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A marvelous picture, dear brethren, is presented to us by Saint Luke the Evangelist in one of his Gospel narratives. The Lord is standing on the shores of the lake of Gennesaret, surrounded by a great multitude of people. Each one tries to approach Him, each one tries to be as close to Him as possible – for what? in order to hear the word of God. Those people of long ago lived just as we do – that is, they were tied to the world in various ways; they had their human dreams and vanities; they wanted more than was necessary. Then suddenly there appeared a chance to hear the word of God, and a different kind of desire was kindled within their hearts. They pressed upon the Lord so closely that He was forced to step into a boat, distance Himself from the shore, and from that point preach the word to all those eager to hear His teaching.

Why is it then, dear brethren, that we, in our times, spend so little time listening to the word of God – the word that is so necessary to our salvation?

Perhaps the word of God is so familiar to us that we hardly need to hear it? That is quite unlikely. It is doubtful that we would be able to exhibit even the most superficial knowledge of the Scriptures. Many of us, perhaps, really do know a lot of things, are knowledgeable in a great many subjects, but at the same time we find ourselves in an unfortunate situation indeed, if we do not know the only thing that is needful, i.e. the word of God. Apostle Paul tells us: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” because all worldly treasures, including treasures of the mind, will not follow us into eternity.

Some people say that they do not listen to the word of God because it is boring to them. However, the word of God is a source of comfort for the soul, a source of joy for the heart, and a source of true light for the mind. The word of God enlightens and sanctifies us, – how can it be boring?

The reason for our idleness, dear brethren, lies in ourselves, in our passions, in our negligent attitude towards the salvation of our souls. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” – so did the Lord describe His own word. His words give life without which we cannot live. His words infuse us with His spirit, without which our own spirit is only earth and flesh.

Let us follow those multitudes who listened to the Lord on the shores of the lake of Gennesaret, let us proceed to God’s church, so that our hearts, too, would be kindled with the sweetness and the tenderness of the salvific word of God. Amen.

Father Rostislav Sheniloff



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