On November 20, on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters! Today’s Gospel reading is telling us about the two great miracles performed by our Lord Jesus Christ: the healing of a woman who suffered from a flow of blood and the resurrection of a girl who has just died. Thus we may say that today our lesson from the Scripture concerns women.”
“The woman from today’s Gospel lesson had a flow of blood for twelve years and she spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any (Lk. 8, 43-44). According to the Law of Moses she could not approach people because any woman having a flow of blood was considered unclean. Thus she was not supposed to be in the crowd pressing on Jesus and she was not supposed to touch Him. This law had been given to the people of God as a result of the original sin of Eve which brought certain impurity to all women. Due to the fall of Eve God imposed a number of sorrows upon all the women which were summarized in His words, “In pain you will give birth” (Gen. 3, 16). This pain also includes other difficulties of physiological nature that all the females suffer in this life. And as all humans suffer from different diseases, women may suffer from many illnesses resulting exclusively from their gender. One of such illnesses was the continuous flow of blood suffered by the woman from today’s Gospel. In addition to pain and sorrow that accompany all the diseases, such illnesses made those suffering women unclean and thus made their lives much more difficult. This was the strict law of the Old Testament the remnants of which we still retain in our Church life.”
“But with the appearing of Christ, with the coming of the Son of God into this world, many old ways became overruled. Our Lord came to redeem the human kind from its transgression, came to save the people from their sins. This is why He was the One who would stop the flow of tears of our foremother Eve. And this is why He healed the woman suffering from the flow of blood. Jesus did not condemn her for violating the law of Moses. He did not rebuke her for touching Him. On the contrary, He praised her faith that she so firmly believed that touching the border of His garment will bring her healing (Lk. 8, 48). He manifested that now, in Christ, all the old shame is taken away and a new life with loving and caring God begins.”
“In a similar way, in today’s Gospel, the Lord brings a recently dead girl back to life (Lk. 8, 50-56). Among the results of the original sin the most sorrowful and dreadful outcome was that all the heirs of Adam and Eve have to die. In today’s Gospel lesson we can read about a mature woman who is suffering from an illness and about a young woman, a girl who died. Both were the heirs of Eve and both had to undergo the penalty for the Eve’s fall. But when Jesus Christ appeared He overruled these condemnations. He did not just heal the woman, He even resurrected the girl. In His life-giving words “Little girl, arise” (Lk. 8, 54) the Lord called all the women of the New Testament to arise from sin, to overcome their weak nature and to strive for salvation. He also gave all of us, especially women, the great hope of resurrection and new life in His Kingdom.”
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Human kind had been created as two sexes, men and women. Both have a great and equal value in the eyes of the Creator. But they have different nature and different tasks. Today’s reading from the Gospel mentions to us how the Lord helped the two women showing them His abundant mercy and His life-creating power. But the Lord unites all of us, men and women, in His new life with God. In this new reality many old rules had been set aside. In today’s Epistle lesson St. Paul reminds us that in Christ there is no need for men to be circumcised “for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation” (Gal. 6, 15). In the same way St. Paul teaches that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3, 28). Therefore, let us come to understanding that in Christ Jesus we all should be united and all should follow the steps of our Lord. As men and women we will still be different in our nature, we will still possess different qualities and have different tasks in life, but we all pursue the same goal to be blessed in the Kingdom of God!”
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector proclaimed the Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) to His Holiness, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and of All Rus’ who was celebrating his 70th Anniversary of birth.
Then the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian conveying main ideas of his English homily. He also wished all our parishioners a nice celebration of Thanksgiving Day reminding them that everybody should give thanks to God for His abundant graces bestowed upon us this year.