Kiev, February 3, 2020
Earthly luxuries are nothing compared to knowledge of God, which is the most valuable thing a man can acquire, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine preached on Sunday at the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra.
His Beatitude noted that with the day’s Gospel reading, on the penitent publican Zaccheus (Lk. 19:1-10), the holy Church begins to prepare the faithful for Lent, reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.
“Lent is a tree a person cannot descend in the state he is in, because of his small spiritual growth, he cannot see God… When someone begins to ascend the tree of Lent, he begins to fast, to pray, to do good works, and all together this is called ‘fasting,’ then the Lord begins to draw near to him, and goes out to meet Him,” Met. Onuphry noted.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, so when He sees our efforts to draw nearer and behold Him, His Beatitude preached, then Christ comes to meet us first.
The beloved Ukrainian primate urged everyone to “measure their spiritual growth” and “climb the tree of Lent” in order to see God.
“If we do not see the Savior, the Divine love, the Divine mercy that surrounds us, and the Divine long-suffering that tolerates us sinners, then we must climb the tree of fasting—and all this can be seen from there,” Met. Onuphry continued.
And, as he explained, the greatest good for man is not any kind of earthly good or luxury, but to see and know the Lord.
“The most precious thing for a person is to see God, to understand the Lord, to understand His Divine love for us. This is a great happiness for a man,” said the archpastor. “And the man who learns this, says like Zaccheus: Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold (Lk. 19:8), and begins to love his neighbor sacrificially and love his Creator, that is, for the sake of this love, he sacrifices his interests, thoughts, and desires. And this is the greatest good, when a person knows his Creator.”
At the end of the homily, the Ukrainian primate wished everyone to find the help of God to know His Divine love during the coming Great Lent.