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Homily for 1/25/09 - after theophany - light and blindness

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  • Fr David Moser
    Matthew 4:12-17 Luke 18:35-43 When you are in a dark place or out at night, it is difficult to see clearly your surroundings. You see shapes and forms in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2009
      Matthew 4:12-17
      Luke 18:35-43

      When you are in a dark place or out at night, it is difficult to see
      clearly your surroundings. You see shapes and forms in the shadow, but
      little detail. Colors are washed out into shades of grey. Your mind
      tries to make out what things are but cannot because you cannot see
      clearly due to the lack of light. Perhaps then, you begin to imagine
      what things might be there and even become a little fearful of what you
      imagine. However, once you turn on a light or when the sun rises in the
      morning, all those shadows and dim shapes are washed with light and the
      mystery is removed. In the light you see things clearly as they are and
      are no longer subject to your imagination or guesses of what might be
      around you.

      The coming of Jesus Christ into the world is, as the Gospel says, the
      coming of the Light into the darkness. At the time of the fall, mankind
      lost the light and the world around him became spiritually dark. He
      became more and more unsure of God or forgot His presence altogether.
      Some men began to imagine strange gods and worshipped idols or the
      spirits of the stones and trees. Some men fell prey to cruel demons who
      deceived them and in the darkness impersonated God. Only a very few were
      able to maintain the knowledge of the true God, until by the time of
      Noah, only Noah himself continued to worship the true God, all others
      having fallen away. Even after the flood and when the sons of Noah began
      to flourish again and populate the earth, the people fell away from the
      worship of the true God and back into darkness. Our God, who loves
      mankind, did not wish us to perish in this darkness and so began to
      prepare for the return of the light to the world. He chose Abraham as
      the patriarch of a new people, a chosen people who would maintain the
      memory of the light in the world throughout the ages so that finally,
      when all things were ready, the True Light would arise from them. When
      the time was ready, God took flesh and became man and dwelt among us –
      the Light returned to the world, the sun rose again to enlighten a world
      that had been sunk in darkness.

      The coming of the True Light, the God/man Jesus Christ illumined the
      darkness of the world and that light fell even in the remotest parts of
      the world. The Holy Apostles traveled throughout the world proclaiming
      the coming of the light, telling the people wherever they went Who the
      Light was and how to take hold of Him. The darkness and the deception
      that accompanied it had been banished from the world and the spiritual
      errors which grew from that darkness were revealed for what they were.
      The Truth could again be known and perceived clearly. No longer was
      mankind subject to the delusions of his imaginations of dim forms and
      shadows, but could now know the One True God.

      But even with the coming of the light many were not able to see clearly.
      For so long they had dwelt in darkness that they had assumed that
      darkness was the normal condition. The coming of the light for many did
      not only reveal the Truth but also revealed their own blindness. In a
      darkened room a blind man has the advantage over one who is not blind
      for he is not deceived by the shadows and dim forms of the darkness. The
      darkness is his normal condition. When I was a young child, my eyesight
      was poor – but I didn’t know that. I thought that everyone saw the world
      as I did. I thought that my poor eyesight was normal. It was not until I
      was given glasses that I realized that I had not been seeing the world
      as others did. So also the blind man in a dark world. Because no one can
      see, the blind man does not stand out – or if he does stand out it is
      because he has become better adapted to the darkness. But when the light
      comes, then the light reveals the blindness as irregular. The handicap
      of the blindman is revealed in the light. Thus it is that the coming of
      the light not only reveals the Truth, but also reveals to us our own
      sins, which we can see for the first time clearly. Thus the first
      message of the Light is “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”
      calling us to turn away from our blindness and to be healed.

      In the second Gospel, we heard of the miracle of the healing of the
      blind man. This man, knowing his blindness, desired healing and so when
      Jesus drew near the man began to cry out, “Jesus, son of David, have
      mercy on me.” This is truly the cry of the repentant man – “have mercy
      on me”. This should also be our prayer as we seek to turn from our
      blindness and be healed, “Jesus, have mercy on me.” For this is the cry
      of repentance. The plight of this blind man is also instructive to us
      for his persistence. He did not simply say one time “Jesus have mercy on
      me” but rather called out again and again, until our Lord came to him.
      Even then, when he finally came before Jesus, our Lord asked of him,
      “What do you want, what is wrong” and the man responded again. “I am
      blind and I want you to restore my sight”. See here again is the essence
      of repentance. Repentance is a continual calling out to God for mercy.
      We do not cease, nor are we silenced by those around us, but we call out
      to God over and over again, “have mercy”. We do not have to use fancy
      prayers, but rather only to repeat the same prayer over and over again
      “have mercy” It does not matter what our need is, it does not matter
      what we seek from God, we only have to pray one prayer over and over
      again – have mercy.

      There have been many official functions recently where well known
      spiritual leaders have been called upon to give a public prayer of
      invocation or dedication. These prayers are composed carefully and
      eloquently for their beauty and meaning. But really only one prayer is
      necessary, only one prayer is beautiful, only one prayer has meaning –
      and that prayer is the heartfelt cry of the sinner and the blind man
      “Lord have mercy”

      Not only does the blind man persistently cry out his prayer, but when he
      stands before Jesus, he does not flinch but clearly confesses his
      blindness. He does not try to hide his sin, but openly confesses his sin
      to God before all and in confessing his sin, he has broken the power of
      that sin over him (for the power of sin is tied up with shame and
      secrecy and darkness). When the sin is exposed to the Light through
      confession, the Light withers it and destroys its power. Thus we see
      another important element of our repentance – to confess our sin and to
      expose it to the Light of Christ.

      When we have in faith, sought out the mercy of God; when we have, in
      faith, confessed our sin; when we have, in faith, put all our hope in
      God, He will heal us and restore to us our sight that we may see Him.
      The God/man Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. He drives away the
      darkness and the deception and delusion that is in it. He reveals to us
      our own blindness and calls us to repentance. When we come to Him in
      faith, calling out with repentance, “Jesus, have mercy on me” confessing
      our sins and turning away from them, then He will heal us from the
      wounds of our sin and He will release us from the power of sin and He
      will fill our souls with His Light, bringing us into His Kingdom.

      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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