THE HEALING CHRIST OUR HEAVENLY PHYSICIAN V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli, Ph.D. “He had compassion on her.. God has visited His people!” + In Gospel read on the 20th week after Pentecost is the event St. Luke recorded in Jesus life the raising of the widows from Nain‟s son from the dead. We all know St. Luke himself was a physician. In this case an earthly physician is writing about the Heavenly Physician. Nain, was a small village about a day‟s journey from Capernaum near the foot hills of Mt. Tabor where the Transfiguration took place. Historians report there is still a cemetery discernable on the outskirts of the ruins of this city. Historians report widows did not have it easy in Palestine in Jesus‟ time. Palestine was an agrarian land requiring hard work, men, whether husband or son were essential for survival. She would have few legal rights, could not inherit land and basically be a ward of those who would extend charity. What are the requirements for healing to take place. First there has to be a disease. Obviously, the widow‟s son had died. Historians report the funeral procession would in part be made up by professional mourners shouting out shrill wailings and howls of grief accompanied by doleful musical flutes and cymbals. It is not unreasonable to think or conjecture some disease of the day overtook this widows son. Second for healing, on some level there must be compassion. What is compassion? It is deep awareness of the suffering of another. The word derives from the Latin “com” with or sharing and “passio”, that is passion or suffering. Jesus came upon the widow weeping, Jesus sensed her sorrow. He was aware of her pain and suffering. And Jesus said to her “Do not weep.” Earthly physicians although they enter their profession for many reasons, at least some may have some level of compassion, or feelings for their suffering patients among their motives. The first thing to note is the compassion of Jesus is Divine. Divine Compassion is His only motive. On commenting on this gospel St. Cyril of Alexandria point out: “The dead man was being buried, and many friends were conducting him to his tomb. But there meets him Christ, the Life and Resurrection, for He is the destroyer of death and corruption. He it is „in Whom we live and move and have our being‟ (Acts 17:28); He it is who restored the nature of man to that which it originally was; and set free our death-fraught flesh from the bonds of death (St. Cyril of Alexandria. Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, Homily 36). Everything that occurs in the gospels is for our benefit. What is to be the benefit for us in this gospel narrative? We are to be healers. This statement could be countered by: “We cannot raise even a single person from the dead, yet alone all mankind.” But yes we can and we are called to do so. We are called to raise ourselves and those around us from the death of sin. To be followers of Christ, we can and must work at healing our own sinfulness and the sinfulness of others which as St. Cyril points out is connected to death in the flesh. It is Jesus, Himself that will physically raise those from the death-fraught flesh, so described by St. Cyril of Alexandria to the life of glory, if sin, the illness of our souls have been overcome. We know the illness of the soul that brings about

spiritual death: pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and spiritual sloth. We know that these illness can occur in us not only by our own actions and thoughts, but by counseling or commanding others, by consenting to what they do, by provoking, praising or giving flattery to the evil, the sinfulness the illness they are manifesting. We know spiritual death in others can be hasten by concealment, silence or even the concealment of their illness. However we also know the tools of spiritual healing: humility, charity, love and forgiveness, chastity, gentleness and mildness, moderation, spiritual joy and happiness and finally zeal or diligence for the things of God. One stumbling block for many for those hearing or reading about the „healing‟ ministry of Christ is “I hurt so much, I or someone I love is in so much pain—I cry out to God, Lord help me, cure me or my loved one and He does not answer.” On a human level this is a real, true stumbling block. On a human level I have no answer, the question cannot be answered. But it can be answered on a Divine Level. Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, a contemporary spiritual father of the Church, who passed to his Eternal Father in July 1994 left us a Divine answer to a this very human question. His biographer, Priestmonk Christodoulos writes: “One day, I went to Father Paisius and asked him: -Elder, what do saints have that makes them different from the rest of us and thus they receive the grace of God? –Our saints had divine justice instead of human justice, he replied. What is divine justice? I asked him once again. He answered –Suppose, two men are siting oat the table t eat. In front of them there is a plate with ten peaches. If one fo them greedily eats seven and leaving three for his friend, he is being unfair to him this is injustice. Instead, if he says: “Well, we are two and the peaches are ten. So each one of us is entitled to eat five peaches.” If he eats the five peaches and leaves the other five for his friend, then he applies human justice; That is why, many times, we go to court to find human justice. However, if he undeertands that his friend likes peaches very much, he can pretend that he is not very fond of them and eat only one, and then says to him: “Please eat the rest of the peaches, as I don’t really like them, …this person has divine justice; he prefers to be unfair to himself by human standards and be rewarded for his sacrifice by God’s grace, which he will abundantly receive….Human justice is zero compared to divine justice ” The gospels are filled with examples of divine justice, Jesus, God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, allowed Himself to be bruised, derided, cursed, defiled and crucified for our salvation: He even said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do (Lk. 23:34). The workers in the Vineyard who came in at the last hour, received the same wage as those who toiled all day. (Mt. 20). Our constant prayer when confronting the physical and spiritual illness incomprehensible in human terms, which are we or our loved one may have is the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Mt. 26:39). Jesus did not guarantee human healing, but divine healing. The meaning of our own crucifixion unknown to us now, is understood and lead to glory in God‟s eyes. Jesus I trust in you. Glory to God in all things …. For Ancient Faith Radio … this is Fr. George Morelli.


Ageloglou, Priestmonk Christodoulos. (1998). Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain. Mt. Athos, Greece: Holy Mountain.

THE GOSPEL (Third Sunday of Luke) The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (7:11-16) At that time, Jesus went to a city called Nain, and many of His disciples and a great crowd went with Him. As He drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people!”

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