27th Sunday after Pentecost 

The Healing of the Woman 

with an 

Infirmity of Eighteen Years 

on the 

Sabbath Day


In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen

Today is the Twenty Seventh Sunday after Pentecost and also the apodosis
of the Entry of the All Holy Theotokos into the temple.  The Apodosis is
the last day in which we sing hymns for the feast.  All feasts in the
Orthodox church have three parts to them.  The first part is
preparation.  We sometimes prepare by fasting as we are doing for the
Nativity.  And we always have preparatory hymns beforehand, especially
in the Katavasia of the canon, which are hymns that are said at the end
of each ode of the canon in the All Night Vigil for Matins.  There are
other hymns we also sing.  Sometimes we even have entire services that
are just before the great feast itself, like for instance we-ll have
vespral divine liturgy for the pre-festival of Holy Nativity of the Lord
the day before the Nativity.  So we prepare for the outpouring of grace
that God will give us on a particular feast day. Without this
preparation and expectation, we will surely not be able to accept and
understand much of what God wants to impart to us on the day of the
feast, and those days immediately following.

Then of course there is the feast day itself when we sing hymns and
commemorate that specific occurrence, that specific saint especially. 
After this there is the post-festal period, the time in which we still
sing hymns about the feast and we remember it and we, like the
Theotokos, ?treasure these things in our hearts¦, as is said of her by
the Evangelist concerning all the things that she saw in her life that
Christ did and said.   She treasured them all up in her heart.  We
should be like that, too.  We should not be so quick to let go.  When
God gives us grace don-t let go so fast.  Don-t immediately forget and
go out into the world and just forget what happened the past week, the
past Sunday, yesterday.  We must take time to think about these things
and muse over them and pray about them.  And then on the last day, if
it-s an especially great feast of the Lord or of the Theotokos, we
almost reprise the feast.  We sing the same hymns - not all of them, but
many of them that we sang on the feast day itself.  So for instance
today we had the troparion and kontakion for the Theotokos- Entry.  We
also sang the exact same Epistle and the exact same Gospel that was said
on Wednesday morning when we had the Divine Liturgy. 

We also commemorate the Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome today.  And in
the primary reading for today we hear about the healing of the woman who
had an infirmity of eighteen years, and she was healed on the Sabbath
day.  As is usual, in the readings of the Gospel,  there is an inner and
an outer meaning.  The outer meaning is pretty clear to see, when Jesus
Christ rebukes this synagogue leader.  It is very clear how foolish his
words were.  So we know the outer meaning that there is no time
prescribed especially for mercy.  All time is for mercy.  God implants
in us understanding of things, and we have to be able to judge rightly. 
And we know when we should show mercy.  There is no time when man should
put some law ahead of showing mercy. There is an inner meaning, too,
because this woman was all bent together.  She could not straighten up. 
She could in no wise lift herself up.  There is a great meaning to that
infirmity that she had, and our Lord-s healing her on the Sabbath day.  

Our Lord was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, and this
was a habit of His. This is a very Jewish habit to speak all day in the
synagogue on the Sabbath.  And  we try to emulate that in a poor way,
unfortunately like the apostles did it, because of our sins and
laziness.  Not like the early Christians did it, who had so much zeal. 
But we serve the All Night Vigil and we serve the Divine Liturgy and we
preach at the Liturgy and I preach at the Vigil as well because we need
to know as many holy things as we can.  We need to continually be
feeding ourselves with holiness, because we-re so continually,
unfortunately, imbibing the bitter dregs of the world.  So we must do
something to dilute that and to eventually cast it out.  And if you do
not meditate upon holy things, you won-t become holy.  It-s too bad that
we don-t spend all day speaking of holy things.  It would be good if we
did.  The purpose of our gathering together on Saturday and Sunday is to
worship, to expect God to do something to us by partaking of His
mysteries to be sure, to have enlightenment, the medicine of immortality
within us.  But also, to taste something of the sweetness of the
Church-s theology.  It-s God-breathed, you know.  The services are
inspired by the Holy Spirit and they breathe as the Holy Spirit
breathes.  And if you listen and if you pray, you can hear it.  You can
hear God in His services.  

Saturday and Sunday are consecrated to our remembrance of God. 
Unfortunately we do not Him remember every day.  Unfortunately, we fall
into grievous sin.  We get distracted.  But if we can struggle to pay
attention on Saturday and Sunday, whatever our position ( I struggle to
pay attention, too ) - God will enlighten us.  Of course, we will break
bread together, most of us, and be able to taste of the heavenly bread. 
But I tell you, if you don-t come here with an expectation that God will
teach you and enlighten you and make you straighten up, as one who
cannot lift yourself up, and if you do not struggle, then you will come
away today poor and wretched and unenlightened.  You might commune but
you won-t have received any benefit from this heavenly food because you
won-t have struggled.  So you must struggle.  Struggle by coming to the
vigil and having expectation that God will teach you, listening as well
as you can.  And when you fall away from listening, pull yourself back. 
I don-t know any other way to do it.  I don-t know any other way to
explain it.  You just struggle and struggle and struggle.  And
eventually God will indeed make us capable of those things that we are
struggling to do.  He will help us.  

?And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen
years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And
when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou
art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and
immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.¦

The God-man can just say, ?Thou art loosed.¦, and she was loosed from
her infirmity of eighteen years, long standing pain and sadness over her
infirmity.  It was a long time, and the fathers say that this was
mentioned so that we could know, this was God-s work. This is in God-s
territory.  God can heal a man.  No man can heal another man.  And this
is a very simple miracle.  There is not much fanfare to it.  There is
not much of a lead up to it, such as in the miracle of Jairus- daughter,
where there is a whole procession that occurs.  And that has something
to each us.  But here, Jesus Christ, matter of factly, as the God-man,
as the one who created us, cast out Satan with only a word.  ?Thou art
loosed,¦ by the authority of the God-man.  Now man cannot do this.  This
woman was bent.  She was crooked. Solomon says, ?I have seen all the
works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and
vexation of spirit.  That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and
that which is wanting cannot be numbered.¦ 

?Thou art loosed.¦  Our Lord tells her, -Thou cannot help Thyself, but
I, the God-man can.  And I have come to help, and I will.  Thou art
loosed from thy sins, from thy passions.-  And why do I say that? 
Because crookedness is a metaphor for sin and for tempestuousness, for
being lost in the vanity of the world.  -I am the healer.  I came to
heal thee.  I came to make thee able to see me.  You  cannot see me when
you are bent down.  You can only see the ground.  But I will straighten
you up, and then you will see Me, as I am.-  

Why was this woman oppressed?  I told you before, again, I say it was
her sins that oppressed her.  This is a great mystery.  We don-t always
know why a person suffers.  Sometimes they suffer because of their sins,
sometimes not.  But that is God-s territory.  We cannot delve into these
matters.  We must only speak of them with fear and trembling, so as not
to offend the Divine Majesty.  Some people grow old and fat and they are
wicked.  Some people are young and they die in virtue.  Some people
struggle and never seem to be able to get around the problems of life. 
Other people have a relatively  easy time of it. God knows for each man
what his position in life should be for the best possibility for his
salvation, and we don-t know.,  But this woman was bent and crooked, so
the crookedness indicates that she was suffering because of her sins. 
And she suffered manfully.  She suffered for eighteen years.  And she
came to the temple, and she was hoping to be cured. 

There is another incident where Christ cures someone.  I can be so bold
and say that this woman had sins is because of this incident. ?And,
behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and
Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of
good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. ?  What an odd thing that must
have been to hear.  Here a person comes laid out, unable to move their
limbs, and Jesus Christ says, ?Thy sins be forgiven thee.¦  Some of
these people must have thought, ?Well, yes, but don-t you see what-s
wrong with the man?¦  And then others thought, ?He blasphemes.¦  But
this man was sick because of his sins, and this woman was crippled
because of her sins.  And God enlightened both of them.  He healed them
of their sins first.  He loosed this woman of her infirmity so that she
could look up at the God-man, and then she could commence to live a
Christian life.  

Our Lord came indeed to straighten out crookedness.  The Baptizer says
-this is quoted from Isaiah, which is a prophecy about the Baptizer-
?The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of
the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every
valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low:
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:¦ 
The baptizer only announced that this would occur, and the God-man made
it so. Our Lord directly promises through the mouth of the God-inspired
Isaiah ?And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will
lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light
before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto
them, and not forsake them.¦  Only God can make that which is crooked
straight.  And so what happened when this woman was loosed from her
infirmity?  You would think that everyone would have been in awe before
God and they would have fallen on their faces saying, ?Lord have mercy.¦
 But what happened? 

?And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that
Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are
six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be
healed, and not on the sabbath day.¦  

What amazing words.  What amazing stupidity.  This man was filled with
envy and jealousy, and that-s what clouded his mind.  His anger made him
crazy to say such insane things.  What kind of beast would liken mercy
on the Sabbath day to common labor in the field?  Isn-t the Sabbath a
day of rest, though?  He-s right about that. The ruler of the synagogue
is saying a partial truth you know.  The Sabbath day is a day of rest
according to the Jewish law.  And our Sabbath, our day of rest, today,
is the same, where we should rest in Christ and meditate on holy things.
 But is not Christ giving this woman rest?  Is He not fulfilling the
Sabbath day?  Indeed.  This woman had eighteen years of no rest, of
sleeplessness, and of hunger, and of pain, and of despondency.  And our
Lord, on the Sabbath, the day of rest, gave this woman rest.  And this
synagogue leader was too stupid, too full of pride, too full of
arrogance to see this.  

Notice how he addresses this question that he brings up.  He does not
say anything to Christ directly.  He doesn-t have the guts to do it. 
But he is aiming for the glory of men, for the honor of men.  So what
does he do?  He says this out to the congregation, so as to get partners
in crime with him, so as to feel emboldened by other people being full
of sin.  But the Lord answered him very simply and plainly.  And he said
a word that does not occur very often in the scriptures, by the way. 
And when it occurs, you should be terrified, concerning what a hypocrite

?The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one
of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead
him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of
Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from
this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his
adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the
glorious things that were done by him.¦  

This man, this sinner, this prideful and arrogant person looking for the
glory of men, would not address the Lord directly, but our Lord indeed
directly talked to him and to all of the pharisees and the other fellow
sinners who wanted the glory of men, and gave up mercy for their pride. 
Why is this man a hypocrite?  He-s putting on airs.  He cares nothing
for mercy, but only for show. ?An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth
his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.¦  So it
says, the holy Solomon says, in his proverbs.  And then, our Lord says,
concerning the scribes, the pharisees, the synagogue leaders, and all
those others who are hypocrites, ?Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias
prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their
mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men.  And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and
understand:  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but
that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.¦  

This principle that Christ gives about food and about true defilement is
the same principle about whether or not one should heal on  the Sabbath
day.  Of course one should heal on the Sabbath day!.  One should heal on
any day.  One should show mercy on any day, in any circumstance.  And to
even ask the question shows the abysmal ignorance of the interrogator.
?But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!¦ , you people who
question in silly and obtuse ways the mercy of God, ?for ye shut up the
kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither
suffer ye them that are entering to go in.¦  

To be called a hypocrite is indeed a terrible thing.  And hypocrisy is
something that is probably present in each one of us.  It is a sin.  We
must confess it.  We must root it out.  Our whole society is full of
hypocrisy.  Our whole society runs on hypocrisy.  It is a lie.  It is
trying to look like something we are not.  It is not being genuine. 
It-s making false promises.  It-s not showing mercy when we proclaim
ourselves to be Christians.  It-s not praying for our brother when we
see he has a need because we have some other task that troubles us. 
It-s not living the Christian life when we have made that promise in our
baptism.  Oh yes, hypocrisy is a great sin.  And if a man looks inside
himself, he should say, ?Thou hypocrite.¦  And the moment he says those
words he should think about what our Lord says about hypocrites and he
should fall on his face and be like the publican who said, ?God, be
merciful unto me a sinner.¦  

Now this woman was called a daughter of Abraham.  And why?  On account
of her faith. ?I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.¦  This
woman was not dead. This woman was alive in faith.  She had faith, and
therefore she was considered a daughter of Abraham.  And Jesus said in
another place to a man, who had also been healed of his infirmity, 
having nothing wrong with him physically but being filled with the sin
of lust for wealth, that is Zacchaeus: ? This day is salvation come to
this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of
man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.¦ So indeed he is a
son of Abraham, and this woman is a son of Abraham,  and not because of
her virtue but because of her belief, and because of her desire to live

But He wouldn-t say such a thing about the ruler of the synagogue now,
would he?  He called him a hypocrite.  Here is what Jesus has to say
about the hypocrites. In another context, it was written that, ?They
answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto
them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.¦ 
So this is why I tell you that this woman was a daughter of Abraham on
account of her faith.  You can see that to be called a son of Abraham or
a daughter of Abraham means that you believe and act according to your
belief.  And even though this woman had some sins that had bound her,
God released her.  And now she was able to live virtuously.  

There is a practicality that I think we should inculcate in ourselves,
that we can learn from this particular passage of scripture.  It-s easy
to see that one should show mercy on any day. And yet this man, this
synagogue leader, this sinner, didn-t see that, because he was so
concerned about other extraneous details, and concerned about the
boastful pride of life, and the honor of men.  But if we-re guided by
the Holy Spirit, we can discern rightly.  We can discern truly.  We can
see what is right and what is false.  We can understand.  We can know
that the body is not for meat.  Meats are for the body, and if one has a
need according to the body, one eats according to one-s need.  We
understand that principle in fasting.  It is because the Holy Spirit
inspires us, and makes us know.  Makes us understand that only if we
have humility, only if we expect and hope that God will fill us with His
grace.  And then of course we have to act upon His grace, and we have to
root out this sin of hypocrisy that is being shown.  

I tell you a hypocrite will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  And I
also tell you that the vast majority of people in this life are
hypocrites.  It is true.  It is very true.  That is why there is so
little piety in our day - because people give lip service.  These
people, their heart is far from me.  Their lips speak about me but their
heart is far from me, the Lord says.  And that is what our day is like. 
Root out from yourselves hypocrisy, brothers and sisters.  If there is
anything in you that puts on airs, if there is anything in you that
forgets to show mercy, if there is anything in you that looks for the
honor of men, if there is anything in you that is lazy and does not wish
to worship God at the appointed times, then you have something to repent
from: your hypocrisy.  Because you made promises, as I made as well. 
It-s true, I suppose on a small level, moment by moment we fall into
moments of hypocrisy.  That is why God will loose us - He is there to
loose us -from our infirmity.  If we struggle against such things, God
will indeed loose us.  But if we do not, then we will fall into the
depths of hell, maybe not even knowing it.  Maybe we-ll be very
surprised on Judgment Day when our Lord says, ?I don-t know you¦.  -I
don-t know you because you are a hypocrite.  And I have no concourse
with hypocrites.  I told you everything you needed to know.  I gave you
everything you needed.  And I had children that were suffering, lack of
bread and  jail and derision for my sake and they still prayed with
fervor.  And you lived without care and without thought.  You lived as a
hypocrite.  You are no better than the ruler of the synagogue, and you
can go join him.-  

Let us not be hypocrites.  Let us ask God to enlighten us.  And in any
sin that we have, whether it be hypocrisy or any other sin, let us fall
down before Christ.  Let us ask Him to forgive us.  And then we have to
seal our part of the bargain.  We have to make an effort to live
according to His commandments.  May God help us in all things.  Amen.



Old Believer Sermon for the 27th Sunday after Pentecost (unpublished)

?Drops From the Living Water¦, Bishop Augustinos

?Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke¦, St. Cyril, Patriarch of

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 This homily was transcribed from one given On November 25, 1996
according to the church calendar, being the Twenty Seventh Sunday after
Pentecost, and Apodosis of the Entry of the All Holy Theotokos into the

Apodosis means ?leave-taking¦, and is the day in which the major aspects
of a feast are revisited in the church-s hymnology, and is the third
?part¦ of the proper way in which a Great Feast is celebrated, these


Hymns are sung sometimes weeks in advance of the feast, especially the
Katavasia at the canon.

In the case of especially solemn and important feasts, fasting in
enjoined (such as before the Lord-s Nativity, Pascha, the Dormition of
the Theotokos, and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul).

There are often pre-festal services in  the immediate day or days before
the feast. An example of this would be the true Vespral liturgy (this is
NEVER substituted for Vigil and liturgy on the day of the feast itself)
that the Typicon directs to be served the day before Theophany and
Nativity. The entire week before Pascha, ?Holy Week¦ is considered a
?pre-festal¦ period! If you miss even one of those services without due
cause, you are cheating yourself out of a full understanding of the
feast, and a full measure of the outpouring of God-s grace upon you.

The Day of the Feast

The Feast itself is always served with Vigil with Divine Liturgy the
following day. If vigil is not served, great vespers with a FULL matins
(otherwise the essence of the feast is lost) and Divine liturgy is
served the next day. 

The Post-festal period and Apodosis

In the days following the feast, sometimes up to a week, or in the case
of Pascha, even until The Ascension, forty days later, the feast is
continually remembered with hymns. 

On the last day of the feast, it is recalled again with many of the
hymns that were sung on the feast day itself.

The Orthodox way of celebrating a feast, unfortunately forgotten or
ignored in our day, is very ?Jewish¦. For example, Pentecost was a three
day feast for the Jews.

This day was also the  commemoration of Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of
Rome  The Epistle reading appointed is Ephesians  6:10-17, and the
Gospel is 13:10-17.  

There are some stylistic changes and minor corrections made and several
footnotes have been added, but otherwise, it is essentially in a
colloquial, ?spoken¦ style. It is hoped that something in these words
will help and edify the reader, but a sermon read from a page cannot
enlighten a soul as much as attendance and reverent worship at the Vigil
service, which prepares the soul for the Holy Liturgy, and the hearing
of the scriptures and the preaching of them in the context of the Holy
Divine Liturgy. In such circumstances the soul is enlightened much more
than when words are read on a page. 

 Cf. Luke 2:18-19 ?And all they that heard it wondered at those things
which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.¦

 Luke 13:11-13

 Cf. Mark 5:22-42 and Luke 8:41-56, where the raising of Jairus-
daughter, and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood is
recounted in powerful detail.

 Ecclesiastes 1:14-15

 Matthew 9:2

 Isaiah 39:3-4

 Isaiah 42:16

 Luke 13:14

 Luke 13:14-17

 Proverbs 11:9


 Matthew 23:13

 Cf. Luke 18:13-14, ?And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift
up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying,
God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his
house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth
himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.¦

 Matthew 22:32

 Luke 19:9-10

 John 8:39

 Cf. ! Cor 6:13

 Cf. Matthew 15:8, ?This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth,
and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.¦ and
Mark 7:6, ?Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is
written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is
far from me.¦ See also Isaiah 29:13, which the Lord quotes. 

 Cf. Luke 13:25, ?When once the master of the house is risen up, and
hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at
the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say
unto you, I know you not whence ye are¦.

The Healing of the Woman with an Issue of Blood

 and the Raising of the Daughter of Jairus

The Twenty Seventh Sunday after Pentecost 

The Healing of the Woman with an Infirmity of Eighteen Years on the
Sabbath Day

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The Twenty Seventh Sunday after Pentecost 

The Healing of the Woman with an Infirmity of Eighteen Years on the
Sabbath Day