Ascending to the Cross suffering, the Lord asks His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” He wants to know the opinion of people in order to ask them more important question, “And who do you say that I am?” The disciples have particular relations with Him. He chose them, gave them the teaching concealed from the crowd. He takes them almost everywhere, He sends them for preaching. They are the core of the future Church, where the Lord teaches them the faith with more or less success, as their hearts are sometimes hardened, and their lack of faith sometimes prevails their faith. Therefore the Lord asks this question, “And who do you say that I am?” Without any doubt this is the most important question. Through his disciples the Lord asks this question to us. And each of us must give his personal answer.
Not accidentally we read this Holy Gospel on the Saturday of the Laudation of the Most Holy Theotokos. During Great Lent we are called to learn graciously that “Christ is The Son of the Living God.” And this is opened to us not by flesh and Blood, not by formal knowledge and wisdom and even not by the purity of our heart but only by God. And the Mother of God opens this mystery to us. The Saint Church confess that just as through it God came to the earth, so each person makes his way to God through the Mother of Light – the Most Holy, the Most Pure, the Most Blessed Mother of God. The Saint of our days, Venerable Siluan of Athos says, “If it hadn’t been the Mother of God, I would have perished in my sins”. This is the testimony of the whole Church, all saints.
Her protection is for all, perishing in sins and for all unjustly persecuted. Thanks to Her prayers joining the grace and the truth, the Church gives praise to the Mother of God and the Lord among the greatest sorrows. There is no greater gift and service than to give praise to Her and the Lord. When this praise is made not only by mouth, we learn incomprehensible mystery of our salvation that “Christ is the Son of the Living God”, and She is indeed called the Mother of God. In this confession there is joy which is given not by the world but by God Himself. There is no more consolation than to know that the Lord is with us, and the Mother of God never forsake us. Blessed are those who like martyr’s among suffering give praise to the Lord and the Mother of God for gift to join the Cross of our Lord Christ.
A man can’t see holiness of another man if he himself isn’t connected with holiness which is given only by the Holy Spirit. And so to gratify the Mother of God, to give praise to Her eternal state of grace. To join, of course, just in the very small degree which we are only able now, but always with consciousness that all of us are given salvation by Her glory, Her humility, Her purity, Her protection, Her obedience, Her love. We can give praise to the Mother of God only by the degree of our hearing the word of God and obeying it, only by our humility, our purity, our love.
Let it be given to us to complete Great Lent in such a way that when the Great and Holy Week suddenly begins and there is the Last Judgment on all the world, our Church and each of us, we could tell about Christ not by hearsay. And today some people tell about Him one things, others say other things and many people call Him great. But there are few people who know and confess that He is the Son of the Living God. Let it be given to us to hear among His Suffering, when He has neither appearance nor kindness, and has been forsaken by all, the words of the Mother of God, “Though You are being crucified, You are My Son and My God”. And on the day of Christ’s Resurrection let’s give earthly and heavenly praise with all the Church to our Lord and the Mother of God for their incomprehensible grace to mankind and all of us. Amen.
Source: Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Canada