Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Fifth Sunday in Great Lent (Kfiphtho / Crippled Woman)

Sermon / Homily on Luke 13:10-17

Devotional Thoughts for The Sunday of the Crippled Woman

by Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, Philadelphia

Gospel: St. Luke 13: 10-17

The Lenten season offers us the experience of direct involvement of Jesus in personal life of many people through different miracles. One way it is a symbolic expression that we are making a special season for God to directly involve in our lives through special prayers, meditation, fasting, humanitarian acts etc. Thus some kind of a change or transformation takes place in our lives as well. In many people this transformation makes permanent impact and thus their life is changed forever. For most of the people the transformation is just a seasonal one. That is why our lents end with a lot of celebration that is attached to a 'going back' to the abandoned bad habits. It looks so funny that lent is not able to make lasting impact on us. But to those people in whose life Jesus realistically intervened, their transformation will be complete.

During Jesus' time, each of the persons who experienced the miracle in his/her life, the impact lasted throughout their lives. The blind, the deaf, the paralyzed, the evil spirit possessed and so on did not have a seasonal healing but a permanent healing. This is true of any one who will have that deep personal experience of being touched by the Lord during the Lenten season. This week we will meditate upon the crippled woman whom the Lord touched to release her from the bondage of Satan.

These are a few thoughts that will help us while pondering on this miracle.

1. The crippled woman must have been a regular attendee to the Synagogue.

She did not go hoping to meet Jesus or expecting healing from Jesus. She would have missed the Lord if she was a sporadic visitor to the worship like many of us who go to church based on convenience. For that reason alone she had the opportunity to be touched by the Lord.

Continuous seeking of the Lord is necessary if one wants to have a 'Jesus experience'. Our fore-fathers taught us how essential it is to go to Church on every Sunday. Many people are still under the wrong understanding that taking part of the Holy Communion every Sunday is not necessary. I heard some people commenting about regular communicants, "is that man so sinful that he takes Holy Communion every Sunday?" In fact our simple visit to church on Sunday has no meaning unless we experience the Lord by taking part in the Holy Communion. Both attending and taking part of the Holy Communion are essential for a complete experience of the Lord.

2. The community that she was living with was not aware of the reason for the sickness of this woman even after 18 years.

It was only Jesus who could figure out immediately that the crippled lady is possessed by a demon. This happens in our own times. We have several people who come to worship with us but we never know what their problems are, or we never care about the problems they are facing. We may criticize them or nag them for something or the other. Or we may make bad comments about them. But we don't want to know if they have any problem.

In larger parishes, people just come in and go back without even knowing each other. Perhaps in Kerala people may know each other as they live there forever. Outside Kerala there are several new people who try to acclimate into a parish but the old-timers rarely care for them, that too if it is a big parish. In a small parish it may be slightly different. Even the inquiring into the problems of others is not our worry. If we hear something wrong about them, we are more than happy to spread that news about them to others. Such communities will have such demon possessed people always with them. But none will help them released from the bondage.

3. Demon possession can make physical impediments in human life.

Often we are unable to detect such sickness. Satan always tries his best to bring different kinds of ailments in our life to detract our life away from God. Many of us are vulnerable if tested with physical ailments. We will just live with the ailment without knowing that this ailment is brought by Satan making us not look up to God but only look down.

Gregory of Nyssa in his well-known treatise, "The Making of Man" refers to human ability to look up is the proof that he is made in the 'image of God'. Animals do not look up as they are always looking down for food. Humans have the special grace to look up and seek the face of God. The people who are aware of their status as made in the 'image of God' will always seek God by looking up through prayer.

Different kinds of ailments are possible when we are possessed by demon. It will distort our thinking. It can take us away from God and get ourselves involved in the worldly life of crime, luxury, hatred, jealousy, sexual perversion, feuds, abuse, exploitation, discrimination and so on. Sometimes we are not even aware of what evil we do because it appears like a natural act. Satan makes it look natural for us to have evil habits. That is why many people cannot repent and get rid of their evil habits. It is even worse when such habits are seen in spiritual leaders! Lent is a good time for us to go to confession and get released from our demon possession and behave like normal human beings.

4. It is strange that the head of the Synagogue found the miracle a wrong act by Jesus. He could not consider it as divine intervention in the life of a sick person.

Many spiritual leaders of our times have exactly the same mentality these days. If someone bore witness to a miraculous healing, some spiritual leaders will find it difficult to accept it as is. If the miracle is in another denomination, it is much easy to negate it. If it happens through lay people, the leaders will indeed deny it. Miracles are all mostly a monopoly of the clergy. There may be false teachers and imposters here and there but if the Lord has truly touched someone for a miraculous healing, we should be able to accept it. That is how we can have living witnesses of people who are touched by the Lord.

This denial is an art for many people. Most of the people want to scientifically analyze it and find a rationale. The public also defines the quality of some people as 'miracle workers' and others 'good for nothing'. This also is a dangerous tendency. Miracle is not a monopoly of any person. One day I saw a beautiful pen used by one of our bishops. I complimented saying that it is a nice pen. Privately the bishop told me that one day a lady came to him asking for his prayers by laying hands on her and she got healed of her ailment and in gratitude she presented that pen to the bishop even though the bishop was not zealous about that pen. I never heard that bishop talk about that miracle in public and so I am not mentioning his name either.

My point is that a miracle can happen with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time. It is just to be believed than analyzed. Trust the Lord who is the source of all miracles. Humans are only the vehicles. No one is better than the other. There is no need to talk negatively about any miracle. The woman who was healed had the personal experience than the leaders who criticized her experience.

5. Finally we read that the common people were delighted to see these happenings at the hands of Jesus.

It is extremely important for us Christians as individuals, families, parishes, dioceses or as a Church, that the public should be able to find goodness in our work. Can the public be delighted seeing our actions and activities of today? How far are us (our life, our work) compared to what the Lord did those days? The kinds of negative actions that we are involved in and the kind of negative image that we project about our own Lord is so deplorable that the public will only denounce us.

Will this Lenten season help us acquire the true nature of Christ that the people around can say that we are a community that worships and lives for Jesus Christ?

Source: ICON

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for 5th Sunday in Great Lent Kfiphtho / Crippled Woman)

Sermons Home | General Sermons and Essays | Articles | eBooks | Our Faith | Prayers | Library - Home | Baselios Church Home

Malankara World
A service of St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Ohio
Copyright © 2009-2020 - ICBS Group. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer
Website designed, built, and hosted by International Cyber Business Services, Inc., Hudson, Ohio