Our Saviour heals and delivers all

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Our Saviour heals and delivers all
7th Sunday after Pentecost
3 August, 2008
Romans 15:1-7 ; Matthew 9:27-35

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Today, once again, we see and hear our Lord proclaiming the Kingdom. While He is proclaiming the Kingdom, He is also revealing the Kingdom. He heals two blind men. He gives the ability to speak to a man who was unable to speak. He casts out devils in all places. He releases people from slavery to darkness. He heals wherever He goes. Our Saviour, Himself, is giving us the example of His love. Who is He ? He is Love incarnate. He is God’s love incarnate. He is God, Himself, who took on flesh, which was hard for people of those days to accept (just as it is hard for people to accept today).

Nevertheless, God emptied Himself because of His love for us. He became a human being, and He took all our brokenness and all our fallenness upon Himself so that He could reunite us to Himself, so that He could give us life, so that He could give us joy, and most importantly, eternal life in this Kingdom which He is today proclaiming. Our Saviour, wherever He is going, is always bringing joy, life, healing, health, order, correctness, and everything that is right. If there is something out of order with our own lives, or if there is something out of order with our society as a whole, then it has to do with our disconnection from Christ, either by ourselves, or as a society as a whole.

It is important for us Orthodox Christians to testify to the fact of the love of the Lord. We may notice how, in the case of these blind men being healed and the dumb man being given the gift of speech, in the first place, people immediately said that in all Israel they had never seen anything like this before. In the second place, the two blind men, who were told not to talk about it, talked about it very much. In fact, when people who are blind now suddenly see, it is very hard to hide that from the people who know them. Anyway, how could a person resist glorifying the Lord because of such a gift ? I do not think it was out-and-out disobedience on their part. It was simply the spontaneous outpouring of joy that comes with such an event in a person’s life. If I had been blind, for instance, and were given the gift of sight suddenly, how could I not express the joy, how could I not express the glory of the Lord under those circumstances ? This would be especially the case in a society like that where the only way a blind person could live would be by begging, because there was no sort of support available for people with disabilities in those days, and there also was no sort of training for helping people with disabilities to manage in society, as there is in our society. Therefore, people proclaimed everywhere the glory of God because of what they saw in the acts of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul is telling us today that it is important that we bear each other’s burdens, that we work together in building up the Kingdom, that we take care of each other. He is saying this because our Lord, Himself, is showing us the example. If we are persons who are filled with the love and the joy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, then we are going to be persons who instinctively do care about people who are around us. We do care about the welfare of people we encounter. We do care about our neighbour, as the Lord said in the commandments. The Shema, the summary of the commandments which our Lord, Himself, repeated to us in the Gospel, says that we should love God above everything, and that we should love our neighbour as ourself. We apply this love of God by being good to other people. Sometimes you cannot do things for someone else. We cannot always be such a helper in a practical way. However, being good to the other person, (whoever that is) accomplishes much. A person who prays for, and intercedes for the other can sometimes accomplish more than a practical act. It is really important that each one of us pay attention to intercessory prayer. I, myself, have seen so much fruit come from the intercessory prayers of faithful people one for the other. The Lord uses those loving, caring prayers. He accomplishes good in the lives of other people through our persevering in prayer.

Taking heart from the Lord, His promise, His love, His continual presence with us even to this day, let us ask the Lord to renew this love and refresh this love. Let us ask Him to enable us with all joy, hope, and confidence in Him to live our lives day by day, knowing that His love is always with us. He, Himself, is with us. By the Grace of the Holy Spirit, He is giving us Grace to do and to be what He has called us to do and to be in our lives. He calls us to be living examples of His love, so that in everything we may glorify Him, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.