Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the village of Rusinovo, Berovo ( 07.10.2007 )
Today, on the Sunday of All Macedonian Saints, Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica consecrated the bell that Mr Vasil Pacurovski had donated to the
“Commenting on today’s Gospel reading, I would like to highlight: on the one hand, the theoretical simplicity of the Christian struggle and life, as it is recorded in the Holy Gospel; and, on the other hand, the necessity of a real and personal practical effort in the accomplishment of the evangelical commandments of Christ.
For, what is more simple than this commandment: ‘And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise’ (Luke 6:31)? You don’t want anyone to wish you evil, do you? Then don’t accept evil thoughts about anyone inside your heart either! You don’t want anyone to speak evil of you, to call you liars or thieves, or perversely immoral, or theologically illiterate, do you? Then don’t backbite, judge and condemn your fellowmen either! Don’t do that in case of real events, let alone when something hasn’t even happened!!! You don’t want anyone to do to you anything wrong, do you? Then don’t you either do anyone anything wrong. Is there anything theoretically more simple than this? Certainly, in practice we must put a great effort to control our thoughts, words, and deeds; yet, little by little, and aided by God’s grace we will succeed. No one has become a saint, venerable at once; it takes a continuous and yearslong effort in attentiveness over oneself while abiding by the commandment of love to one’s fellowmen.
However, the Lord is warning us in this Gospel, not to deceive ourselves with “love for our own purpose”: ‘But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them’ (Luke 6:32). With “love” like this, Christians cannot qualitatively differ from this world and resemble their Lord. What makes us true Christians, what detaches us from this world that lies in evil, and what liberates us from sin, the devil, and death, is the fulfilment of Christ’s commandment: ‘But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return’ (Luke 6:35).
In practice, this means that we must not return evil for evil. Such a response would imply increasing of evil in our life and in the world. And, it is exactly what the demon is waiting for: to trace some evil within us in order to defile us and bring our life under his control. Thus, the evil inside you corrupts you, not the one against whom it is directed. If we respond with good to the evil done to us, then we protect ourselves from demonic influence and we also give our enemy time, opportunity, and even strength for repentance… Let us be wary whose servants we are! We cannot be at the same time both God’s servants and demonic servants…”
(as recorded by those present)