Today’s gospel reading we read during the second Sunday of Great Lent with more details, as was passed down by the Evangelist Mark. In this event sin is united with illness and the healing with salvation; this union is substantial as the relation which exists between reason and result. St. Matthew presents the same story briefly. Before Christ who is teaching in a home at Capernaum few men bring before Him a paralytic on his bed. Those who carry him are unable to approach Christ, because the multitude of the people who are listening to His teachings, so they open a hole in the house’s roof and they bring him down before Christ. Christ is amazed and praises their faith. We should approach today’s Gospel message through the same aspect and social side of faith.
The Christian Faith calls man to overcome the boundaries of his individuality. It continuously invites man to brake the shell of his egoism and to transform him from a single individual to a person. When the man-individual is transformed into a person, it means that he is freed from the ego central selfishness, where he is enslaved, and he comes to meet with understanding, respect and love the other man, his neighbor. Consequently, the human person becomes the witness of faith and the reason of salvation for all others. For the faithful cannot rest by being closed to himself, ignoring the needs of others, being indifferent in finding ways for healing. The creativity of those who accompanied the paralytic proves clearly to us that the pure and real faith does not give in the obstacles, doesn’t ends before difficulties. It creates, it struggles, strengthens, comforts and prays to find solutions and ways to stand by those in need with works of love.
When we look around us, we are many times disappointed, not only because of the others, but even because of ourselves. We realized how much far away we are from what we should be or should become. Men with experience of “faith through works of love”. Have we asked: “How often the Gospel, has constantly had invited us for perfection? How often it has invited us to partake in the spiritual struggle, and we just went under?” The virtue of solidarity is very rare, although it should have been obvious within the Church of Christ.
“Have courage, my child” Christ says to the paralytic and through him to today’s man, who is troubled, disappointed and feels betrayed. He has the need to find comfort and spiritual strength. Not from any cheap comfort, cloudy and dangerous signs, which one finds plentifully in our times and are circulating freely in the world, but lead many to blind alley. We all have the need of the living faith, which when serving man, it proves that God’s truth is not mental, but from our heart. This, again, does not mean a simple emotion, but is a sign of those who truly struggle and have discover the true essence of life and their existance. These are the victors of life and the inheritances of the eternal life to come.
Beloved brethren, when we study, we think and we interpretate the eternal word of God with the guidance of the holy fathers within the Church, and we should have in mind that what we read are not of this life, but things of our eternal struggle. Many things which move us are not simple experience, but a spiritual condition which we still struggle to conquer through many strives and temptations. For this reason, let us strggle in this surrounding wherein we live, accordingly to strengthen our faith and that of others. Amen.
Orthodox Newsletter of St Theodore, Lanham
By Archim. Nikanor Karagiannis Translated by His Eminence Metropolitan PANTELEIMON of Antinoes
The paralytic restored. 6th Sunday of St. Matthew