THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: THE HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and SaviorJesus Christ.

CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!

ON THIS DAY, THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA,
THE HOLY CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE MIRACLE
OF OUR LORD AND GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
UPON THE PARALYTIC.

The word of Christ was strength for the paralytic, and thus
this only was his healing.

The commemoration of the healing of the Lord of the paralytic is made on this Fourth Sunday of Pascha since it occurred during the celebration of the Hebrew 50 days. ON the previous Sundays, that of the Apostle Thomas and of the Myrrh-bearers, we celebrated that they led many to belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The coming Sundays, that is, commemorating the Samaritaness and the miracle pertaining to the man born blind, until Ascension Thursday, we celebrate those events that occurred during the FIFTY DAYS OF THE HEBREWS. This is what we were taught, according to Sint John the Theologian.

Saint Kyril of Alexandria informs us that "Christ had just returned at the holy Pentecost–for this was the next solemnity in Jerusalem. Christ heals the paralytic at the waters of the pool. This paralytic had passed a long time in sickness (for it was even his thirty-eight year), but this fellow had not yet attained unto the perfect number of the law: I speak fo four times ten or FORTY. Here then will end the course of the history, but we must transform again the typical letter to its spiritual interpretation. That Jesus prior to the healing at the Bethesda Pool repairs to the Samaritans and Galileans, and preaches among them THE WORD OF SALVATION, what else will this mean, save His actual withdrawal from the Jews, after His Sacrifice and Death at Jerusalem upon the Precious Cross, when He at length began to freely give Himself to them of the Gentiles and aliens, bidding it to be shown to His Disciples after His Resurrection, that He goes before them all into Galilee?"

Indeed, Jesus was in Samaria and Galilee, where He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, and thereafter the people. Many of the Samaritans came to believe in Him. Then, after two days with them, the Lord went north into Galilee. The Galileans received Him. In Cana of Galilee, HE also healed the nobleman’s son who was sick at Capernaum. Yet now He returns to Jerusalem and to the Jews. What does this mean?

Saint Kyril of Alexandria, continuing his explanation, writes: "His return again at the fulfillment of the weeks of Holy Pentecost to Jerusalem, signifies as it were in types and darkly, THAT THERE WILL BE OF HIS LOVING-KINDNESS A RETURN TO OUR SAVIOR TO THE JEWS IN THE LAST AGES OF THE PRESENT WORLD, WHEREIN THEY WHO HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH IN HIM, SHALL CELEBRATE THE ALL-HOLY FEASTS OF THE SAVING PASSION. But that the Paralytic is healed before the full time of the law signifies again by a corresponding type that Israel, having blasphemously raged against Christ, will be infirm and paralytic and will spend a long time in doing nothing; yet will not depart to complete punishment, but will have some visitation from the Savior, and will himself too, be healed at the pool BY OBEDIENCE and FAITH. But that the number 40 IS PERFECT ACCORDING TO THE DIVINE LAW WILL BE BY NO MEANS HARD TO LEARN BY THEM WHO HAVE ONCE RED THE DIVINE SCRIPTURES",

In Thy Boundless mercy, O Christ God, have mercy
on us. Amen.

Lessons to be Learned

Now, what do we learn from this account of Jesus’ encounter with the paralytic? Saint John Chrysostom answers: "First, that the paralytic’s disease had been produced BY HIS SINS; secondly, that the accounts of Everlasting Fire ARE TO BE BELIEVED; thirdly, that THE PUNISHMENT IS LONG, nay ENDLESS. Where now are those who say, ‘I murdered in an hour, I committed adultery in a little moment of time, and am I eternally punished?’ For behold this man had not sinned for so many years as he suffered, for he had spent a whole lifetime in the length of his punishment, and sins are not judged by time, BUT BY THE NATURE OF THE TRANSGRESSIONS. Besides this, we may see another thing, that though we have suffered severely for former sins, if we afterward fall into the same, WE SHALL YET SUFFER MUCH MORE SEVERELY…

"Now, if even in this world when after punishment we fall into the same sins, we are chastised yet more severely than before, ought we not when after sinning and we have not been punished at all, to be then very exceedingly afraid and to tremble, as being about to endure something irreparable? Someone may say, ‘And for which reasons are not all thus punished? For we see many bad men well in body, vigorous, and enjoying great prosperity.’ But let us not be confident, let us mourn for them, in this case, most of all, since their having suffered nothing here, HELPS THEN ON TO A SEVERER VENGEANCE HEREAFTER. Saint Paul declares this when he says: "FOR IF WE WERE DISCERNING OURSELVES, WE SHOULD NOT BE JUDGE; BUT WHEN WE ARE JUDGED, WE ARE BEING CHASTIZED BY THE LORD, IN ORDER THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE CONDEMNED WITH THE WORLD" [1 Corinthians 11:31-32).  'For the punishment here ae for warning, there for vengeance.  NOT ALL DISEASES PROCEED FROM SIN, BUT THE MAJORITY OF THEM DO FROM OUR MANNER OF LIVING.  I mean from remissness or from the immoderate indulgence of bodily appetites as well as laziness and inactivity produce such sufferings.  But the one rule we have to observe, IS TO BEAR EVERY STROKE THANKFULLY; FOR THEY ARE SENT BECAUSE OF OUR SINS; …THEY ARE SENT ALSO TO MAKE US APPROVED, AS THE LORD SAID TO JOB, "DO THOU THINK THAT I HAVE DEALT WITH THEE IN ANY OTHER WAY THAN THAT THOU MIGHTIEST APPEAR TO BE RIGHTEOUS?" (Job 40:8).


   Saint John Cassian states:  "Bodily illness is not an obstacle to the purity of heart, provided we give the body what its illness requires, not what gratifies our desire for pleasure.  Food is to be taken INSOFAR AS IT SUPPORTS OUR LIFE, BUT NOT TO THE EXTREME OF ENSLAVING US TO THE IMPULSES OF DESIRE.  To EAT MODERATELY AND REASONABLY IS TO KEEP THE BODY IN HEALTH, NOT TO DEPRIVE IT OF HOLINESS."  [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]

(To be continued)

_______________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in Christ’s Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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