Sunday of the Paralytic

† 4TH Sunday From PASCHA

“On the same day, commemorate the healing of the paralytic.” Commemoration of the sight in heaven of the Precious Cross (†351). Martyr Acacius (†303).



Patience is a hard discipline.
It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict.
Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something.
Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else.
Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.


God is not unjust to anyone


For thirty eight whole years, the paralytic waited to be healed “beside the pool of Siloam where a multitude of ailing people were lying…”. Masses of sick people exist, suffer, and endure, today and in every epoch–everywhere. And yet the Lord heals one of the many. Not all: He heals one, addressing him with that unique and hopeful phrase, “do you want to be healed?” To us “intelligent” ones it seems unjust that Christ heals only one and not all the ailing.
And yet, who are you, o man, who scrutinizes God? Who interferes, and points the finger? Doesn’t God know? Perhaps you think that God has very little to give? Not enough to give to everyone? The negative stance that man takes “prohibits” God’s gifts from reaching his soul. It doesn’t matter how many times these people try to convince God to help them–by their words and by their prayers–it is as though God does not hear. The issue is not just that you find yourself in need, or that you beg to be healed, but for your soul to align itself with God, and for you to properly situate yourself before Him.
God is not unjust, and does not exclude anyone. He is not simply a man. The Lord is the creator, the one who gives the command and everything comes to be. He also has the desire to do that which we ask Him. If someone remains unbenefitted, it is because his own stance is not right. If the stance we take before God is an unrepentant one, this separates our soul from our cure, from our purification, our healing, and our forgiveness; It separates us from paradise.


Christ is Risen!
“Enter all, therefore, into the joy of our Lord”


In order to enter “into the joy of the Lord”, we have to seek the Resurrected Lord, to have the desire to want to see Him and to come to know Him within a “good unbelief”, an unbelief that comes from the paradoxes and antitheses in our lives.
This search requires courage and honesty, patience and persistence which are based on the expectation that we will see Christ. It requires a different logic and strength from that of this world; a trust in Him who is unknown and a stranger to us, yet someone that is familiar and approachable.
The angel at the Tomb tells us that we will meet the Lord in Galilee – in another reality from that in which we live. We will meet Him in the upper room, there where we reside in prayer, where the doors are shut so as not to hear the noise of this world; in sickness, in prisons, when we are estranged from our homeland, in the difficulties and hardships of our daily life. Primarily, we will meet and come to know Him when we offer our entire self in thanks-giving to Him, who submitted Himself to the will of the Father and was crucified for us and for the salvation of the world.
And when we meet Him, He will reveal to us the love of the Father and the awareness of the Holy Spirit. He will regenerate us with the grace of God and will resurrect us as new beings, and each one of us will be a shining candle that transmits the light and joy of the Lord.

“To make a beginning”:
I start the true life at any moment


In the texts of the holy fathers we frequently encounter the exhortation: “to make a beginning”.

Someone ought not only to think that it’s good to say and good to do such a thing, but should also feel the need to say “I am making a beginning”, “I will make a beginning”, at every moment. Not only should we think and feel this in the beginning of a year, not only at certain life milestones, nor only at the start of the week, but at each and every moment of our lives. Certainly, the more often someone makes a start, the better.

I fear, however, that we don’t exactly know what that means, or what someone really means when he mentions this phrase.
And so, what does “make a beginning” mean?
The fathers of the Orthodox Church feel the need to make a beginning namely to start living rightly at each moment, to start the spiritual life at every instant. Every day the saints made a start and without realizing, reached the ultimate destination. Therefore, while making a beginning, someone appears to be at the start and on this side, and yet doing this, he finds that he has reached his ultimate destination.
I will give an example without delay so as to initiate us into the theme a little. A small child desires to climb the staircase which leads to his house. He raises his little foot to the first step and tries to raise his other foot too. He doesn’t manage to, and falls. The little child tries again, and again doesn’t manage; and again he tries, and again he falls. He continues his effort, without considering that he failed once, twice … This reality of failure does not bother him at all. The child’s mother watches him from the upper landing, without him noticing. Seeing her child’s effort, and that he isn’t at all bothered by his failure, she descends, takes the child in her arms, and the child ascends the staircase outright.
We could say that somewhat this resembles man’s attempt to live the spiritual life. Man needs to show that he wants to spiritually progress, and to attract God, by his labours. For, if man doesn’t do that which he can, God won’t do what we as humans choose not to do. Man is unable to create a spiritual life on his own. Rather, the spiritual life is a gift of uncreated Grace.
I dare say that we now better understand how the saints, while making a continuous beginning, reached their ultimate destination.