Today we hear the Gospel of the 6th Sunday of Matthew concerning the paralytic whose friends brought him to Jesus on a bed (Matthew 9:1-8).
This same story is portrayed in much greater detail by the Evangelist Mark 2:1-12. We all are familiar with how the paralytic was lowered through the roof of the house where Jesus was speaking by his four friends, who could not come through the front doors because of the great throng that had assembled.
A very important point is evident in this story: the resourcefulness of faith shown by the four friends and the results of faith. You see Jesus wants us to be resourceful in seeking Him and in doing His work. We as Orthodox Christians should show greater resourcefulness about the far more important things of God. There are so many people that we know personally who need to come to Christ, who need to be helped, not in some extravagant way but in a way that is simple and well pleasing to the Lord.
This year’s theme from the 20th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, which was held in Baltimore, Maryland, was “Becoming Vessels Of Grace”. This theme beckons us as an individual, as a Parish, as a Diocese to the untold opportunities to do God’s work, through worship, caring, praying and serving Christ in this world.
We are in a very important time where we can be an example of what is needed in this world, which is plagued with hatred, animosity, anger, violence, division, mistrust, confusion and depression. Just like the four friends in today’s gospel, we must show ingenuity, resourcefulness, initiative, sensitivity and attentiveness to those we encounter in our daily life.
We are called to be advocates, Disciples of Jesus Christ in the here and now and not to sit back and wait; but rather, step up to the tasks ahead without reservation or doubt. We have nothing to fear, for as followers of Christ, we have been given the Grace to go forward and prosper, knowing that Christ blesses those who come to Him with eager resourcefulness and persistent faith. For as Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Take heart, my son…your sins are forgiven”. In other words, Jesus healed the man’s inner paralysis first then his physical paralysis. What a miracle: Divine manifestation of the true healing power of God in our total being – “Soul and Body”!
The world needs healing of our souls, minds and bodies. We cannot continue to live this way without bringing God into the lives of countless millions of people who are suffering daily with both spiritual and physical illness.
Wake up Orthodox and know you are needed to help mankind conquer all the ills of this world and bring us closer to Him in every aspect of our lives, for we never know when an opportunity comes our way!