When we hear about healing miracles in the Gospel, we often forget that we are speaking about much more important issues than physical illness. As Christ explains in the Luke 13.10-17, with the story of the women who had been bent over for eighteen years, “whom Satan had bound,” the Scriptures speak of spiritual illness. For those looking on, although they were not physically ill, they were spiritually ill. This is the danger when we confuse our physical health with our spiritual health.
In the Gospel we hear about a blind beggar that, although he could not see with his yes, knew he was in the presence of God. He cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Once he spoke to Christ, his eyes were opened and he could see the face of Christ. With his eyes opened, he spent the rest of his life glorifying God, and those around him believed and were saved. That what it means to be a servant of God.
When the Gospel speaks of a wealthy man who asked Christ, “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” after hearing the young rich man admit, “All these I have done since my youth,” the Gospel goes on to remind us that we each lack one thing. We can’t get to heaven depending on ourselves and upon our wealth and resources. He wants us to totally depend upon Him for everything. God doesn’t care how many rules we follow. He doesn’t care about how much money we give. He only wants us to be in Church. He wants to be “ALL IN.”
It is easy to get distracted with the many tasks of the holiday season. Shopping, cleaning the house, cooking, remembering who to invite to dinner....all this can take it toll. We here at Be Transfigured Ministries want to make supporting our ministry simple and easy to remember. Holiday giving is an uplifting way to support the work of Orthodoxy online. We invite you to be part of the great work that we are accomplishing here at Be Transfigured Ministries. There are several ways to be part of our holiday giving program.
As we approach the American celebration of Thanksgiving, each year coincidentally, the Church brings our attention to the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke12.16-21) whose crops were so plentiful, he decided to tear down his barns to make room for larger barns rather than use his blessings to help others. Unfortunately for him, his soul was required of him that night and, as a fool, he was not prepared.
It is easy to go through life comforted that most of our sins go hidden from the world, but we would do well to remember that our sins are never hidden from God. In his homily on Romans, St John Chrysostom points out, “In this world one man is punished while another escapes ….it is not the same in the life hereafter.” (Homily 5 on Romans) This is because in this life, some sins are seen by others (ie we are caught) while other sins go unnoticed. This is not the case with God. He sees all as we understand in today’s Gospel lesson.
Some think we must hide our Christian acts of love and mercy, but today’s Gospel (you can read the entire passage below) says otherwise. “You are the light of the world…..let your light so shine….” These words of Christ are meant as encouragement to allow our life to be an attraction for others to find Christ. But the same light that can draw people to Christ, can also send them away if we aren’t careful.
When the sun rises, it shines on everything, good or bad, healthy or sick. Here are a few warnings:
Many Christians today bewail the treatment by members of the media or legal system, through which our rights as Americans seem to be eroding away. My blog today isn’t about politics, and I won’t even comment on whether or not our rights should or shouldn’t be taken away as faithful Orthodox Christians.
It has long been taught by the Church that the condition of our heart will determine our eternal experience of God. Though we will all be in heaven, some will experience heaven as torment because of selfishness. We will not experience the joy of heaven until we get past our own ego and our own selfishness. The great chasm of death will stop our ability to change our hearts to cross from torment to comfort. The time is now for us to prepare our heart to experience heaven as comfort rather than torment.
In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazaros (Luke 16.19-31), Jesus tells of an opportunity for salvation that goes unnoticed by the rich man. Day after day he stepped out his door passing over his salvation, a humble poor man “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” (Luke 16.21) Day by day the rich man was sealing his fate for an eternity of torment and grief, while the fate of the poor man rested firmly in the bosom of Abraham. Both men died, and both men met their fate.