October 9, 2022

Homily for the Third Sunday of Luke (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on October 26, 1952)

Let us transport our thoughts to distant ancient Palestine, let us approach the city of Nain and see there an ineffable, indescribable spectacle: we will see a huge crowd of people, along with the apostles, accompanying the Lord Jesus Christ, for crowds of people always followed Him, attracted by His Divine teaching, His glorious miracles.

A sad procession comes out of the gates of the city: they carry the only son of the unfortunate widow to the burial, and her heart breaks, and she cries and sobs inconsolably. Her Jewish acquaintances follow the coffin and weep with her.

The Lord suddenly stops the procession. He approaches the bed of the deceased, touches the stretcher with his hand and says:

“Young man, I tell you, get up!”

And the deceased sat down on the stretcher, looking around in amazement.

The people recoiled in amazement, their hearts trembled, and they exclaimed:

“A great prophet has arisen among us, and God has visited His people."

It was one of the greatest miracles of the Lord Jesus.

But not only the son of the widow of Nain was resurrected by the Lord, you know that he also resurrected the dead daughter of Jairus, the head of the synagogue; you also know the even more amazing resurrection of Lazarus, who had already been lying in the tomb for four days, already stinking, as his sister Martha said. Lazarus, entwined in funeral shrouds, came out of the tomb, and the people trembled, the people were amazed.

Why, why did the Lord perform these marvelous miracles of the resurrection of the dead?

In the current reading of the Gospel, you heard that He had mercy on the unfortunate widow, but in the description of the great miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus, we read that the Lord was in great sorrow and shed tears, seeing the weeping and wailing of the sisters of Lazarus and the Jews who came to console them.

So, the mercy of God, the love of God, the compassion of God impelled the Lord Jesus to work the resurrection of the dead.

But is it only? No, not only: the greatest miracles in the world were also needed in order to confirm faith in Him from the people of Israel, to shake the hearts of people and turn them to God.

But this is not enough: there is a third, most important reason for the resurrection of the dead by the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the troparion of the feast of the Lord's Entry into Jerusalem we hear:

“When You raised Lazarus from the dead, before Your Passion, You thus assured the general resurrection.”

General resurrection... assured... What does this mean?

This means that Christ resurrected Lazarus in order to assure us of the possibility of the general resurrection of all people on the Day of the Last Judgment, in order to refute the impious opinion of people who claim that there can be no resurrection of the dead, that everything ends with the death of a person, and he plunges into eternal deepest darkness.

The Holy Apostle Paul spoke very important words about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is also in vain. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Corinthians 15:12-18).

Our faith is vain - faith in Christ, faith in God is vain, if we do not believe in the resurrection, the general resurrection, and above all the resurrection of Christ.

Tell me, are not the hearts of millions of people tormented by the heavy question: how does God allow sinners, the wicked, those who oppress others, who take away the property of widows and orphans, liars, false witnesses, informers, so that they prosper, as we often see?

How He allows pious people, quiet people, good people, poor people to experience severe need, to be persecuted by the powerful?

Where, they say, is justice with God?

Where?!! In the resurrection - in the resurrection of the dead!

Tell me, in our terrible days, when monstrous crimes, monstrous atrocities are being committed in the unfortunate Korean country, from which the hearts of merciful people tremble, how, how can it be that the Lord would allow this heroic people to be destroyed?

Oh, it can't be, it can never be!

Even if the robber-aggressors remain unpunished now, in this life, their resurrection awaits - a terrible resurrection for judgment.

And they will appear, covered from head to toe with the blood of children and women, old men and women of Korea, these robbers will appear, who burned the dwellings of the civilian population with napalm; those accursed ones who threw bombs with plague and other terrible bacteria.

They will appear, they will appear, for there will be a resurrection, for Christ is risen and by this He confirmed faith in the resurrection, for death, eternal spiritual death, is defeated by Christ's resurrection.

And just as He resurrected on the third day after His grievous death on the Cross, so will all, all people, resurrect.

The righteous will be resurrected on the resurrection of life, and sinners on the resurrection of judgment. And there will be a Last Judgment - there will be a judgment!

All the unfortunate, all those who suffered, all those persecuted, all those persecuted for Christ will receive their reward - they will receive their reward in the joy of paradise.

Those damned ones who trampled on the law of Christ, who sowed satanic hatred everywhere will also receive retribution. They will also rise and hear from the lips of our Savior: “Depart from me, cursed ones, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.