by Rev. John Kaloudis
According to today's Gospel, four friends brought a paralytic to Jesus
Christ for healing. When they saw the packed house they didn't give up
in despair. Instead, they went up on the roof, they removed the panels
and lowered the paralytic down. Can you imagine the amazement of the
crowd in the house seeing the man coming down from the roof? Can you
imagine the amazement of Jesus Christ seeing the man coming down from
the roof and four heads peaking through the roof? The result of this
experience was the healing of the paralytic of his physical and
we see here a graphic example of faith. We see how faith will literally
raise the roof to be in the presence of God in Jesus Christ. The men
were not turned back by the jammed doorway. Why? Because of faith.
Faith never gives up. Faith perseveres. Faith is inventive. Faith is
fertile. Faith is full of ideas. Faith laughs at barriers. If the road
is closed one way, faith looks another way.
Second, what we see
is that these men made it clear that Christianity is not just a stab in
the dark. Christianity is not just trying to be a nice person. True
Christianity is a determined and directed effort to establish contact
with a person, Jesus Christ.
When a person says that "he is not
in Church but his heart is with you," he is kidding himself. If his
heart is there, his body will be there also. Faith always finds a way
to be with Christ.
Are we willing to raise the roof to be with
Christ? Most people would raise the roof to get a good business deal,
for tickets to a basketball game, the opera, a movie, a big party, an
exotic trip or a new job. How many of us are willing to raise the roof
to be in Christ's presence? Not many of us. That's why we live a life
of superficial faith. A faith that is not alive and vibrant. Yes, we
may be very religious, live a life of outward formalities, rather than
our faith being a deep movement of the heart. Real faith cannot be
stopped from finding a way to be with Jesus Christ.
Why is this
so? What is the problem? I suggest that the problem centers around what
we believe and think who Christ is. Jesus asked his disciples and
implies the same question to us: "Who do you say that I am?"
do we say Christ is? According to our Orthodox Theology, we believe
that Jesus is God Incarnate, Creator of all, Savior of the world, and
the Alpha and the Omega. The Bible and the Church make Christ
Pre-Eminent, Lord, Kyrios, and Supreme Authority. He must become all
these things for us, personally.
Our Orthodox Theology is meant
to be a Theology of experience. A theology confined to books is
useless. In reality, what we think about Chris is essential, even more
important than the way we act. If a man walked in here now and said: "I
am Christ, I am God". We have three options. We can think that he is
nuts. We can think that he is a liar. Or in fact we can believe that he
is who he says he is.
What we believe about Christ affects the amount of energy we spend in getting into His presence.
at the friends of the paralytic. First of all they were people of
faith; their faith leads to a miracle. Four men came to Christ, but
they didn't come alone. They remembered their paralytic friend. Most of
us worry getting ourselves into Christ's presence, which is good;
however, we also have the privilege of bringing others into Christ's
presence. The greatest gift we can give to another person is to bring
them to Christ. Not a day goes by that we do not come in contact with
people who don't know Christ, and who aren't Christians.
this the whole purpose of the Church, of priests, Sunday School
teachers, Choir members, youth workers, and lay people-to bring people
So often we bring people into the presence of baklava, Souvlakia, dolmathes, but forget our faith, forget Christ.
story is told from the desert Fathers that a monk picked up a rock and
said: "If this rock could heal people, would you put it in your pocket
or attempt to touch as many people as possible?" The answer was
obvious. The monk went on to say that the rock symbolizes Christ and
that we should touch as many people as possible with Christ's love.
we have faith, circumstances won't stop us. With faith in Christ, we
will bring others into His presence. There is no greater gift than
Christ who brings to people fullness of life here and now and also
grants eternal life.
RETURN TO SERMONS