A Sermon for the Sunday of the Paralytic

Taking Our Gift of Life and Using It Wisely

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The Sunday of the Paralytic sends me a powerful message. How much longer will I keep lying at the Bethesda pool, waiting for someone to put me there? How much longer will I lay my hopes on others or look for miracles, when Christ is so close, and is never tired of waiting until I decide to be cured. Many people, perhaps, could say the same thing about themselves.

We often lay our hopes on others. We expect someone else to help, ask or pray for us, or come and clear our doubts. We long for miracles but forget that Christ is near and ready to say to us "Stand up, pick up your mat and walk! "

We established this Convent by God's will for the patients of the mental hospital over the fence from us. They are in much the same situations as the proverbial paralytic. For many, life is a torment; they cry because they find it unbearable. Some do not want to live. They have not known Christ, met Him, or let Him into their lives. A relationship with Christ is truly a matter of life and death for all of us.

God gave us the gift of life and the freedom to use it. Today, we commemorate Sts. Boris and Gleb. They were glorified as passion-bearers because they refused to go to war with their older brother and died at his hand. They remained with Christ to the end of their time. Imagine the magnitude of their exploit. They were blameless, and they were afraid. They were young and full of life. But they did not wish to start a fratricidal war and accepted death from an assassin.

In these bright paschal days, we proclaim the triumph of life over death; we declare death to be fiction: nobody dies - Christ has resurrected, and so shall we. But in our depth, death still lurks; our death is our original sin distorting our human nature. We inherited it from our forefathers, but we cannot deny our complicity. We cannot say that it was Adam and Eve's sin, not ours. That is because we have not stopped sinning, and sin is still a part of our lives. We realise that we must oppose sin, but it has become a habit - so we make compromises instead and look for justifications. Christ came to this world to deliver us from death and give us eternal life. There is nothing more important than taking it.

We must do all it takes to remain with Christ. He will not hide, or abandon us. But we sometimes hide and avoid Him, and when we do, we do many wrongs, and that is our biggest tragedy. Why do not we put our lives into His hands instead?

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

Preached on 15.05.2022

May 17, 2022
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