講道 Sermons

血漏婦人&瀕死女孩:愛就是生命 The Bleeding Woman & Jairus’s Daughter: Love is Life

 

我們可以百分之百確信:是愛,而非死亡,
在此生的終點等著我們。
如果你真的愛。

 

 

2014.11.09 路加福音第七主日

主日經文

加拉太書6:11-18「請看我親手寫給你們的字是何等的大呢!凡希圖外貌體面的人都勉強你們受割禮,無非是怕自己為基督的十字架受逼迫。他們那些受割禮的,連自己也不守律法;他們願意你們受割禮,不過要藉著你們的肉體誇口。但我斷不以別的誇口,只誇我們主耶穌基督的十字架;因這十字架,就我而論,世界已經釘在十字架上;就世界而論,我已經釘在十字架上。受割禮不受割禮都無關緊要,要緊的就是作新造的人。凡照此理而行的,願平安、憐憫加給他們,和神的以色列民。從今以後,人都不要攪擾我,因為我身上帶著耶穌的印記。弟兄們,願我主耶穌基督的恩常在你們心裡。阿們!」

路加福音8:41-56「有一個管會堂的,名叫睚魯,來俯伏在耶穌腳前,求耶穌到他家裡去;因他有一個獨生女兒,約有十二歲,快要死了。耶穌去的時候,眾人擁擠他。有一個女人,患了十二年的血漏,在醫生手裡花盡了他一切養生的,並沒有一人能醫好他。他來到耶穌背後,摸他的衣裳繸子,血漏立刻就止住了。耶穌說:摸我的是誰?眾人都不承認。彼得和同行的人都說:夫子,眾人擁擁擠擠緊靠著你。(有古卷在此有:你還問摸我的是誰嗎?)耶穌說:總有人摸我,因我覺得有能力從我身上出去。那女人知道不能隱藏,就戰戰兢兢的來俯伏在耶穌腳前,把摸他的緣故和怎樣立刻得好了,當著眾人都說出來。耶穌對他說:女兒,你的信救了你;平平安安地去吧!還說話的時候,有人從管會堂的家裡來,說:你的女兒死了,不要勞動夫子。耶穌聽見就對他說:不要怕,只要信!你的女兒就必得救。耶穌到了他的家,除了彼得、約翰、雅各,和女兒的父母,不許別人同他進去。眾人都為這女兒哀哭捶胸。耶穌說:不要哭。他不是死了,是睡著了。他們曉得女兒已經死了,就嗤笑耶穌。耶穌拉著他的手,呼叫說:女兒,起來吧!他的靈魂便回來,他就立刻起來了。耶穌吩咐給他東西吃。他的父母驚奇得很;耶穌囑咐他們,不要把所做的事告訴人。」

 

李亮神父講道:

今天福音書的內容相當重要並富有深意。耶穌來到了耶利哥,那個管理猶太會堂的睚魯,他具有相當的社會地位。他十二歲的女兒病得很重,很可能快要死了(十二是我們需要留意的數字)。這個可憐的爸爸試著為女兒做一些事,跪在一個人面前並不容易,但他放下身段、付上代價,羞辱地跪在耶穌基督的面前祈求。他不像是羅馬官員的信心那麼大(馬太福音八章)。睚魯告訴耶穌,他女兒病得非常重,請耶穌來醫治她。耶穌也答應了他的請求。

有趣的是,那裏有很多人在耶穌旁邊,跟著耶穌是為了要看神蹟。耶穌在那裏走著的時候,很多人推擠著。在人群中有個婦女,她病了。在亞當夏娃墮落之後,世上有許多的不好的事情產生,疾病就是其一;疾病本身還具有其他隱藏的意義。首先,它顯示出我們與神、與人之間的分離。另外,它還顯出我們都病了,都需要完全的醫治,不只是身體的醫治,也是人與神之間關係完全地恢復。

這是為何在福音書中耶穌醫治疾病,這樣的行為具有深奧的含意,是指「完全的醫治」。它不是像是西方醫學,發燒就給退燒藥,燒退了就沒事了,這裡說的不是這一回事。這些疾病需要耶穌完全的醫治,把人從現在的光景,帶到像在天堂一樣沒有疾病的狀態。這是為何我們明白耶穌行神蹟,不是在變法術。神蹟與法術不同的地方,在於人們不會在乎術士是誰,只在乎法術的結果。法術耍些花招,然後人們得到想要的結果。但是神蹟是一種人際間的互動,是一種共融(Communion),因為是神進入了人類的真實生活。這是為何耶穌以不同的方式行各樣的神蹟。

有些疾病是顯而易見的,就像是這裡拉比的女兒病得很重,看來就要不久於世了。還有一些疾病,外人沒這麼容易看得出來,他們可能病得很痛苦,就像是一次次的死去一般痛苦。有許多人心上就像插著一把利刃,耶穌知道他們的痛苦,因為祂就在那裡。經上另一個婦女患了十二年的血漏,沒有停止的一刻,這對她而言是多麼的可怕的狀況。首先影響的是她的健康,她還可能花盡錢財遍尋醫生,狀況卻沒有改善。在當時的以色列,這病會孤立她的人際關係和信仰生活,因為她的狀況在猶太律法中被視為不潔淨,她不可進入所羅門聖殿。由於那是一個以信仰為中心的社會,於是她被孤立於以色列社會之外。當然也不會有人願意娶她,所以你可由此明白她困難的處境。

偷偷地,她躲在人群之中。當她接受了自己的疾病和她的真實狀況,單單在耶穌面前,她變得真實,因為她想:「我不配觸碰祂,我什麼也不是。」而觸碰祂也會是有罪的,因為會使耶穌變得不潔。所以她只是偷偷地摸了耶穌的衣裳繸子。然而她全然相信耶穌,她在自己和耶穌之間建立了祕密的關係。當她想要藉著觸摸耶穌,與耶穌基督建立關係,神蹟就發生了,她痊癒了。然而耶穌要創造神蹟,祂要完成這個神蹟,要將這個關係變得真實。祂不要整件事只是私底下發生而已,偷偷摸摸地,好像這婦女趁著耶穌不知道的時候偷走了什麼東西似的。

另外,公開可以達到另個目的,能藉此讓她回到社會中,在眾人面前證明她已被醫治。否則她還需要到祭司那裏,羞辱地去證明她已經痊癒。耶穌在眾人面前詢問:「摸我的是誰」,引起大家對她的注意,這樣可以幫助她回到人群之中。但這個婦女感到害怕,似乎她不敢與耶穌建立合一的關係,所以你可看見她的懼怕,懼怕使愛無法完全。彼得說:「夫子,眾人擁擁擠擠緊靠著你。」可以想像在場有許多人推擠著,好奇地想看看發生什麼奇怪的事,所以祂怎能問是誰摸祂這樣的問題?

很多次當我聽到這樣的話,我總是很感動,但我也擔心自己,因為身為司祭,在聖禮儀中,我也用我的雙手觸碰耶穌(的聖體)。你們也是如此,你們不只觸碰了耶穌,你們是將耶穌(的聖體聖血)領受到你們裡面。我擔心的是,我才剛剛在聖禮儀中以雙手觸碰祂,同時世上也有這麼多的祭司、這麼多的基督徒不只是觸碰到祂,而是真實地將祂領受到他們的身體裡。但我們,是否真的觸碰到耶穌呢?

在那個眾人推擠的喧鬧場合中,卻只有一個人是「真的」觸碰到耶穌,就是那個血漏的婦人。我們一定都要記得這件事,當我們今日領受聖餐時,耶穌到底會說:「你領受了我」?還是會說:「我不認識你」?而彼得和耶穌的對話在神學上也非常重要,他不假思索地對耶穌說:「夫子,眾人擁擁擠擠緊靠著你。(有古卷在此有:你還問摸我的是誰嗎?)」彼得非常熱心,但總是不夠深思熟慮。耶穌說:「總有人摸我,因我覺得有能力從我身上出去。」那個能力(power)是什麼?那就是神的非受造能量(the uncreated energy)。西方天主教會並不認同這樣的觀點,他們不認為有所謂神的非受造能量,他們認為那只是某種發生(start)、分解(dissolve)、然後就消失(disappear)的能力。然而,這能量就是神的恩典,是神的運行(act),但並非是透過祂的本質。所以神的能量進到這婦人之內。神進入了這個婦人,並醫治了她。

不只如此,世界的存在也是因為神的非受造能量。但耶穌想要更深入更真實的關係,就是與人之間個別的關係。這就是聖餐,在我們今生、來世,聖餐都是最崇高之事。

所以這個婦人向前來戰戰兢兢的來俯伏在耶穌腳前,向耶穌說明摸祂的緣故,當著眾人面前都說出來。而耶穌對她說:「女兒,你的信救了你;平平安安地去吧」,這是很重要的觀點。當我們在這世上遇見困難,當我們在內心中看不到出路,找不到解決的辦法,神正在對我們說:「不要怕」。神也正對我這麼說,因為我為了你們,懷著如此多的懼怕,經歷這麼多的困難,僅僅為了使教會合一。從許多學者的觀點,像是Rudolf Otto提到的信仰,神是那令人戰兢的奧秘(mysterium tremendum)。但神令人戰兢並非因為祂使我們發抖和恐懼,並非如此。祂是愛與和平的奧秘。西方的宗教哲學家認為令人戰兢的奧秘(mysterium tremendum)會帶來榮耀與敬畏。但這不是東正教會的神,這裡的神是愛的奧秘。

但是在這事件之後,還有睚魯的女兒仍病得很重。當神蹟將要發生之際,總會先有大試探出現。這一時刻,幾個僕人從屋內出來,對睚魯的說:「你的女兒死了,不要勞動夫子。」你能想像得到,那時人們一定是想太遲了。但是耶穌告訴他們,她不是死了,只是睡著了。他們不相信,就嘲笑耶穌。然後他們出於好奇,想看著耶穌出糗受辱。他們進到屋內,有人哭著說她現在真的死了。

神也允許拉撒路死去,沒有立刻伸手救他,這再次提醒我們一些重要的事。神知道那些人只是想找樂子,想要看看奇聞軼事和法術。所以祂又說一次:「不要哭。她不是死了,是睡著了。」耶穌此刻給予死亡一個嶄新的意義。首先,死亡不只是一個事件,而是社會性的。在東正教會裡,當某人死去,所有的親戚朋友都會聚集在一起。

但是從另一觀點看來,當耶穌說:「不要哭。她不是死了,是睡著了。」這造成了哲學論述的大翻轉。因為在哲學中,唯一我們百分之百確認的事情,就是我們正朝死亡走去。這是我們唯一百分之百確定的事。其他的事無論是貧富、成功失敗,人都無法全然掌握。柏拉圖認為哲學基本上是一種對於死亡的研究。海德格則認為人的存在就是不斷地朝著死亡前進。最終的對話就是與死亡的對話。我們將死亡變為真實,所有的哲學基本上所闡述的就是死亡。耶穌改變了這點,祂說:「她不是死了,是睡著了」。那麼現在我們可以百分之百確定的是什麼呢?就是神的愛,神如此愛我們,即使有天我們的軀體化為烏有,祂也不會讓我死去。哲學不應該是死亡的學問,而是愛的學問。

我現在在大學上一門關於自由意志課程,研究不同哲學家的作品,也有很優秀的老師。但我問老師為什麼哲學家都是在說有關自由意志和責任方面的憂傷及定罪,但卻沒有人討論愛。老師認為我提出了一個很有趣的議題。

當耶穌說睚魯的女兒只是睡了這樣的話,許多人嘲笑祂,因為他們並不相信耶穌。但耶穌只帶了三個門徒彼得、約翰和雅各以及女孩的父母進到屋內。然後祂呼叫說:「女兒,起來吧!」女孩便從床上起來了,耶穌把她交給她的父母。祂很關心她,因為耶穌告訴他們,她很虛弱,找些食物給她吃。

聖經上耶穌直接叫她「起來吧!」,並沒有禱告-祂這樣做是出於祂身為神的兒子的權能。福音書中說:「她的靈魂便回來」,那麼原本她的靈魂又在何處呢?在人裡面有某種東西,我們稱其為”pneuma”(靈或靈魂),神不會讓它化為烏有,而靈魂是有意識的。靈魂活著,並遵守耶穌基督的指示,回到了那個女兒的體內。這是我們今日我們為已過世的朋友、弟兄姐妹、和祖父母們禱告的原因,他們的靈魂會知道,且會為此欣喜。如同聖尼古拉曾說的,當我們舉行聖餐禮,這些靈魂若是良善的,他們可能會以神知道的某種方式領受聖餐(因為他們不像生者一樣以湯匙領受聖餐)。也因為整個教會—身為耶穌基督的身體—都為他們禱告,他們也會為此感到欣喜。遺憾的是,某些新教教派卻禁止信徒為亡者祈禱。要知道從初代教會開始,教會就為亡者祈禱。

耶穌吩咐他們不要把所做的事告訴人,因為這個神蹟的行使,和建立起來的關係,僅在於這個女兒和她父母之間,而與其他來看熱鬧的人無關。所以要記得,萬事都有可能,神正在其中慢慢地運作。許多次我們問著神在哪呢?我們問著為什麼祂允許這些痛苦發生在我們身上?但祂正在來,祂將要來,祂明白我們每個人隱藏的傷痛和最深的困難。當我們領受聖餐時,我們就像那個摸祂衣裳繸子的婦人,我們甚至比那個婦人更靠近耶穌。當我們與神建立了這樣的關係,我們的問題就將得到解決,因為真正的問題在於人無法與神建立關係,其他的問題相較之下就微不足道了。

你們有任何問題嗎?

問題一:為什麼耶穌告訴那對父母不要告訴別人發生什麼事情。當那女孩走出去,大家不是就都知道發生了什麼事情了嗎?

因為對其他人而言,重要的不是這個女兒是生是死,耶穌所做的事情在旁人的眼中就像是在施行法術一樣。旁人在乎的是法術,不是耶穌。他們並不在意是否與耶穌建立關係,一如我告訴大家的,這關係才是生命。他們要看神奇的法術,想知道耶穌怎麼辦到的、什麼是秘訣,這才是他們關心的。當然人們會看見女兒又活了過來,但耶穌吩咐他們不要把祂所做的事告訴人,也不要告訴別人祂只說了起來,睚魯的女兒便起來了。因為他們並沒有預備好,他們要的不是和耶穌建立任何關係。

問題二:為什麼你要提到這個女孩的年齡是十二歲呢?

因為這個年紀是這個女孩正要成長、漸漸變成一個女人。這個時間很重要,我們的孩子在他們生命中的不同階段,我們也都當留意。「十二」在聖經中出現多次,包括十二個使徒、十二個支派。它可能是一個完美、圓滿的數字。然而這個數字也可能是一個充滿痛苦的數字。

問題三:你剛剛說她正處於要脫離女童變成女人的年紀,所以我們也許能夠連結到這個故事的開始,我們看到一個婦人,她原本因為疾病是個不完全的女人。當她疾病復原,可以重新生活,就像那個孩子一樣?

這是非常非常重要的,謝謝你的提問。一個是快要死去的孩子,正處於要變成女人的年紀;另一個婦女雖然活著,卻好像是個已死的人。因為疾病,她不能像是一個正常的女人一樣活著。你可以在此看到全然的神蹟:她與神之間的關係恢復了她的生命。或者,不是「恢復」生命,而是這關係本身,就「是」生命。

謝謝你們,我們預備一些餐點可享用。今日是我們主教Nektarios的聖名日,因此請為主教祈禱。

*********************

東正教會簡介:

http://theological.asia/taiwan-orthodox/

 

紀錄: Baker教授

翻譯: 張奉書

 

Photo: Spitefully

https://www.flickr.com/photos/spitefully/5832204340/

 

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2014.11.09 Seventh Sunday of Luke

Relationship is Life—Two Miracles for Woman

 

St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 6:11-18   BRETHREN, see with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh. But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God. Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

Luke 8:41-56   At that time, there came to Jesus a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and falling at Jesus’ feet he besought him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As he went, the people pressed round him. And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and had spent all her living upon physicians and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!” But Jesus said, “Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” While he was still speaking, a man from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well.” And when he came to the house, he permitted no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and bewailing her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once; and he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed; but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.

 

Fr. Jonah’s Sermon:

 

Today the Gospel is very important and very deep. Jesus Christ is in Jericho and then the ruler of the synagogue, who was a person with very high social status, had a twelve year old daughter (and again we should be careful about this number, twelve) who was very sick and it was very likely that she would die. So the poor father did something that had a social cost to him. He humiliated himself by going in front of Jesus Christ, bowing down to him and begging him. From this point of view it cost him, and of course his faith is not such a great faith, like the Roman officer. He said to Jesus, “My daughter is very sick. Please come and cure her,” and Jesus accepted his request.

It is interesting that the people around there followed Jesus to see the miracle. But we also see that when Jesus was going there and many people were pushing to see this strange thing, there was one woman among them who also was sick. And so we see that that disease, which is not something good and which came after the Fall, has some secret meaning. It shows to us first the separation we have from God and also from the others; it shows that we are really sick. And it calls for a total cure, which is not only a cure of the body to be totally well with God.

And this is why Jesus healing the disease in the Gospel has such a deep meaning: it means a total cure. It is not like in Western medicine, where if you have a fever then I give you a pill, the fever goes down and you are OK. It is not like this. The disease needs God to cure it totally, to bring the situation now to that of Paradise, where there was no disease. This is why we see that when Jesus Christ is doing a miracle is not some kind of magic. The difference with magic is that you do not care who is it who is doing something to you, but you care about the results. You do something, blah-blah-blah, you say something and then you get what you want. But the miracle is a social thing; it is a communion thing because it is God who enters to the reality of the human being. And this is why Jesus is acting in different ways for different miracles.

There are obvious diseases, like the daughter of the rabbi, who was in great danger and it was obvious she was going to die. But there are so many other diseases that are not so obvious, and many times they are very painful, as if the person dies many times before they die. And how many people have a big knife in their hearts. And Jesus knows this; He is there. This other woman for twelve years had a bleeding like women have, but this was not stopping at all, and this had terrible consequences for her. First of there was her health, of course. And she had spent almost all her money to go to all kinds of doctors but they were no help. This was in Israel, so it also caused her social and religious isolation because according to Jewish law she could not go to the Temple of Solomon with this condition, which made her unclean. And from this point of view, she was outside of the society of Israel, which was a very religious society. And she was not married, because who would marry a woman like this? So you see the big problem here.

Then secretly, so nobody knew, she was hiding there, right in the middle of the people. And when she accepts her disease and her reality, she becomes real only in front of Jesus Christ because she says, “I am not worthy to touch Him; I am nothing. And also it would be sinful to touch him since that would make him unclean. So secretly she touched his cloak. And she believed absolutely. She created a secret relationship with Jesus Christ, who did not know this. And at this point, when she wants to create this relationship with Jesus Christ by touching him, the miracle happens. She becomes well. But Jesus wants to make the miracle, to finish the miracle, to make the relationship real, and not a secret thing where the woman has stolen something that Jesus did not know.

What goal is this but another thing to give her to society, to give a proof in public that she is cured. Because otherwise she would need to be humiliated by going to the priests and proving that she no longer had the disease. So by asking [and calling attention to her] Jesus put her back in society. So, He said, “Who touched me?” And the woman was afraid, as if she did not dare to integrate her relationship with Jesus. So you can see that still there is a fear, which makes the love not perfect. Then Peter said, “Everybody is touching you.” You can imagine that with so many people pushing from here and there just from their curiosity to see something strange, how could He ask who had touched Him?

And when I hear this, so many times, I am so moved and I am so afraid for myself because I touch Jesus by [showing his hands together]. Not only this, but you also; you not only touched Jesus Christ, you took Jesus Christ inside you. And I am afraid that Jesus will say that I had just touched Him, and so many other priests all over the world, and so many Christians all over the world not only touch Him, but take him inside their body.

But in that place at that time there was only one person who really touched Jesus Christ: it was that woman. You know, we must all remember this that if we took the Holy Communion today, will Jesus say, “You took,” or “I don’t know you”? And it is theologically very important what Peter said, not thinking, “There are so many people are touching and pushing you, and you ask who touched you?” Peter was always very enthusiastic but very deep thought. But Jesus said, “I know somebody touched me because power was going from me.” What is this power? This is the uncreated energy of God. This is what the West [the Latin Church] refused and said that there is no uncreated energy of God, and it is only something that starts and then dissolves, disappears. And this is the grace of God. The grace of God is God acting, not by His essence. So the energy of God went to this woman. God went into this woman and cured her.

Is this enough? No, it is not enough. The fact that the world exists is also because of the uncreated energy of God. But Jesus wants something much deeper and much more real, and that is the personal relationship. This is the Holy Communion, which is the highest thing that we have in this life and in the other life.

So the woman now came forward trembling. And she said, “Yes, it was me. I was sick.” She said in public everything. It is interesting that Jesus says to her, “Don’t be afraid, daughter.” This is very important. God says to us that when there is a difficulty, when we see no way inside ourselves to solve some big problem, God is saying to us – and to me because I have many more fears and troubles for you just to keep the church together: “Don’t be afraid.” And from the point of view of those who study, Rudolf Otto wrote about religions, that God is mysterium tremendum. But God is not tremendum in that He creates trembling and fear; it’s not this. He is the mystery of the love and the peace. Western philosophers of religion say about the mysterium tremendum that along with this comes glory and fear. This is not the God of the Orthodox Church, where it is the mystery of love.

But after this something happens because there was still the girl who was very sick. When a miracle is going to happen, some big temptation has happened before. At this point, some servants came out from the house and said to the ruler, “Don’t bother the teacher any more; your daughter is dead.” You can imagine the people then, thinking it was now too late. But Jesus said to them, “She is not dead, she is sleeping.” The people did not believe and they were laughing at Him. And then they went out of more curiosity to see Jesus humiliated. They went to the house and then others came out crying, saying, “Now she is dead.”

This reminds us of when Jesus allowed Lazarus to die, and he did not go at once to save him. Again, this is very important because Jesus knew that the other people were there just for fun, just to see the strange thing, the magic. He says again, “Don’t be afraid. She is not dead; she is merely sleeping.”         Now Jesus gives a new meaning to death. First of all, death is a social thing because when somebody dies in the Orthodox Church, it is not just a simple fact: all the relatives and friends come together. It is a social event.

But from the other point of view, when Jesus says, “She did not die, she just is sleeping,” there is a very big shift to philosophy. Why? Because the only sure thing that we know is and all of philosophy knows is what? That we are going to die. That is the only thing that we know one hundred percent. The other things like if you will be rich or not rich, successful or not successful: well we may wish, but we don’t know one hundred percent. And Plato says that philosophy is basically the study of death. And Heidigger said the human being is [unclear] existence moving to death. Finally the dialogue is a dialogue with death. We make death a reality, and all philosophy basically speaks about death. Jesus changed this. He said, “She is not dead; she’s sleeping.” So what do we now know 100%? It is the love of God, that God loves us so much that he does not allow us, although our body is dissolved, we are not dead. Philosophy should not be a study of death; it should be a study of love.

Now I have one class in the university about free will, where we study about different philosophers and their writings, and we have a wonderful teacher. But I asked why do philosophers all speak about sorrow and condemnation about free will and responsibility. But nobody speaks about love. From this point of view, you have a very interesting point.

So when Jesus said that, the others were laughing at him because they did not believe in Him. But Jesus went into the room, taking only three disciples, Peter, John and James, and the girl’s parents. And he said, “Daughter, come up.” And the girl got up, Jesus held her by the hand, and He gave her to her parents. And He took care of her because he told them to give her food to eat because she was weak.

For those who don’t believe, and especially Protestants and other people, the Bible says that Jesus told her to get up, he did not pray – he did it with his authority as the Son of God. But the Gospel says, “Her spirit came back.” So where was her spirit? There is something in human beings that we call spirit or pneuma or soul, which God does not allow to be dissolved, and this has consciousness. And this is alive and it obeyed Jesus Christ and came back to the daughter. And this is why today we prayed for our friends, our brothers, their grandfathers, they know, their souls are happy today. We did Liturgy for them, and as Saint Nicholas [name unclear] says, if they were good people they probably receive the Holy Communion in a way that God knows because they did not come to receive it from a spoon. But also because all the church prayed for them as a community, as the body of Jesus Christ, because we don’t know where they are.

And Jesus told them not to tell others what had happened because the miracle worked and created relationships between the daughter and her parents, but not with the others. So remember, nothing is impossible. God is working slowly. Many times we ask, “Where is God? Why does He allow me to suffer?” But He is, and He will come, and He knows the secret pain and the deep difficulties that all of us have. And when you receive the Holy Communion, you are like the woman who touched his robe, and we are even more than her. And when we create this relationship, our problems will be solved, because the real problem is to create this relationship; all th other things are nothing. Do you have any questions?

 

Q: Why did Jesus tell the parents not to tell anybody, because when she would go out, everyone would know what had happened?

A: This was because what was important for the people was not that the girl was now alive, but that Jesus might have done something like magic movements, like a-wa-wa-wa-wa. They cared for the magic. They did not care about Jesus. They did not care about creating this relationship, which – as I told you – is life. They wanted to see what did he say? Did he do some movements? What was his secret? This was what they wanted to know. Of course the people will see the girl coming out alive, bu He said to them, “Don’t say what happened.” Don’t tell them that I just told her to get up; don’t tell them anything, because they were not ready; they did not want any relationship with Jesus. Do we have any other questions?

 

Q: Why did you mention the number twelve about the girl’s age?

A: That was because it was about the time that she was becoming a woman, and this time is important and we must be careful of our children at different times in their lives. The number twelve appears many times in the Bible: the Twelve Disciples, the Twelve Tribes. It is probably a very perfect, round number. But even this twelve can also be a painful number.

 

Q: You mentioned that she is at the age when she is about to become a woman, so we can maybe connect that to the first part of the story, where we have a grown woman who is not completely a woman and she also becomes alive, as this child does?

A: This is very, very important. Thank you very much. The one who is going to die is about to become a woman, The other person is a woman, but she is like a dead woman. Why? She cannot use her womanhood. And here you see the total miracle: the relationship with God is restoring – or not restoring, it is – life.

Thank you, and now we have food. And also today is the name day of our Bishop Nektarios, so pray for him.

 

Recorder: Prof. Baker

 

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