On December 5, the 24th Sunday after Pentecost and the Afterfeast of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos, Bishop Nichols of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
Concelebrating with His Grace were cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky (cathedral cleric), Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric), and Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY). Praying in the altar were Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada.
The Synodal choir sang wonderfully under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan. Many parishioners, who came to pray, confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries,
Upon completion of Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas greeted those gathered with the Lord’s Day and the ongoing feast of the Entry of the Theotokos, and addressed the faithful with a sermon on the subject of that service’s Gospel lesson – the Parable of the Rich Fool.
"There was a certain man who already lived very well on earth, and one year had a very good harvest, with a great yield. And he does not even know what to do with such wealth! So he decides to build even larger storehouses for his harvest. He even spoke to himself: I can collect all of this and preserve it, and then make merry, eat, drink, and be at rest. And as he imagined the rest of his life, he heard the terrible voice of God: ‘You are a fool, for tonight the Lord will take your soul. And you will stand one on one with God, and whose will your earthly wealth become?’
"The Holy Fathers said that the man was foolish not because he wanted to live calmly and merrily on earth, but because he thought that this wealth this harvest, belonged to him and were his to do with as he saw fit. But everything that we have is from God, and we need to thank Him for our life, our breath, and everything that we receive must be multiplied for the sake of our spiritual life. What is left over must be used to help others: a kind word or deed or behavior.
"Further, the Gospel tells us: ‘Beware of covetousness – the Lord says – for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.’ So behaves a wise man who fears God, but who also loves and respects Him."
His Grace called on everyone present, as they traverse the area of the current fast, to prayerfully and worthily greet the Christ Child, Who comes into the world for the salvation of mankind.