THE TEN LEPERS.

 

   

 

The virtues build a new person radiating love to the world.”

(Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo who consecrated our temple.)

 

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16.

 

SUNDAY 16TH JANUARY. Veneration of the Precious Chains of the Holy Apostle Peter. St. Honoratus, Archbishop of Arles and founder of Lerins Monastery (429). St. Sigebert, King of the East Angles, Martyr (635). St. Fursey of Burgh Castle, Enlightener of  East Anglia(650). Blessed Maximus the Priest of Totma (Vologda), Fool – for – Christ (1650).

 

Nothing breaks human pride so well as the habit of obedience to one’s elders. In ancient Sparta, obedience was regarded as a great virtue. A tale is told of a Spartan soldier in battle, hurrying to engage the enemy. Just as he drew his sword to cut down his adversary, the trumpet sounded for the end of the battle and he re-sheathed his sword. When someone who had seen this asked him why he had not run the enemy through, he replied: “It is better to obey the commander than to kill the enemy.” Christian obedience is different from this Spartan's obedience in that it is voluntary and has as its goal the salvation of the soul; that is, it exists not in order to safeguard an earthly kingdom  but for the attaIning of the Kingdom of heaven. St. John the Dwarf began his ascetic life with an elder in the Thebaid. In order to teach his disciple obedience, the elder planted a dead tree in the earth and told him to water it every day. John watered the dead wood assiduously for three years, and then it suddenly turned green and bore fruit. This is the fruit of willing obedience. The Lord Himself was obedient to death on the Cross.(Phil. 2:8). From the Prologue from Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic.

 

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 17:12-19.”Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him  ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off................”0

 

We are in some ways all lepers as we are far from perfect in our lives before God. We have spiritual and moral leprosy. Leprosy was, and is, a terrible disease that eats away at human flesh. At the time of our Lord’s sojourn on earth, a leper was unable to have any contact with other people apart from the other poor souls afflicted with this disease. In our own lives we are stricken with spiritual leprosy when the forces of evil eat away at our acknowledgement of the reality of God and His boundless love for all of us. This leprosy does not show itself in social isolation and rejection by society but is nevertheless very real. We become isolated from God and feel far from Him and look to the world for salvation and comfort which, of course, is dependent on the shifting sands of time and the fickleness of human love. This is not the despairing scenario that it seems. Our God’s love for us is total and when we turn our backs on Him His love still embraces us waiting for our return to Him. Christ showed us this in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

      In the Gospel for today Christ heals ten lepers, the proof of their healing being to show themselves before a priest who would vouch for their cure. On their way they were cleansed of their leprosy. One returned and, prostrating himself before Christ, gives thanks for his cure. Jesus asks “Were there not ten cleansed? But were are the nine?” The great lesson here is the fact that the one who returned was a Samaritan, in Christ’s words “a foreigner”. We are all too keen to wrap ourselves in the comfort zone of Orthodoxy. Do we forget our leprosy that allows us to mix with others in the same situation of being human? When Christ heals us do we assume that our adherence to the Church is enough and forget in all humility and gratitude to turn to Him and glorify Him for His love for us? Christ does not condemn the nine but tells the Samaritan that his faith had cured him. Do not condemn or judge others who are not of our faith, for we may be numbered among the nine cured lepers who did not return to give thanks.

 

                                                                       Much Love,

 

                                                                        Fr. George.

Please continue to pray for Catrina, Luca and Nicholas.