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Metropolitan Naum of Strumica: Everyone justifies himself; is there anyone – to repent?


We can learn few lessons from today’s Gospel reading (Luke 18: 18–27).

The passion that the Physician of our souls and bodies points out as an obstacle for the purification and enlightenment of the rich young man is the covetousness (love of money): “If you want to be perfect, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me!”

The counsel that the God-Man Christ gave to the rich young man was not so much because He really expected him to fulfil the call for perfection, but only to make him aware that he had not sufficiently fulfilled the other commandments which he claimed to have kept.

If he had really kept the commandments, the rich young man would have passed the path of the purification of the heart, he would have been enlightened, and, as in some other examples in the Gospel, he would have recognised the Lord Jesus in the teacher (as he called Him) and he would have had the strength to follow Him.

Therefore, his words “what else do I need in order to have everlasting life?” (Matthew 19:16) are nothing more than mere self-justification and an indication of high opinion about himself – it is an example of high opinion. The second problem of the young man is already revealed – the pride.

Because of the delusion of high opinion and because of the passion of covetousness, the young man departs, saddened, from Christ, thinking that he has done everything right, and nevertheless – he remains misunderstood, unnoticed and unrecognized. This is familiar, right? Instead of being grateful to Him.

Something similar happens to us, especially when, on a rebuke from our spiritual father, instead of acknowledging our weakness, asking for forgiveness and correcting ourselves, we justify ourselves by explaining what and how it happened – without being asked.

And all that is required of us at that moment, whether the rebuke seems to us unjust or it is really unjust, is to respond with the word “forgive me” – ​​by accepting the rebuke, we accept God’s purifying uncreated energy which the word of the spiritual father carries.

No one is rich just because he possesses riches, but only when he properly manages the riches given to him by God; as we can see in the excellent example of the unrighteous steward and unrighteous riches (http://mpc.org.mk/MPC/SE/vest.asp?id=7353).

Therefore, take it seriously, before each communion with God, find someone who is suffering and help him concretely – as much as you want; otherwise, instead of communion with God, you will only take communion with an even greater delusion and you will suffer.

It is good to fast and pray, but God, above all, demands mercy from us, not sacrifice!


Holy Mother of God, save us!

Metropolitan Naum of Strumica

(03.01.2021 16:57)

Photo by: Fr. Gavril Galev

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