: Homily on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost

24th Sunday after Pentecost – the Resurrection of Jairus’ Daughter.

Homily From “The One Thing Needful,” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko)

Last Sunday’s reading from the Apostle told us that we are saved by Grace, and that Grace is received through faith, and this is the gift of God. And we were shown what faith is in a striking example.

And here, even today’s Gospel speaks about faith. To some degree we all possess it. But because it is imperfect, our faith is often subject to temptations. And the most terrible, the strongest of such temptations, is the death of a person near and dear to us. I think that the majority of those present here have already lived through, or are now living through, this incurable grief. But if not, it is something which will inevitably come. Today’s Gospel gives us a classic example of how, in spite of all the difficulty of such an experience, it is possible to endure it. And at the same time it shows us again how much we need faith. For only through faith does God give us and will give us His power of Grace not to fall spiritually in such a terrible moment.

Jairus approached Christ; his daughter was near death. He fell at the feet of Jesus and asked Him to enter his house. Christ agreed, but the people were crowding Him. On the way, the woman with an issue of blood was healed. The whole time there were delays. Christ moved slowly, very slowly. Imagine what Jairus was going through. Here he had asked Christ to hurry. After all, this was a matter of life and death for his daughter. If Christ were one minute late, it might be too late — his daughter could die. And this is exactly what happened. Someone came from the house of the ruler of the synagogue and said to him: “Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master” (Lk. 8:49).

Yes, according to human understanding it was all over. Why trouble the Master? Anything is possible to mend, but not death. Death alone is irreparable. Before it even the Teacher is powerless. Yes, this is so according to human understanding, but not according to God’s understanding. And Jesus, after He heard this, said to Jairus: “Fear not: Believe only, and she shall be made whole” (Lk. 8:50). And in this moment Jairus rejected human understanding and accepted God’s understanding. Now before him stood not just a Teacher, but the Savior of the world, the Son of God — God Himself. Because God alone has power over life and death.

Jairus accepted within himself His words: “Fear not: believe only!” From this very moment he lived only by these words and continued following after Christ. They entered the house. And again two sides: the human side — “All wept and bewailed her.” And Christ said, “She is not dead, but sleepeth.” And again the human. “And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.” But in the soul of Jairus there was an unspeakable calm. He had faith. And faith conquered. “Maid, arise!” exclaimed Christ, and her spirit returned into her and she immediately got up and was united with her father (Lk. 8:52-55).

Yes, but you may say this is a miracle of resurrection, and such miracles do not happen now. True. But the same miracle has been promised to all of us. Every day in our Confession of Faith we read, “I look for the resurrection of the dead.” And this will happen, it will! Not as soon as it happened for Jairus, but it will happen! Pay attention to the following moment. Jairus already knew that his daughter was dead, but all the same he followed Christ, believing His words. How long this walk in faith lasted is not important; but what is important is that it took place.

Let us also believe in the words of the Gospel that the dead will rise; and like Jairus, let us follow Christ in faith. Mystically, this walk of Jairus after Christ did not end and will never end. It goes on even now, and we can all participate in it. Let us hasten to join Jairus. Then the words of Christ, “Fear not: Believe only, and she shall be made whole,” will refer also to us. But for this to happen, like Jairus, we must hold fast to the robe of Christ and endure everything that God sends to us on the road of our life. The way of Jairus was comparatively short. Ours might be long, very long. It will go to the end of our life. But let us believe that there will be the resurrection of the dead and that we will be united with those dear to us who are already with the Lord.