Metropolitan Moses - Sunday of the Blind Man 2012
- A Sermon of Metropolitan MosesforThe Sunday of the Blind Man2012Christ is risen!In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.On this Sunday before the Holy Ascension we commemorate one of the greatest miracles worked by our Savior Christ, that is the time He gave eyes and sight to a man who was born without eyes. Simply saying these words is a cause of marveling.In the chapter just before the account of the working of this miracle, our Savior openly told the Jews, “Verily, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) and then meekly eluded their wrath. He then revealed more of Who He is when He sought out this man without eyes and took clay and formed a fully functional set of new eyes. This miracle could not but call to mind, for all those who heard of it, the forming of Adam from clay.I know of only one other time that such a miracle was worked, that is when the unjustly blinded Steven prayed at the shrine of the ikon of the Cassiopia Mother of God and received new eyes. In that instance, Steven’s eyes from birth were a dark brown and his new eyes were blue. This miracle of the Theotokos was recorded on the Island of Kerkyra.The miracle of granting the man eyes who was born eyeless was worked at the end of our Savior’s earthly sojourn, not long before our Savior raised Lazarus. This is made evident by the words of one of those present outside the tomb of Lazarus who said, “Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (John 11:37)Thus the Holy Fathers decreed that towards the end of the commemoration of the 40 days between the Resurrection and the Ascension of our Savior we are brought full circle to the events that led to His voluntary passion, death and resurrection.This man who received new eyes where there were none was brought before the Pharisees and they asked him how he received his sight. The man answered very matter-of-factly that a man called Jesus put clay upon his eyes and he washed and now he could see. (John 9:11)Because this miracle was worked on the Sabbath day and because of their envy, some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not of God, because He keepeth not the sabbath day.” (John 9:16)Yet others said, “How can a man that is a sinner do such signs?”Saint John the Theologian, the writer of the Gospel account made the observation that, “…there was a division among them.” (John 9:16)There was a division among the Pharisess, but this division was weak and not sufficient to aid those who were being pulled along by the others into rejecting the Christ of God, even against their first inclination. Saint John Chrysostom comments on this passage:“If those of the Pharisees that weakly defended our Saviour been entirely separated from the rest of the Pharisees that were filled with envy and hatred, they would soon have known the truth. For it is possible to do well in separating. Wherefore also Himself hath said, “I am come not to bring peace upon the earth but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) For there is an evil concord, and there is a good disagreement. Thus they who built the tower (Genesis 11:4), agreed together to their own hurt; and these same again were separated, though unwillingly, yet for their good. Thus also Corah and his company agreed together for evil, therefore they were separated for good; and Judas agreed with the Jews for evil. So division may be good, and agreement may be evil. Wherefore It saith, “If thine eye offend thee, smite it out, if thy foot, cut it off.” (Matthew 5:29, and 18:8) Now if we must separate ourselves from an ill-joined limb, must we not much more from friends united to us for evils? So that agreement is not in all cases a good, just as division is not in all cases an evil.”During the time of our Savior the elders of Israel made merchandise of the things of God and rejected the Christ of God out of covetousness and envy. Today, there are many who are sick with the same diseases and yet they call themselves Orthodox and have titles of bishop or priest or the status of an “elder,” despite the fact that they support teachings condemned by the Church. In these cases we must remember the words of Saint John Chrysostom “that agreement is not in all cases good, just as division is not in all cases evil.” In his commentary Saint John implied that it is essential to separate from such men in order to even begin to understand the truth.For the sake of our own salvation, it is essential for us to use as our guides, Holy Tradition, the councils and decisions of the Church, and the consensus of the Holy Fathers. Let us thank God for our Holy Synod, which actively seeks to be in agreement with the Holy Fathers and the councils and decisions of the Church. This is no small gift from God. Our days should begin in glorifying God for this.Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must strive to live uprightly. Our Church is the light on the lamp-stand and the city on the hill. We must strive, through our daily lives, to cooperate with Christ to help Him enlighten a generation gone blind by a multitude of spiritual errors.If we strive to love one another and for oneness of mind in the Gospel precepts, we help enlighten those around us. If we live the life of the Beatitudes, that is, if we are poor in spirit and mourn for our sins, if we are meek, and hunger and thirst for righteousness, and if we are merciful, and seek purity of heart and strive to be peacemakers and suffer persecution with gladsome hope, then we have Christ in our midst and can begin to cooperate with Him to give spiritual eyes to those who have none. If we do these things, ours is the Kingdom of the Heaven made manifest on earth.Without God, we are clay. We live and move, yet it all ends in death and decay. With God, we are sons and daughters of the Most High. If we remember our “clay-ness” and keep a humble heart in all of the works cited above, we can experience the Kingdom of God.Think on these things and may God grant His grace to you and your families so that you will experience these things, through the love for mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.