6th Sunday of Pascha : The Love of God overcomes All

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
The Love of God overcomes All
6th Sunday of Pascha
9 May, 2010
Acts 16:16-34 ; John 9:1-38


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is risen.

When I was young, I heard my parents and my grandparents repeat this saying very many times : “There is none so blind as those that will not see”. That saying was applied to me not a few times, probably.

Today, we have the exact experience of this in the healing of this man who was born blind. Everyone knew that he was born blind. Because of this, he is a public beggar. Nevertheless, the authorities cannot accept that he should have really received his sight, and they believe that there must be a trick involved, somehow. This is why they keep asking the poor man over and over again : “‘How were your eyes opened ?’” The blind man, subjected to this inquisition, simply speaks the truth : “‘A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, “Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.” So I went and washed, and I received sight’”. He repeats this to his neighbours and to the authorities when they press him to explain what happened. The authorities keep saying in effect : “It is wrong, and it is out of order ; it happened on the Sabbath, and it is not supposed to be done on the Sabbath because no work is supposed to be done on the Sabbath”. The reason, of course, that these authorities have so much difficulty about this healing on the Sabbath (or any other healing on the Sabbath by our Saviour) is because they do not remember that “‘the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath’” (Mark 2:27), as our Saviour said. The Sabbath Day was given to us as a day of rest, but we are not its slaves.

The blind man continually responds honestly with an open heart that he does not know what happened, but he obviously does see. It is important in our lives to pay attention to this. The Lord, who sets in order our universe, who sets in order our life, gives us a framework for our life which includes the Ten Commandments. Do not forget that the Ten Commandments still exist for our edification and the formation of our life. They were never taken away from us in the New Covenant and therefore in the Christian era. They are still in effect because they are the pattern of life for anyone who says that he or she loves God : “‘You shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, from your whole soul, and from your whole power’” (5 Moses [Deuteronomy] 6:5). If we love the Lord with all our being, then the Ten Commandments will become characteristic of our life. We will do these ten things at the very least. Nothing has radically changed since these commandments were given, because God has not changed. Our relationship with Him has not changed. Our way is the way of love.

The Lord Himself, who is the Lord of the universe, can over-rule some of these directions. They are not hard and fast laws that are inflexible, but rather, they are expressions of His love. When it is necessary that a child of His, one of His creatures, should be healed or should be released from slavery to some demon, the Lord does not delay. As my parents used to say : “There is no time like the present”. On whatever occasion, the Lord chooses to show that His love is greater than everything. His desire to give life and healing to us is greater than everything. We keep trying to make sense of what He does in this case or that case, but we cannot make sense of why He heals a person now, and not at another time. Why does He release a person from slavery to evil (as this young girl was released today by the Apostle Paul) on one occasion but not on another occasion ? Why this person, and not that person ? Why is one healed and not another ? We do not know. Indeed, we cannot know, even though, like those authorities today, we keep trying to know. We keep trying to impose our reason and our logic on God’s works, which are beyond our reason and our logic. They are the product of His profound love which is absolutely inexpressible and incomprehensible.

The Lord is the Lord of the universe. He creates and He sustains everything that is. It is on a Sabbath Day that He is healing this man born blind. He heals this man who has been blind from birth not because of the sins of any of his ancestors, says the Lord, but so that God may be glorified. This man did and does glorify the Lord for his healing. The authorities say to him : “‘Give glory to God’”. The blind man glorifies God that His love overcomes all. The love of God overcomes all in your life and in my life.

It is important for us all to get used to the idea, finally, that we find the Lord in the heart (not in the head). Because we find the Lord in the heart, the heart is to be in charge. It is the heart that governs the head, not the head that governs the heart. It is our heart that puts in order the confused and scattered thoughts of the head. It is our heart, informed by the Lord, that makes sense of all our thinking. It is our heart that puts warmth and flexibility into the reasonings of our heads. It is our heart that overcomes the rigidity of our tendency to live by rules and regulations alone.

Why do we live by rules and regulations ? Why are we so subject to that ? It is because of fear, which is the chief tool of you-know-who-down-below. This one, the Tempter, governs us with fear. He governs us through the confused thinking in our heads. It is through this combination of fear and confusion in our head that we get the idea that if we organise and fix everything so that everything will be all right according to rules, then everything will be fine with the world (except that it never is). It does not matter how many thousands of laws our parliament makes. That does not change very much the mis-behaviour of human beings in this country. Human beings always manage to find a way to get around rules and regulations, and get up to mischief, regardless. Human beings have always done this.

The only way we can find to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord is to allow the Lord to release us from the bonds of fear by which the devil rules us through our thoughts. The Lord wishes to put order in the heart, infusing us with love. He wishes to make everything make sense in the context of His love which, again, must be found in the heart. This is the root of our life of repentance. Our life of repentance is a turning away from the confused and lying thoughts to which we are subject. We are to turn away from the deceiving emotions to which we are subject, and which are connected to all this confused thinking. The Lord wants to bring peace to us through His love which must be found in the heart, and which gives us real freedom. This is the way of repentance : turning away from our rebellious ways, our selfish ways, and turning to the Lord, who is the Giver of life. He is the Healer of our blindness. He is our Life.

Brothers and sisters, let us ask the Lord to renew His love in abundance in our hearts today, and to enable us willingly to follow Him in the way of repentance, in the way of life, in the way of love. May we glorify Him, the Risen Christ, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.