After doing good deeds we should not expect the people’s reward, not boast of what we did and never expect praises from those to whom we did good deeds, urged the Patriarch of Romania the faithful on this Sunday, the seventh after Pentecost. The assertions were made today, 7 August 2016, after the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the historical chapel of “Saint Great Martyr George” of the Patriarchal Residence.
The Gospel text read at the Divine Liturgy on the 7th Sunday after the Pentecost presents two miraculous healings performed by Jesus Christ, our Saviour on two blind men and a dumb one (see the text below). His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel explained, in his sermon, the teaching contained in the Gospel text. The Patriarch of Romania emphasised the importance of faith for achieving salvation, as well as the need for gratitude in our relationship with God.
Jesus listens to the prayer of the crippled or sick. He teaches us that we must have faith when we pray for His help and never expect reward or praises of the people after doing good deeds, and boast of our deeds. God in heaven will reward those who do good deeds out of merciful and humble love. These two blind men healed by Jesus Christ, our Saviour, become spontaneous repentance teachers for us. They have become missionaries of faith, namely heralds of the merciful love of God and we learn from them how to thank God, show gratitude, confess Him as the benefactor, and doctor of our bodies and souls, His Beatitude said.
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church has also said that four spiritual lessons can be noticed in the Gospel text of the day. The Patriarch of Romania underlined the importance of the good deeds, of faith, and of gratitude in the people’s lives and showed that envy is a hard disease of the soul.
We see, first of all, that Jesus listens to those who ask for His help for their faith or for the faith of their dear ones, of those brought to Him for healing. Secondly, we see that human life and good health are gifts from God for which we must thank God with gratitude. Thirdly, the Gospel shows us that the envy of the Pharisees is a disease of the soul harder than the blindness and dumbness of those healed by Jesus, because while the people were surprised and glad when seeing that Jesus heal the sick, the Pharisees were envious, sad and denigrated Jesus saying that He casts out the demons with the demons’ power. Fourthly, we see in the Gospel text of the day that the preaching or announcement of the Gospel must be accompanied by good deeds for the helpless, because Jesus travelled through the towns, villages and walled cities of the Holy Land preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven and healing all the diseases and weakness of the people. These important truths, basic in today’s Gospel text enlightens our faith and Christian life, the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church also said.
The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church has also spoken about the special life of Saint Teodora from Sihla, a saint of Romanian origin, celebrated today in our Church. His Beatitude underlined the harsh life Pious Teodora lived in Sihla Mountains.
This great saint of the Romanian people lived in the second half of the 17th century and first three decades of the 18th. She lived a hard life close to today’s Sihla skete, in a cave that bears her name today, namely cave of Saint Pious Teodora from Sihla. She lived fasting and praying all night long, shedding tears and making thousands of prostrations far from the world. It was only pious Paul from Sihăstria, her father confessor that visited her from time to time, listened to her confession and offered her the Holy Communion, and brought her what she needed.
At the end, Patriarch Daniel conveyed best wishes of salvation to all women bearing the name of pious Teodora.
We wish all the women named Teodora long life in good health and joy, and have Saint Teodora as protector and model of holy life, humbleness and much piety.