My beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing you every goodness and blessing
While we are in the Great Lent period we raise our hearts to our good Lord who fasted for us 40 days and 40 nights to grant us a period of blessed, holy, and accepted fast before Him.
Our beloved church leads us throughout the time of lent through the prayers and readings of the Old and New Testament in Matins, daily liturgies and the evening prayers on Sundays. One of the distinctive signs to the fast are the Gospel readings on Sundays of the Great Lent. Some refer to the Sundays of the Holy Lent by the subject of the Gospel reading of the day, for example, “the Sunday of the Prodigal Son”, “the Sunday of the Samaritan”, “the Sunday of the Paralytic”, and “the Sunday of the Born Blind”…etc.
I would like to contemplate with you two signs performed by Christ that are mentioned on the fifth and the sixth Sunday which are “the Sunday of the Paralytic”, where Christ healed the paralyzed man who had been paralyzed for 38 years and had tried to be healed by the waters of the Pool of Bethesda and could not. The second miracle is the healing of the Born Blind and my contemplation will focus on one aspect that is common in both miracles which is the integrated service for the needy person.
In the miracle of the healing at the Pool of Bethesda, it was obvious that the man needed to be healed from his paralysis. This is what drove him to come to the pool of Bethesda and wait with the others for the angel to come down and stir the waters in order to go down and be healed. But the man failed to be healed; as Jesus mentioned, “Sir I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” [John 5:7] Christ answered him “Rise, take up you bed and walk.” [John 5:8] The Lord’s work with this man did not end with his being healed, although He did grant him bodily healing, but he needed a different kind of healing, therefore Christ cared enough to look for him and meet with him second time telling him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” [John 5:14]
This person outwardly needed the physical healing, but Our Lord Christ, who sees the heart of man, saw that he needed a more important healing, the healing of the soul from sin. Therefore Christ met him again and warned him against going back to sin to prevent worse things from coming upon him.
In the story of the Born blind, Christ Our Lord healed the born blind and returned his sight back to him, but Christ saw that what this man needed more than physical sight was spiritual sight, and spiritual insight. Christ Our Lord met him again after his healing and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. [John 9:35-38]
Our Good Lord teaches us that man is one integral unit and that human needs are all linked together. True, we could divide the needs into categories such as: spiritual, economical, social and psychological, but reality is such that human needs are all connected to each other. A person could suffer spiritually because of an economic or social problem; but looking at it a different way, a weak spiritual life can affect a person’s social interactions with others and can affect his work as well.
Our Good Lord teaches us to serve the needy in an integrated way. Yes, the church’s goal is to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, but in her service should care for the spiritual, social and economical aspects of her members.
The first church offers us a model of integrated ministry and expressed it in fellowship in faith and in daily life as well. The Book of Acts mentions, “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” [Acts 4:34] The Book of Acts talks to us about the service in which the apostles held the rank of Deacon for and from there started the name Deacon which means the integrated ministry that cares for the needs of the person as a whole.
May Our Good Lord grant us that we serve the needy with the integrated ministry which cares for all their needs.
May God bless your offering to support the programs of St. Verena Charity.