Possessed young man. Sermon by St Philaret the Confessor (Voznesensky)

During today's Divine Liturgy, we have heard a story about how one father has brought his son, who was ill with a grave ailment of insanity, to Christ the Savior.

Moreover, at first the father had brought him to the Apostles. But the Apostles, who have healed many with similar sickness before, could not heal this time; they could not drive out the evil spirit from his son.

Bringing his son to the Lord, the father told Him that His disciples had failed to heal him. It was Evangelist Matthew who had preserved for us the wrathful and sorrowful exclamation of our Savior, not to be found elsewhere in the Gospel: "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?" (Matt. 17: 17)

From this we can see how grueling it was for Him to be among the people! With His Divine omniscience, He could see everyone through and through; and He saw how faithless and corrupted were the people surrounding Him.

And I think that the Lord could hardly have said anything else today, if He would be speaking of us! Indeed, the present mankind is a "faithless and perverse generation".

Faithless, because we are constantly wasting, losing our faith, we are looking for some other sources of a doctrine, instead of humbly learning from the Orthodox Church, which is the only one to have the real, Divine Truth. All other teachings distort it, therefore they are heresies.

And with respect to depravity, moral corruption, we should probably not talk about that topic too much, as you yourself see what is happening in the world today! When the disgusting, the unnatural debauchery is preached as if something that is completely legitimate and approved, and when others are called upon to join in. Not so long ago those involved in this dirty deed would be imprisoned, and now it's being proclaimed as something almost praiseworthy. And the same goes for other things of the same sort! Never in our history was there so much dirt in everyday life.

Indeed, as the Holy Fathers were predicting, the terrible times are here, when it is difficult for a man to stay on his Christian path throughout his life, as for all around him is filth, shamelessness, malice and lies.

Let us remember the Lord's words of wrath heard by His contemporaries. But they were Jews, and the present people are Christians. It is the Christians who have now become the "faithless and perverse generation"!

Safeguard your soul, oh man! Take care of yourself, every Christian soul! It is difficult to safeguard yourself from dirt.

If a person enters a dirty place, how can he stay clean? The dirt will unavoidably get on to him, he will become dirty. Therefore, a Christian should maintain himself as ardently as possible, and in no way approach places where this mud exists, where it triumphs.

Remember this, o Christian soul! The Lord with His Grace is always near us. As the Apostle said: "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20). This means that the more abundant is the sin surrounding a man, the more Grace is sent by Lord to help his servant, as He knows how difficult it is for him to walk the right path among the unrighteous ways of the other sons of men.

Let us remember this Gospel's lesson, beloved brothers and sisters. Let us safeguard our souls in these times filled, as it was said, with filth and malice, because this is a "faithless and perverse generation", and if a person merges with it, he shall lose his soul forever. Amen.