All Conversations in My Heart
Monday, July 17, 2006
  Bishop's Sunday Homily

“THE SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC.”

July 16th. 2006

Homily by the Bishop Severian, Eparch of New Westminster

The episode of the miraculous cure that Jesus bestowed upon the man who suffered a paralysis presents to us an occasion to reflect that this paralytic can represent to us a person who is paralyzed spiritually or is a lukewarm Christian. In the first one there is no supernatural life, because the lack of divine grace, lost through grave sin. The latter is one who abuses God's grace or does not profit from it - does not cooperate with it.

The episode that we are meditating today tells us not only of the physical cure of the person, but even more of the spiritual cure of his soul. Jesus saw his long lasting suffering as a penance, and He became merciful towards him, giving him health to his body, but also by giving him forgiveness of sins, thus curing his soul, saying: "Have courage son, your sins are forgiven".

(Mt. 9:2) It seems that he became sick because of some sin. We therefore see that to be cured from a spiritual paralysis one needs faith and hope and a determined will to get rid of sin - to be cured from spiritual sickness.

At this time, let us also meditate upon the words of admonition that Jesus spoke to another paralytic whom he cured in Jerusalem at the Bethesda Pool: "Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you". Let us make a short analysis of the human lives and many of the tragedies and sicknesses that afflict us in today’s world that brings many long lasting sufferings. Sometimes it is only an accident, or as many believers say God's visitation. But how many times it is because of sin itself? Let us observe three grave evils that are now spreading into the lives of many people: alcoholism, drug abuse and abuse of sex. How many people have cirrhosis of the liver, heart diseases, lung cancer, brain damage and various mental illnesses, how many are infected by aids and other blood related sicknesses.

How many children born of alcoholic, drug addicted parents and those who abused sex are born with all kinds of handicaps or are even physical invalids. We must ask ourselves who are those who suffer. They, who suffer, are not only the individuals who have abused, through their addictions.

Let me put it straight and to the point, besides the one who mentally, physically and spiritually sinned. There is the wife, husband or children who suffer. All of them parents and children become a burden to society, and we pay heavily through taxes for treatment so everybody suffers. These are only three sins of abuse that cause problems in human lives. There are many others, like pride, envy, jealousy, imprudent ambition, hate and gullibility. Yet Christ is ready to tell each one of us: Get up, arise from your fall into sin, and walk the road of Christian living. Remember Christ wants to see in us a strong will to be cured of our spiritual illnesses and weaknesses. The sign of a weak will is the lack of any progress in our spiritual life. This is when we have no strength to get up and go the Bethesda, the great miraculous well of God's divine grace. We lack the drive to the go to Sacraments of Confession and Communion. Many today go to Holy Communion, but rarely or never go to Confession. Few go to confession but many go to Holy Communion and I wonder if Holy Communion is profitable for them, without Confession that is. They lie there at the pool of graces but do not really profit from them, because they are spiritually paralyzed. People, when they are sick, do everything to get healed. They search out the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best medicines, no matter how much it costs. They forget that their bodies are only temporary vessels of their souls, which are immortal, i.e. eternal. We know from our study of catechism that our true happiness will be with God in heaven. You must see that the impediment to this happiness is ever, “one mortal sin”. A mortal sin is the sickness that paralyses us. Why? We ask, are people so negligent when it concerns the curing of their soul? Why do they that they not care to seek ‘life everlasting’ by properly receiving the Sacraments?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Let us ask our conscience today: Do we truly know how to value the examples and teachings of Jesus, His life and sacrifices, especially His death on the cross to bring us the grace of salvation? Do we treasure the fact that He instituted the Sacraments of Confession and Communion, especially Confession? This Sacrament is the Bethsidic bath of Supernatural Love and Grace that can heal the paralysis of a sinful soul. Do you know how truly valuable these Sacraments are in our Christian lives? Let us remember that we will be unable to be cured from our sins if we distance ourselves from Christ who is the fountain of our salvation. I remind you that those who come to Him with faith, hope and love, will come away from Him cured, cleansed, happy and elevated to the spiritual, supernatural life of grace in Him. So let us turn to Jesus Christ and accept His word that we will be cured through faith in the Lord!

Amen!

 




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