Bulletin 198 - October 7/October 20, 2002
October 7 / October 20, 2002
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
He (Isadore the Priest) also said, "If you desire salvation, do everything that leads you to it."
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
The present Gospel message is being heard in the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church and in Orthodox Churches around the world. The Serbian Orthodox Church is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church identified in the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed at Holy Baptism and each Divine Liturgy.
The Holy Scriptures have been preserved by the Holy Orthodox Church through the centuries. The Holy Scriptures serve as a basis for teaching and proclaiming Christ throughout the world.
Serious Orthodox Christians become familiar with the Holy Scriptures and draw nourishment from them. The Holy Scriptures are readily accessible to individual Christians and provide for continuous learning.
Faith needs practiced. Faith is not to remain stagnant. Faith needs developed. The woman in the present Gospel would not have seen her daughter healed if she did not draw closer to Jesus Christ. The woman was persistent even when Jesus made statements that did not appear encouraging for her.
Blessed Theophylact said Jesus delayed healing the woman so that the faith and understanding of the woman might be made manifest. The way we face the trials of life will reveal our understanding and depth of faith.
Difficult circumstances in life have a way of revealing the depth of faith in a person. Difficult circumstances in life help believers assess their standing in life and reassess priorities. The place of God in a particular life becomes known great difficult arises.
We come today to the Divine Liturgy and hear the proclamation of the Holy Gospel. We come today and hear the invitation "In the fear of God and in faith draw near." The Precious Holy Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are in the Holy Chalice at each Divine Liturgy.
Our demeanor, our thoughts, and our actions prior to, during and following participation in the divine services of the Church should be consistent with the holiness of the services.
It is important to keep in mind the Holy Orthodox Church expects preparation before the Divine Liturgy. The Church provides structural preparation with services preceding the Divine Liturgy. Believers who come to the Vespers and Matins leading to the Divine Liturgy increase their preparation for experiencing the fullness of the Divine Liturgy.
The contents of the Vespers and Matins inspire, instruct and prepare for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Parishioners make very real contributions to the development of a parish each time they come in fullness of faith to a religious service. Coming from the home to the church to attend a religious service is a deliberate expression of faith.
The woman in the present Gospel had within her a firm belief in Jesus Christ. She had within her a resolute belief that Jesus could heal her daughter. She reflected a love and concern for her daughter through the tenacity of faith exhibited.
Our faith is developed within the Orthodox Church. Believers seeking to grow in Christ, fulfill their journey when they draw near to Christ, when they take their faith seriously.
The holy Apostle Paul was explicit in saying God is faithful (IICor.1:18) Paul referred to his preaching of Jesus Christ in this way: "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." (II Cor.1:20)
We do well when we heed the Holy Gospel message each time we hear it. We do well to spend time thinking about the Holy Gospel message and the meaning it has for our lives.
We come to know the joy of Jesus Christ through being attentive to the Holy Gospel. Through the Holy Gospel we learn the teachings of Christ, we learn of His miracles, His life, His death and His glorious resurrection and ascension.
A single woman of faith centuries of ago has made a lasting impact on the world. Her faith in Christ healed her demon possessed daughter. Those who learn from this woman and from the Gospel message will find healing in Jesus Christ.