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Homily for 7/15/07 - P7 - an icon of salvation

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  • Fr David Moser
    Matthew 9:27-35 Over the past few weeks, we have heard the accounts of many healings by our Lord. Each one has many lessons that are instructive to us not only
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 15, 2007
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      Matthew 9:27-35

      Over the past few weeks, we have heard the accounts of many healings by
      our Lord. Each one has many lessons that are instructive to us not only
      about the compassion and love of our Lord for mankind, but also about
      the spiritual life. This miracle of healing of the blind men is no
      different. In this miracle, filled with the compassion of Christ, we see
      a model of our own salvation. In the healing of the blind men we see the
      healing of our soul from its blindness and indeed from all of its
      spiritual illnesses.

      St Innocent of Alaska teaches us about our created nature and destiny
      when he says: “We were created to live on earth unlike animals who die
      and disappear with time, but with the high purpose to live with God —
      not for a hundred years or so — but for eternity! Every individual
      instinctively strives for happiness. This desire has been implanted in
      our nature by the Creator Himself, and therefore it is not sinful. But
      it is important to understand that in this temporary life it is
      impossible to find full happiness, because that comes from God and
      cannot be attained without Him. Only He, who is the ultimate Good and
      the source of all good, can quench our thirst for happiness. ... It
      seems that in the depth of our subconscious something reminds us that we
      are just wanderers on this earth and that our true happiness is not here
      but there, in that other and better world known as Paradise or the
      Heavenly Kingdom.” In a similar manner we know that these blind men were
      also searching for something. They had been born with sight, and then
      lost it and were searching for a way to regain it, but they did not know
      how. Mankind was created to live in eternity with God, and indeed did
      live with God in Paradise, but through his sin, he lost that essential
      connection with God in his life. Now mankind searches to find again the
      happiness and joy that he once had which comes only through communion
      and union with God.

      When the God/man Jesus Christ told the apostles that He would go before
      them to prepare a place for them and that they would follow Him, the
      Apostle Thomas said to Him, “Lord we do not know where You are going,
      how can we know the way?” Our Lord responded to Thomas, “I am the Way,
      the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me.”
      (Jn 14:6) And again Jesus said at another time, “If any man would come
      after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Mt
      6:24). Thus we see that the only way to regain that which we have lost,
      the only way to return to the communion and union with God is to follow
      Jesus Christ, who is Himself the “Way”.

      The blind men, the Gospel tells us, followed Jesus around, crying “Son
      of David have mercy on us.” They did not need to constantly explain
      their lack of sight – it was obvious to all that they could not see and
      that as a result of their disability, they were beggars. They had heard
      that Jesus was a healer and so even in their blindness, they sought Him
      out and found Him and began to follow Him around asking for mercy. How
      are we any different from these men. We have lost something more basic
      and precious than our sight – we have lost our union and communion with
      God. We have heard that we can restore this loss through the One Who is
      Himself the “Way” and so in our blindness we search out Jesus Christ and
      having found Him, we begin to follow Him and to cry out to Him, “Lord
      Jesus Christ have mercy on us”. We know that this prayer, which we call
      the “Jesus prayer” is the most basic and comprehensive of all prayers.
      By this prayer we call out to the One Who can not only fulfill our
      deepest desire for communion with God, but He can see the internal state
      of our hearts and knows the depth of our need even better than we
      ourselves do. Therefore we simply cry out to Him, “have mercy” for our
      need is obvious to Him.

      In the Gospel, Jesus turned to the blind men and asked, “Do you believe
      that I can do this” and they answered, “yes Lord.” He then touched their
      eyes saying “according to your faith, be it done to you” and they
      regained their sight for they truly believed that Jesus was their only
      hope, their only recourse, the only One Who could fulfill their desire.
      Jesus Christ also turns to each of us who follow Him and cry out to Him
      and asks us “Do you believe that I can do this?” And the question that
      we each must answer within our souls is “Do I believe? Do I really
      believe that Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life, the
      only way to come to the Father?” and even deeper, “Do I believe that to
      be healed by Him, to be restored into communion with the Father by Him,
      will indeed satisfy the need and desire of my soul? Is this the way to
      regain true happiness and joy?” These are not idle questions to be
      dismissed with the perfunctory “of course I believe” or to just assume
      the answer to be “yes” because after all I am an Orthodox Christian.
      Remember that the One Who asks this question sees into your heart, He
      sees whether or not you do believe; but He asks you for it is necessary
      for each of us to confess that in ourselves, we are hopeless, in
      ourselves, we are powerless, in ourselves there is no life, no joy, no
      enduring happiness, in ourselves there is only cold emptiness and
      darkness. Then when we know this of ourselves, we can truly answer “yes”
      for we know that our only hope, our only desire, our only joy is to be
      united to Christ.

      Then He will touch us and restore in our hearts the seed of the Life of
      the Holy Trinity and the presence of God is again within us. This seed
      of Life must be nurtured and protected so that it may grow and consume
      our whole being. We are now again in the place of our first parents Adam
      and Eve, who had been given this same seed of Life within themselves at
      their creation. Through their sin, they lost this seed and since that
      time we have all been searching for it in our own lives. Now, having
      found it again, let us return to the path of salvation and struggle to
      stay upon it. If we sin, let us repent that we may be forgiven and so
      not lose the seed of life. Let us live according to our desire for this
      life so that it may grow more full and stronger and fill us more and
      more each day. Let us give up our own lives that we may be filled with
      this life that is given to us by Jesus Christ – the life of the Holy
      Trinity which we can now share. This is the great treasure, the pearl of
      great price which we have desired in the depths of our souls. This is
      the Light that chases away the darkness in us; this is the Life that
      fills the emptiness within us. The fruit of this seed is the happiness
      and joy in our hearts for which we have sought from our birth.

      The blind men followed Jesus and called out to him for mercy – and they
      received their sight. We have lost something much more precious and
      basic than sight – we have lost the life of God for which we were
      created and which we were designed to share. Having found the only true
      source of that life, Jesus Christ, we have begun to follow Him and to
      cry out to Him saying, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me!” And turning
      to us He asks, “Do you believe that I can do this”. Indeed if we truly
      believe, if we confess our emptiness and abandon ourselves into His
      hands – He will heal us and fill us with His Life that we might live
      with Him in eternity. Having received this life from Him, it is now
      given to us to live according to the life that is within us – no longer
      living for ourselves alone, but living instead the Life of Christ, the
      Life in which we were created to participate. Having received this great
      gift, it is now up to us to care for it and nurture it in our hearts in
      order that this Life will grow in us and completely fill us bringing us
      the joy and happiness which comes only from union and communion with the
      Holy Trinity, our true God and Creator.

      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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