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homily for 5/22/11 - Pa4 - all I have ever done

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  • Fr David Moser
    John 4:5-42 “Come and see a man who told me all that I have ever done” What a frightening thing – that there would be someone who could tell each of us
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22, 2011
      John 4:5-42

      “Come and see a man who told me all that I have ever done” What a
      frightening thing – that there would be someone who could tell each of
      us all that we have ever done. We all have our secrets – things that we
      have done that we hope no one ever finds out; things we hide and lie
      about, even to ourselves. We all do these things in one way or another.
      Each of us has an “ideal” of who we think we are or should be – and we
      each know how we have failed that “ideal”. Those failures we hide and
      hope that they are never brought to light. What a terror then when I
      find someone who can “tell me all I have ever done” and reveal all those
      dark little secrets that I try so hard to keep hidden.

      The reason that we lie to ourselves and others about our failures and
      weaknesses is that we try to present a certain face to the rest of the
      world. But when we come face to face with Jesus Christ, all those
      weaknesses, all those failures, all those little things that we try to
      hide and deny are brought out into the light for He sees past our
      façade, He sees into the heart and recognizes what is there. We want so
      desperately to be “OK” to be “adequate”, to be “liked”, to be “admired”
      that we hide and deny anything that would threaten the face that we show
      to the world. And we worry, every moment of every day, that somehow,
      someone might see past our façade and realize who we really are, expose
      us to the world and reject us as unacceptable. And then we come to Jesus
      Christ – and He does see past that façade, He does see those dark
      secrets in the depths of our hearts, He recognizes us for who we really
      are – and He loves us in spite of all that and embraces us as His own.

      This is what we face each and every time we come to the Mystery of
      Confession. We come and stand before Christ and bare our souls to Him,
      describing not only the sins that everyone can see, but also the secret
      sins of our hearts – those things that we are too embarrassed to say
      aloud to anyone else, those things which we have always feared would
      come out and cause us to be rejected and cast out by our friends, our
      family and the rest of society. When we confess our sins – fully and
      completely – before Jesus Christ in the Mystery of confession, we tell
      Him all these things and wonder of wonders our greatest fear (of
      rejection) is not realized. He already knows what we have done and is
      only waiting for us to expose our sins, our failings, our shortcomings
      to the light that He brings so that they may be forgiven. Instead of
      fear and rejection we are confronted with forgiveness and not only that
      but also healing. Perfect love has cast out all fear.

      “Come and see a man who told me all that I have ever done” These are the
      words of our freedom from fear, the words of release from our prison of
      secrecy and denial. We need no longer hide our true self full of its
      sins and shortcomings for Christ has seen that self and He has forgiven
      us. We are set free from the bonds of sin which dominate us by fear and
      intimidation. We know that Jesus Christ, Who has seen into the depths of
      our heart has forgiven us, has wiped away all our sins and has provided
      for us a new path, the path of His love which leads to union and
      communion with Him.

      When we come before Jesus Christ in confession, we do not stand alone,
      but with us stands the priest who is our confessor and spiritual father.
      He reminds us that we are not just confessing our sins into the air, or
      into some great void, but rather to a Person Who hears us and who cares
      for us. The priest stands in the place of Christ to help us remember
      that Christ is not just an idea, or not some God far away, or even not
      some judge who is waiting to condemn us. The priest, hearing our sins
      with the ears of Christ, responds to us with the heart of Christ. The
      priest offers the love of Christ and His compassion and His love to us.
      Call to mind the words of the instruction that are part of the
      preparation for confession when the priest says to us, “Behold child,
      Christ stands here before us invisibly receiving your confession, I am
      only a witness before Him of all that you say” The priest is there not
      only in the place of Christ, but as your helper, your friend, your
      witness that you have indeed repented of your sins. Some people will say
      that the priest will be shocked at our sins, that he will think ill of
      us, that he will recoil at the words of our confession. But this is not
      so, for the priest does not hear your sins with his own ears, but rather
      he hears with the ears of Christ and he speaks not with his own voice
      out of his own limited wisdom, but he speaks with the voice of Christ.
      How wonderful it is when we hear the words of the final prayer as the
      priest says, “forgive your servant all his transgressions…” and “through
      His power … do forgive and absolve you of all your sins and
      transgressions.” What love, what compassion, what freedom are found in
      those words!

      The Apostle tells that nothing will separate us from the love Christ –
      there is no sin so great that once we confess it and repent and turn
      away from it can come between us and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      Again, as the Apostle says, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and
      just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”
      All those thing which once lay hidden in the depths of our hearts which
      weighed us down and enslaved us with fear are done away with. When we
      confess our sins, when we expose them to the light of Christ, they are
      burnt up and are no more. And not only this but we are also cleansed,
      that is we are healed of all the effects of those sins and we are given
      the grace by God to overcome and wipe away all the dirt and remnants
      that those sins left behind in our souls. No longer are we held captive
      by sin, but we have been freed of their hold on us and we have been set
      upon the path of salvation that we might follow Christ into His Kingdom.

      “Come and see a man who told me all that I have ever done” These words
      which once brought terror to our hearts have become the words by which
      we are freed and are now no longer words of fear, but words of joy. We
      know that there is nothing in us that our Lord Jesus Christ has not
      already seen, that He does not already know. And He waits for us to let
      go of our sin, to expose it to the light which He brings to our soul
      that it may be burnt up and destroyed. He is there to free us from our
      sins and to heal us from all their effects that we might live no longer
      apart from Him in fear and trembling, but that we might live, filled
      with joy and love, in union and communion with Him.

      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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