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Homily for 7/8/07 - P6- help from our friends

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  • Fr David Moser
    Matt 9:1-8 When Sir Edmund Hilary summitted Mt Everest, he was not alone, but was accompanied by his Sherpa guide and until that last effort they had both been
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8, 2007
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      Matt 9:1-8

      When Sir Edmund Hilary summitted Mt Everest, he was not alone, but was
      accompanied by his Sherpa guide and until that last effort they had both
      been surrounded by members of the climbing expedition who provided the
      support that made it possible for Hilary to reach the summit. When we
      learn about the heros of this world, we find out that they are rarely
      alone in their accomplishments. The “hero” is only one member of a team,
      the one upon whom the attention of the public is focused and around whom
      the efforts of the team are organized. This is also the situation that
      we find within the Church. We are not alone in our labor to work out our
      salvation and to live the Christian life, but we are surrounded with
      many helpers. We have the angelic host around us, especially our
      guardian angel, who are unseen, and yet who support us and protect us by
      their prayers and efforts in the spiritual world. There is also the
      choir of the saints who await us so that we might enter into our reward
      together. They too pray for us and intervene on our behalf as we work
      out our salvation. Even these two heavenly groups are supplemented in
      their efforts by the fact that we are not saved alone, but in the
      community of the Body of Christ – the Church. We are surrounded by other
      believers, others who are walking the same path as we are, others who
      help us and whom we help. We support each other when we are weak; we
      pray with each other; we rejoice together in times of joy and we mourn
      together in times of sorrow. Together we travel the path of salvation.

      In the Gospel today we heard of one of the miracles of our Lord wherein
      He healed a man who was paralyzed. This man had been brought to Jesus on
      a litter, carried by his friends. Here again we see the communal nature
      of the Church and how it is we help and support each other. The sick
      man, while he may have fervently desired to go to Christ and be healed,
      could never have done so on his own – but those around him aided him.
      They picked him up out of his bed, laid him on a litter and then carried
      him into the presence of Jesus Christ. When he finally was set down
      before Christ, our Lord did not heal his body, but first, through the
      forgiveness of his sins, healed his soul. Only then did Jesus heal the
      body, telling the paralyzed man to get up and walk. Our Lord did this in
      order to instruct us about the effects of sin. Sin, when it enters our
      soul and is not removed by repentance and forgiveness, wounds the soul
      and the longer it settles there that wound festers and becomes more and
      more disabling. Sometimes that sin is so great that it becomes
      disabling, preventing us from even the slightest effort towards
      repentance. It is at these times that we need our friends, our brothers
      and sisters in Christ to come to us and lift us up and bring us into the
      presence of our Lord and Master that we might be healed. This is done in
      many ways. First and foremost, by our intercessory prayer for one
      another. We should be remembering to pray for each person here in this
      parish every day. It is not even necessary to know the inner state of
      the heart to pray for another person. God knows what this is. All that
      is required of us is that we pray for them with the simple prayer, “Lord
      have mercy” and by this commend them into the care of our Lord and cover
      them with the grace of the Holy Spirit that constantly surrounds us.

      Prayer is not the only way that we help one another. Not only do we pray
      for one another but we also can provide direct help – assisting with a
      task that seems insurmountable to one person, but which is light work
      for many, or simply listening as a brother or sister pours out his heart
      to us, thereby sharing the burden of sorrow or struggle that they bear
      within. Sometimes we are able to provide words of support or
      encouragement, and sometimes it is sufficient only to listen, to offer a
      touch of sympathy and friendship, just to “be there” with them. These
      are the ways in which we support one another and help one another as we
      travel together along the path of salvation.

      Years ago there was a particular difficulty in my own life. I carried a
      burden within my own heart, searching for help and guidance from God. I
      was isolated from my friends by distance and circumstance. But in my
      struggle there were two friends who never let me go. They constantly
      called and spoke with me – not directly about my struggle, but about the
      normal everyday “doings” of my spiritual life. Even though I was
      withdrawing into my own little shell, they were unwilling to let me go.
      I recall one evening I received a phone call from one of those friends.
      I had been all that day in a situation where I was forced to face many
      of my own deficits and was being pulled into the abyss of despair. But
      this phone call forced me out of that spiral and my friend by his voice,
      by his compassion, by his conversation, brought me into the presence of
      Christ where I was healed. Like the paralytic of the Gospel, I was
      unable, despite even my own desire, to turn to Christ because of the
      weight of my own sin and despair, but he picked me up and brought me
      into the presence of Christ – just by calling me and chatting with me
      and pulling against the despair that had me in its grasp. He was
      unaware, even at the time, of the timely nature of his call and of the
      effect of his friendship – but simply because he was there, because he
      had been praying for me, because he would not let me go, he brought me
      into the healing presence of Jesus Christ.

      This is what we can do for one another. We may not see into the secret
      struggles of the heart that those around us face, but we can pray for
      one another even as a matter of routine; we can be friendly towards one
      another, we can listen to one another, we can encourage one another, we
      can lend a hand to each other. We may never even know (as my friend did
      not know) what the effect of our presence is for our brother, but be
      assured that your word, your touch, your help, your prayers are real and
      serve to lift up your brother in his time of need and bring him into the
      healing presence of Jesus Christ.

      We are not alone as we walk the path of salvation. We have our guardian
      angel who walks beside us along with the whole angelic host. We have the
      saints who surround us with their prayers and their helps. We have each
      other, our brothers and sisters in Christ who rejoice with us, who
      sorrow with us, who help us, who pray for us and who lift us up and
      bring us into the healing presence of Christ – just as we also do for
      them. My brothers and sisters, look around you here and see your fellow
      travelers on the path of salvation. Pray for one another, listen to one
      another, help one another, carry one another into the presence of our
      Lord Jesus Christ that together we may be healed.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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