We heard in the Gospel reading this morning that passage in St. John: “For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.”(John 5:4) And so it seems in life that it takes “stirring up” for change to come about or maybe we need to stir up our efforts or maybe stir up our thirst for recovery. In every effort we make, we are anticipating some type of change, something moved, something cleaner, something different from the way things were before we exerted our physical and mental effort!
You and I have to make an effort to change or take some form of action. No change, no gain! Yes there are some things in our life that are supposed to be constant, but letting time slip by without making a difference in someone’s else’s life or not caring enough about ourselves to want to be more like Christ is being stagnate or dead! Life is action! Life, is stirring things up!
St. Moses of Optina tells us about stirring up our actions: If at some time you show mercy to someone, mercy will be shown to you. If you show compassion to one who is suffering (and of course, this is not a great deed) you will be numbered among the martyrs. If you forgive one who has insulted you, then not only will all your sins be forgiven, but you will be a child of the Heavenly Father. If you pray from all your heart for salvation – even a little – you will be saved. If you rebuke yourself, accuse yourself, and judge yourself before God for your sins, with a sensitive conscience, even for this you will be justified. If you are sorrowful for your sins, or you weep, or sigh, your sigh will not be hidden from Him and, as St. John Chrysostom says, “If you only lament for your sins, then He will receive this for your salvation.” (St. Moses of Optina)
We can also take negative actions that separate us from God or to distance ourselves from His teachings! These choices do not bring true happiness or help us achieve the life in the age to come. We do not want our hopes and dreams to be shaped by lies and deception. These negative choices come from a lack of trust from our wounded past experiences or we are hiding our sinfulness because we think we are unlovable and beyond repair! Christ Is Risen! He is Risen so that you and I can become whole by surrendering every nook and cranny of all that we are or have let ourselves become, for all that He is. We don’t want to settle for being broken. We do not want to be bonded to death! Our Lord asks us: “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:5) I hope your answer is yes and you are going to stir things up a bit, again and again!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 5-10-2020