Sunday sermon on Matthew 9:1-8.
As the paralyzed man was brought to Christ, St Matthew tells us today, Christ saw their faith, meaning the faith of those who brought him, and He told the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven you.”
The bystanders were surprised by these words. They thought, “Who is this Man that He dares to say what only God can do?” Remember that people had no idea Who Christ was. At best they thought He was the next great prophet. Only after He died on the Cross and rose from the dead, were their eyes and hearts opened, and they understood.
So they questioned His every move and His every word. When Jesus heard that they were dismayed that He forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, He turned to the people and asked, “What’s easier to say ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘stand up and walk’?”
The thing is, it’s easy to say anything, especially in our time. Maybe you’ve heard the saying – man’s word used to mean something back in the day, unlike today. This is especially true of the world 2000 years ago. Back then, paper was not as common as today, so a lot of contracts were agreed upon by the word. Words carried weight, they were not thrown around cheaply.
What’s easier to say? We can say anything to anyone. Words still have consequences, but they are no longer binding. So we tend to spend them on little gossip here and there, or on arguments, or on pointless conversations. Recall the prayer we say during the Great Lent – “O Lord and Master of my life, give not the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.”
Idle talk, meaning waste of words. We have a gift from God, a gift of speech. If you do not think this is much of a gift, ask those who can’t speak. No other creature in the universe has this gift. Animals can communicate, but they don’t speak. God bestowed this gift upon us for a reason.
As King David says in his psalms, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise” (Psalm 51:15). The gift of speech, in fact our whole being, has one purpose – to glorify and praise the One True God, our Creator.
How do we glorify and praise our God? First of all, when we get together as a community, as a universal Church, and pray together. We also do it daily when we pray at home, when we help those in need in the name of Christ. Basically, when we dedicate our words to spread and share the Gospel of Christ, bringing His truth to those around us.
Many words have been wasted on how secularized today’s society is. We are rapidly becoming, if not anti-Christ and anti-Church, then at least very neutral to the faith. Yet, absolutely everyone is still looking for the Truth. Some look for it in money, some look for the truth in power and politics, while others look for it in all sorts of religions.
To say that people today do not care about God and spirituality would not be accurate. They do care, they do look for Him, or for some Greater Power, but…they very often don’t know where to look. They look in all the wrong places.
Looking for Truth is hard because there is only one Truth. If something or someone is true, then all else is false. In our case, there is one Truth, and that is Jesus Christ, as He Himself testifies, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
We possess this truth, or to be exact – the Truth possesses us. We are Christ’s, we belong to Him. As He also says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). He chose us to be His messengers on the earth, to be His witnesses of His sacrificial love for us, which even the bonds of death were not able to withhold.
What’s easier to say?... It’s not about what’s easier to say, it’s all about what is the right thing to say. Don’t say what is easy, say what is true. The Truth always prevails, speak the truth in love, spread and share our gift of Christ. After all, we have our faith not to preserve it, but to share it. Share it in the name of Christ, share it for the sake of Christ.
To Christ is due all honor, glory and praise, now and always, and forever.
Unless otherwise specified, the articles here are posted by Fr Aleksey, who has no sense of humor and is extremely straight forward.