St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
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/ Weekly Message / Weekly Message 07-15-12: Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
7-15-12: Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

Sixth Sunday


Take courage son, your sins are forgiven you
Matthew 9: 2.


After healing the leper, our Lord returns to Capharnaum. Because of its strategic location, He chose this industrious city as the center of his mission in Galilee. Simon Peter also lived there, so it is probable that it was his home in which Christ lodged while in the community.


Because of the extraordinary signs and miracles which He offered as proof of his divinity, our Lord became a celebrity. Throngs followed him and although He entered the city very quietly, his presence could not be kept secret. Many people began to hang around the neighborhood of Peter's house to catch a glimpse of our Lord and seek his blessing. They came from Jerusalem and other parts of Judea as well as from the outlying towns of Galilee to hear his words and seek cures. Of course, there were also those who considered him a threat and laid snares before him. Politicians are notorious for their plotting, captious motives and intentions and generally speaking they are the scum of the earth today as they were then. This is because so many of them are self-serving and hypocritical, concerned solely for their positions of power.


The event of the paralytic at Capharnaum is summarized as follows A group of Jews brought a young paralyzed man to our Lord seeking a cure. With not too much apparent concern about his predicament, Christ absolves him from sin. Then, to prove He has power over sin, He performs a miracle and cures him!


Sin and grace are forever the greatest realities of human existence because on them depend either the loss or gain of eternal life. Sin is the curse of our said human condition; it is the cause of the loss of our integrity, the loss of truth and love, the loss of God. It is the reason why we in our so-called culture so vigorously exhibit self-hate. So, we are unhappy. We are unhappy because of our eroded self-confidence. We are unhappy in our technology, our bureaucracy, our politics, our government. We are unhappy in our self-seeking, self-indulgence and of those around us. We are unhappy because no matter how much we indulge ourselves, or how much we possess, or attempt to please ourselves, we still lack the security of believers. We do not experience freedom and self-sufficientcy of believers in Christ. Pain and suffering haunt us and death frightens us.


As a culture, many of the worst sins are committed not in the name of vice, but of misplaced ideals, misplaced priorities and watered down ideals. Conservatives, those on the right of our political and social spectrum denounce the millions of abortions performed each year, now marriage for people of the same sex, crass pornography flooding the nation. TV immorality the constantly escalating drug problem, permissiveness, the welfare state, excessive governmental interference in our lives and grossly high taxes. Liberals, those on the left, denounce capitalism, consumerism, racism and neglect of the poor. They vigorously promote liberal movements, Godless ideology, demonstrations and feminism, unlimited civil and personal rights. It goes without saying our America and its so-called culture and lifestyle is predominantly liberal.


Our Lord denounced both human cynicism as well as human selfishness and gross dishonesty and narcissism. This because He knows human nature better than we know ourselves. He reminds today that sin shall always represent death and yet He was aware that the desire to seek life was not completely destroyed by sin, no matter how grave. He also knew that this is why we are so restless, so insecure. Our souls yearn for truth and abiding love, while our bodies, ever so frail because of our own encouragement, seek sensual pleasure and freedom from responsibility. Hence, we struggle constantly. This struggle between body and spirit, between body and soul shall always ask the question: "What shall we seek in life? What is the correct answer?"


Genuine believers know that life without God is absurdity. Only He who created life can heal, sustain, and satisfy and fulfill it. Scientific technology adds more to life's problems than life's solutions, by our own choice. Government bureaucracy inevitably becomes corrupt no matter who gets elected. And it is we who make it a god in our lives because we think not our God, but our government has all the answers.


"Take courage son, your sins are forgiven you," are the encouraging words of Christ to the paralytic. He was concerned with sin because sin is the cause of all human misery. Eternal life and unflawed happiness and fulfillment are to be found only in heaven for all eternity, not on this earth. God's grace is available to us in unlimited quantity and quality, but only so long as we remain free from sin. Sin is the only barrier to happiness here and hereafter. May God be forever praised for his enduring love for every soul He creates!

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