Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Third Sunday in Great Lent (M'shariyo / Paralytic)

Sermon / Homily on St. Mark 2: 1-12

Healing the Paralytic

by Fr. Zachariah Diju Skariah

Gospel: St. Mark 2: 1-12

As we come to the start of the third week of the Great Lent, we are reminded of the great healing of a paralytic. In the selected Gospel portion for this Sunday, we see four men take it upon themselves to bring their beloved brother, friend to a home where Christ was present and preaching to the faithful who had gathered in His presence. This powerful healing first reminds us that the Church is a spiritual hospital for sinners. For Orthodox Christians, the church is the ekklesia, or the gathering of persons called out, who believe in the living God as revealed in Jesus Christ. The gathering we see in this home was the living Church of the time that included Christ, the High Priest, and the people who chose to follow Him. The unwavering faith and determination of the four men to bring this paralytic to the Church (hospital), led to the face-to-face encounter with the Almighty Physician who provided spiritual and physical healing. So often, we forget the role of the Church in our lives: it is where one is healed and brought into spiritual well-being and wholeness.

Mere involvement in activities, organizations, and programs within our parishes do not take the place of repentance and spiritual growth. The quality of these activities will reflect the degree of repentance and spiritual health of those who undertake them. Ultimately, activities and ministries will bear fruit and bring healing only to the extent that the persons involved are being healed through repentance. The Church provides us with true doctrine, true prayer, true sacramental life, and true spiritual teaching that can heal us. This is the purpose of the Church and this is our hope for salvation.

Secondly, the scribes falsely accused our Lord of blasphemy after reasoning in their hearts that no one but God alone can forgive sins. The scribes wondered why He chose not to heal the body which is visible and instead claimed to heal the soul which is invisible. Surely, no one can visibly see sin being forgiven nor is it something we can show evidence for. However, Christ in His power, confirmed that he was not trying to deceive anyone, but prove that He provided both physical and spiritual healing to the man as well as strength that led to the man getting up and walking on his own again. It may be hard for us to identify, but we have to take a moment to ask ourselves are we like the paralytic with our souls lifeless and unable to move or do any good? If so, we too need to find an avenue to bring ourselves to the Church for healing. At the same time, we need to have a concern for those around us, raising them up and bringing them to the Holy Church. Only then will we be able to experience any fruit during this Lenten journey and truly prepare ourselves to receive and proclaim the Risen Christ.

May God Almighty grant us the grace and mercy to labor past all of the difficulties, frustration, distractions, and sin in our lives and lead us to true repentance and healing during this Great Lent through the sacrament of confession.

Source: ICON

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for 3rd Sunday in Great Lent (Paralytic Sunday)

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