April 23, 2024

Homily Sixteen on the Passion (St. Luke of Simferopol)

Homily Sixteen on the Passion

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1954)

Blood... blood... blood everywhere... It has been pouring on the earth since the human race began to exist. It flows continuously to this day...

The whole earth is soaked in blood... If it were possible to collect this blood and pour it onto the earth again, then the earth would be covered with blood “even to the horse’s bridles.”

The devil himself taught to shed this blood. It was shed by love of money, lust for power, pride, debauchery, ambition, and envy. It was shed by human malice and hatred.

The murderers who shed this blood will appear at the Last Judgment - they will appear with bloody hands, in clothes stained with blood, and will hear from the terrible Judge: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

But other blood was also shed – righteous blood was shed, acceptable to God and His holy angels. The blood of Abel, the son of the first-created people, who was slain by his accursed brother Cain, was shed first; the blood of the prophets was shed; the blood of the infants of Bethlehem who had been slain by Herod was shed; the holy blood of John the Baptist, the Forerunner of the Lord, whom Christ Himself called the greatest of those born of women, was poured out on the earthen floor of Herod's prison.

For hundreds of years, the blood of the martyrs of Christ was shed in innumerable multitudes, pure and holy blood, blood that had such power that at the sight of it even executioners turned to Christ, and many pagans who were present at the tortures and executions of the holy martyrs were converted.

They will stand before the terrible Judge on the day of the Last Judgment, holding their heads high, with a joyful smile, in white robes drenched in their own blood – not the blood of others. Great, and holy, and pure is this blood.

But the world saw another Blood, compared to which even the blood of the martyrs, even the blood of the Forerunner and the infants of Bethlehem was as small as faintly twinkling stars before the bright radiance of the sun, like a drop of water compared to the boundless sea.

This blood, the most terrible of all bloods, was poured out on the ground of Mount Golgotha. It flowed from the cross on which our Lord and God Jesus Christ was crucified.

The Divine-human blood flowed in streams from His holy body, wounded and torn by terrible Roman scourges. It dripped, flowed, and poured to the ground from the wounds on Christ's hands and feet, which had been nailed to the cross, torn under the weight of the body.

Oh, Lord, Lord! Is it possible to imagine a horror greater than the horror of the execution of Your Son, Who took on human flesh for our sake?!

When this Blood was poured out, the sun darkened and darkness fell over the whole earth. The earth shook, the coffins of saints were opened, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom.

What horror, what chilling trembling must have gripped the souls of the holy apostles, myrrhbearers and the Mother of Christ Herself when all this happened!.. What horror must have gripped all of humanity, for one had to expect God’s punishment for the terrible death of His Son.

One should have expected that the earth and all the things on it would burn - that the universe would burn... Yes, this should have been expected, but this did not happen. The Heavenly Father created a miracle incomprehensible to our mind and heart: He turned this terrible Blood of Christ, out of His immeasurable, unimaginable love, into the greatest good, into the joy of the entire human race, for this Blood saved us from the power of the devil, for the cross of Christ was erected over the head of the cursed ancient serpent and trampled it.

And our Lord and God Jesus Christ gave His blood for us to save us from our sins.

He gave it Himself, He gave it voluntarily, He gave it so that all of us, cursed sinners, could be washed by His Blood.

How did Christ wash us with His Blood? He washed us not externally, of course, but spiritually, and now washes everyone who looks at the cross of Christ with horror, with admiration and at the same time with deep gratitude to God, who with His Blood saved him from the power of the devil, washed him with His Blood.

We were all dirty, disgusting and stubborn in our sins...

But when we look with hope, with great gratitude, with love and admiration at the cross of Christ, then spiritual filth is removed from us: we are washed by the Blood of Christ, washed so much that we become pure and righteous before Him.

And not only do we become justified, but we receive great, incomprehensible power, which is given by the Blood of Christ - the power to be children of God, to be kings and priests to our God.

Be all children of God, be all priests and kings to God.

Bow down before the cross of Christ, kiss it with hot tears.

Every day, when you read the creed and come to the words “who was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,” let your heart tremble, let you feel deep pain, and let tears flow from your eyes. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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