In the Gospel, we read about the land of Gerasenes, where Christ came as a doctor. On his way, two demon-possessed men met him, and the demons inside them cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus, Son of God! Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” He drove the devils into the herd of pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. That way, he showed all the people what might happen to them unless they awakened in the spirit and gave them a chance not to plunge into the abyss where the demons were pushing them. But the people of the land told Christ to go away.
Would we not say that our present world has many similarities with the land of Gerasenes? Is it not true that its people, like those of the old times, are laying their hopes solely on human knowledge and wisdom? Is it not a world that believes only in the unlimited power of modern medicine but does not acknowledge in the least the importance of spiritual health and salvation in the faith? For we would be fools not to recognise how much our misgivings and faithlessness weaken our spirits and make us vulnerable to physical infirmities.
Last week, we celebrated the memory of the Holy Unmercenaries Cosma and Damian, endowed with the great gift of healing. Our convent stands among the hospitals. Elder Nikolay Guryanov, who had spiritual children among members of our monastery once said, “You will all be saved through your prayers for the sick.”
Cosma and Damian were faithful servants of God, and they had infinite love in their hearts that the Lord had shed plentifully unto them. With His love, they gave healing to all who asked and had faith. They knew that true salvation was possible in Him alone. We accept Christ; we receive His Body and Blood into us, and we unite within one Body of the Lord; we acquire the power of the spirit. We embrace the Lord in His simplicity. As Saint Ambrose of Optina liked to say, where there is simplicity, there are a hundred Angels, but where there is cleverness - there are none. We cannot know what tomorrow has in store, but today we thank the Lord for bringing us together in Him at Church. We feel the joy of having Christ in our midst.m
The Lord says to us, "everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life." Therefore, we ask Him to strengthen us in our faith and guard us against despair, fear and doubt. We have multiple weaknesses, but God's power is manifest in weakness. So let us stand firm in our faith and fear nothing but sin that separates us from our Lord.
Greetings to all of you this Sunday, and congratulations on receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, the gifts of life from our Lord. His gifts are holy; they cleanse us of our multiple infirmities. So let us not stop giving thanks to Jesus.
Are we doing God's will? This is the first thing we should ask ourselves as Christians. If the answer is yes, then we have peace, and we are in the Lord. Let us learn to love God by loving our neighbour.