Thursday, October 27, 2011

Met. Ephrem's Sermon for October 23, 2011

This sermon was originally given on Sunday, October 23, 2011 in Kfar Hazir. The Arabic original can be found here. 

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Beloved, you heard this passage from the Gospel according to the Evangelist Luke, which talks about this insane person, and it says that he is insane because there were demons in him. This is something surprising and difficult to comprehend because everything that has to do with demons and evil spirits is difficult and generally hard for a person because man is material and corporeal.

This passage from the Gospel is read more than once in a year, perhaps because of its importance. It says that this person came to the Lord Jesus Christ who expelled demons from him and the person became well. It mentions that when he was insane and ill he would behave strangely, not returning home but going to tombs and not wearing clothes but remaining naked. And this is what we notice among many people who are mentally ill. So how are we Christians to understand this?

Science says that man has a mind, a body, and a spirit and that insanity, as doctors describe it, is an imbalance or confusion in the mind, in the brain. God created the brain, the mind, so that man can be able to order his life. He created the body to bear man in his life on earth. And God also gave man of His spirit in which there is life. Life comes from the spirit. It does not come from the mind and it does not come from the body because this spirit is God’s spirit and life comes from God. But the spirit, according to the research of modern scientists, this spirit, this soul, is reflected in the mind, in the brain, and in the body. It is reflected in the health of the mind and the body. If a person lives through God’s spirit, his mind becomes well and his body also becomes well and healthy. But when a person lives by a spirit other than God’s, by the devil’s spirit, by the spirit of this corrupt world, by the spirit of evil, this is reflected negatively in his mind which becomes confused and its activity becomes unbalanced. It is also reflected in his body, which becomes ill. Sin, for our holy fathers, is an illness.

For this reason this passage from the Gospel is important, because it warns us Christians and it asks us to live by God’s spirit and not by this spirit of this corrupt world. It is at that point that we remain well. Peace remains in us. Joy remains in us. Our mind remains well and our body also remains well.

This is why this insane man, when he sees the Lord Jesus who had mercy on him and expelled from him the spirit of evil—which is active in the world today—he becomes well. He puts on clothes and becomes calm. He is healed of his illnesses of mind and body and follows Jesus. So when evil leaves a person, he becomes calm and is healed.

Beloved, let us Christians return to the way of the Lord, in which there is life and health, the health of mind and soul. Amen.

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