February 18, 2024

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

Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin 

What should we do, listeners, in such a case when we do not receive from God what we ask for, despite the fact that we ask ourselves for something good, we ask with all our hearts, we ask with repentance for our sins? What to do? We must continue to pray more and more, and we will receive what we pray for.

The Canaanite woman mentioned in the current Gospel serves as the surest proof of this. She had a sick daughter possessed by an evil spirit. Jesus Christ appears in the country where she lived. Knowing about His miraculous power, the Canaanite woman hurried to Him and began to ask for the healing of her daughter. Jesus Christ at first did not answer a word to her request. She, despite this, did not retreat from Him. Jesus Christ refused her, but she did not stop asking, and even more persistently asked Him. How did it end? The mother’s prayer was heard: her daughter immediately recovered (see: Matt. 15:22–28).

However, not only the Canaanite woman prayed for so long; she, one might say, prayed for a short time; some prayed much longer, prayed for ten years or more, and finally received what they asked for. Sarah prayed for a long time that God would give her a son, and the son was given to her in very old age; Zechariah prayed for a long time, and his wife Elizabeth conceived in her old age. God sometimes delays for such a long time to fulfill the prayers of those who pray to Him! That is why Jesus Christ offered a parable about how we should not lose heart and stop praying when we do not receive what we ask for for a long time (see: Luke 18:1-8). In one city, He says, there was a certain judge who did not fear God and was not ashamed of people. In the same city there was a certain widow, and she came to him and said: protect me from my rival. But for a long time he didn’t want to. But then he said to himself: although I am not afraid of God, and I am not ashamed of people, but since this widow does not give me peace, I will protect her so that she does not come to bother me anymore. “Do you hear what the unjust judge says?” – adds Jesus Christ.

Will not God protect His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night, although He is slow to protect them? I tell you that he will give them protection soon. It is pleasant for earthly kings and rulers, listeners, to anticipate our petitions, but the Heavenly King and Master wants and loves to be asked. The longer He is asked, the more generous He is; the longer He does not do anything, the more He gives; at a time when He does not give us what we ask for, He seems to be preparing, as if coming up with something better to reward us with. Our persistent request is as pleasing to God as it is disgusting to people: from it God sees that we earnestly desire the benefits we ask for and that we do not want to receive these benefits from anyone else but Him.

So, listeners, when you ask God for any blessings, temporary or eternal, then ask relentlessly. The longer God does not give, the more persistently you ask. If, instead of giving the good you ask for, He subjects you to misfortune, then do not deviate from Him. If you see God sending you a sword, if you feel this sword in your heart, then do not retreat from Him, and then expect the mercy you ask for. When a person is angry with us, in this case it is safest to run away from him, and when God is angry with us, then it is best and safest to stand before Him. Even if He kills me, I will trust in Him. So trust, and you will not be put to shame. If God does not give you what you want and ask for, then rest assured, He is preparing and will certainly give you something better, more useful for you. Amen.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *