St. Silouan the Athonite Mission Parish


Sunday During the Dormition Fast 2011
by Fr Roberto Ubertino

The Gospel shows us how a great crowd came to Jesus. People in the Gospels come to Jesus for many reasons. Some are curious; others want to test him, and others because they think he is out of his mind, a few because they love him, the majority because they are in need. To each person, Jesus addresses the needed word, the healing touch, and the fiery challenge. Today is no different. The crowd is made up of a lot of sick people, moved by compassion he heals the sick in the crowd, the word used is Theophany. That day he did not preach by word, rather than


He healed the sick among them, one by one. At the end of the day, this same crowd of poor people is hungry. They had sought Jesus where he was “hiding” to rest and pray with his disciples, so now they were stuck in a place far from any village bakery or store. It was getting late. The disciples are getting worried. This day could end in a bad way. The compassion of the Lord Jesus has no limits. Yes the crowd had stolen his prayer time, now at the end of this long day they are all hungry and again the Lord responds by giving them food.


Not all in the crowd were faithful observers of the law, not all were honest. As in every crowd there is a bit of everything. But Jesus does not divide people joined by a common suffering and need. He also does not act for a personal agenda. Are the cameras nearby? Will the funders consider this a success story? Are they all going to become Orthodox? He simply respond to human need and then intentionally goes away, the second time in just a few days, to be alone and to pray. He hides just at the moment when most of us would think, “Hey, this is working, let’s tell everybody!”


The crowd is the place of need but the crowd is also the place of temptation, it is in solitude with his Father that Jesus finds his way through the sea of human complexity and pain and need.


The fast of the Virgin that we have no entered is this inner space of solitude where we show to Christ our hunger, our needs, our sickness. The fact of the virgin is this therapeutic time given to us by the church to put on the compassion of Christ. The Mother of God in her tenderness and deep humility is the healing therapy of her son for our suffering souls. She is the table on which the heavenly bread is broken and set. She is the table where we are all invited to come and take our place. She is the balm in the hands of Christ the physician that heals our broken hearts.


She helps us to live Hope. Not hopes, but the Hope that is the fulfillment of all human expectations from the beginning of time to the end of time. The Hope that the Lord comes and takes us into Himself as He on the day of her dormition takes her into his arms.


Let us spend the rest of this fast living in this Hope that the Virgin Mother makes present to us. Let us in silence give her our sighing and longings, our hungers and expectations, and receive her consolation, her loving thereupon, for the promise of the Father is fulfilled, beginning with her who is the joy of angels and men

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