This homily was preached on Sunday morning, November 10, 2013,
at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois, by Dn. Joseph Gleason.
And Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, “Son, be of good cheer. Thy sins be forgiven thee.”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – our God is one. Amen.
How many times have you heard the story of the man sick with the palsy these men carry to Jesus? They lowered him down on the mat and Jesus, seeing their faith, heals him, forgives his sins and tells him to take up his mat and walk. How many times have you heard the story? Can you count that high? Hundreds of times at least, maybe thousands?
Have you heard the story of this guy’s cousin who lived next door? See, he was a paralytic too, and he had some friends hanging out with him. And the same day that this was happening–because you know that this was not the only paralytic in the world, right?–well, his paralytic cousin next door had some friends and they were chatting and he said,
“You know, I heard my cousin next door, his friends are taking him out to see Jesus and I’d like to give it a try. I’d like to see Jesus.”
And a couple of his friends said,
“I don’t know about that Jesus guy. I don’t believe in all this ‘faith healing’ stuff. I don’t know. You have faith in this Jesus and he touches you or says stuff to you and he heals . . . ahh, I don’t buy it. I just don’t go for that stuff. Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep seeing the doctors, stay on your vitamins, you’ll be fine.”
One of the other friends said,
“Well, you know, I’d try to help you out, but it’s just not a good day for me tomorrow. I mean, I know Jesus is coming into town. I have this thing that I’ve got set up. it’s just not really going to work for me. Can we, like the next time Jesus swings through, can we try it then and see if I can get it on my schedule?”
This other guy said,
“You know what, I would be there for you. I’d be doing this thing, but nobody else is here to help me and I’m not going to try to carry you by myself. I mean, you’ve been hitting a little heavy on the tabouli lately. So, I’m sorry, I’m just not going to be able to help you.”
So the guy–unlike his cousin who got carried to Jesus and healed here in the Scriptures–his paralytic cousin next door just laid there, and was not healed! And you don’t even read about him because he didn’t even show up. That’s not very uplifting is it? But, you know, it’s the truth–even if it wasn’t the guy’s cousin. How many other paralytics were there in town, some of whom maybe even wanted to go, and their friends just wouldn’t take them to Jesus?
It’s very significant. And I don’t think–in Scripture–that God wastes any words. Do you? Do you think He just throws extra stuff in there that we don’t need? I don’t think so. The Holy Spirit inspires Scripture to edify the Church, and to teach us things about God and how He works with us.
I also think that, when the Holy Spirit inspires certain words, He inspires the right ones. You think the Holy Spirit ever makes a wrong word choice? Probably not. At least I wouldn’t want to be His editor. And yet we do it all the time, don’t we? We hear things in Scripture and, instead of really looking at it and saying, “Wait a minute. He said, ‘This IS my body. This IS my blood’,” A lot of people will read that and say, “Well, this represents my body. This represents my blood.” I don’t want to be the Holy Spirit’s editor. I want to take His words just the way they’re given to us, as much as possible.
And here in this passage it says these guys bring in this paralytic on a mat, lower him down . . . here’s what it does not say–and you can read this miracle three times in the Scriptures; it’s in three different Gospels, and here’s what it does NOT say–It does not say that Jesus “saw this man’s faith” and healed him. Read it all three times and you’ll not find that said anywhere. What it says is, “Jesus, seeing their faith . . .” Plural.
He didn’t just heal him because of his faith. He healed him because of their faith: the faith of the community, the faith of the group, the faith of his friends that brought him there. We’re not even told how much this guy was mentally there. Now, some people that are paralytic and have the palsy are right there; their mind is just as strong as anything. There are also some that have issues where they’re not even mentally all there. And Scripture doesn’t tell us. For all we know, this guy could have been one of those who couldn’t even carry a conversation on with you, couldn’t even think past that of, perhaps, a toddler. What we do know is that Scripture uses the plural. “Jesus, seeing their faith . . .”
And you say, “Well, I can see healing somebody on somebody else’s faith. I mean, after all, didn’t the Centurion have faith in Jesus and, because of that, Jesus healed his servant? Somebody else was healed because he had faith. Okay, you know, I can buy that.”
But in this case, telling him to take up his bed and walk is not the first thing Jesus does. Look at the text. It says, “And Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, ‘Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.’” Seeing their faith, He forgave this man’s sins. We’re talking about salvation. We’re talking about your sins being forgiven by God because He saw their faith–plural.
That blew me away the first time I noticed that it was plural, not singular, that He is forgiving sins on the basis of multiple people having faith for him. That’s powerful. Now, how important do you think it is for you to pray for your children, your spouse, your neighbor, your co-worker, your enemies?
But this passage didn’t just blow me away for that reason. It blew me away again. I was preparing for the homily today, and I got to thinking about those that were not healed, the paralytics whose friends just wouldn’t bring them to Jesus. This guy’s hypothetical cousin that lives next door and wants to go to Jesus, but his friends just . . . they don’t really have faith in this “Jesus” guy, or they’re too busy, and they just don’t take him there.
If this guy was healed because of their faith and was forgiven because of their faith, why was this other guy not healed? Why was he not forgiven of his sins? Because Jesus did NOT see their faith. The lack of their faith kept him from getting his sins forgiven, kept him from getting healed. And that’s when I got convicted and I started asking,
“Well, how many people are there whose sins have not been forgiven, who have not been healed of their emotional or physical problems because, when I’m standing anywhere near them and God looks down at us, He doesn’t see “their” faith. Maybe it’s not their faith that’s lacking as much as it is mine!”
It’s so tempting in this culture to have just a one-on-one view of just “Me and Jesus”, just “Me and God”, to not have to deal with all these dirty human beings, these people that live next door to me, and live in my house, and go to my church and . . .
Arghhh! Relationships with other fallen sinners like myself, I can’t stand that. Just “Me and Jesus”, alright! As long as it’s just “Me and Jesus,” it’s safe, because He’s perfect and I’m pretty close [or so we think]. But man, the idea that other people around me who irritate me and sin and do different things that they shouldn’t do and bug me, that they can play a part in my salvation, my relationship with God?
And the responsibility of it all! As long as it is just “Me and Jesus”, guess what? I only have one person ultimately that I need to worry about . . .
Sure, I need to set a good example. Sure, I need to share Jesus with you, and I need to share Jesus with you, and my children. But after all, no matter how perfectly I share Jesus with these people–and I do it pretty well, don’t I?–no matter how well I share Jesus with them, if they turn out to be absolutely horrible and have absolutely no faith in God, that’s not my fault, not my responsibility because, after all, it’s just “Me and Jesus”, and it’s just “You and Jesus”, and just “You and Jesus”.
And as long as it’s all separated out like that, that’s just between you and God. And so, “Me and Jesus”, we can just have our own thing–one-on-one–and you can’t blame me if my daughter or my son or my father or my wife or my children or my co-worker or my neighbor is not healed, is not forgiven, does not have faith.
But you see, the teaching of the Orthodox Church, the teaching of this passage of Scripture, is that we’re all in it together. And it’s a two-way street. If other people and their faith have a role in whether I myself am forgiven, whether I myself am healed, that means it goes the other direction too. That means I bear personal responsibility for other people and their faith and their healing and their forgiveness. That’s a heavy burden.
Something else is to consider what sort of sins this guy had been forgiven of. We don’t know exactly, but we can guess, because we’re all human and most of us commit a lot of the same types of sins. Jesus told this man that he was forgiven of his sins. Well, who did he sin against?
Well, who do most of us sin against? Those who are closest to us. Russ, how often have you sinned against somebody in Syria? Jeni, when’s the last time you sinned against somebody in New York? Amy, have you ever sinned against somebody in Alaska?
You sin against God. You sin against your spouse. You sin against your children. You sin against your parents, your neighbors, those who are closest to you. Those are the ones you hurt with your sin. Now, these had to be pretty close buddies if they were willing to spend their whole day carrying this dude around on a mat, lowering him down to Jesus through the roof. I mean, they had to be close. I guarantee you, at least a good portion of those sins that Jesus forgave that day were sins that he had committed against those guys that were carrying him.
Let that sink in a little bit. Their carrying him to Jesus, them having faith in Jesus for him, brought about Jesus forgiving that man of sins that he had committed against them.
What if they had said, “Forget you! You sinned against me. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Get out of here. I’m not carrying you to Jesus. I’m going to shoot pool down at the local ‘Hebrew National’, and have a beef hot-dog.” No, they loved this man, they had faith in Christ, they carried him to Jesus. And Jesus seeing their faith said, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The guy’s cousin next door, the paralytic whose friends did not have faith, whose friends would not carry him to Jesus–you know, they might have been a little ticked at their friend. They were still friends, but they still had some bad blood between them because he had sinned against them at some point in time, had said bad things, had done bad things, been rude to them, ungrateful. And I just wonder, six months later or a year later, were they having some argument? Were they harboring resentment in their hearts, just wondering,
“You know, how come this guy just can’t be healed, he can’t get better, he’s still sick, he’s still lying there on this stupid mat? Why’d I have to get a friend like that? And how come he hasn’t repented of those times that he sinned against me? How come he’s still embroiled in that?”
And you just have to wonder if the Holy Spirit didn’t speak to that friend of the paralytic and say,
“Because I didn’t see your faith.”
“The friends of the neighbor guy carried him to see Jesus. And Jesus, seeing their faith, forgave his sins and healed him. But when Jesus looked at you, he didn’t see ‘their’ faith. If you yourself had carried your friend to Jesus and had faith in Jesus, he would have been healed by now. But he’s still lying on the mat because you wouldn’t take him to Jesus. He would have been forgiven of his sins and you would have been totally reconciled over that thing that he did to you. But you didn’t have faith.”
“So you wonder why the guy is still a paralytic, still lying on the mat, still at odds with you, and still hasn’t repented of his sins? It’s because of you!”
In other words, we each bear, not all–but we each do bear some–responsibility for the sins of our brother and of our sister, that person that lives next door to you, that person that lives in your own house, that person that goes to church with you.
And you just wonder why they haven’t gotten over that one thing yet. You wonder why they haven’t repented of their sin and reconciled with you on that issue yet. Is some of that responsibility yours rather than theirs? Ask yourself, “How often do I pray for them? How often do I lift them up to Jesus?”
Instead of returning kindness for evil, returning mercy for cursing, returning goodness to people who despitefully use me, if I just return “like for like”, if I just give them what they deserve, if they’re mean to me so I’m mean back, well, maybe that has contributed to them not repenting. Maybe that has contributed to them not being healed yet. In other words, maybe they’re still sick because you didn’t have faith for them.
All of us in this room, we’re all in this together. Every one of us is the paralytic. You’re not getting to Jesus on your own; you need all the rest of us lifting you up.
Every one of us is the friend of the paralytic. Don’t expect your brother or your sister to be forgiven of their sins, to be healed of their illnesses, unless you yourself are willing to get up off your tail and carry them on that mat all the way to Jesus.
The Epistle reading today is in Ephesians. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit, do you?
“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the Day of Redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice, and be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you.”
Now, I have told you before about how a lot of us have this sinful, automatic translator built into our minds when we read Scripture, right? Like, you have run into the people that can read over and over and over, “This is my body, this is my blood,” and say, “Yeah! Jesus says that the Eucharist represents His body and blood.” No, He said it IS His body and blood. It doesn’t say “represents”. Well, I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I have read this passage in Ephesians that says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice,” and I just thought,
“That’s absolutely right! I don’t need to initiate anything evil towards my brother. I just need to, any time I’m initiating something, I need to be kind and loving towards people.”
And if it’s just initiating evil that we’re avoiding, then a lot of us do a pretty good job. But that’s not what it says. It says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice.” Get your dictionaries out and look up the definition of the word “bitterness”. It’s not something you can initiate. It’s purely a sinful response to something bad that somebody has done to you.
You might say, “I always initiate kindness and love to my brother and to my sister.” Bitterness has nothing to do with that. Bitterness is: Your brother or your sister sinned against you and hurt you and did something that, just by reflex, it just makes you mad. Bitterness grabs onto that and says,
“I have a ‘right’ to put a wall up between us and to just not want to have anything to do with you, and maybe even just to be a little short with you, and basically just to cut off this relationship emotionally, not because I initiated anything bad on you, but I’m responding in bitterness because you initiated evil on me.”
To give up bitterness means that you give up the right to hold a grudge against anybody that sins against you. That one priest that hurt you. That one spouse that hurt you. That one parent or child that hurt you. If you hold a right to have a grudge, and to harbor ill will in your heart towards that person, and to be bitter towards that person, then you grieve the Spirit of God. Any common atheist can initiate niceness to people all the time and can respond in niceness to those who are nice to them. It takes a Christian to respond with an open heart of love to those who have attacked you and hurt you and failed to appreciate you.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger . . .” What is wrath? Similar to bitterness. It’s the sort of anger that you respond with when somebody else hurts you. “They did this bad thing to me and they hurt me and I’m upset because they did this to me and they shouldn’t have done this to me and so….RRAAAARRRR!!!” You get past all logic and thinking until finally you just want to choke them to death. That’s wrath. Again, you’re not initiating any evil or ill-will. You’re simply responding to wickedness that others have done to you. And you respond in wrath. When you respond that way, you grieve the Holy Spirit of God, because any common atheist can be nice to everybody and respond to those who are nice. But it takes a Christian to respond with love and compassion and mercy to those who have hurt us and refused to repent of it.
Clamor. Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap. I can’t believe they’d do this. I can’t believe they’d do this. And this is nasty. And this is horrible. And you shouldn’t do that. And blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Moaning, complaining, and spreading discontent, just “little” things. It’s not a big shark, it’s the little piranhas that just eat you one bite at a time. Have you ever heard the saying that, “On every Sunday we’d have a big dinner, and usually it was the pastor that we’d eat for lunch”? People would go to church, listen to the sermon, and go home and have lunch and just “Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap” about the stuff that he said in the sermon, or the stuff that he did that week that just irritated them. That’s clamor.
Evil speaking. Malice. All of this stuff is to be put away from us, if you’re going to be a Christian. That means that when people try to hurt you, when people disrespect you, when people don’t appreciate you, when people try to kill you and nail you to a cross, your response is, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they’re doing.” When somebody attacks you verbally, do you attack back? Do you just remain silent and, in your heart, harden towards them and attack back just in your own thoughts? Or with mercy and compassion do you say, “Father, forgive them. Father, please help them.” Don’t let your anger and your ire and your malice and your bitterness rise up when people hurt you. But when they hurt you, respond like Christ.
Some people make excuses. They’re going about their day, they’re all calm, everything seems good, and then somebody else cuts them off in traffic and they “RAWRR!” They give one-half of a peace sign in response. They say some choice words in response. Sometimes it’s not traffic, sometimes it’s just in our day-to-day events, we’re going happily about our day, we’re calm, we’re tranquil, and then some other fellow Orthodox Christian does something that just “RAWRR!”, and we just blow up. “I just want to choke that guy, it just makes me so angry.” And we’re just throwing a fit like a two-year-old.
And then, when confronted about this, we say, “Well, I wasn’t prepared for that. This other guy just really shook me up,” as if that’s an excuse.
Well, think about a cup. If you shake that cup up and poison spills out, that can’t happen unless it was already in there to begin with. When they slapped Jesus across the face, did He cuss them out on the spot because He wasn’t expecting that, and that just shook Him up? When they made Him carry the cross, in His heart was He, “God, I hope you send down the lightning and just strike them dead!” No. If He had done that, it would have happened. When He was crucified, did He say, “Father, damn them, for they know what they’re doing”? If He had, that’s what would have happened.
When they mocked Him and said, “Well, why don’t you get down off the cross?”, did you know that He had the ability to? He could have! The one person in history that had the power to get down off of His own cross, didn’t. You see, that’s what it means to carry your cross and to be like Christ. It’s not to be a helpless victim, for He was not helpless. It’s to be a willing victim.
To be like Christ is to be crucified unjustly, to have the ability to get down, to have the ability to take revenge, and instead, to willingly choose to remain the victim, to willingly choose to remain in pain. And, instead of getting down off your cross, instead of taking revenge, you pray for those who are crucifying you. That’s what it means to be “Christ-like”. If doing that out of love for another person sounds repulsive to you, then you are not yet Christ-like, because that’s what He did for us. He willingly stayed up there when He could have gotten down.
Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect”? A butterfly flaps its wings in China. That pushes the air in just a slightly different direction and picks up a couple of leaves, and they flutter over here. And through a chain-reaction that kind of ripples through the atmosphere, and it pushes these particles in this cloud just in a slightly different spot, and the dust gets in the cloud just a little differently. And water condenses on that, and the currents get a little stronger, and they’re just enough stronger that it starts this cloud in this funky formation and it starts gaining power. And because this one little cloud starts gaining in strength, and gaining in size, it starts a chain reaction that builds this whole thunder storm. And this thunder storm is just strong enough that, instead of dying out at the time it would have, it actually makes it out to sea and it starts churning, until, finally, this great, massive hurricane, this great, massive typhoon, goes and literally destroys an entire island, with thousands of casualties. Just one little thing over here can have great repercussions over here.
We see this in the book of Judges, just for example. One woman commits adultery. Because that woman ran away from home and committed adultery, that guy goes back to get her and to bring her back home. Because he had to go get her and bring her back home, they have to travel. Because they have to travel, they have to stop for the night in this one particular town. These evil men of the town want to rape and sodomize the guy. So, to protect his own self, he takes the woman that he had just gotten back, and throws her out to them, and they rape her and they abuse her all night long without mercy until finally, when dawn breaks, the hours of torment and torture and rape and abuse finally come to an end, and she just drags herself, crawling, just barely able to get back up to the doorstep, and she falls down. The guy comes to the door in the morning after having a nice, refreshing, relaxing, good night’s sleep, opens the door, sees her laying there and says, “Get up, let’s go.”
But she doesn’t get up. She’s dead.
So he picks her up, puts her on his donkey, goes back home, and starts mutilating her corpse. He cuts her into twelve different pieces, and ships these all over the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel is absolutely enraged against the people of this city that anything like this could happen. And so they come and they demand justice. “Send the men of this city out to us that we may put them to death, that we may give them what they deserve.” They refuse. They protect the abusers. They protect the rapists. And because of that, there’s civil war in Israel, and eleven tribes come to fight against the tribe of Benjamin. And you have battle after battle with ten and twenty thousand people shedding their blood, husbands and fathers dying, countless homes being left with neither husband or father, and who knows how many women and children are hurt and abused along the way.
Finally, they utterly defeat Benjamin. There are virtually no males left of the tribe. And, whereas God had blessed Israel with twelve tribes, now it looks like in one short generation there are only going to be eleven. And they had already pledged not to give willingly any of their daughters to their sons or their sons to their daughters. So, now they were in a bind because they had done this thing, and now there was going to be a tribe that just disappears from the face of the earth.
And so they come up with this great idea! There are still some Benjamite men, and they said, “Look, in Shiloh, where God is worshiped, where the Tabernacle is, we have these feasts there, we have these holy days. And, at that time, we have these big bonfires and people are feasting and the girls come out and they dance. Well, let’s not tell anybody. What you guys do is, you go to this feast in Shiloh. You hide in the bushes. And then, whenever the girls are dancing, you know, don’t go talk to their parents, don’t go get to know them, just go grab one. Kidnap them, drag them home . . . Now we want you to be kind. So give them a good month or two to mourn for their parents and to miss their families and everything, and then go ahead and marry them and have children with them, and we’ll save the tribe of Benjamin!
There’s the last half of the book of Judges for you. And the book of Judges twice says, and even ends with the verse, “In those days there was no king in Israel for every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Why did they commit adultery and rape and murder and kidnap women? Because they all thought they were doing the right thing. Not, “they knew it was wrong and they did it anyway.” No! Every man did what was right in his own eyes. He did whatever he wanted to do.
And where’s the “butterfly effect”? How did we end up with tens of thousands slaughtered? How did we end up with all these women being kidnapped just so the tribe of Benjamin could go on? You trace it back earlier in the book of Judges, it started with just one act of adultery.
Now, in this day, in this culture, that sounds relatively insignificant. People are committing adultery all the time. You can watch fornication happen on T.V., full color, in H.D. She’s just doing whatever she wants with her own body. That guy, he’s just doing whatever he wants, he’s just having fun. Well, them “just having a little bit of fun” led to a chain reaction that brought about the murder of tens of thousands and the sanctioned kidnapping and carrying away of women from their families.
I have to wonder, now the woman was already dead, but what about the guy that committed adultery? He might have been alive all the way to the end of the book of Judges. And he might have looked around him and said,
“Man, why is all this war going on? How come tens of thousands are dying? And I’d put a stop to this if I could. If I was king, I wouldn’t let them fight like this. Man, I can’t believe they kidnapped all those women, that’s horrible! Look at what they’re doing to the families, just tearing them apart.”
And you have to wonder, did the Holy Spirit reach down and whisper in his ear,
“Everything is like this because of you. Your one act of adultery, ‘just having fun,’ led to her death, the deaths of tens of thousands in the civil war, and every single one of these kidnappings.”
That one pebble that dropped into the pond rippled out and caused a hurricane. Did you know that every sin that I commit, and every sin that you commit is just like that? Even the sins you think are secret. Even when it’s just your own heart being hardened. Nobody else is in the room. Nobody else can hear you, because you’re not even saying anything, but just, in your heart, you’re harboring this grudge, this hardness, this malice, this bitterness towards somebody that has hurt you. And they have hurt you! There’s no doubt that what they did was wrong. There’s no doubt that they did sin against you, and so you just nurtured this grudge and this bitterness.
But just think about it. That bit of time that you were stewing is time that you could have been praying, but didn’t. That’s time that you brought your emotions down to a state where now you might have borne patiently your children being noisy, but instead you snapped at them because you were already on your own last nerve. The type of response to the next person who talks to us might have been really good, but because we had already got ourselves down in this angry frame of mind, we don’t treat this other human being with the sort of love and patience and mercy and respect that we should. And so we have thrown that pebble in the pond of our own heart, and the ripples go out, and other people are hurt, other people fall into sin. Their ripples go out, and without you even realizing it, it comes back on you. A hurricane is spinning above your own head.
Now, does that mean that everything in the world is your fault? No, it’s not. There are a lot of butterflies flapping their wings. You can’t take full responsibility for any of the stuff that’s going on out there. But you can take partial responsibility for all of it, because that ripple in the pond goes out throughout the whole ocean.
This should not discourage us. This should encourage us, because, what does that mean? It means it works both ways. It means, if you’ll repent of even the smallest sin, it means, that in your own home, even if your family is not around, your friends are out of town, the Internet is down, the phone doesn’t work, and you’re literally just alone in your house and the only thing you do is just forgive somebody from your heart. Start praying for them instead of cursing them. Just open your heart up to everybody whether they have hurt you or not. Just start thinking mercy towards people, feeling good towards people regardless of what they have done to you.
Just let your heart be freed of that bitterness and malice. Guess what? That pebble goes into the pond and ripples out and causes good weather. And then you can start feeling good that you are changing the entire world, you’re changing the entire cosmos, you are affecting the entire universe for good. And it all starts right here in your heart, right here in your mind, right here with your lips.
Saint Seraphim of Sarov said that if you can truly find peace–and he was talking about peace in Christ, peace in the Church, peace with our own hearts and with God–he said, if you’ll just find that peace inside, thousands will be saved around you. That’s that positive “butterfly effect” that Saint Seraphim of Sarov was talking about.
We want to see the world changed. Start with that part of the world that you have the most ability to change. That’s your own heart, your own thoughts, your own emotions, your own attitudes. Realize that the other person’s sins may just be forgiven because God sees your faith. That other person, their emotional problems, their physical problems, may just be healed when God sees your faith. And the most difficult part of it comes when you start to realize that the other person you’re mad at over there, the one that has sinned against you, the one that is being mean to you, maybe they are like they are towards you because God hasn’t yet seen your faith. And the moment you’ll get off your keister and carry that person to Christ, Jesus will see “their faith” and that person will be healed.
So the next time somebody sins against you personally and does something wrong against you personally, that’s a good time for you to look at Christ and say, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Please help this other person. Please love them. Please help me to love them.” If we would start having that sort of emotion towards people, I believe a lot of healing and spiritually good weather would ripple through our entire church, and our entire nation, and our entire world.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, our God is one. Amen.
This homily was preached on Sunday morning, November 10, 2013,
at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois, by Dn. Joseph Gleason.