If we believe

Homily 509 – 7 APE
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Ames, Iowa
July 31, 2022
Epistle:  (116) Romans 15:1-7
Gospel:  (33) Matthew 9:27-35

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, One God.

The blind and the mute come to Jesus.  The deaf and the lame come to Jesus.

Why do we not want to come to Jesus?

Mostly, because we don’t want to admit our helplessness.  We don’t want to admit our blindness, our inability to speak or hear or move.  We don’t want to let anyone know our secret – that we are incapable of caring for ourselves.  That we require the assistance of others to navigate this life.

We are all blind, and deaf, and mute, and lame.  All of us.  Why am I confident in this?  Because our sight, our hearing, our speaking, even our movement – all of it is incomplete.  We are not all hearing, all seeing – so in those areas where we cannot see or cannot hear, we are blind and deaf.

It doesn’t matter what specific issues we deal with – we are all inadequate in some area.  Not one of us is complete and whole.

Each of us is fallen – as St. Paul said, “All have fallen short of the Glory of God.”  In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, which we just heard proclaimed, Paul writes of a global truth – we are to bear the weaknesses of the weak.

That means, in areas where we have, and others do not have, we are obliged – obligated – to help them by contributing to them what we have that they do not have.

In this way we edify one another – we compliment one another.  Together, we become more than the sum of the parts.

That isn’t a popular idea in modern America.  Modern America is a land of self-sufficiency, after all, where we need no help, we need no community, we have no weaknesses.

Or, if we have weaknesses, it is our role to correct them without help.

Now, perhaps those who have been around a while have heard me say that we shouldn’t lie to ourselves.  For too long we have been told that if we just believe we can, we will.

Perhaps that is so.  But more likely, if we are honest with ourselves first and foremost, we can only if we have support.  Or, that word our society seems to hate so much, help.

For myself, I know that I am not self-sufficient.  I cannot farm, I cannot weave, I cannot build – at least not to the degree necessary to care for myself, much less my family, without assistance.

I can’t grind my own wheat to make bread.  I can’t drill a well to find water.  None of the things necessary for life can I do on my own.  I need help.

We need help.  All of us.

But we refuse to admit it.  Why?  Is it our pride?  Is it that we do not want to seem weak in the thinking of our modern society?

Probably.  We fail to recognize that we are not so far removed from the lives of the first humans in the garden of Eden, who didn’t want help.  Who wanted to be self-important, self-sustaining.

At least that was the result of their desire – they wanted to go by their own rules, and ended up being self-sustaining.

The garden was a place where they had no worries, no wants – only communion with God.  After the expulsion, because they wanted to be in charge of their own life and their own judgement, God allowed it – but still provided for them.

He provided growth, he provided sustenance.  Now, it required work – sweat.  It required anguish, and introduced worry and anxiety into the world.

God allowed us to have a taste of what life without Him was like.  That continues to this very day.  God allows us to experience life without Him as the sole focus of our lives.

And we see the result in our society, and our community – all around us.  Selfishness, Greed, Gluttony, lust for power – all have become primary objectives in life.

Not peace, not joy, not love.

Beloved, Jesus stands ready to heal us, too.  We can have our eyes opened and our ears opened and our mouths opened.

So that, in our world, we can focus our senses, and all of our attention, to God.  Our eyes are opened to see only God and the cosmos through seeing God.  We hear only God and the cosmos through hearing God.

Our mouths can be opened to proclaim the glory of God, and to provide thanksgiving and devotion to God.  And, to one another.

As the Gospel says, he healed every kind of disease and sickness among the people.  Those we know and those we do not know.  Some physical – but all spiritual.

For the physical ailments and deformities we encounter are nothing but reminders that we need God.  That our true needs are spiritual and not physical.  We endure the physical, and allow it to draw us closer, with greater attentiveness, to God.

Again, listening to St. Paul, through patience and the Scriptures’ encouragement, we might have hope.

Hope.  For He is the God of endurance and encouragement.

If we believe.  He will heal us, and open our minds to the reality that is not seen, nor heard, nor felt.

If we believe, He offers us life everlasting, with Him.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, One God.