On 23 August 2015, the Orthodox Church is on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost. The parable of the Divine Liturgy read on this Sunday (Matthew 19:16-26) presents us the meeting of Jesus Christ with a young rich man.
His Beatitude delivered a sermon in the historical chapel of the Patriarchal Cathedral in which he explained the teaching of the parable read.
The heavenly treasure is Christ Himself
His Beatitude showed that through the call addressed to the young man, Jesus Christ tells him to give up the goods of the world to get a treasure in heaven.
“When Jesus Christ, our Saviour tells him: “Come, follow Me”, it means: “give up something temporary to join something eternal, God-the-Man; give up something on the earth to have treasure in heaven, but the greatest heavenly treasure is Christ Himself.
Thus, you give up something temporary and limited to spiritually join the Eternal and Unlimited, namely the Son of God who, out of love for humans and for their salvation has become just what He loved, namely man. Thus, we see the difficulty of the young man to give up the temporary, material, and limited goods to fully follow Christ”, the Patriarch of Romania said.
Come to become Christian
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel emphasised the fact that the eternal life that this young man was looking for was Christ – the Source of eternal life.
“We also understand the fact that when Jesus says Come, follow Me, it already means the anticipation of the Mystery of the Church, because Jesus tells him, in fact, “Come to become Christian, to be a disciple of Mine, together with the other disciples, with the Apostles who were present there and who formed the leading nucleus of the Church of Christ later on; in other words, Be in communion with Me and in community with My disciples. This community of disciples is the basic nucleus of the Church of Christ, and this is why the Church is catholic and apostolic, she owns the full truth and is in continuity and communion of truth and grace with the Saints Apostles. In fact, the Saviour proposes this young man an exchange: you give up something to follow Somebody Unlimited and Eternal who can give you just what you want, the eternal Life; because Christ told him: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”, namely although his body will die. Thus, Christ is the source of the eternal life, the eternal life that this young man wished”, His Beatitude said.
The good deed made out of devoted and merciful love is the treasure that we take with us in heaven
His Beatitude showed that the parable scheduled to be read today at the Divine Liturgy is a Gospel of conversion and mercy as well.
”This young man was religious, moral, but avaricious. Thus, it is not enough to pray a lot, but we must also do much good around, and be merciful. Why that? It is because we must resemble the merciful devoted God. The good deed made out of devoted and merciful love is the treasure that we take with us in heaven. In general, when we gather material riches we have them around, but when we do good deeds out of mercy and devoted love we gather a treasure in our soul, we gather the light of the merciful love working in us”, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania said.
We must do a lot of good to get eternal life
Today’s Gospel is an urge to generosity and mercy, His Beatitude said: “The Gospel also shows us that it is not enough to do no harm, not steal, kill, be debauchers, liars, but we must also do a lot of good deeds to get the eternal life, to reach salvation and perfection. The Gospel shows us that it is not enough to be religious, but you must also be merciful. Whenever somebody has material goods he/she must help the poor, and even when he/she has no material goods, he/she must be merciful through good words, good advice, and especially through prayers for other people, and whenever he/she has material goods, he/she must help especially the those with no food, clothes, or shelter”, His Beatitude said.
Next Sunday, 30 August, the evangelical parable of Saint Matthew 21:33-44, presenting the example of the bad workers will be read in all the Orthodox churches.