Watching of the face of the Lord – homily of Abbot Gavril

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

The message of this gospel event is clear. And that is: always when we see the face of God we walk straight and we do not fall, but when we turn our face from Him, it is then that we fall and sin. In those moments only Christ can save us after we have asked for repentance and wish that we return to Him.
Namely, after all 5,000 people ate and were filled by the miracle conducted through the five loaves and the two fish, Lord Jesus Christ sent His disciples on the boat, while He went to a secluded place to pray in the mountain. The was tossed by the waves and pushed to the middle of the sea, and as the church psalmist says: where God wants even the natural laws submit to Him, so in this case Jesus Christ as he wished to return to His disciples He went through the sea as if treading on dry land, and the water under His feet lost its natural liquid state and become solid. When the apostles saw this they were frightened because their faith was weak, and they still did not know Him truly, that is why they doubted and were afraid thinking they were seeing a ghost.

After he came to himself, Peter said to Jesus, Lord if truly this is You, let me come to You. When God let him walk on the water and when he starts walking, the water also turned solid, until he turned his face from the Lord; then he noticed the waves and doubted, was troubled and started to sink. When he started to sink he remembered that the Lord is right in front of him and that it it is only Him that can save him, so he cried: save me o Lord, and the Lord immediately takes Peter by the hand, pulls him from the water and safely takes him tot he boat.

It is the same way in our lives, when we always see the Lord in His face, as king David always did, we will be safe and sound in the worldly sea of temptations. In the moment when we turn our face from God, when we do things contrary to God’s will, we sink and perish.

When we live in such a way that we know that whatever we do, we do it in front of the face of God, then we strive not to sin, we strive in the fulfilling of God’s commandments by being obedient to the Church, to our spiritual father, through prayer, fasting, regular confession and communion…
As the prophet Moses did before he killed the Egyptian who tortured his brothers, namely, he first looked to the left and then to the right. This is the way we should also do before we do anything, we need to think whether it is pleasing to God or not. Whether it is useful or harmful to our soul, and then with a sober mind illumined by God, to do what is to be done.

The tossing waves at sea are the temptations and the demon thoughts in this world. We all have temptations. In each situation we have the opportunity to choose whether we will act according to the Gospel or we will accept the thoughts of the fallen mind, for which the devil says that are “reasonable”, but are contrary to God’s commandments and the Gospel. But it is up to us to decide whether we will take Christ firmly by the hand and follow Him not falling in the sea of temptations of this world, or we will turn our sight from Jesus and do something that is not by God’s will…
Well, now, this where all troubles start from. When we do not act by the Gospel, but by the logic of the fallen and darkened mind. This is when uncertainty, pain and suffering start…

For example, when man takes a wrong step, and falls into deep water, he loses control, and starts to panic, and in the end he drowns. The same happens to us. In the moment of temptation all our decisions and determinations are wrong. All we need to do in those situations is to take courage and immediately repent. That is, to give our hand to God and He will surely pull us from the danger.
In the first case, while we go on the sea with the tossing waves, although the waves threaten to make us wet, we continue with determination to God, and then we arrive safely.

In the second case, when we turn our eyes from the Lord and stop following God’s commandments, although it may seem safe to us, yet we sin and drown.

There is only one Truth. The road we take in order to enter through the gate of salvation is prickly and narrow. All who enter the gate will be saved, will find a pasture and the unconditioned freedom.
Yet noone is without sin except only the Lord Jesus Christ, so we also may remain without sin and sin no more. Out of weak faith, as in the case of the saint apostle Peter, or out of any reason we may turn our eyes from God and do something contrary to God’s commandments, and then we sin. It is necessary to have a deep awareness that the Lord is our savior and He is our life, and we need to ask forgiveness from Him. Let us repent and confess for any trespass we may have done. Let us reach our hand to the Lord, so that He can again lift us and take us to the boat of the Church, to the holy oblation, by partaking of the holy gifts, of He Himself, for salvation and life eternal.

So, my brothers and sisters, let us learn from the Gospel of today and go towards Christ, for there is no other way.