In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen



Today we see the Lord show compassion on a widow and raise her son from
the dead.  Now when you read the Scriptures, it is not just a story or
history, there is something that the Holy Spirit wants to apply to you;
to teach you; to enlighten you; to bring you closer to God.  So what is
it that this story can teach us?  Well, the Lord is coming into a city
and the woman is in a retinue of mourners for her son.  Now a woman who
was a widow in those days who lost her son was truly destitute.  Truly
she would have many hungry days ahead of her.  And the Lord sees her and
has compassion on her and He says to her, ?Weep not.  Now, the Lord
says this to her and it doesn-t make a lot of sense; not in the context
of a woman who was mourning her only son.  Stop crying?  She has much to
be sad about.  But then He comes and touches the bier.  He stops the
procession by physically putting His hand on the bier.  Now the Fathers
put great significance on this action.  The Lord was willing to take on
our flesh, wasn-t He?  He was willing to be mixed up in humanity; He was
willing to endure the problems of being a human being and the pain and
the uncleanness to make us able to obtain things that we otherwise
couldn-t obtain.  He touches the bier because He loves us.  Touching the
bier is akin to remembering His incarnation.  It is the same thing as
the story of the Good Samaritan where he takes the man who has been
wounded and is half dead and puts him upon His own beast-that is the
same idea.  Putting him upon His own beast as it were putting him upon
His own shoulders; being willing to fix what is broken by becoming
incarnate and changing humanity from the inside out.  So He touches the
bier and something very important happens when He touches the bier: 
they stop.  If they had not stopped and stood still, then He would not
have spoken.  Now, He tells the young man to rise and the young man
rises from the dead and the woman is beside herself with joy.  Now the
bier is also our flesh.  This is where you should learn something; where
you should apply it to yourself.  Otherwise it is just a story.  A
miracle, to be sure, but something that doesn-t really touch us.  The
bier is our flesh and indeed there is much in us that needs reviving and
the Lord is willing to touch us.  There is something very important that
must be done by us if we want healing:  we must stand still.  We must
stop.  Now actually I believe the major reason why we continue with our
sins, our difficulties and our passions is because we don-t stand still.
 The Lord wants to touch us.  When we have the Holy Mysteries, is this
not the Lord touching us?  With the Holy Spirit abiding in us, is this
not touching us?  But we don-t stand still.  Do we listen?  Do we spend
time being contrite; praying with as much fervor as we can?  Or are
things quick for us?  Are things off-hand?  Do we go on from moment to
moment and not really stand still?  If we stand still, the Lord will
speak to us.  Now He has touched us; He has touched us many, many times.
 Now many of us will receive the Holy Mysteries today; this is truly the
Lord touching our bier, touching our flesh so that we will be made
alive.  For how many of us is this gift that the Lord gives us today
going to touch us to the core?  Is it going to make us tremble full of
faith and warmth?  Or, is it just going to be something that we do and
then we will go on to something else that we will do?  Is it really
going to change us?  Are we really going to stand still and let the Lord
speak to us?  Allow the Lord to heal us?  This is a real key to the
Christian life.  When the Lord touches your bier, your body, you must
stand still, much like Elias did when he went into the cave.  Only when
he stood still did he hear the Lord.  Our society is full of all kinds
of uproar; everything must be distilled to sound bites and to catch
phrases.  We hardly have time, or make time, to stand still.  I am also
convinced that this is one of the reasons why our churches are not very
full.  People go to big auditoriums to be entertained, but they don-t
come to the Orthodox Church to stand still so they can be healed. 
Everything outside of the Church is fast and frenzied and has very
little meaning and doesn-t last very long, while what is in the Church
is eternal.  But, it is not fast or frenzied.  In fact, we are forced to
be patient; to wait on the Lord.  Do you ever wonder why that so many of
the things that you pray for the Lord doesn-t answer?  That they don-t
occur right away?  Or even things you pray for the opposite occurs? 
Have you ever wondered about that?  The Lord is trying to teach you to
be still.  Now our nature is such that if we get everything we want,
whenever we want, we lose interest; we lose fervor.  We no longer have
any compunction.  But the Lord in His mercy is trying to get you to
stand still, to wait on Him.  If He makes things to easy for you, then
you will be far from Him because truly Christianity, even though the
Lord-s yoke is easy and His burden light, for us it can be very
difficult to bear.  It is difficult to bear this yoke because we don-t
stand still in it.  We chafe against it.  Christianity can be very hard
for those who sin, for those who are selfish, for those who are
impatient.  I think this miracle where the Lord touches the bier and
makes it stand still speaks out to all Christians to be patient and to
seek the Lord.  Even in the midst of things that appear to be hopeless,
and certainly this woman-s situation appears to be quite hopeless, the
Lord will touch us, help us.  Now, if you are saying two minutes of
prayer in the morning, or none, then you are not going to hear the Lord.
 If you are rushing through your day and barely giving though to God,
you are not going to hear the Lord.  If the last thing you did with your
Bible was wipe the dust off of it, you are not going to hear the Lord. 
The only way to hear the Lord is to focus on Him.  When He touches your
bier, and He does it all the time, stop!  Listen!  Be expecting to hear
something!  Be expecting to be helped!  Perhaps to be rebuked.  Perhaps
to be comforted.  This is what this miracle teaches us.  Stand still
when the Lord touches you.  Then you will be able to hear Him; hear the
voice, ?I say to you, arise!  He says this to you all the time.  Do you
hear it?  All the times He touches you, all the times He says, ?I say to
you, arise! I say to you that you can be perfected, you can be changed! 
All things are possible for you!  Do you hear Him say these things?  If
not, then try to focus more on standing still.  If you do not pray much,
start praying more.  If you rarely read anything that is good for your
soul, then start reading.  If you rarely pray for others, then make up a
list and start to pray.  Try to have spiritual exercises every day in
quietness so you can hear the Lord.  He is speaking to you!  Now, if you
can-t hear Him it is not because He is not speaking, it is because you
are making such a commotion that you can-t hear Him.  So, when the Lord
touches your bier, brothers and sisters, stand still.  Amen.