POT STIRRER

Jesus saw this one lying there, and knew that he had already been much time in that condition, and He said to him, “Dost thou wish to become well?” [Jn. 5:6] We read in the Gospel of John how that on occasion an angel would come and stir the water which on occasion would heal infirmity. That is, if you could be the first one in the water. For 38 years the paralytic struggled and could not reach the healing water!

 

Jesus then offered this man another way to be healed, a healing by the Great Creator and by the Living Water. Jesus saith to him, “Rise, take up thy bed and be walking.”[Jn. 5:8] Saint Bede writes: “‘Rise’ means shake off the sluggishness of the vices in which you have been ailing for a long time, and rouse yourself to the practice of virtues….‘Rise’ by doing good works.” [Ib., 225.] “‘Take up thy bed’ means lovingly carry your neighbor, patiently tolerating his weaknesses, since he patiently put up with you for a long time when you were weighed down by the burden of temptations. ‘Keep on bearing one another’s burdens, and thus fill up the law of the Christ [Gal. 6:2].’…So leave behind your earlier sins, and come to the aid of your brothers’ needs.” [Ib.] “Go on walking about and keep on walking about.” (peripavtei), “‘Walk’ means to love God with your whole heart, soul and strength [cf. Mk. 12:30], so that you may be worthy to reach the vision of Him. Go forward by making daily strides of good works from virtue to virtue. Do not desert your brother…nor turn aside from the right direction of your path….In everything you do, see to it that you do not fix your mind upon this world, but that you hurry to see the face of your Redeemer.” [Ib.]

 

Afterward Jesus finds this former paralytic in the temple, and said unto him: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” [Jn. 5:14] What kind of worse thing is He who conquered death speaking about? In the wisdom of Saint Chrysostom we hear: “‘What then,’ asks one, ‘do all diseases proceed from sin?’ Not all, but most of them; and some proceed from different kinds of loose living, since gluttony, intemperance, and sloth, produce such like sufferings….Jesus wished to secure this man for the future,…keeping him to health both by the benefit, and by the fear of future ills.” [Hom. 38, P.G. 59:217, 218 (cols. 212, 213).]

 

You see, the evil one likes to stir the waters in our life, but not for healing. For with his temptations, he wishes us to turn from God in anger and disbelief and become paralyzed from every attempt in seeking the Kingdom of God, truly a death-sentence.

 

“Dost thou wish to become well? … Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more.” Joy has come unto the world through the cross and death has been conquered by death. There is no salvation apart from Christ! From the Profit Ezekiel: “And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.” (Ezekiel 47:9) Come, won’t you receive the Healing Water and turn from the death-sentence of sin?

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 4/29/18

THE KING AND I

For over three years our Lord Jesus the Christ has gone city to city, village to village, field to field proclaiming the Kingdom of God is near, repent! And now, the Anointed One enters into the Holy City as a lowly servant to claim His Kingdom, surrendering His life for ours; “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)

 

In 1 Chronicles probably written 450 years before the birth of Christ We here God’s words to King David: “When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:11-14)

 

Early in the Book of Genesis writer records about the return of the rightful tribal leader, the Messiah: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” (Genesis 49:10) Our Lord did not bring armies to seize His Kingdom by the shedding of blood, He brought humility and in His humble mindedness He offered His blood as the only sacrifice necessary to take away the sin of the world! 

 

As we enter into this drama this Holy Week, the last week of Christ’s earthly life, each day brings a new event. The first three days of Holy Week remind us of Christ’s last instructions with his disciples. Jesus enters into the Most-High temple and cleanses it! “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But ye made it ‘a den of robbers.’” [Mk. 11:17] On Tuesday He teaches in the temple, Wednesday betrayed by Judas, Thursday the last Supper, Great and Holy Friday Jesus dies on the Cross, Saturday He descends into Hades, celebrated as the “First Resurrection” of Adam and the conquering of Death and frees the Saints from bondage, and then Great and Most Holy Sunday, He is Risen!!

 

 

This week is the most highly attended services of the year! People still come just as they did back then and they flock to Him wherever He goes! Folks are drawn to Him because His truth sterilizes our hearts. The truth is; I am a sinner in need of salvation! My human pride would rather have me not judged by a high king sitting on a throne, so our loving Father sends His Son riding on a lowly donkey and offers Him as a sacrificial lamb to cleanse my crimson stain (Isaiah 1:18). And yet I justifiably refuse to fast. I proudly refuse to forgive, after all, I am right and they are all wrong! I judge in blind arrogance and yet this is the fallen condition I find myself in or I chose to continue to wallow around in like a hog in filth. Hosanna set me free from the chains of hell that I continue lust after and make this unworthy, wounded man usable in your Kingdom!

Fr Gabriel Weller 4/1/2018