21 February 2016

posted 18 Feb 2016, 21:39 by C S Paul

21 February 2016

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church 

Third Sunday of Great Lent (Paralytic/Palsy Sunday)

    • Evening
    • Morning
    • Before Holy Qurbana
    • Holy Qurbana

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 

Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 

Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 

And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 

“Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them,“Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?

10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 

11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Healing the Paralytic

by Fr. Zachariah Diju Skariah

As we come to the start of the third week of the Great Lent, we are reminded of the great healing of a paralytic. In the selected Gospel portion for this Sunday, we see four men take it upon themselves to bring their beloved brother, friend to a home where Christ was present and preaching to the faithful who had gathered in His presence. This powerful healing first reminds us that the Church is a spiritual hospital for sinners. For Orthodox Christians, the church is the ekklesia, or the gathering of persons called out, who believe in the living God as revealed in Jesus Christ. The gathering we see in this home was the living Church of the time that included Christ, the High Priest, and the people who chose to follow Him. The unwavering faith and determination of the four men to bring this paralytic to the Church (hospital), led to the face-to-face encounter with the Almighty Physician who provided spiritual and physical healing. So often, we forget the role of the Church in our lives: it is where one is healed and brought into spiritual well-being and wholeness.

Mere involvement in activities, organizations, and programs within our parishes do not take the place of repentance and spiritual growth. The quality of these activities will reflect the degree of repentance and spiritual health of those who undertake them. Ultimately, activities and ministries will bear fruit and bring healing only to the extent that the persons involved are being healed through repentance. The Church provides us with true doctrine, true prayer, true sacramental life, and true spiritual teaching that can heal us. This is the purpose of the Church and this is our hope for salvation.

Secondly, the scribes falsely accused our Lord of blasphemy after reasoning in their hearts that no one but God alone can forgive sins. The scribes wondered why He chose not to heal the body which is visible and instead claimed to heal the soul which is invisible. Surely, no one can visibly see sin being forgiven nor is it something we can show evidence for. However, Christ in His power, confirmed that he was not trying to deceive anyone, but prove that He provided both physical and spiritual healing to the man as well as strength that led to the man getting up and walking on his own again. It may be hard for us to identify, but we have to take a moment to ask ourselves are we like the paralytic with our souls lifeless and unable to move or do any good? If so, we too need to find an avenue to bring ourselves to the Church for healing. At the same time, we need to have a concern for those around us, raising them up and bringing them to the Holy Church. Only then will we be able to experience any fruit during this Lenten journey and truly prepare ourselves to receive and proclaim the Risen Christ.

May God Almighty grant us the grace and mercy to labor past all of the difficulties, frustration, distractions, and sin in our lives and lead us to true repentance and healing during this Great Lent through the sacrament of confession.