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  • Seeking the Kingdom of God Requires from Us Actions: On the Third Sunday after Pentecost

    “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt.6:33).

    Everything necessary for our earthly existence will be added: food, drink, clothing. But not just added; there is one condition: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

    What does “seek” mean? It means that the Lord requires from us actions, an effort of our will. Remember the Gospel readings for the last two weeks (‘The Week of All the Saints” and “The Week of All Saints Who Shone in Russia”) and also what was said in today’s Gospel. These are like steps by which all the saints ascended to the heavenly dwellings, and by which we too must all ascend. Indeed, there is no other way. The way to the Lord is the same for everyone. And it is this: Confess Christ before people, love Him more than everyone and everything else, and take up your cross and follow Him, in the same way the Apostles followed Him, leaving everything behind: their families, nets and boats. And not care about what we eat or drink or about what to wear, because our Heavenly Father knows that we need all these things. The Gospel gives us wonderful examples: “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap … yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them…. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Mt. 6:26, 28-29).

    This is what it means to seek the Kingdom of God. But what is the center of such seeking? What is required of us for this? What is the beginning? Here it is: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be clean (The Russian text reads “clean” or “pure,” instead of “single” or “sound,” which appear in the English versions), thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness” (Mt. 6:22-23).

    Which eye is meant here? This eye is our conscience, and the body is our entire being. This means that if our conscience is clean, then our entire being will be full of light. But for our conscience to be clean, an effort on our part is needed. We must keep vigilant watch over our thoughts and every movement of our heart. It is for this purpose that we are given this inner eye.

    May the Lord help us to strain all our forces to keep it clean. And then all the commandments of God will become joyous and possible for us, because we will be full  of light.

    “O Christ, the true Light, Who enlightens every man who comes into the world, may the light of Thy Countenance be signed upon us, and may we behold in it the unapproachable Light!” (Prayer after the First Hour, at the end of the evening vesper service).

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