The Sunday of the Blind Man

Christ is Risen!!!

This week from the Gospel reading we hear how the Lord healed a man blind from his birth. We also hear how the Pharisees, out of envy, tried to convince him, who received healing, that the Lord, Who healed him, was not the Christ, not even a righteous man, but a sinner.

Yet from the words of the used-to-be blind, we see that he received not only the sight of the bodily eyes, but of spiritual ones as well. Being asked, whom he thinks his Healer to be, he boldly answers: He is a Prophet! To the statements of the Pharisees that He can be neither a prophet nor a righteous man because He healed him on a Sabbath day, as if He were breaking the law, the one who received his sight boldly replies that no one, since the creation of the world, ever saw such a miracle, which only a righteous man could work, for God does not hear sinners, but rather those, who honor Him.

Thus, he, who received the gift of sight from the Lord, comes to know Him by His works, and boldly confesses Him before the people. In this there is a most important lesson for us, for so often we deceive ourselves in obtaining knowledge. How often do we form judgments of others based solely on their image or place in society? How often do we hope to beguile others by our outward appearance and words?

But, alas, from the Gospel narrative one can clearly see that we are known truly by our deeds. If at times it seems to us that the Lord does not hear, does not receive our prayers, is it not for the fact that our sins do allow them – our prayers – to rise to Him?

Let us keep in our hearts the words of the one who once was blind: “…God hears those who honor Him, and does their will.” Let us offer the Lord sincere repentance for our sins. So that in the day of our trial the Lord may hear us also. Amen!

Priest Viatcheslav Davidenko

The Sunday of the Paralytic

Christ is Risen!!!

This Sunday the Holy Church celebrates the healing of the paralytic by the Lord. Today, the Holy Gospel tells us how the Lord came to the sheep’s pool, the place where a multitude of the sick awaited the descent of the angel and the stirring of waters in order to be healed, being the first to enter the waters at the time of their moving.

Having come to the pool, the Lord sees there a man who lay there for thirty-eight years, being paralyzed and having no man to help him be first to enter the waters. Having asked him whether he desires to be whole, the Lord tells him to stand up, take his bed, go and sin no more.

It is imperative that we pay attention to the fact that the Lord, before healing him, asks the paralytic whether he wants, whether he desires to be healed, to be whole. From this is clearly seen that He will neither heal, nor save anyone against his will or – if you will permit – without his participation. All of the holy fathers teach us that the Lord, alone, without us, will not save us. They teach us that even if the great saints, even the most pure Mother of God herself, will pray for us, and yet we, in repentance, will not ask the Lord to save us, He will not. That is why we ourselves must learn, and teach our children, always to seek the kingdom of God, with our whole soul to thirst for righteousness and salvation.

The reply of the paralytic – Lord, I have no man to help me enter the waters and be healed – helps us fathom the meaning of the incarnation of God the Word much more profoundly. The Son of God, the pre-eternal God, becomes a Man and comes to the paralytic, He Himself becomes his Helper. How great is the love of the Lord toward mankind! How great is His humility! Unlike His angel, the Lord does not stir the waters, but revealing His divinity, heals the unfortunate man by His word.

Every one of us is in need of healing from the terrible paralysis: the paralysis of the soul. But alas, by far, not everyone desires such healing, and many altogether refuse to admit that they are sick in soul. At the same time, which one of us always loves to pray? Which one of us always prays with attention? Which one of us always loves his enemies and his neighbors as himself? Which one of us always loves the truth and always keeps the Lord’s commandments? …The answer is apparent: all of us are sick, all of us need healing!

Let us, therefore, brothers and sisters, desire true healing and salvation! Let us cry out to the Lord from the depths of our souls! May the Lord, Who for our sake became incarnate, suffered, and rose from the dead, come to us as He did to the paralytic, and by His word, save us. Amen!

Priest Viatcheslav Davidenko

Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women

Christ is Risen!!!

Today, on the third Sunday after Pascha, we commemorate the holy Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodimus – the secret disciple of the Lord – and the myrrh-bearing women: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Cleopas, Salome, Joanna, Martha and Mary – the sisters of Lazarus – and Suzanna, along with others who came with them to the tomb of the Lord. The myrrh-bearing women are specifically remembered on this Sunday because they were the first to see the risen Lord, and Joseph and Nicodemus because they were the ones who buried Him.

The great mercy of God reveals itself in the narration of today’s gospel: the frail women, bravely carrying the sweet spices to the Lord’s tomb, become the first witnesses of His resurrection from the dead. The frail women, desiring faithfully to serve the Lord, Who has fallen asleep, are the first to see the empty tomb. Faithful to the Lord even after His death, they are the first to learn that He is alive.

How harmonious is this narrative with the words of the Lord: “They that are faithful to the end, shall be saved!” How often, in our times, the faithful behold and come to know the great mercy of God! Thus, some, at the time of attentive prayer, unexpectedly behold the grace of the Holy Spirit, descending upon the holy gifts during the Divine Liturgy. Others see different mysteries of God, not asking Him for visions, but only having a desire to serve Him faithfully.

Let us remember the words of the Lord to Thomas, words which we heard last Sunday: “Blessed are they, who have not seen, and yet believed,” and let us not seek visions, lest we fall into beguilement and the deception of the devil. Let us ask help of the Lord, that we may keep the faith to the end, and together with the myrrh-bearing women, may obtain salvation. Amen.

Priest Viatcheslav Davidenko