Seventh Sunday After Pentecost 2012

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

Your Grace, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ;

There once was a man that visited a village in the mountains. The setting was pristine; a clear mountain stream was going through the village. There was clear mountain air, green fields, the wild flowers in bloom, the snow capped mountains were in the background. In the village all of the houses were well cared for with fresh paint and very ornate trim work. This village was a gorgeous sight to behold. The man thought the people here must be very good people by looking at the way they cared for their village and its surroundings.

The man thought he would spend the night there. He thought he would give a precious gift to the people of the village and a special gift for the person he stayed with that night on the next day. He came to one house and knocked on the door. The person inside told him to go away without opening door. The man came to another house. This time when the door was opened the stench from inside drove him away. He excused himself and went on to the next house. This time he said no matter what he was going to enter and stay at that house. Well, while he was in the house the smell, the bugs and filth that was inside finally drove him out. The man left the beautiful village without ever giving his special gift.

This story is very representative of our relationship with our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. People look at us, seeing on the outside what appears to be good and righteous people. However our Lord knows something different. He sees our inside. He sees the sins that we have found a way to keep hidden from everyone else. Then we wonder why the Lord doesn’t work miracles in our lives like He worked in the Holy Scriptures and those recorded in the early Church. The reason more often than not, that we don’t experience miracles has to do with our sin and our lack of faith.

Today’s scripture readings deal directly with two points; our sin and lack of faith.

In the Apostle reading of St. Paul calls upon the Romans that the strong or the righteous live lives that will be an example for or edify the weak, that all may be of one mouth and mind glorifying Christ Jesus and the Father.

The Holy Gospel tells us of two separate healings by Jesus. The first healing is of two blind men that cry out to him. Jesus asks them if they believe before he heals them.

The second healing is of a demon possessed man who is brought to him for healing. This time our Lord sees the faith of those bringing the man to Him. He doesn’t ask for any other confession of faith, than the faith of those bringing the man, before He heals the man. Wwe also see in the Gospel that there are others that reject these healings.

The Lord gives all men a special gift if they are willing to accept it; as he did for those in the Gospel. However there are those that will always reject the gift; like the Pharisees that accuse Him of casting out demons by the prince of demons. They are like the people that wouldn’t answer the door or those whose houses were beautiful on the outside and filled with stench and filthiness on the inside in the village.

There is a condition to receiving the gift of healing or salvation from God. The condition is faith. We must believe in God. We must acknowledge the fact that we need Him for our very survival; that we need Him more than our career, family, friends and all other things. As it says in the Gospel of St. Matthew “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” (Matthew 10:37). This is what it truly means to believe in God. It does not mean these other things are not important but, God comes First!!!!! Then, everything else.

The gift of healing is the restoration of our being to all that it was ever meant to be. It is the healing and restoration from the consequences of death and corruption that entered into the world by the ancestral sin of Adam. The healing may be for physical or spiritual ills according to what is need for our salvation or glorification in God. For this to be accomplished we must first free ourselves from our sin. As we saw in the story of the village that God cannot live in a dirty dwelling place and impart His gifts, no matter how hard He tries.

We must do something to clean up our lives because God will not do it for us because He respects our free will to reject Him.

The only way we can clean up our lives and receive forgiveness of our sins is through Confession. As our Lord told us “Truly I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) Confession is where we can openly an honestly clean our house so that we can receive God into our being and receive His gifts.

The season of the Dormition Fast is coming upon us in a few short weeks. We should each prepare our confession to clean the house of our souls and receive the Precious and Holy Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ in order to be healed of all of your physical and spiritual ailments according to what is needed for our salvation.

O Lord our God we cry out to You, as the blind men and those that brought the demonic possessed man, to dwell in us so that we may receive Your gift of healing of all of our physical and spiritual ills for our salvation and not be like the Pharisees or those in the beautiful village that rejected Your healing salvation.

Amen.

Delivered by Fr. Milan Medakovic St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Midland, PA; the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost 2012.

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