Sin makes us a target for demons, but we mustn’t despair—Metropolitan Onuphry on the Prodigal Son (+VIDEO)

Kiev, March 2, 2021

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Sin makes us a target for the demons, but when we find ourselves far from our Father’s house, we must not despair, but get up and return with courage, overcoming all difficulties on the path to God by prayer and fasting, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine preached on Sunday, on the Gospel reading of the parable of the Prodigal Son.

His Beatitude celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Kiev Caves Lavra and addressed the faithful with a primatial homily following the Gospel reading.

With the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Lord shows us clearly both sin and the mercy of God, Met. Onuphry reminded everyone, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Anyone who lives according to his own will will eventually find himself in a “far country,” far from God. And even those mired in sin often do not realize the consequences, His Beatitude warned.

By sinning, we squander our spiritual wealth, and mired in sin, we tend to think that our frustration can be resolved by giving our passions yet greater control over ourselves, by indulging in them even more. “But the opposite happens: The more we sin, the worse it gets,” His Beatitude said.

“Sin crushes a man and removes the veil of grace from his soul, from which a man suffers, becoming vulnerable to demons, the world, and vices—a man becomes a target,” the Ukrainian primate emphasized.

Rather, blessed is he who, though he has fallen to the depths like the Prodigal Son, comes to his senses and returns to his Father’s home—to God.

“This is the most difficult thing—to get up and go,” Met. Onuphry said. Even when we realize our sinful state, we often do not have the determination to amend it.

“The path to his father’s house from the far country was not easy, the Prodigal Son was ragged, hungry, but he traveled this long way,” the Metropolitan highlighted.

The parable also shows us that “the mercy of God is such that even the most fallen sinner, who returns to his Father’s house through repentance, God meets at a distance,” and instructs that he be bountifully adorned, Met. Onuphry continued.

The Prodigal Son as if flew home to his father’s house on the wings of prayer and fasting, His Beatitude said, for by these spiritual exercises we break away from sin and overcome the path we must travel to reach our Father’s house. And now, on the eve of Lent, the Church calls us to refocus our attention on such spiritual matters and purify ourselves through the return to God.

The Prodigal Son also shows us not that we need not despair, even when entrenched in sin a distant land. Rather, we must courageously arise and return to our Father, even if only by slow, small steps. For some, this path takes a month, for others—a year or two, and for yet others—their entire lives.

“But if the Lord finds a man on this path, on the way back to his Father's house, then such a man already has hope for eternal life and blessedness,” His Beatitude concluded.

Watch a video from the Liturgy below, including a priestly ordination by Met. Onuphry:

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