Sunday, May 22, 2022

First Homily for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (St. Luke of Simferopol)


St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on May 8, 1953)

Very much could be said to you about the conversation of the Lord Jesus Christ with the Samaritan woman. I have already spoken a lot about this in past years in the cathedral, but I did not speak about one very important thing that you have heard in the current Gospel reading.

When our Lord Jesus Christ unusually deepened His conversation with the Samaritan woman, when He taught that it was not in Jerusalem, not on Mount Gerizim that God should be worshiped, for God is a Spirit, and that He should be worshiped in spirit and in truth, worshiped in more than one place, but anywhere and everywhere all the days of her life, - the Samaritan woman listened to the deepest discourse of the Lord Jesus Christ and this is what she said: “I know that the Messiah, that is, Christ, will come; when He comes, He will announce everything to us." Jesus said to her: "It is I who speak to you” (John 4:25-26).

Here on these words of the Lord Jesus Christ I want to draw your attention. For the first time in His entire earthly life, He directly told a person that He is the Messiah, that He is the Christ. It is I - I am the Messiah, I am the Christ - I, who speaks to you.

He said this for the first time, for He never directly told His apostles, His friends, that He was the Messiah, and even the apostles then considered Him only the greatest prophet, but did not know that He was the Son of God, that He was Christ the Messiah.

Once the Lord Jesus Christ asked His disciples: “Who do people say that I, the Son of Man, am?" They said: "Some John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

He said to them, “And who do you say that I am?” And Holy Apostle Peter answered for all: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

What answer did Christ then give him to this confession? “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonas, for it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

God the Father revealed through the Apostle Peter to all the other apostles that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ.

So, you see, not Christ Himself, but His Heavenly Father mysteriously revealed to the Apostle Peter, and through him to the other apostles, that He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. And He strictly forbade them to talk about it.

As you can see, He never told the chosen people, the people of Israel, that He was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Christ; but here, in a conversation with a Samaritan woman, He said this for the first time.

How will we understand this? How can we explain this? After all, the Jews did not have fellowship with the Samaritans, considering them an outcast people. Not only did they not have spiritual communion with them, they also did not have everyday communion: they never spoke, never ate with them.

So the Samaritans were outcasts in the eyes and hearts of the Jews. And the Samaritan woman herself, at the beginning of her conversation with the Lord, said: “How can You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, to drink?”

Therefore to this Samaritan woman, who did not belong to God's chosen people, she was a stranger to them, and they were to her, the outcast, with whom the Jews did not want to have fellowship, that Jesus Christ said what He had never said to the Jews, that the Messiah is He: "It is I who speak to you."

The Samaritan woman, struck by these words, left her waterpot and ran into the city and said to all the people: “Go, go to Jacob’s well, see at the man who told me everything that I have done in my life, behold, is this not Christ?”

And many, many Samaritans, at her word, went to Jacob's well. At that time, the disciples of Christ also returned, who had gone to the city to buy food. Jesus talked with them about His calling, about what He and them should do. And the Samaritan woman stood and listened to these amazing words. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him at the word of the woman, who testified that He had told her all that she had done. And therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days, and an even greater number believed according to His word” (John 4:39-41).

You see what happened: the Lord converted to faith in Him, to the Christian faith, those Samaritans whom the Jews despised, Jews who themselves did not want to believe, but whom Christ called first - the first to call to faith. Now He called to faith in Himself those who were considered outcasts.

This means that the Lord was the Knower of Hearts: the Lord knew that in His chosen people Israel there would be many, many who would not believe, despite His amazing endless miracles, which the Samaritans did not see, despite the Divine teaching, which the Samaritans did not hear.

Well, if Israel for the most part did not believe in Him, should the work for which the Son of God was incarnated from the Blessed Virgin Mary, descended to earth, ascended the terrible cross of Golgotha and gave His life for the salvation of the human race, really have to remain unfulfilled? Could it remain unfulfilled? No, the Lord knew that there would be many outside the people of Israel, many of those whom Israel considered unclean pagans and outcasts, but who would believe in Him and enter Christ’s flock: "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.”

You see, out of all nations, our Lord and God Jesus Christ will find the sheep of His flock. Who will be the sheep of His flock? Only the humble, only the brokenhearted, trembling at His word, as the Holy Prophet Isaiah foretold.

And we know that today the flock of Christ no longer consists of the people of Israel, the majority of whom rejected Him, but of that part of them that believed, and of those countless meek and lowly in heart, whom Christ found in all ages and still finds in all peoples. There is one Church of Christ in the eyes of God; it is divided only in our sinful eyes.

So, remember that the present little flock of Christ consists and henceforth will consist only of the meek and humble, contrite in spirit, trembling at the word of God.

Know that only those of you who tremble at the words of Christ, who loved Him with all their heart, believed unconditionally, and every word of Him is considered a Divine revelation - only they will be worthy to be friends of Christ, brothers and sisters of Christ. They alone will be deemed worthy to enter His eternal Kingdom.

Does this apply only to individuals, to each of us? Isn’t it necessary to say that Christ’s demand applies to entire nations, among which there are proud peoples, completely far from humility, proud peoples, even exalting themselves above other peoples, thirsting for power over the whole world, thirsting for the treasures of the whole world and for this, committing horrific atrocities in the unfortunate Korean country and in many other countries where the weak and defenseless are oppressed and brutally exploited by strong peoples.

These are the French who oppress the peoples of Tunisia, Morocco and the unfortunate Negroes in their colonies; these are the British who oppress the peoples of Central Africa.

The words of Christ apply to all of them, that they, proud and exalted, will be far, far from the Kingdom of God. They, who imprison peace fighters, speak falsely about their desire for peace.

And we, Christians, shall we really be like them, shall we not love peace with our hearts, peace with the whole world! Shall we not be heralds of peace among peoples, shall we not be opponents of a terrible world war, which is being prepared by proud peoples, thirsting for power over the whole world? Let it not! Let it not! May the word "peace" be sacred to us. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
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