May 26, 2002
Today: Sunday, May 26, 2002 Sunday of the Paralytic
THE EPISTLE READING: Acts of the Apostles
THE GOSPEL READING: St. John 5:1-15
Saint of the Day. The Holy Apostle Carpus, one of the Seventy
Verse: Sing praises to our God, sing praises.
Clap your hands, all you nations.
The reading is from the Acts of the Apostles
In those days, as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints that lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralysed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, “ Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “ Tabitha rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive. And it became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord..
Today’s Gospel: St. John 5:1-15
At that time, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralysed, waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water; whoever stepped in first after the troubling of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man took up his pallet and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them. “The man who healed me said to me, ’Take up your pallet and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your pallet and walk?’” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
Facing the Consequences
A good way to ponder the consequences of what we do is to ask the question, “Then what?” I pray, THEN WHAT? Then, I am talking with God who is not only Creator of this vast universe but who is also my Father, who will guide and strengthen me, who loves me and will answer my prayer, perhaps not my way but always in a way that will be best for me. I pray, THEN WHAT? Then God hears! Then God answers!
I read a chapter from the Holy Bible every day, THEN WHAT? I am allowing Him to give me His guidance, His wisdom, His light for my life.
I participate in the divine liturgy every Sunday, THEN WHAT? Then, I come to Christ. I let Him speak to me through the Gospel and the sermon. I stand in His presence. I ask His forgiveness as did the dying thief. I am present at the Last Supper. I receive His precious body and blood. I am filled with the Holy Spirit.
We live and we die, THEN WHAT? Then, says Jesus, comes either heaven or hell. It’s as if He were telling us: “Be careful how you live. Ahead of you is heaven but ahead of you is also hell. Life is serious business.” One day, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… to give account of ourselves to God” (Rom 14:10) “Sooner or later,” said Robert Louis Stevenson, “everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
I choose to live for Christ, THEN WHAT? Then one day I shall come to the end of my life and instead of cursing the darkness I shall be able to say with St. Paul, “The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Anthony Coniaris, Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth. Vol 1 p.129
Church Fathers Speak
One day when Abba Macarius was going down to Egypt with some brethren, he heard a boy saying to his mother, “Mother, there is a rich man who likes me, but I detest him; and on the other hand, there is a poor man who hates me, and I love him.” Hearing these words, Abba Macarius marvelled. So the brethren said to him: “What is this saying, Abba, that makes you marvel?” The old man said to them, : “Truly, our Lord is rich and loves us, and we do not listen to him; while our enemy the devil is poor and hates us, but we love his impurity.”
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