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January 16, 2022

Sermon for the 12th Sunday of Luke - On the Ten Lepers (Monk Agapios Landos)

By Monk Agapios Landos of Crete (1585-1657)

These ten lepers, in the most succinct manner, provide an image of the whole of human nature, which was entirely leprous and rendered useless by sin. It [i.e. human nature] had been justly expelled from the Jerusalem Above, that is Paradise, just as the lepers were exiled from Jerusalem [on earth]. They couldn’t be cured by a Priest, Levite, Prophet or any other person, not even by an Angel, unless the Mighty Counsel of the Most High, the co-eternal Messenger and He who is consubstantial with God, came down from heaven, and humanely became human in order to save us humans. All of us, then, had this leprosy. None of us was free from sin except those whom the all-wise Lord Christ had cleansed.

Today, too, who among us does not have this leprosy of sin upon them? No one. Who can boast that they have no sins on their conscience? Avarice is a bad case of leprosy and one that is an incurable passion, for just as leprosy consumes and eats away at our body, so too does avarice devour the soul and corrupt it. The same is true of other crimes, such as lechery, adultery and all other sins, which are an untreated leprosy, of which we can’t be cured unless we hasten to the Lord Christ, the all-powerful Physician, and cry aloud: "Lord, save me." But the Lord didn’t want to save them there and then, though He could have; He sent them to the priests, in order to indicate to us that He has given priests the authority to cure each and every sickness of the soul and body. So let us, also, go to our priests and confessors to reveal our passions and receive healing.

Repentance has such power and grace that as soon as we make a move, in good faith and with a contrite heart, to go to our confessor and tell him our sins, before we even get there we invisibly receive forgiveness and healing from God, just as the lepers were cleansed before they reached the priests. There are some who say that they do not go to confess their sins, because it is enough that the Lord already knows them. What foolishness and vanity! Of course, God knows them, you blockheads, but unless you go and confess them to the priest, who is God’s representative, you won’t be saved. If someone has an open wound and doesn’t show it to the doctor in order to be given the appropriate medication, they won’t be cured. By the same token, unless sinners reveal their passions to their confessor, they won’t be healed. Let us then find a way to remove the leprosy from our soul, to acquire perfect cleansing through confession. And then, when we’ve been healed, let’s not be like the nine, ungrateful for the grace they had received, but let us imitate the one, as being of the right mind, and let us thank God every day for healing us. Even though God lacks nothing, that is, He doesn’t want anything from us, we are greatly benefitted by the thanks we render to Him. We become more like His familiar friends, more conscientious in observing His redemptive commands; we recall His good gifts and so become inheritors of the future blessings of eternal bliss, to which may we all attain, in Christ our God, to Whom be glory and dominion, always, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

From the Kyriakodromion.