Welcome to my first blog post! May you truly enjoy this story of miraculous healing and saving faith! This short homily is based on the Gospel reading for Sunday, November 4, 2018 (Luke 8:41-56). Thanks so much for visiting!
With Love in Christ,
-- Fr. Deacon David
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. (John 11:25-26)
About two thousand years ago, so we’re told by a certain writer who’s been identified as one “Luke, the Evangelist”, a man named Jairus, a ruler of a Jewish synagogue, had a daughter. His daughter, a little girl, had become stricken with a bad illness, and being that the available medicine of the day could offer no cure for her illness, she was dying. With no hope left him but his hope in the power of God to save his little girl, Jairus set out to find an unusual Jewish rabbi that he and so many others had been hearing so much about: a certain Jesus, Who people were saying had the power of God in Him to work great miracles of healing in those with all sorts of afflictions and diseases.
At the same time, so we’re also told by the Evangelist, a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, because the available medicine of the day could offer no cure for her illness. She, like Jairus, had also become without hope except for her hope in the power of God, and sought to draw near to an unusual Jewish rabbi that she and so many others had been hearing so much about: a certain Jesus, Who people were saying had the power of God in Him to work great miracles of healing in those with all sorts of afflictions and diseases.
Fast forward in time to about two months ago: A woman residing in the small city of Auburn, in the state of New York, an employee of a local health care facility and mother of two, receives from a co-worker a plain white envelope that had been left at work for her. The recipient’s name, written in cursive, is on the front of the envelope. The envelope was a gift offered her on account of the hardship that had befallen her as one who had contracted, and was being treated for, an incurable disease: stage four, triple negative breast cancer.
Inside the envelope was a greeting card. The cover of the greeting card was a copy of an Eastern Orthodox icon of that unusual Jewish rabbi that so many hear so much about: a certain Jesus, of Whom people say has the very power of God in Him to work great miracles of healing on those with all sorts of afflictions and diseases.
On the inside of the card is a hand-written greeting, addressed from “all the faithful at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church of Auburn”, which informs the woman that they have heard of her difficulties, and ask her to please accept their humble monetary gift (enclosed in a check) to help with some of her medical expenses. They ask her also to know that she is being remembered in their prayers, which are asking God for her recovery. But this is not all…
Also included inside the card is a tiny, clear plastic Ziploc baggy. Inside of it is a small piece of a cotton ball, soaked with a strange, aromatic, oily substance. There is a tiny note attached to the baggy by a paper stapler that reads: “This baggy contains a piece of cotton that is soaked with miraculous myrrh (fragrant holy oil) that mysteriously streams from an icon of our Lord’s mother, the ever-virgin Mary. Many who have been anointed with this oil, along with prayers of faith, have received healing of their serious illnesses. Please, if you are able, anoint yourself with this oil, and ask our Lord’s mother to pray to her Son for your healing and salvation.”
Being without any other hope for a cure of her illness, as the medicine of our day can offer her no such hope, and left only with her hope in the power of God to deliver her, the woman anoints herself with the sweet-smelling myrrh that is said to miraculously stream from the surface of an icon of the mother of God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and asks to be saved, believing that He can indeed save her.
Returning our attention to what we are told happened almost two thousand years ago, Jairus went to get Jesus to come and heal his little girl, so that she wouldn’t die. While they were on their way to Jairus’ house to save his daughter, the woman who had an incurable flow of blood for twelve years secretly reaches forth her hand from amongst the thronging crowd to merely touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, and her incurable flow of blood is suddenly and completely cured. Then someone came from Jairus’ house, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” But the Teacher continued on to Jairus’ house anyway. Once there, entering the room where the poor girl lay dead, He “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.”
Skipping forward to Thursday, November 1, 2018: the woman with stage four, triple negative breast cancer, who had anointed herself with the mysterious holy oil and prayed, hears the conclusive report from her physicians, after they had thoroughly analyzed all her careful tests and scans for yet one more time, that the incurable cancer they’d been treating her for can — for some unknown reason — no longer be found anywhere in her body, and somehow, has become cured.
I could go on to elaborate on these things – these three miracles which I assuredly know to all be true and not just pious “fables”, as some might be inclined to believe. But I’ll just venerate them in silence and leave you to exercise your own mind upon them, being hopeful that the Holy Spirit will help the power behind them to sink into your heart, to strengthen it, as He has strengthened ours.
I’ll close only with a response to the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;
Those words He spoke to the woman with the flow of blood, who believes in Him: “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
… And to Jairus, whose beloved daughter had died: “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”
… And to us all: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
Yes Lord… By God’s sweet grace, we do believe. Please, always help our unbelief. (Mark 9:24)
Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! Amen.
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