Mk., 7 inv., 2: 1-12.
On the last day of the week we heard the gospel conception about the miraculous action of the great and powerful presence of Christ. Nathanael, who doubted the words of the apostle Philip, that the long-awaited Messiah appeared in the face of Jesus of Nazareth, that Nathanael, as soon as he was in the presence of the Lord Himself, immediately recognized and confessed Him as the Son of God and King of Israel. And today's passage from the Gospel speaks of the greatest diligence and work of true believers who have been attached to them in order to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The four carried the relaxed, their relative or friend, carried him on the bed - in such a desperate situation he was, not being able to move. They vainly pushed through crowded crowd to approach the Lord - they did not succeed. And then they went up to the roof of the house, opened it and through the roof, with difficulty and effort, let down the bed on which the sick man lay, at the feet of the Wonderworker and Healer. So strong was their faith in Christ.
Jesus, seeing their faith, says to the paralytic: Child! Your sins are forgiven you. The Lord did not hear the confession of their faith, but He saw their faith. His foresight penetrated to the innermost depths of the human heart, and, viewing these deep hearts, the Lord saw their great faith. But in His bodily eyes He saw and cognized their faith, according to the diligence and work that they applied to bring the sick to Him. So, their faith was evident for both the spiritual and the physical vision of the Lord.
In the same way, it was obvious to the Lord that there was also unbelief of the scribes, who were present at this event and thought in their hearts: that he blasphemes so? Who can forgive sins, except for one God? Seeing their thoughts hearted in their spirit, the Lord begins to gently reproach Them in this: why are you thinking in your hearts? The discerning Lord reads with equal ease in both pure and unclean hearts. As soon as He saw the pure heart of Nathanael, in which there was no guile, so now He immediately clearly saw and the unclean hearts of the scribes, full of deceit. And, let him show that he has authority over both bodies, as well as over the souls of men, to forgive authority and sins, and to relax the sick bodies, the Lord said to the paralytic: I say to you: get up, take your bed and go to your house. In response to such an imperious command, the sick man immediately got up and took the bed, went out in front of everyone, so that everyone was amazed and glorified God, saying: "We have never seen anything like this."
Look, how many wonderful forces the Lord shows simultaneously:
He penetrates His gaze into the hearts of men and reveals the faith of some and the wiles of others;
He forgives the soul of sin and makes it healthy and clean from the root cause of disease and infirmity;
He returns health to a paralyzed, paralyzed body with the help of His powerful word.
Oh, how great, and terrible, and wonderful, and healing is the presence of the living Lord!
But we must come and stand before the living Lord. This is the most important thing in the path of salvation: come with faith in the presence of the Lord and experience this presence. Sometimes the Lord Himself comes and reveals His blessed presence, as He came to Bethany to Martha and Mary; How unexpectedly He appeared on the road to the Apostle Paul; or other apostles - on the Sea of Galilee, and on the way to Emmaus, and in the locked room; or Mary Magdalene - in the garden; or many saints - in a dream and in reality. Sometimes people come to the Lord, being brought by the apostles. So Andrew brought Simon Peter, Philip - Nathanael; so the successors of the apostles and missionaries brought to the Lord thousands and millions of believers; and so in general some believers lead other believers. Finally, sometimes people make great efforts themselves, and be in the presence of God, as was the case with these four who rose to the roof of the house to let go of their sick before the Lord. Here are three ways that people can feel in the presence of God. Our business is to work diligently, let us come into the presence of the Lord; and the work of God is to allow us into His presence and illumine us to them. Therefore, we must use all three ways in reverse order. That is, we must with faith and zealously do all that is in our power to come to the presence of the Lord; Further, we must follow the call and instruction of the Holy Apostolic Church and the fathers and teachers of the Church; and, finally, only after the fulfillment of the first and second conditions, prayerfully with hope wait, let the Lord allow us to Himself, let him illumine us with His presence, and strengthen, Heal and so will save.
And what should be our work on the opening of the presence of God, is best shown to us by the example of these four people who do not shy away and to climb onto the roof of the house; and do not hesitate in any shame or fear, taking your sick companion from high places to the presence of the living Lord. This is an example of jealousy, if not greater, then at least similar to the example of that widow, who continually bothered the unjust judge with a request to protect her from her rival (LK 18: 1-5). This means fulfilling the commandment of the Lord that one should always pray and not lose heart (LK.18: 1). This is a proof of the truth and another commandment of the Lord: knock, and it will be opened to you (Mt.7: 7). This is, finally, the explanation of the amazing saying of Christ: the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force, and those who use force exalt it (Mt.11: 12). So the Lord demands of His faithful that they exert all possible efforts, put all the labor, that they do as long as there is light, that they pray unceasingly, they ask, they seek, knock, fast, do the innumerable deeds of mercy - and all this with that purpose, let the Kingdom of Heaven open, that is, the great, terrible and life-giving presence of God. Watch therefore, at all times, and pray, that ye may be worthy to escape all these future tribulations, and to stand before the Son of man (LK21: 36). Keep watchful over your heart, lest it cling to the earth; Watch your thoughts, lest they remove you from God; Watch your works to increase your talent, and not to belittle or waste it; Watch your days, that death may not take you by surprise, or kidnap those who have not repented, in your sins. This is our Orthodox faith: thoroughly active, thoroughly prayerful and invigorating, tearful and coupled with effort. No other faith suggests that believers put so much effort into being worthy to stand before the Son of God. All these efforts were offered to the whole world by the Lord and our Savior; The Church continually refreshes them, repeating from century to century, from generation to generation, showing faithful an ever-increasing number of spiritual heroes who fulfilled the law of Christ and who were honored with glory and strength in the heavens and in the heavens and on earth.
But, on the other hand, you do not need to flatter yourself and think that all these works and human efforts alone bring salvation. One should not imagine that a person can come to the presence of the living God only through his works and efforts. If the Lord did not desire, none of the mortals could ever stand before Him. For the Lord Himself, who commanded all these works and efforts, says in another place: "So you, when you have fulfilled all that was commanded you, say: we are slaves worthless, because we did what we had to do (LK.17: 10) . And again, in another place: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him (Jn. XUMX: 6). And again, in a different place: without Me, you can not do anything (In. 44: 15). The Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians says in the same sense: by grace you are saved (Eph. 5: 2). What shall we say after this? Can we say that all our efforts for salvation are vain? Should we put our hands in wait until the Lord appears to us and through His power puts us in His presence? Is not the prophet Isaiah himself crying: and all our righteousness is like stained clothing (Isaiah 5: 64)? So do not give up all our efforts and efforts? But do not we then become like a slave who buried his talent in the ground and therefore heard from the master: the crafty slave and the lazy (Mf.6: 25)? We must be sober and working, fulfilling the commandments of the Lord, which are clear as the sun. We must invest all our labor, and in God's power - bless our work and let us into our presence. Marvelously interpreted this apostle Paul, who said: I planted, Apollos watered, but God increased; Therefore, both the planter and the watering are nothing, but the whole God is increasing (26Cor.1: 3-6). So, everything depends on God - on God's power, wisdom and mercy. But all the same our business - to plant and water; and we can not neglect our duty without exposing ourselves to the danger of eternal perdition.
The duty of the tiller is to plow and water, but depending on God's power, wisdom and mercy, whether the crop will rise, whether it will increase and bring forth fruit.
The duty of the scientist is to investigate and seek, but from God's power, wisdom and mercy, depends on whether knowledge will be revealed to him.
It is the duty of parents to raise their children and educate them in the fear of God, and it depends on God's strength, wisdom and mercy whether children will live and for how long.
It is the duty of the priest-believers to teach, enlighten, reprove and correct, but from God's power, wisdom and mercy, whether the work of the priest will bear fruit.
It is the duty of all of us to work hard and earnestly to be worthy of being in the presence of the Son of God, but it depends on God's power, wisdom and mercy whether we will be admitted to the Lord.
However, one should not work without trust in the mercy of God. Let all our work be illuminated by the hope that the Lord is near us and that He will receive us in the presence of His face. There is no deeper and inexhaustible source than the source of the mercy of God. When the prodigal son repented after his deplorable fall to the level of the swine life, the merciful father ran out to meet him, fell on his neck and forgave him. The Lord works tirelessly to meet His repentant children. He stretches out His hands to all who turn their faces toward Him. Every day I extended my hands to a disobedient people, the Lord says about the Jews (Is. 65: 2). And if the Lord stretches forth His hands and the unruly, how much more submissive? The obedient prophet David says: I foresake the Lord before me, because I am at the right hand, but I will not move (Ps. 15: 8). So, the submissive toilers in the work of their salvation, the Lord does not deprive His presence.
Therefore, we will not consider our work to be in vain, as those who fall into irreligion and despair do; but, trying and working with all our strength, let's hope for the mercy of the Lord God. Intentionally aggravate our labors during the Lent, as the Holy Church commands us to do. Let the example of the four of those who have risen on the roof of the house shine and reveal it, and send down the fifth - his relaxed friend - before the Lord. If one-fifth of our soul is relaxed or rotten from sickness, hurry with other, quick, four-fifths before the Lord, and the Lord will heal what is sick in us. If one feeling tempted us in this world and the temptation is sick, we will hurry with the other four senses before the Lord, that the Lord may have mercy on our sick feeling and make him sound. If one part of the body hurts, doctors advise doubly to take care of the rest of the body, double guard and nourish it, so that the healthy becomes even healthier and stronger and thus overcomes the sickness of the patient. So with our soul. If we doubt the mind, we will quickly work on our hearts and souls to multiply our faith and the sick mind with the help of God to cure and strengthen. If we have sinned with the abandonment of prayer, then we will hasten the affairs of mercy to return the lost prayerfulness, and vice versa.
And our Lord will testify to our faith, to our diligence and work, and be gracious to us. And in His infinite mercy He will allow us into His presence, in the presence of an immortal and life-giving, giving life, strength and joy to the innumerable angelic forces and the armies of the saints. Honor and glory befell the Lord and Savior to our Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit - the Trinity of the Unified and Indivisible, now and ever, at all times and forever and ever. Amen.