Christ is in our Midst, dear readers!
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph. 5:11)—this is the instruction that the apostle Paul gives us in today’s liturgical Epistle reading.
Darkness is first of all the absence of light. The majority of crimes and evil acts are committed under the cover of night. Satan makes it his aim to plunge mankind into such darkness, so that it would penetrate every cell of man’s organism. Apostle Paul places two actions next to each other—the passive (have no fellowship) and the active (reprove them), but they are essentially the same thing. Because just as in the life of the future age there will be no middle-ground between hell and paradise, so also in earthly life, man will be filled with either darkness or light. The degree of fullness for both of them can be different, but in any case, in the soul will be one or the other—either darkness, or light.
When a person is filled with light, he can no longer bear darkness inside, because these are two incompatible states. But the contrary is also true—when a person fills himself with darkness, it means that there is no light in him, nor can there be. When bearers of darkness and bearers of light meet in the same space (public or personal), a “reproval of darkness” takes place. The light reveals its essence, its shame, illumining with its radiance the filth and impurity of a vile and low soul.
What will darkness’s reaction be to the light? We can see this clearly in the Gospel. The light of Christ, illuminating sin by its righteousness and love, evoked only one thing in the bearers of evil—hatred. What actions followed? First, slander! They called Jesus “demonically possessed, a deceiver, a blasphemer of the law, a lover of drunkards and harlots.” Second was the burning desire to strike back at Him by any possible means. And again, they couldn’t think of anything other to do than to condemn Him according to slander. We know what happened after that. A shameful trial, Death, Resurrection, and victory over darkness.
As long as this world stands, this scheme of things will work always, everywhere, and throughout all times—only on varying scales. Beginning with one or another individual and ending with whole Local Churches and the Universal Orthodox Church as a whole. The difference will only be in time frames—from the sizes of one human life to the history of the whole world, at end of which satan will be allowed for a short time to take the upper hand, to wage war against the saints, and “receive power over every tribe, people, and nation”. But it will end the same way as it did in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Only this time it will be the final scenario—the restoration of Love and Truth, which will live for eternity in the New Heaven and the New Earth, and the condemnation of darkness to eternal torments. Therefore do not be confused by the events now taking place in our country [Ukraine],1 “for all these things must come to pass” (Matt. 24:6). The only thing to sigh over is those wretched, petty souls, who without thinking for a minute about their eternal lot, dance to the conductor’s baton of the enemy of mankind, chanting with all their might to Pontius Pilate: “Crucify, crucify Him!” They are to be sincerely pitied.