- Yesterday’s gospel reading of the healing of the paralytic (Matthew 9:1 – 8) teaches much about faith. Of the many themes therein, I want to give some attention to the last verse: “when the crowds saw (the miracle of the healing of the paralytic) they were afraid, and they glorified God, who given such authority to men”. Why were they afraid of what they had witnessed?
- We are told in the first epistle of John that there is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear. Here, the crowd had witnessed something that was beyond their comprehension – something that was not known to them. It is the fear of the unknown that causes us to fear. This is one of the first and hardest lessons for us who are seeking to find our way in Christ to learn. How can we have perfect love when we cannot know God who is unknowable? So, we fear him. That is the first and primordial fear.
- However as we begin to understand Christ in his humanity we are given the means to relate to him directly and personally. Christ may be unknown in his Divinity but in his humanity he shares the same gamut of the human condition common to all. So we can love him and through loving him we can trust him. True love involves mutual trust. It means total commitment and putting yourself totally in the hands of another.
- As our love grows then a second fear emerges. This is the fear of loss. We fear that somehow we may do or may have done something that precludes us from being in the living presence of Christ. St Tikon put it this way: “without living faith and the fear of God it is impossible to live in a godly way… The fear of God will guard you and correct you everywhere and in all things, and will turn you away from every evil deed, and confirm you in every good deed. Thus day by day you will become better. “Fear can be a terrible passion. It can either drain and extinguish hope or it can act as a catalyst for change for the better and the change to love. The choice is ours.
Around our church
- If you wish to hear a full exposition of the epistle and the gospel for the coming Sunday then I invite you to tune into 6 EBA FM each Tuesday from 5 PM to 6 PM (repeated Thursday 2 PM to 3 PM).
- The program for this week is Thursday and Friday Paraklisis from 3 PM; Saturday divine liturgy in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM and Vespers in Greek at 4 PM.
Thought of the week
- Give thanks for everything – things that exhilarate us and things that challenge us. Give thanks to the joy of life and the peace of eternal sleep. If we see no reason to give thanks then perhaps the fault lies within and not outside of us.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554.