shame, no conscience when they think they want to take possession of something, use it and acquire something.

Greedy, avaricious for profit, for benefits, for acquisitions, they are always like that. They just want to get more, no matter how. To offend, to oppress, to force, to deceive, to appropriate someone else's, to take what is not due, to give less or not to give at all - greedy and avaricious people do not consider all this and so on to be a great sin. These greedy and avaricious people are always like that; but their end is always the same, the same - they themselves, like evil ones, die an evil death, disappear from the face of the earth like dust, and their property, as it was acquired by evil, after their death, and sometimes even during their lifetime, perishes, is taken and carried by the wind, like ashes, dust. Yes, to do evil to another in life means to prepare an evil death for yourself and to take someone else's things means to bring fire into your house.

Christian Listener! Think about yourself: how do you get what you have? No doubt you are acquiring something and have something in your possession. Everyone needs something to live on, and therefore everyone must work to acquire something. So how do you acquire? See if you offend, if you deceive others, if you appropriate someone else’s, if you take what is not due to you, if you withhold payment, if you burden, if you oppress, if you earn too much with your small labors and occupations, don’t you live richly with your meager means? In a word, are you not gaining something for yourself in the same way as greedy, avaricious people acquire? Is your conscience clear, does it reproach you for anything? Oh, and do not believe in everything from your conscience, do not always believe it. Greedy and avaricious people have no shame or conscience when they get what they want. Yes, it seems that no passion blinds people so much as this greed, this desire to have more, to live better, more contented, richer.

So, listener, how do you get what you have? Isn't it the same as the greedy get it? If not everything is lawful, not always righteous, not all by honest labors, sometimes with resentment, with burdening, with the oppression of others, then be afraid of the fate of evil greedy people. The end of all the greedy and avaricious is always the same. It is this: they themselves die an evil death, disappear from the face of the earth like dust, and their property after their death, and sometimes even during their lifetime, perishes, goes with the wind, is carried by the wind like dust.

This truth is eternal, immutable: evil people die an evil death, what is acquired in evil perishes in evil. Amen.

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