The reading below, found for today’s date in The Prologue of Ohrid, has a specially Lenten meaning for me beyond its historical and global focus. There is no neutrality — either I am allied with Christ or I am “aligned with His enemies.” Any time the devil gets a victory in my life through pride or laziness, it is loss to His Kingdom.
So when St. Nikolai exhorts us not to be afraid of external betrayers and traitors, I can also apply faith and courage against principalities and powers that would distract and defeat me inwardly, reminding myself and them that “God is with us! Understand, all ye nations [nations of demons should be included here, right?], and submit yourselves, for God is with us!” (from a hymn sung the first week of Lent) Whatever our demons are, they are part of the death that Christ has defeated.
HOMILY — About the hand of the betrayer
“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray Me is with Me on the table(St. Luke 22:21).
It is most difficult for a general to wage war when he has an enemy within the camp; not only external enemies, but internal enemies among his own. Judas was considered among his own. However, he was the enemy from within. Rows of enemies crowded and closed ranks around Christ and, from within, Judas was preparing betrayal. His hand was on the table which Christ blessed, and his thoughts were aligned with the enemies where darkest evil, hatred and malice seethed against the gentle Lord.
Is it not also the same today, that the hand of the many traitors of Christ are at the table with Him? Which table is not Christ’s? On what table are not His gifts? He is the Householder and He nourishes and feeds His guests. The guests have nothing of their own, nothing! All good and all abundance which is given to them is given to them by the hand of Christ.
O Lord, All-Victorious, sustain us with Your power and mercy.