|10 - Jairus Daughter and Hemorrhaging Woman, Nov 6, 2016 (with audio)|
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Our Gospel this morning says, “When Jesus returned.” He is returning from the land of the Gergasenes as from the place of the dead. It was on “the other side” of the sea, in the “beyond”. He is returning as from Hades or Hell where He delivered a man – a “certain man,” Adam – from a “legion” of demons.
In the mystery of the Incarnation, God is conceived in the flesh of the Holy Virgin and the Holy Spirit. Earth opens onto heaven, time onto eternity. Every event in the earthly life of Jesus Christ opens onto the eternal mystery of God hidden from the ages.
The prophet, Jeremiah, remember, says that the heart is deep, beyond all things, and it is the man (Jer 17:5/9 LXX). Moses said, the Word of God is in your heart (Dt 30:14). St Paul says that Jesus Christ is the Great Mystery of God (Eph 5:32) that is in you (Col 1:27); i.e., in the deep of your heart. The LORD Himself says that the “Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” The holy fathers of the Church teach that the precise point at which divinity is united to humanity in Christ is in the nous or the heart. More deeply, then, the LORD is returning from the land of the Gergasenes beyond, on the other side of the sea, as from hell in the deeps of the human heart.
Moreover, the heart, as the self, as Jeremiah says, is that (ontological) point where we begin, where we burst into being, if you will; it is where the real Big Bang occurs. The inmost “chamber”, the “secret closet”, it is that “place” where you exist beyond the world even as you are in the world; because, the heart is you, and you are always you beneath all the changes you undergo as your body, your psyche and your mind grow and develop in this life of the world.
“My son,” says the Proverb, “attendclosely to my words. Keep these words in your heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh” (Prov 4:20-22). See how the heart is like a door that opens beyond itself onto the life of God from above. “Keep your heart with all vigilance,” the Proverb says, “for from these words the springs of life flow out.” The word is the verb form of exodus, a road or way that goes out. By this word, the Proverb draws a picture of the life of God flowing like a mighty river out of God and carried into the heart in the wordsof the LORD. The picture also shows the life of God, having flowed into the heart and cleansed it, enlivened it and sanctified it, even deified it, now flowing out of the heart and returning to God, so that it would constantly lift the heart upwards out of and beyond itself, carrying it ever deeper and deeper into the Beyond of God.
It says, “When Jesus returned.” Jesus is the Word of God who became flesh and pitched His Tent among us. That means, in biblical language, that He made the flesh He received from the Holy Virgin to be the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting. The Word of God is personally present to us in His flesh and blood He now shares with us (Heb 2:14). For, even when He was present to Israel in the OT Tent of Meeting, He was still outside of them because He was in the Tent; He was not in them. But now, He is in the flesh, and so He is truly present withinus wherever we are.
The LORD says to Mary and Martha: “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” The Resurrection and the Life, then, became flesh; what dwells in the moving Temple of the LORD’s flesh is the Resurrection and the Life of God. Jesus Christ Himself is the Life of God that flowed out of God the Father in the Mighty River of the Holy Spirit all the way to Galilee (cf. Eze 47:8 LXX) and beyond, as we read in last Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus Christ is Himself the WORD of God that was carried in the words of the LORD – they are His words, logoi of the Logos (words of the WORD, St Maximus the Confessor) – into the human heart when He became flesh and pitched His Tent, when He became the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting that is “among us”.
So, when we heard in the Gospel last Sunday that the LORD sailed to “the other side” and into the “beyond” to the tombs of the Gergesenes and delivered a man from the legion of demons, we should see the wonder incomprehensible even to angels, the wonder of God the WORD flowing from out of God the Father in the Life of God, the Holy Spirit, all the way into the deeps of the human heart, even to the division of soul and spirit and into its thoughts and intentions where man has turned his back on God and become a son of disobedience under the power of the devil who holds him enslaved through fear of death. In the mystery of the Cross, the WORD of God flows out even beyond His flesh to the place of the dead and “pitches His Tent” to become present even among those sitting in the region and shadow of death as the Light of Resurrection and Life that shines in the darkness and cannot be extinguished.
You can see how the mystery of Christ’s Holy Pascha is present and active in all the Gospel events of His Incarnation taking place, in time, before His Holy Pascha. We stand with the crowd this morning in that same Paschal mystery that is beyond time even as it is in time, watching and waiting for Him to return from the beyond, i.e., from the deeps of our heart where He has delivered us in the waters of our holy baptism from our “life-long” bondage to the devil (Heb 2:15), that we may receive Him as our food and drink for the remission of our sins and life everlasting.
So, in raising this little girl from the dead, is not the LORD in His Spirit, “flowing out of Himself” to the “other side” as He sailed to the land of the Gergesenes, to reach her heart in the “beyond” that now lies like a corpse in the tomb of her body, to raise her up and bring her back to the land of the living? Is this not what He does for each of us in the font of Holy Baptism? So, when He commands that she be given something to eat, can we not hear the word of the Proverb to give to her His Word (Prov 4:20) as His Body and Blood, that she may live in Him Who Is the Life and Resurrection? (cf. Jn 6:53)
For, the natural movement of Christ’s Body and Blood that we receive in Holy Eucharist is this exodus that goes all the way down into the beyond on the other side; i.e., down into the deeps of our heart where we are “unclean”, as was this hemorrhaging woman (cf. Lev 15) and to cleanse us and to create in us a clean heart and to put in us a new and right Spirit, the very Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, and to bring us into the land of our inheritance (cf. Eze 37:12), which is Christ the LORD Himself (Num 18:20).
Was not the Power the LORD felt going out of Him the Holy Spirit going out in its exodus into the body of the hemorrhaging, i.e., the dying woman to bring health to her flesh (cf. Prov 4:22), i.e. to raise her to life and make her a “daughter” of God? (cf. Jn 1:12)
He then says to her: “Daughter, go in peace.” But, Christ is our Peace. He is the WORD of the Proverb that we are to keep in our heart for life and health. And so, I hear in His command the word of the Proverb: “Remove from yourself a deceitful mouth and lying tongue. Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you (i.e. to the mystery of Christ who is in you and not to the lusts of the world that are passing away). Take heed to the way of your feet. Do not swerve to the right or to the left. Turn your foot away from evil. Then all your ways will be sure” (Prov 4:24-27). For, you will be walking on the Rock which is Christ, the sure path that goes up as in exodus to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let us not seek our comfort or refuge in the chambers of the world’s seductive pleasures or in the wisdom of the world’s opinions. They are all darkness, filled with death. In them, we live among the tombs. Seek refuge from the troubles of this dark world by falling in step with Jairus and the hemorrhaging woman, to go with them “into your house”, the chamber of your heart, to find the LORD there and to touch the hem of His garment, His sacred flesh and blood given to us in the words of His Holy Church. Let the life of His WORD be the food that nourishes your inner man, that you may be caught up in the mighty river of His Life and Health and be carried out of yourself, out of the tombs, out of loneliness and fear, and ever upward to God in His Holy Resurrection. Amen!