Today, 22 May 2016, the Orthodox Christians are on the 4th Sunday after Easter. The Church scheduled the Gospel text of John 5:1-15 on the healing of the paralysed man at Bethsaida (see the text below) to be read on this Sunday at the Divine Liturgy.
We must suffer a disease with patience, without rebelling but with hope
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel delivered a sermon in the chapel of the Patriarchal Residence dedicated to Saint Great Martyr George, in which he explained that the parable shows us how we must endure the sufferance of a disease: with patience, without rebelling, changing the sufferance of the disease into hope of healing and renewal, of deification of the spiritual life. His Beatitude showed that many people have even healed their bodies and spiritually renewed themselves through repentance, patience, prayer; they healed their souls from the alienation from God, because this is, in essence, an alienation from God, oblivion of God, and disobedience of God’s will.
We must do good deeds all the time
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church explained that while Christ, our Lord, healed this paralysed man on a Saturday, He showed us that we must do good deeds all the time, to show merciful love, help the helpless, sick, lonely, both on a working day and on a holiday.
Yet, we also see that the Gospel urges us to be grateful to God for the boons received and do good deeds anytime. Although it was Saturday, the Saviour did a good deed on a holiday. Thus, we must do good deeds not only on working days, but also on holidays”, His Beatitude said.
Bethsaida pool, anticipation of the Church
The Patriarch of Romania has also shown that Bethsaida pool is the anticipation of the Church where human beings receives healing from spiritual diseases, from sin.
“Bethsaida, which means the house of mercy, was the anticipation of the Church where human being can be healed of the spiritual disease called sin as separation, disobedience and alienation from God, as well as other diseases. This is why, in the Church, besides Baptism, which is celebrated for the forgiveness of sins, we have the Sacrament of Repentance, of Confession of sins and expiation of the sins, the Sacrament of the Holy Unction or of anointing the sick with holy oil, and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist given for the forgiveness of the sins and for eternal life because the Church is the mystical body of the crucified and risen Christ full of the healing and deifying grace of the Most Holy Trinity”, His Beatitude has also said.
The Gospel also calls us to the spiritual changing of the sufferance into repentance
The Patriarch of Romania has also emphasised the fact the Gospel calls us to a spiritual change of the sufferance into repentance, calls us to do good deeds and help the sick, especially the lonely, and those whom nobody helps:
“Let us pray Jesus Christ, our Lord, to help all those who suffer, to change the sufferance of their illness into hope of healing and salvation through their encounter with the Risen Christ, the doctor of the our bodies and souls, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and salvation of the humans”.
The 4th Sunday after Ester (of the paralysed man)
Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. And they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had. One who was there had been paralysed for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Photo: Lumina Newspaper