Resurrection Healing

4th Sunday of Pascha of the Paralytic

Acts 9:32-42
John 5:1-15

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! The Pascal Canon declares “This is the chosen and holy day, the first of Sabbaths, King and Lord of days, the Feasts of feasts, Holy Day of holy days on this day we bless Christ forever more.”

And on this Sunday of the never-ending day of the resurrection we remember a man who seemed to possess never-ending suffering. The paralytic in today’s Gospel had been by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. Yet he does not waver in his desire and perseverance to be healed, even when as he confesses that he has no man to help him into the healing pool. The question put to him by the Lord is quite striking and may even sound offensive to some of us, “Do you want to be healed?”

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The Unrelenting Love of the Father

Sunday, February 10/23, 2020

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare)

1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2
Matthew 25:31-46

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ! What does it take to get our attention? All we have needed the hand of the Creator has provided yet sometimes it takes extraordinary measures for God to wake us up from the slumber of sin. We sinners spend far too much time wallowing in the filth of this world, being amazed at the depths of depravity to which a human soul will plunge. Our reality TV shows compete not in deeds of righteousness but in more and more bizarre acts of disgust, revenge, and betrayal. In last Sunday’s Parable of the Prodigal, we are far more interested in the prodigal’s lifestyle, the pig’s food he had stooped to eating, than in his eventual return home. And yet he did return home after he had come to himself and returned to his senses. What brought him to that moment of repentance, the moment of return? Father Patrick suggested in last week’s sermon that a better title for this parable might be “the Parable of the Loving Father” for in the end, he is the star of the story; it is his unrelenting, ever-pursuing love that brought home the prodigal.

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Arriving Even at the Eleventh Hour

freyburg_28unstrut29_stadtkirche_st-_marien_weinberg_279May, 1, 2016
The Bright & Saving Pascha of Christ
the Lord Who Rose from the Dead
Trampling down Death by Death

No parable in Scripture proves a greater challenge to notions of human justice than that of the Workers in the Vineyard. In the story, those who come to work at the eleventh hour receive the same generous portion from the Master of the Vineyard as those who have labored from the beginning of the day. The only rationale given is the right of the master to do as he pleases with his wealth.

The Paschal Homily preached tonight in churches worldwide features this coming at the eleventh hour as the rich invitation of the Master and Lord of the heavenly vineyard towards the whole human race, especially to those who are least deserving of it. What can account for this reckless extravagance on the part of Our Lord and Master? Continue reading

The Never Ending Day

Great & Holy Pascha 2013

Time in this fallen world is often experienced as something we need to use up or even kill in our never-ending pursuit of pleasure and cessation from work. But the irony is that for however long or hard we work, leisure time, that supposed reward at the end of a day’s labor, ever seeks to elude us. Especially in America, we can never seem to work long enough or hard enough to reach it, if pleasure really is the goal we should be seeking at all.

The Epicurean philosophers and their modern Madison Avenue ad agencies bid us to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. The Lord Jesus Christ bids us, rather paradoxically, to take up our cross and die with him. And no one in the history of the world who has taken the Lord’s advice over the Epicureans has ever been sorry for it, for our crucifixion always ends, as His, in resurrection. Continue reading