With Your divine protection, O Lord,as You once raised the paralytic,
now lift up my soul paralyzed with all kinds of sin and evil deeds of wickedness, so that, as saved,
I may cry out to You:”
Glory be to Your might, O Merciful Christ!” Kondak
On this third weekend after the great feast of Easter, the Church again presents, through the appointed readings, the characteristics She understands to be necessary for a person to be a true follower of Jesus. They build on the characteristics already shared with us on the last two weekends. First, a follower of Jesus must be someone who does not doubt that God has revealed Himself through the Person of Jesus. Second, a follower understands that the way he/she makes God’s Kingdom present is by being of service to others. Service to others is the hallmark of a Christian way of life.
Today the readings clearly suggest that to be a true follower of Jesus we must not let our fears paralyze us and keep us from living as Jesus lived. By His life and death, Jesus attempted to convince us that we should not be afraid of death, change or living a life of unconditional love for others – a life of service to others. That is how Jesus lived! He lived in this manner to reveal to us how God intends us to live during this earthly sojourn.
In order to gain the benefits of this earthly existence, we have to decide to live life the way that God intended us to live. He gave us His Son, Jesus, as a model. If we can only have the courage to live as Jesus lived we will truly experience the fullness of life – we will know what it means to be a human being and a child of God.
This, of course, requires us to develop a vision of life that reflects this understanding. Earthly life is given to us to teach us how to be God’s children. It is but one of many existences that we will have (remember, life is eternal and dynamic. This means we will, for all eternity, be learning how to be His children).
I believe that it is not by mistake that we see in our Epistle reading from ACTS two miracles joined together, namely (1) the giving of life to a young, dead woman, and (2) the curing of a paralytic man. True human life is a life without spiritual paralysis. When our spirits are not paralyzed we can live in a manner that brings spiritual, emotional and psychological growth. This, of course, is the purpose of this present life.
How can we become free of any spiritual paralysis (i.e., fears) we might have? We can freely decide to live like Jesus lived and ask Almighty God for help. When we are convinced that God intends us to live like Jesus lived, then life begins to make much more sense. Christos Voskrese! (Old Slavonic)