Archbishop’s Teaching

3rd Sunday of Lent Luke 8, 40-56.

Great Lent period
3rd Sunday of Lent
Homily of His Excellency Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman
Luke 8, 40-56.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

There is nothing more difficult than living with something that drains your
life, that spends the best years of your existence and consumes it in vain,
especially when it lasts. In such circumstances, man finds himself
powerless, desperate, looking for a way out of his reality. Is there an
escape route he can flee through?
In the passage we read, a bleeding woman had been suffering for twelve
years, having spent all her money on doctors, but no doctor was able to
heal her. According to Jewish law, she was considered impure and
marginalized in society because of her blood flow. She could not touch
people or the objects they touched, for she would make them impure.
More importantly, she could not go up to the temple or enter a synagogue
for prayer. She was isolated from both humans and from God.
Perhaps she had lost all hope in her condition, for she had sacrificed all
she had to find healing, not only from her physical illness, but also from
her isolation.
Time passed, her life was draining away and she was powerless, watching
the world live as she gradually died. Was there a way out for her?
I'll try to read with you what's behind the written lines.
This woman had heard about Jesus, but we do not know if someone had
told her about him or if she had heard about him from afar, the one who
healed human illnesses. However, the news of Jesus brought hope to the
desperate. He brought her a ray of hope, so she made her decision and
gathered her courage, waiting for the right moment. But she was surely
incapable of approaching him in the middle of the crowd, especially in
her condition, for everyone knew her and knew her condition. She would
not dare approach him in the crowd! It would be better for her to follow
him to a faraway place, to a village where nobody knew her. There, she
would be free to act. Perhaps she did!
What was strongest about her faith was that she never doubted for a
moment that her condition of impurity would contaminate the one who
purifies the impure. On the contrary, she was convinced that if she touched
him, he would purify her.
In the midst of the crowd around him, in the tumult that surrounded him,
she slipped in unnoticed and touched him, so her bleeding stopped. But in
fact, it was not she who had touched him, it was he who had touched her.
For the touch of Jesus on human beings brings total healing, redemption
for those who believe in him.
Our situation is similar to hers, we who are consumed by the flow of sin,
our life and all that it contains is vain and futile. Sin makes us impure like
those with a torrent that drains them. It separates us from the world of
healthy living and prevents us from meeting God.
Have you ever heard of Jesus? Have you despaired of bleeding sin in your
life? Do you want to be healed? Make your decision, make up your mind,
approach Jesus, come to him without anyone noticing, believe that if you
touch him, you will be healed, believe that if you kneel before him in
repentance and ask him for healing, he will not refuse you a new birth that
will change your life and make you a son of God. The apostle John says
in his gospel: "But to all who received him, to those who believe in his
name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of
blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John
Don`t have doubts in your heart, don`t let the noisy voices of the world
around you stop you from coming to him, the letter to the Hebrews says:
"Today, if you hear his voice, don`t harden your hearts." (Hebrews 4:7).

† Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

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