On November 19, on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George Parish family gathered for a nice liturgical celebration. Our service was headed by the Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. After the Gospel lesson of the Divine Liturgy he preached the following homily in English:
“The Gospel lesson assigned for today is describing two miracles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: healing of the woman with an issue of blood and resurrection of a girl who just died. Interestingly, both these miracles were performed on women, the one of which was adult and having specific female health problems, and another was a young girl, a 12 year-old, who have just reached the age of maturity according to the Jewish law. Therefore, the Lord Jesus shows His abundant love and immeasurable mercy to the women, just as He shows them to all human kind.”
“Any Gospel lesson can be compared to a treasure chest containing a lot of precious stones and jewels. Any Gospel story can be studied and interpreted in many different aspects. As we said, today’s Gospel, apart from revealing the great power of our Lord to heal the sick and to raise the dead, shows us the Savior’s mercy to the women. And if we reflect further, we may learn something more.”
“First of all, we can learn from Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was sick and died. Our Lord preached in that synagogue in Capernaum but many of the people present there did not accept His teaching. They looked for any reason to condemn Jesus, to find a fault in Him. But one of them, Jairus, came to Jesus, fell at His feet and begged Him to come to his house to heal his daughter (Lk. 8, 41). He later was so patient that he waited when Jesus healed the woman in the crowd and spoke with her. Imagine, his daughter was dying, but Jairus never pushed Jesus to hurry up. He patiently waited believing in the power of Christ. And the Lord knowing his heart, granted Him mercy according to his faith. And the faith of Jairus was not in vain: his great sorrow had changed to a great joy. Therefore, we can learn from Jairus to be patient, to be trusting God and believing in God’s power and mercy.”
“Another aspect of today’s Gospel is about the healing of the woman with an issue of blood. She became healed by touching the hem of the Lord’s garment. Thus she believed so much that she did not even ask Jesus, but only touched his cloth. Apart from teaching us about the importance of faith, this example serves us as a foundation of our belief in the holy objects, the icons and especially the holy relics of the Saints. Let us recall how the shadow of Holy Apostle Peter or the garments of Holy Apostle Paul could heal the sick. Let us recall how many miracles were done through the miraculous icons of the Most Holy Mother of God, through Her precious garments and even Her precious belt! Every icon and every piece of cloth belonging to a holy person contains the divine grace given to us if we venerate it with faith.”
“The third reflection we may have today is regarding those who were the witnesses of the miracle when the Lord raised the young girl from the dead. The Gospel says that when Jesus came to the house of Jairus, the girl died and the people wept and mourned for her. When the Lord told them not to weep, they did not listen but ridiculed Him (Lk. 8, 52-53). In the same way nowadays many people make fun of religion and of our faith in the Word of God. Therefore, the Lord put those people all outside. He permitted only His three closest Disciples and the girl’s parents to come in (Lk. 8, 51-54). Only those who believed were the witnesses of the miracle. Only they were worthy of seeing that great work of the Lord. Others who had no faith were unworthy to be present. Thus the holy and great things are not accessible for those who have little or no faith. This is why many people complain that God never shows them His miracles, never appears to them. This is because of their lack of faith. For God shows Himself only to those who really believe. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine”, says the Lord (Mt. 7, 6).”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us study the Word of God. Let us find precious treasures of spirit in every Gospel lesson we hear in the church. Let us be grateful for the Lord’s mercy towards the human kind, to men and women. Let us imitate the faith of Jairus and of the woman with an issue of blood, so we can be granted according to our faith. Let us also be worthy of God’s revealing us His great works by firm faith, trust and humility.”
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian addressing the main thoughts of his English homily. He also wished the parishioners a happy Thanksgiving Day and expressed a desire that we would first remember to give thanks to God for all His blessings and then indulge ourselves by feasting at the holiday table.