Sunday, 8 December 2013

Saint Theophylact of Ochrid-The Healing of the Woman with a Spirit of Infirmity

 Twenty-seventh Sunday after Pentecost
The Healing of the Woman with a Spirit of Infirmity

Luke 13:10-17

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

10-17. And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over, and could in no wise straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead it away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when He had said these things, all His adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him. The woman suffered from this affliction as a result of demonic assault, as the Lord Himself says, This woman,  whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years. Perhaps God had departed from her on account of certain sins, and as a result Satan was punishing her. For Satan is in part the cause of all the hardships which afflict our bodies, when God on high permits him. From the very beginning it was Satan who brought about our fall by which we lost the incorruptibility in which we had been created; it was Satan who caused us to be bound to diseased bodies prone to suffering, symbolized by the garments of dead skins in which Adam and Eve were wrapped (Gen. 3:22). But now the Lord, with the majestic voice of the Godhead, full of power, drives out the infirmity of this woman. He places His hands on her, so that we might learn that His holy flesh imparted both the power and the energy of the Logos. For His flesh was His own, and not that of some other human person alongside Him, separate from Him in hypostasis, as the impious Nestorius thinks. (1) So great is the goodness of the Lord, Who in this manner took mercy on His own creation. But Satan, who had bound the woman in the first place, was vexed at her deliverance because he desired her continued affliction, and so he bound the ruler of the synagogue with spite, and through the mouth of this man, Satan reviled the miracle. This is how he always attacks the good. Therefore the Lord uses the apt example of irrational animals to rebuke the man who was indignant that a healing had taken place on the Sabbath. And thus not only this man, but all the other adversaries of Jesus as well, were put to shame by Christ's words. For it was insane to hinder the healing of a man on the Sabbath using as a pretext the commandment that the Sabbath be a day of rest. So it was, that even while the people were rejoicing at the Lord's deeds, His adversaries were put to shame by His words. For these adversaries, instead of joining in the jubilation which followed His work of healing, burned with rage that He had healed at all. But the multitude, because they derived benefit from His signs, rejoiced and took pleasure in this healing. You must also understand these miracles to refer to the inner man. The soul is bent over in infirmity whenever it inclines to earthly thoughts alone and imagines nothing that is heavenly and divine. It can truly be said that such a soul has been infirm for eighteen years. For when a man is feeble in keeping the commandments of the divine law, which are ten in number, and is weak in his hope of the eighth age, the age to come, it can be said that he has been bent over for ten and eight years. (2) Is not that man indeed bent over who is attached to the earth, and who always sins in disregard of the commandments, and who does not look for the age to come? But the Lord heals such a soul on the Sabbath in the assembly of the synagogue. For when a man assembles together within himself thoughts of confession (Judah means "confession") and keeps the Sabbath, that is, he rests from doing evil, then Jesus heals him, not only by word when He says to him, Thou art loosed from thine infirmity, but also by deed. For when He has placed His hands on us, He requires that we accept the energy from His divine hands to do in collaboration with Him the works of virtue. We must not be satisfied to receive only that healing which comes by word and by instruction.

1. The heretic Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431 A,D., taught that the co-unoriginate Logos was not conceived and did not take flesh in the Virgins womb, but instead was united to Christ the man at some later time. This implied that the two natures of Christ, the divine and the human, were not united in one hypostasis, that is, in one person, but in two, and therefore were not truly united. If this were so, Christ would not have accomplished the salvation of the human race. As a result Nestorius called the Virgin Mary Christokos, that is, the Birthgiver of Christ, but refused to call her the Theotokos, the Birthgiver of God. This false teaching was condemned as heresy at the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus in the year 431, and from that time Nestorius and all who follow his teaching have been outside the Church.
2. The Greek text of the Gospel expresses the number of years in this fashion: ete deka kai okto, "ten and eight years."

Τό μυστήριο τοῦ Εὐχελαίου. Τί εἶναι τό ῞Αγιο Εὐχέλαιο;

Ἐπισκόπου Ἀνδρέου Ἀράντ καί Χουνεντοάρας
Τό ῞Αγιο Εὐχέλαιο εἶναι τό Μυστήριο μέ τό ὁποῖο παρέχεται ἡ σωματική καί ψυχική ὑγεία σέ ἀσθενεῖς, πού ἐπαλείφονται μέ ἁγιασμένο λάδι, ἀφοῦ διαβάζονται καί ὡρισμένες εὐχές. Τό ῞Αγιο Εὐχέλαιο μεταδίδει τήν Θεία Χάρι στούς πιστούς καί τούς καθαρίζει ἀπό ψυχικές ἁμαρτίες καί τίς σωματικές τους ἀρρώστειες.
Πότε καί πῶς καθιερώθηκε τό Μυστήριο αὐτό;
῾Ο Κύριός μας 'Ιησοῦς Χριστός, ἔδωκε στούς 'Αποστόλους, ὄχι μόνο τήν ἐξουσία νά συγχωροῦν ἁμαρτίες, ἀλλά καί τήν Χάρι νά διώκουν ἀκάθαρτα πνεύματα καί νά θεραπεύουν άρρώστειες καί ἀδυναμίες τῶν ἀνθρώπων (Λουκ,9,1-2), «ἤλειφον ἐλαίῳ πολλούς ἀρρώστους καί ἐθεράπευον» (Μαρκ.6,7-13).
Μαρτυρία διά τό Μυστήριο αὐτό εὑρίσκομε στήν ἐπιστολή τοῦ 'Αποστόλου 'Ιακώβου, (5,14-15),«ἀσθενεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν; προσκαλεσάσθω τούς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς 'Εκκλησίας, καί προσευξάσθωσαν ἐπ' αὐτόν ἀλείψαντες αὐτόν ἐλαίῳ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Κυρίου· καί ἡ εὐχή τῆς πίστεως σώσῃ τόν κάμνοντα, καί ἐγερεῖ αὐτόν ὁ Κύριος· κἄν ἁμαρτίας ᾖ πεποιηκώς, ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ».
Αὐτό πού ἐδίδασκαν καί ἐπετέλουν οἱ ῞Αγιοι 'Απόστολοι, δέν προήρχοντο ἀπ' αὐτούς, ἀλλά ἀπό ἐντολές καί ἀποκάλυψιν τοῦ Σωτῆρος μας Χριστοῦ. Οἱ ῾Ιερεῖς τῆς 'Εκκλησίας δέν κάνουν τίποτε ἄλλο παρά αὐτά πού ὁ Κύριος καί οἱ ῞Αγιοι 'Απόστολοι τούς ἐδίδαξαν.
Ποῦ καί πῶς τελεῖται τό ῾Ιερό Εὐχέλαιο;
Τό ῞Αγιο Εὐχέλαιο τελεῖται στήν 'Εκκλησία καί στά σπίτια τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπό ἑπτά ῾Ιερεῖς, (σέ περίπτωσι ἐλλείψεως γίνεται ἀπό πέντε ἤ ἀπό τρεῖς, ἀπό δύο ἤ ἀκόμη καί ἀπό ἕνα).'Ανάβουν ἑπτά κανδυλάκια, διαβάζουν ἑπτά ἀποστολικές καί ἑπτά εὐαγγελικές περικοπές καί ἀρκετές προσευχές γιά τήν συγχώρησι τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν καί τήν θεραπεία τῶν ἀσθενῶν, οἱ ὁποῖοι καί ἀλείφονται ἑπτά φορές ἀπό τό ἁγιασμένο λάδι (ὅταν εἶναι ἑπτά ῾Ιερεῖς).
Πρίν ἀπό τήν ἀκολουθία τοῦ Εὐχελαίου, οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ἐξομολογοῦνται γιά νά εἶναι προετοιμασμένοι ψυχικά γιά τήν λῆψι τῆς εὐλογίας τοῦ Μυστηρίου αὐτοῦ.
Μέ ῞Αγιο Εὐχέλαιο κλείνουμε ἐδῶ τήν ὀρθόδοξη χριστιανική διδασκαλία γιά τά ἑπτά Μυστήρια τῆς 'Εκκλησίας μας, οἱ ὁποῖες εἶναι οἱ ἑπτά θαυμαστές πηγές ἀπό τίς ὁποῖες ἐκχύνεται ἐπάνω στούς Χριστιανούς οἱ Χάριτες τοῦ ῾Αγίου Πνεύματος.
Θά συνεχίσωμε τήν διδασκαλία αὐτή πιό εὐρύτερα στό δεύτερο μέρος τῆς κατηχήσεως αὐτῆς, ὅπου θά ὁμιλήσωμε γιά τήν χριστιανική λατρεία
῞Οποιος δέχεται καί ἐφαρμόζει μέ εὐλάβεια τήν διδασκαλίαν αὐτή γιά τά ἑπτά Μυστήρια, σώζεται ἀπό τήν ἐνοχή τῆς ἁμαρτίας καί κληρονομεῖ τήν αἰώνια ζωή. ῞Οποιος δέν τά δέχεται τιμωρεῖται. ῾Η σωτηρία εἶναι καθαρότης, φωτισμός καί ἁγιασμός τῆς ψυχῆς μέ τήν Χάρι τῶν Μυστηρίων, τήν ἀληθινή πίστι καί τά ἀγαθά ἔργα.
῾Ο Κύριός μας 'Ιησοῦς Χριστός ἔστειλε τούς 'Αποστόλους στόν κόσμο νά διδάξουν τούς ἀνθρώπους τί νά πιστεύουν καί νά φυλάξουν τίς ἐντολές πού τούς ἔδωσε (Ματ.28,20), «ὁ δέ ἀπιστήσας κατακριθήσεται» (Μαρκ.16,16).
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