Sunday, October 16, 2011

Met. Ephrem's Sermon for October 9, 2011

The Arabic original can be found here. It was originally given in the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Kousba.

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

Beloved, this event in the Gospel talks about the Lord Jesus’ passing by a funeral for a young man who was the only son of a widow. The Lord approached the funeral procession—here the Lord represents the procession of Life! The procession of life meets the procession of death. Life meets death.

The Lord Jesus, as it says in the Gospel, had mercy on this widow who was weeping and went and said to her this word of consolation: “Do not weep.” The he touched the dead boy and he arose at once, and he gave him to his mother. Then the people glorified God who worked such a great miracle.

What does this event mean for us humans? Death entered into man by force when he was disobedient and fell, because in the beginning man was not created for death. He was created for life, but because of the weakness of human nature and the fall of man, he became mortal and so the Lord came down from heaven. God, the Creator was incarnate and became man in order to comfort us from this catastrophe that the Apostle Paul calls “the enemy of man.” Death is man’s enemy and life is his hope.

The Lord Jesus came to give us life anew. But the Lord our God who suffered, died, and conquered death, did not erase bodily death. This is wisdom from our Lord, but He has given us the hope of the Resurrection. Through the Resurrection He has given us hope.

A faithful Christian, even if he weeps for someone he has lost, still has hope in the Resurrection. By his faith he considers death in Christ to be a passage to life. This is our consolation, beloved. We die, but the Church does not say, “We die,” but rather, “We repose. We go to sleep,” because we have hope in the Resurrection. The hope of our faith and our comfort is from God. This is why a faithful person, in his prayer and in his faith, is able to have a connection to those who have died, and to be comforted.

We ask God to always comfort our hearts with this faith and this fervent prayer. Amen.

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