When the paralytic was waiting by the pool of Bethesda to be healed, he complained, “I have no man to put my into the water.” For thirty-eight years he patiently waited for God until that day came. We too have been waiting for God. Once our Churches are reopened, what will our excuse be to not be in Church? In truth we have no excuse because we have The Man, and His name is Jesus Christ.
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Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Be Transfigured, where we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We pray that this episode is a blessing to you and will inspire you to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us for worship or study at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where visitors are always welcome. We'll be back in a few moments to share some more information about our ministry.
We celebrate Mother's today, of course. Normally we would be together, however, we are together in spirit, of course, through our baptism and through the Eucharist we are united and so we offer God thanks to all of our mothers, whether they are still with us or if they have gone before us.
Our mothers have been responsible all these many years in our lives to teach us to have faith, to teach us to have respect, to teach us to have love and what a beautiful connection we have with mothers and this morning's gospel.
In this morning's gospel, we see a man who for 38 years was waiting for God to be healed. Now this miracle took place at the pool of Bethesda. I've been there. You can look down. Today, it's way down below from the city streets but that's because things have been built over the centuries up higher and higher. But you can see down in this beautiful little valley, you can see the pool of Bethesda and you can see the various steps, the various layers. It says it had five porticoes, these five platforms. You can, when you see it, you can imagine this poor man laying on one of these steps, waiting for God.
So our Lord walks by and he says to the man, he says, "Well, do you want to be healed?" "Do I want to be healed?" He says, "I don't have anyone to put me into the water." And he says something in Greek. He says, άνθρωπον ουκ έχω, "I don't have a man," and I always like to remind everyone that it was just a few weeks ago, that in the gospel, we heard the words of Pontius Pilate, ιδού Ο Άνθρωπος, behold, the man. We have the one. The man who will heal us. His name is Jesus Christ and we celebrate his resurrection and today we celebrate this joyous miracle of healing of this man who for 38 years was waiting to be healed by God.
Interestingly in the gospel, the tradition of the pool of Bethesda was that at certain times of the year, the Holy Spirit would go and turn the water, stir up the water and so the first one who would go in at that point was healed.
Interestingly, in this morning's gospel, that event is not taking place. The Holy Spirit is not stirring the water and that should tell us my brothers and sisters, that God works on his own time. When God is prepared to heal, he will heal and sometimes we're going to have to be patient and wait, as we are waiting now.
We are waiting with anxiety and desire to return to church and sometimes we are complaining. We want the church open. Of course, no one wants the church open more than myself, but sometimes we might wonder how much longer will it take? How much longer do we have to wait for the church to be reopened so we can come and be healed by God?
Well, this man waited 38 years. We've only been waiting for a few weeks and we have to be patient because God is coming for us. God will heal us.
The other part, this morning's gospel that I think is important for us is the reaction to this healing. So we know the rest of the story. God says to the man, "Pick up your pallet and walk." And he gets caught by the Jewish leaders. They said, "What are you doing? It's the Sabbath. It's not lawful for you to carry your bed." And he says, "Well, it's not my fault." These are my words, of course. "It's not my fault. The man who healed me said, pick up your pallet and walk, so I picked up my bed and I'm walking." Who is this man? And this constant reference to the man and later in the story, Pilate is going to tell them who the man is. The man is Jesus Christ.
My brothers and sisters, God will always come to us when we need him. We have to have faith. We have to trust. We have to know that God knows better than we do when to come and heal us. And so, as we are continuing to struggle in this difficult health crisis, my invitation for all of us is that we be patient and that would be loving and that we be kind.
God will present the day when we can reopen and at that time, we have to be ready to enter into the church. At that time, when the church does reopen, we will have no more excuses on why we stay at home. All of these years we've wondered why everyone is not in church on a Sunday and all of these years, we hear these excuses. Just like the man in this morning's gospel had excuses. I have no one to put me into the water. What's our excuse been all these years? It's been our own laziness and our own unwillingness to commit to being in church.
Well, now church has been taken away from us. We haven't had the opportunity to come and so when God finally allows the church to reopen through our church, then we must answer the call, answer the invitation and come to the church and spend time with God. No more excuses for the rest of our life.
We now have experienced what this man experienced. We were held away but once the church reopens, that will not be the case. Will we thank God or will we continue to argue and to fight like the Pharisees did? We can either point to this rule or to that rule or to this rule and not have compassion on our fellow human beings. We must see God's love for what it is. God doesn't look except at our hearts and he always desires us to be healed. Maybe not always physically because we know physical problems happen but God always wants us to be healed spiritually and enter into his kingdom.
So the day will come, and the bells will ring, and we will send out the announcements and there'll be no more excuses because we have the man in our lives and his name is Jesus Christ. Χριστός Ανέστη, Christ is risen. Glory to God for all things.
Be Transfigured is a production of Be Transfigured Ministries in cooperation with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida. We depend upon your generosity to maintain our ministry. You can make a safe online donation when you visit our website, liveanewlifeinchrist.org.