3rd Sunday of St Luke
When death occurs it saddens our hearts. For man was not created by God to die; but, was created with the possibility of not dying. If Adam never had disobeyed God’s Commandment in the Garden of Delight, death would never occurred and man would participated in an eternal life here on earth. Man would never had to face pain, sufferings, mortality and finally death, which became his greatest enemy, because of the Fall and the Disobedience to God’s Commandment.
In today’s Gospel’s reading, we see before our very eyes a mother who accompanies her only begotten son to its tomb. The whole picture moves our hearts. The mother with great pain in her soul accompanies the fruit of her womb to its final resting place. She is surrounded by many people and, yet, she remains by herself with the only thought, the lost of her precious child, who was her only comfort in life as she had lost her husband some time ago.
The situation is dramatic. During this hopeless time, the moment, when she preceded towards the tomb, unexpectedly Christ meets with her. Christ meets with the dead young man and changes the course of life. The Source of Life confronts with the death of His creation, and with authority He commands saying: “Young man, I say to you, rise” (Luke 7:14). Immediately, “the dead sat up rise” (Luke 7:15).
The people of Nain were filled with sacred fear, a deep astonishment and an indescribable admiration, when they witnessed this sensational miracle. They had seen and heard about the many miracles which the Lord had performed. But, this, which took place before their very eyes and only by His commandment, was stunning. They witnessed a dead man being raised from the dead. They saw a fellow countryman, who they thought that was for ever lost, coming back to their society alive and in good health.
The young man was dead, and yet Christ came to him. The young man was speechless, and yet Christ speaks to him. With a simple command Christ grants life to the dead. The Word of Christ is a Word of Life, it is Life giving, it is a Word which is not empty and useless. The Word of Christ is addressed to every person and bears the Fruit of its purpose, to save man.
The Word of Christ is not addressed only to the dead young man of today’s Gospel reading, but to all the youth of our time. It is addressed to all those who are spiritually dead. Christ speaks to all and every one of us, who under the bondage of sin, have been captured and enslaved in its mortal nets and are led to our moral catastrophe and death.
Many times we hear people saying, that “we live in difficult times and it is impossible to practice Christ’s Commandments, to live a virtuous and Christ-like way of life”. But, this opinion is completely wrong and it is a deception of Satan. All periods of time have their difficulties and problems. But, in all times Christ is present and alive. He offers true Life to all those who want to follow Him. But, Christ never forces anyone to follow Him. One must follow Christ by his own free will and not by force.
Many times, we hear parents advising their children to have a good time, to party with others and, they even encourage them to live a sinful life without any restrictions or boundaries. These parents, although, they know that their children are living in sin and far away from the Will of God, yet, they do not speak out and, thus, they become participators of their sins because of their silence. They do not teach them to follow the Way of Christ, of the Church, of the virtues and all good deeds. As parents they want to justify their failure by saying: “They are young, let them enjoy Life”!
But, how sad is this situation! We, then, must cry with all our hearts for the failure and the disfiguration of the values of our society! These parents are like the mother of today’s Gospel reading. They are parents who accompany their children to their spiritual tombs.
The youth may work very hard, they might be good within society and have a good character. But, what happens, if they live in sin? If they dishonor God, through their way of life? If they have no relationship with Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church, but only appear at Church during Christmas, Easter, or on a social occasion of one’s death, wedding or baptism? If they do not participate every Sunday in the public worship, or, if they do not confess, or they do not partake of the Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then, they are truly spiritually dead.
All parents take care for their children education, their financial statues, looking forward for a better future life. They struggle very hard to achieve these things out of love towards their children. But, why do they neglect the spiritual aspect of life? Why do we allow our children to be dead spiritually and we do not awaken them to follow Christ and be active members of His Holy Orthodox Church?
The cafeterias, the worldly pleasures, drugs, smoking, night life, gambling can bring only one thing upon a young man’s soul, spiritual death. Unfortunately, many parents accompany their children, as though as dead, without being moved, because they themselves are spiritually dead.
When a young man dies, everyone is there. If the people show so much sympathy towards one who died so young, how much more should we show sympathy, when we see the youth of our society being enslaved under the spiritual death? If the people of Nain had shown so much sympathy, how much more our Lord, Who is the Lord of Life and grants the power to overcome death itself?
In our time, Christ approaches the youth and commands them saying: “Young man, rise”. Rise from your falling. Rise from the dirt of sin. Rise from the spiritual death, which led you to death. The world and the worldly pleasures are with enmity with God, because Satan uses them as his instruments to destroy the image of God, who is man.
The path which the people of Nain followed led the young man to his grave. The path which one follows far away from Christ leads to spiritual death and finally to eternal death.
When one meets with Christ and listens to His voice, then his soul is filled with Life. When one opens his heart to Christ, Who is always standing next to you, then, no matter how many sins one has, through true repentance and holy confession, they will be forgiven. Man’s soul is cleansed from every stain and filth, both of soul and body.
As long as we walk in the path of life, we have the opportunity and hope to meet with Christ. We must never be discouraged. But, again, we must never delay our repentance and our return to Christ our God.
Today’s Gospel reading reveals Christ’s Love and compassion towards the youth. Christ loves all youth and wants to offer them the true Life. The Way of Life one should follow. Christ wants to raise you from spiritual death. He wants you to become His.
Let us, therefore, all together approach Christ and become Christ bearers and not bearers of death.
Panteleimon Metropolitan of Antinoes