2nd Sunday of Matthew
June 22nd, 2014
Matt. 4: 18-23
“They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”
The saints in their relation to Christ possessed one thing definitively and decisively: There was no more room to remain simply as acquaintances of Christ, but they now needed to follow Him. And follow Him they did. Likewise for each of us, as we hear the voice of Christ calling us to abandon something and to follow Him, we ought to hasten to do it immediately, straightway. The reason for this is that following Christ we always leave something behind. Perhaps in our case, we are not all called to abandon our jobs and become apostles of Christ, but each of us is called at any rate to abandon our weaknesses. We are called to abandon all of those things that place each believer individually outside of the Kingdom of God, that interrupt his becoming reborn, that keep him from being a communicant of the grace of God, despite the fact that he is an Orthodox Christian. Each of us is called by Christ to abandon these things.
We need to take these things seriously and with zeal. We should feel more and more deeply the call of Christ and abandon exactly that which alienates us from the Kingdom of our Lord, alienates us from a reborn existence, and alienates us from the true Christian life. It doesn’t matter if this weakness is small or great, if they are numerous or few, nor even if we believe that it is too difficult for us to leave it behind, as if to say: “I can do everything else, but it is too difficult to leave this thing behind that I’m bound to.”
Not true. Voluntarily and without delay, abandon this thing – whatever it is. And not only abandon this thing, but abandon it first before anything else.
In order for someone to become a Christian, he needs to decide with his whole heart to deny the world, deny sin. He must deny the old way of living, deny the old man, and do this with his whole self and again to give himself wholly to this new life. But we will not be the ones to create this new life. We will not be the ones to cast out from us the old way of living. Christ will put to death the old way of living and Christ will bestow the new life to us. From nothing Christ will create within us a holy life. It is enough for us to be responsive to Him. All that remains to a person is to make the decision with all his being to offer himself to God.
Transcribed talks by Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos
From: Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.
Translated by fr. Matthew Penney