Bulletin 205 - November 25/December 8, 2002
November 25/December 8, 2002
Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
He (Hyperechius) also said, 'Let your thoughts be ever in the kingdom of heaven and soon you will possess it as a heritage.'
And there came a man named Jairus, and he was ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus' feet and begged Him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having an flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately, her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, "Who touched Me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, "Who touched Me?" But Jesus said, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me." Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and she was healed immediately. And He said to her, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace." While He was still speaking, someone came from the Ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher." But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, "Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well. When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, "Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping." And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead. But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Little girl, arise." Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat. And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.
Today the Holy Orthodox Church brings to a conclusion the celebration of the Feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple. This celebration was inaugurated with the Forefeast on December 3 and experienced fullness with the Divine Liturgy on December 4th. Each day the Church has reminded believers of the Feast.
As Orthodox believers, we look to the Mother of God as the symbol of purity, of fidelity, of obedience. We look to the Mother of God as the inspiration she is. We look to the Mother of God as the intercessor she is.
We have much to learn about faith. We have much to learn about purity. We have much to learn about being close with God. We can learn from the Mother of God.
Our faith can be improved if we heed the message of today's Gospel, if we heed the examples of Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood.
Our faith can be improved if we look to the work of Jesus Christ in the lives of Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood.
The practice of the Orthodox Christian faith is not intended for a brief period of time. It is intended for the balance of one's life from the moment of profession of faith, from the time of Baptism and Chrismation.
We need to reach back into history to see the faith of Abraham, to seek the faith of Noah, to see the faith of Elijah. We need to reach back into history and see the faith of St. Lazarus of Kosovo, to see the faith of the Holy Apostle Paul. We need to think of the faith of St. Sava.
The Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews is a summary expression of the faith of believers in God. We do well when we think about the faith of the men and women mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews. In Hebrews we are reminded of
The inspiring and eloquent words of St.Stephen the First Archdeacon and Protomartyr are preserved in the Book of Acts. St.Stephen witnessed to the work of God through the centuries and was martyred for his confession of faith. (7:1-60)
The accounts of saints and martyrs through the centuries serve to educate, to nourish, and to strengthen believers in the present. We need to take time to learn about these giants of faith.
Today we hear about the restoration of life to Jairus' daughter and the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. We are blessed to hear these accounts from the Holy Gospel because of the faithful through the centuries who carried the faith in their hearts, who remained faithful to Jesus Christ under all kinds of adverse circumstances, who took time to build churches, translate books and educate.
The centuries old churches and monasteries in Serbia and Greece give one pause to consider the faith commitment made to the Holy Orthodox Church. One needs only to look at the monasteries constructed on the Holy Mountain of Athos or the Meteora to reflect deeply on the exercise of faith for the glory of God.
Each person is responsible for his or her soul. Each person decides whether he or she will be serious about living the life in Christ. We answer for ourselves to the invitation to follow and be true to Jesus Christ. In the end, we will be judged according to our faith and our works. (Mt. 25:32)
While there is time, let us draw near to God. While there is time, let us repent of our sins. While there is time, let us renew our efforts to follow Christ.
We ground our lives in Christ, when we pray to Him. We ground our lives in Christ, when we read the Holy Scriptures. We ground ourselves in Christ when we confess our sins and partake of His Holy Body and Blood.
When we are rooted in Christ and faithful to Christ, storms and winds may come, but Christ will be our salvation, our protection. Christ is the vision of the believer. Christ is the nourishment of the believer. Christ is the healer of the believer.
Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood are vivid examples of faith. Let us learn from these examples and pray to God for a strengthening of faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.