From a Homily on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost

by St. Nikolai Velimirovic


Our God is the Victor, and all good and lasting victories, from one end of time to the other, belong to Him. He is victorious over the disorder among men that is made by sinners, bringing order. When the worst among men rise up to the first place, and the best fall to the lowest, He reverses that disorder, and makes the first last and the last first. He is victorious over the malice and scheming of the evil spirits against the human race, and scatters them as a strong wind disperses a vile stench. He is victorious over all want: where there is little, He gives increase; where there is nothing, He gives in abundance. He is victorious over sickness and suffering; He only speaks the word, and sickness and suffering vanish away: the blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, the paralysed get up and walk, the lepers are cleansed. He is victorious over death: at His command, death looses its victim from its jaws. He reigns over a kingdom of heavenly powers -- angels and saints -- that has no end; a heavenly kingdom in comparison with which the kingdoms of this world are as dark and confining as the womb. He commands the elements and creatures of this world, and nothing is able to withstand His commands without disintegrating in eternal ruin.

Day after day; victory after victory. The history of this world is a series of God's victories, the revealing of God's power and irresistibility. He is meek as a lamb, but heaven and earth tremble before Him. When He allows Himself to be humiliated, His greatness is thereby most strikingly revealed. When He allows His face to be spat on, He thereby reveals the foulness of all that is not He. When He gives Himself to be slaughtered, then His life shines forth.

God has revealed His light through the sun, like some pale shadow of Himself. He has shown His power through the innumerable fiery bodies in the universe, His wisdom in the order of creation and created beings from end to end of the universe, His beauty through the beauty of creation, His mercy through His careful nurturing of all He has created, His life through all that lives. But all this is only a pale and ephemeral image of Him; it is only letters of fire written in thick smoke. All these characteristics of the living God have been revealed, in the greatest radiance in which it was possible for them to be seen in this world, in man. Not in every man; not in ordinary, created men, but in the uncreated Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. All came together in Him; in Him shone forth in the flesh both light and power, wisdom and beauty, mercy and life.

What does light mean but victory over darkness? What does power mean but victory over weakness? What is wisdom but victory over madness and insanity? What is beauty but victory over ugliness and monstrosity? Is not mercy victory over evil, malice and envy? And life - is it not the divine victory over death?

What do you think, you who follow Christ and are baptised in His name? Did Christ not reveal all these victories as no other ever has from the foundation of the world? Do you not feel every day that you are following the greatest Victor since the beginning of the world and of time; that you are baptised in the name of Him who knows and can do all things, who adorns all creatures with His beauty, caresses them with His mercy and vivifies them with His life? If you do not feel this, it will be of little help to you to follow Him and call yourself by His name. Only through the Lord Jesus can you, without the least doubt or hesitation, believe in the utterly victorious power of the living God over every creature, every element and all the evil in the world. Only the Lord Jesus can give you the courage to live and the courage to pass through death. Only He can justify hope in a better life than this transitory life that is subject to decay. And only He can arouse in you a love for all that is good, for He is God's living and incarnate victory over the world. "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33), said Christ to His disciples, and He says it through them to us all. Let us not be afraid: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has overcome the world. The Gospel is the book of His victories, the testimony to His almighty power. The Church's history to this day - and to the end of the world - is an even more detailed book of His victories.