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Redeeming the Time Vol 03.03 4th Sunday of Pascha - The Paralytic - April 19 / May 2 1999



News and Announcements * Remember to Study the Scriptures: *

All this month: *

Make plans for Ascension *

Questions about the Sunday of the paralytic *

Is Cassie Bernall a Martyr? *

An Orthodox Christian answer * The Purpose of pain *

Gleanings from the Fathers *

Let us become like Christů *

We must know what Pascha Is *

O man! *

I have no manů *

Answers to Questions about the Sunday of the Paralytic * ANSWER 1 *

ANSWER 2 *

ANSWER 3 *

ANSWER 4 *

ANSWER 5 *

ANSWER 6 *

ANSWER 7 *

ANSWER 8 *

ANSWER 9 *

ANSWER 10 *

Something to think about for Next Week * Questions about the Samaritan Woman *

News and Announcements

Remember to Study the Scriptures:

Have you had a chance to read the 10 questions about the Myrrh-bearing Women? Last week, I asked everyone to sit down together at home and read through them. There is a lot to learn, and so little time in our life to learn what is really important. I am trying to make it a little easier. I know the Scriptures and Traditions of the church can be overwhelming - where does one start? The reason for the 10 questions is to give us a place to start, in a way that is "painless". My writing will do nobody any good unless they take these things and study them at home. Please make sure to do this every week - perhaps you can relax on Sunday afternoon and do this.

Christians must know the Scriptures well. Many times, the knowledge of the Scriptures will drive off despondency, or keep us from committing a sin. We must recognize this source of grace that we too often ignore. Let us make a serious resolution to learn from the scriptures. Let the "10 questions" be a starting point for those who have not started, or perhaps get stopped often along the way.

"Great is the profit of the divine Scriptures, and all-sufficient is the aid which comes from them. And Paul declared this when he said, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written aforetime for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4, and 1 Corinthians 10:11) For the divine oracles are a treasury of all manner of medicines, so that whether it be needful to quench pride, to lull desire to sleep, to tread under foot the love of money, to despise pain, to inspire confidence, to gain patience, from them one may find abundant resource."(St John Chrysostom, Homilies on John, HOMILY 37 (JOHN 5:6,7)

All this month:

We do not say "O Heavenly King" but substitute "Christ is risen..." 3 times, until the Apodosis of Pascha (May 14/27).
After this, until Pentecost, we omit "Christ is risen...". Wherever you see "O Heavenly King..." just skip over to the next prayer.

Make plans for Ascension

Ascension Thursday is May 20th (according to the civil calendar). We will have Vigil the evening before at 6:30 PM and Divine Liturgy Thursday morning at 6 AM. YOU CAN DO IT! Please make plans to attend these services.

Questions about the Sunday of the Paralytic

QUESTION 1

In the Scriptures, physical afflictions like paralysis, blindness, and leprosy often indicate or point to an even more serious problem. What is it?

QUESTION 2

According to the Scriptures, the witness of the Fathers, and the overall mind of the Church, what are at least two causes or reasons for physical infirmities?

QUESTION 3

What was the reaction of the Jews when Jesus healed the paralytic? Why?

QUESTION 4

Tell the story of the healing of the paralytic by the sheep's pool in your own words.

QUESTION 5

The healing took place during a feast. Speculate as to which one it may have been. In the services, the answer seems to have been given.

QUESTION 6

Why and how long did the paralytic wait for healing at the sheep's pool? Why is this pool so called? What made the water have healing properties?

QUESTION 7

What is pointed to by the healing in the water?

QUESTION 8

Who was the angel who "troubled the water"? Why do we know this?

QUESTION 9

What is significant about the paralytic's explanation for why he was not healed?

QUESTION 10

Compare and contrast the healing of the paralytic at the sheep's

pool with the paralytic healed at Peter's house.

Is Cassie Bernall a Martyr?

An Orthodox Christian answer

Background:
This is a response to a private question about the heroic actions of Cassie Bernall, who was one of the victims in the Columbine high school massacre. According to an article in the Boston Globe on 04/24/99 (written by Eileen McNamara): "She walked into Columbine High School on Tuesday morning, a promising student. She was carried out more than 24 hours later a Christian martyr. ''Do you believe in God,'' one of the heavily armed gunmen asked the shy blond girl reading her Bible in the library while her school was under siege. ''Yes, I believe in God,'' she replied in a voice strong enough to be heard by classmates cowering under nearby tables and desks. The gunman in the long black trench coat laughed. ''Why?'' he asked mockingly. Then he raised his gun and shot and killed 17-year-old Cassie Bernall. "

Dear .......

Christ is risen!

I am just getting back to you about your question. There is no doubt that her story is inspiring, and should warm the heart of all Orthodox Christians. To determine whether Cassie should be supplicated as a martyr, we must cautiously look at church tradition. The faithful are slow to absolutely declare such things, unless there is overwhelming evidence. God reveals His righteous ones in His time, and we Orthodox Christians wait patiently for His will to be done.

Cassie was not in the Church when she died after her heroic confession. The best answer I can give to your question, therefore, is that God knows about her. We do not judge one way or the other, because the fate of those who die outside the Church is unknown to us. I personally think it is a great temptation to dwell on the state of righteous people who die outside the Church. I leave the question alone - I have found that people tend to look at things in an overly emotional way, and make great compromises about the faith because of their emotional state.

The demons who push ecumenism are always present when we ponder such questions, ready to pounce like a lion, and obliterate the very real lines that exist between the True Faith and false religion. As a minister of the true Gospel, I must try to make sure that those I teach live rightly and believe rightly in all things. I try to encourage balance on issues such as this, because there is much to be lost if a person compromises their faith because of external evidences. Unfortunately, too many Orthodox already have lost the ability to discern where the Church is and where it is not, and this lack of ability imperils them greatly.

Cassie is a HERO, and I rejoice because of her confession. As a pastor, I pray that my flock would make such a confession. I cannot pray to her as a martyr, and I cannot deny that she is a martyr, and is blessed. I simply (as an Orthodox Christian, obedient to the Church), cannot answer the question, and am content with this. God knows.

The Purpose of pain

As we have seen, man broke the moral law and rebelled against the moral order. To punish man, God permits pain and physical evil. However, He has another reason. God, who is good, gives pain a

purpose.

The purpose of pain is the healing of the soul. God permits pain, not only to punish the transgressor and the rebel, but also to heal him--primarily to heal him , to save him, to do him good.

What do doctors do, in order to counteract bacteria, to neutralize a sickness, to restore a human organism to health? They give drugs, many times bitter and unpleasant tasting. They perform

operations, which are often painful and exhausting. They impose diets, many times long and rigid. God also uses such methods; or rather, the wisdom and goodness of God present an incomparably wiser combination for the chastising affliction. It looks like He punishes sin, because pain is, of course, punishment. It establishes the prestige of His law, which the sinning person violates. With pain, however, He also heals the soul, poisoned by sin. His intervening love gives pain a healing quality. He changes it into a drug which draws the poison from the soul. He uses it as surgery, which removes the malignant tumor of sin from the soul, and destroys the death-bearing microbe and saves the soul from eternal death. He uses it as a kind of spiritual diet which hinders the advance of sin. He nails the sinner to a bed of sickness, in order to prepare his repentance, his conversion, his restoration to spiritual health. Thus pain, even though it comes from sin, is changed by the wise educator, by the unique physician of the soul, by God, into a medicine of the highest quality, for the healing of sin.

But does God really need to use pain, grief, privation, and tears, to draw the sinner to repentance?

Here is another torturing perplexity for men who don't know the wisdom and love of God. How shall we answer it?

We answer that for most men pain is the only means by which they will repent and be saved. For others, it is the superior, invigorating medicine which will make them perfect. Even experienced doctors can make mistakes and use drastic therapy, when milder and gentler means would bring the same results. The infallible physician, however, the all-wise God, never. He is always right. Undoubtedly, when the prodigal son announced his decision to rebel, his father gave him advice and warned him. He used all the means of pressure which are applied to free men in order to make them willingly obey the law of God. But these methods are weak and feeble, when sin fills the mind with the fruits of egotistical rebellion, when it hardens the heart with its lust and poison, when it imprisons the will with its demonic impulses. Then, only "the discipline of the Lord, openeth the ears." Only pain softens the heart, as fire softens iron, only pain makes the heart long for repentance; it clears the mind so that it can see and hate the trickery of sin; it frees the will so that it can decide to make its return.

Only when the prodigal lost his riches, only when he became a wretched slave and a debased swine herder, naked and hungry, only then did "he come to himself"; he realized that he was lost and he made the heroic decision: "I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned." If the paralytic of Capernaum, whom they lowered through the roof in order to reach the Lord, had not been thrown into bed as a living corpse, by a painful disease, it is doubtful if he ever would have left sin, and if he ever would have approached the Savior. Finally, purified by disease and repenting, he heard the Savior say, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." If the other paralytic of Bethesda, who was bed-ridden for 38 years, had not been purified in the furnace of pain, from the corrosion of sin, he never would have known the Savior and heard the saving commandment (which also applies to us): "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." For, in addition to the persistent diseases and life long afflictions of earth, there are even worse pains which the unrepentant person might finally experience. So there is no medicine more beneficial than

pain, and no higher purpose than repentance and return to God. This is the target which pain aims at and sorrow works for. There is no knowledge more useful to man, and especially to the Christian, than this knowledge about the purpose of pain.

How many tears would be wiped away, how much darkness would be made light, how many hearts would be comforted, how many sufferers would more quickly find the solution to their pain, if only they wanted to learn about God's beneficial purpose, and to believe in it. Surely then they would see that pain is the beneficial knife of the Surgeon-Physician. Not only would they suffer patiently, but they would gratefully thank the Good Physician. They deserted Him, but He did not desert them. They forsook Him, but He visited them through pain; He called them through pain, He guided them with pain to the sorrowless and blessed life.

Quoted from the book "For the Hours of Pain" by The "ZOE" Brotherhood of Theologians Athens Greece.

Gleanings from the Fathers

Let us become like Christů

"Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become Gods because of Him, since He for us became man. He took upon Himself a low degree that He might give us higher one. He became poor, that through His poverty we might become rich (II Cor. Viii.9). He took upon Himself the form of a servant (Phil. ii.7) that we might be delivered from slavery (Rom. viii.21). He came down that we might rise up. He was tempted that we might learn to overcome. He was despised that we might be given honour. He died that He might save us from death. He ascended to heaven that we who lie prone in sin may be lifted up to Him.

We must know what Pascha Is

Now since you are celebrating the holy Pasch, you should know, brethren, what the Pasch is. Pasch means, the crossing-over; and so the Festival is called by this name. For it was on this day that the Children of Israel crossed over out of Egypt, and the Son of God crossed over from this world to His Father. What gain is it to celebrate the Pasch unless you imitate Him Whom you worship; that is, unless you cross over from Egypt, that is, from the darkness of evildoing to the light of virtue, and from the love of this world to the love of your heavenly home? (St Ambrose)

For there are many who celebrate this holy festival, and honour this solemnity, and yet do not so unworthily and because of their own wickedness; because they will not cross over from this world to their Father, that is they will not cross over from the desires of this world, and from the bodily delights, to the love of heaven. O unhappy Christians, who still remain in Egypt, that is, under the power of the devil, and taking delight in this evil! Because of these things I warn you, Brethren, that you must celebrate the Pasch worthily, that is, that you cross over. Whosoever among you who are in sin, and celebrate this festival, let you cross over from evil doing to the life of virtue. Whosoever among you are just living, let you pass from virtue to virtue; so that there shall be none among you who has not crossed over. (St Ambrose)

O man!

Be heedful to your soul, because there is only one in you, and there is only one time for your life, and the end is unknown, which is death and the spaces of the air are impenetrable and filled with your enemies. There will not be then another helper but good deeds. Pay heed to yourself so you will not be repenting for endless ages. Pray ceaselessly, and spend day after day in heedfulness unto the salvation of your soul.

St. Paisius Velichkovsky, Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. IV.

I have no manů

In Solomon's Porch there lay a multitude of sick. And at Mid-feast Christ found there a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight and thirty years. To him He called out with a voice of authority: Wouldst thou be made whole? And the infirm replied: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool. And He saith unto him: Take up thy bed. Behold, thou art become whole, sin not again. By the intercessions of the Theotokos, O Lord, send down to us Thy great mercy.

Glory of the Aposticha of Vespers for Sunday of the Paralytic.

Answers to Questions about the Sunday of the Paralytic

ANSWER 1

Physical afflictions are often an indicator or reminder of the more serious afflictions that beset all men - sins, and the passions which are the major cause of them. Our passions are like blindness or paralysis, because they impair our ability to live a righteous life, and cause us to miss the knowledge of God, as a blind man cannot see and a paralyzed man cannot go where he wants. This connection between the passions and sin and physical afflictions is well known in the mind of the church. This is not to say that sin always CAUSES physical afflictions. This is possible, however, in every case, afflictions are a reminder of our primary affliction and need for God.

Our Lord makes the connection between sin and afflictions repeatedly. In many cases, He forgave a man's sins before he healed him of his physical infirmity, to affect a complete healing and regeneration of the man. In other cases, he healed someone of their physical infirmity first, then later enlightened them concerning Himself (such as in the case of the man born without eyes), or reminded them about sin, which is their major affliction. One could say, and reclaim a highly charged word, that he is a "holistic" healer. The whole concept of healing and well being is profoundly different in the mind of the church than anywhere else. Physical infirmity is recognized as sometimes grievous, and sometimes as a great blessing, but healing from any infirmity is tied closely with the entire healing of soul and body that all Christians should seek.

As of old Thou didst raise up the paralytic, O Lord God, / by Thy God-like care and might, / raise up my soul which is palsied / by diverse sins and transgressions / and by unseemly deeds and acts, / that, saved I may also cry out: / O Compassionate Redeemer, O Christ God, // glory to Thy dominion and might. (Kontakion for the Sunday of the Paralytic, Tone 3)

Let us site some examples of how Christ ties physical healing to the entire spiritual healing of a man.

Healing from sins, then physical infirmity:

"And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. ... {6} But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. (Matthew 9:2,6, also recounted in Mark and Luke)

Healing from physical infirmity, then enlightenment:

"And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. {12} And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off. {14} And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. {15} And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, {16} And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. {17} And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? {18} There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. {19} And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."(Luke 17: 11,14-19)

"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. ... {6} ... He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, {7} And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. ...{35} Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? {36} He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? {37} And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. {38} And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. (John 9:1-38, parts)

"After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {2} Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda ... {5} And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. {6} When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? ... {8} Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. {9} And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked... {14} Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee". (John 5:1-15, parts)

ANSWER 2

It is clear that physical infirmities are sometimes because of a man's sins. The story of the healing of the paralytic shows this truth, as Jesus warns the man about his sins when He finds him in the temple. Some sins directly cause infirmity, such as smoking or alcohol abuse or promiscuity. Sometimes sins cause physical infirmity in a less direct way, and the Fathers understand these afflictions to be a call to repentance for the erring man.

In some cases, however, there is no sin in a man's life, but the affliction is present for his edification and enlightenment, and sometimes to show the glory of God, whether the man is eventually healed, as was the case in the man born blind, or bears up under his infirmity with courage, patience and thanksgiving, as was the case in Lazarus, who lay at the gate of the rich man.

"A FEARFUL thing is sin, fearful, and the ruin of the soul, and the mischief oftentimes through its excess has overflowed and attacked men's bodies also. For since for the most part when the soul is diseased we feel no pain, but if the body receive though but a little hurt, we use every exertion to free it from its infirmity, because we are sensible of the infirmity, therefore God oftentimes punisheth the body for the transgressions of the soul, so that by means of the scourging of the inferior part, the better part also may receive some healing." (St John Chrysostom, Homily 38 on John)

"'What then,' saith one, 'do all diseases proceed from sin?' Not all, but most of them; and some proceed from different kinds of loose living, since gluttony, intemperance, and sloth, produce such like sufferings. (Ibid.)

ANSWER 3

The Jewish leaders were incensed when they saw Jesus heal on the Sabbath day, because of jealousy and hardness of heart.

"...And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day. (John 5:16)

"A word alone made strong the paralytic, / since it had been uttered by the universal Word, / Who had appeared upon the earth out of His love and compassion. / Wherefore, he departed hence and went forth bearing his own bed, / and the scribes, although they saw / this great deed which was brought to pass, / since they were held by evil and palsied in soul by their envy, // they endured not." (Sessional Hymn after the third ode of the Canon at matins for the Sunday of the Paralytic, sung in tone 3, special melody "Awed by the beauty")

ANSWER 4

During a particular feast of the Jews, Jesus went to Jerusalem, and encountered a paralytic who had been laying for 38 years by the "sheep's pool", which was a place where the sheep were washed before sacrifice. Once a year, an angel would stir up the water, and the one person who reached the water first was healed of his infirmity. The paralytic waited for healing, even though he had no one to help him get into the water. Jesus healed him, and told him to take up his bed and walk. He was healed on the Sabbath day, and the wicked Jewish leaders interrogated the man concerning this, and were greatly angered. Later, Jesus found the man in the temple, where undoubtedly he was thanking God, and warned him to take care to sin no more, lest a worse thing befall him.

There is much meaning in this small, simple story. We can see a pointer towards a great Christian mystery, and we see Jesus as the only "man" who we can have to heal us of our infirmities - physical and spiritual. We also see the outrageous inhumanity (or, shall we say, ungodliness, since man is made in God's own image) of man, when he is consumed by jealousy.

ANSWER 5

The Jews celebrated three main feasts, Passover (or Pascha), Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Evangelist does not mention which feast, but the proximity of the commemoration of healing of the paralytic to Mid-Pentecost in the Paschal season, causes one to surmise that it was at Mid-Pentecost that the paralytic was healed. The Jews celebrated Pentecost as a "feast of weeks" being 50 days in duration, and Mid-Pentecost was celebrated at the midpoint of this time. Christians have continued this practice. The services for this Sunday mention Mid-Pentecost:

"In Solomon's Porch there lay a multitude of sick. / And at Mid-feast Christ found there a paralytic / who had been bedridden for eight and thirty years. / To him He called out with a voice of authority: / wouldst thou be made whole? / And the infirm replied: / Sir, I have no man, / when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool. / And He saith unto him: / Take up thy bed. / Behold, thou art become whole, sin not again. / By the intercessions of the Theotokos, // O Lord, send down to us Thy great mercy."(Glory at the Aposticha, Vespers for the Sunday of the Paralytic, Tone 8)

ANSWER 6

The paralytic waited for thirty-eight years beside the sheep's pool for healing. This pool was used to wash the sheep destined for sacrifice. Every year, an angel would "trouble the water", and whoever entered the water first after this event was healed of whatever infirmity he had. Of course, the water had no special properties. It was the power of God that gave the water healing power, and the angel was merely the servant of His holy will.

"And 'an Angel came down and troubled the water,' and endued it with a healing power, that the Jews might learn that much more could the Lord of Angels heal the diseases of the soul. Yet as here it was not simply the nature of the water that healed, (for then this would have always taken place,) but water joined to the operations of the Angel; so in our case, it is not merely the water that worketh, but when it hath received the grace of the Spirit, then it putteth away all our sins." (St John Chrysostom, Homily 36 on John)

ANSWER 7

The healing of one man every year in the sheep's pool clearly points to the Christian mystery of baptism. As in all "types" which point to Christian realities and mysteries, this one is deficient. Only one man was healed at the sheep's pool, and he needed a helper so that he would reach the water first. All men can be healed by holy baptism, and Christ Himself will help everyone to have all that he needs. It is important to understand that baptism is not only the entrance into the church, and not only a cleansing, but it is the way in which a man is made whole and healed of all his infirmities. The healing of bodily infirmities in the sheep's pool only points to the total healing offered by God through baptism and the subsequent living of the Christian life.

"Of old an Angel came down to the sheep's pool and healed one man every year; but now Christ doth cleanse endless multitudes by divine baptism"(Canon of the paralytic, Ode 1, Troparion 4)

"What manner of cure is this? What mystery doth it signify to us? For these things are not written carelessly, or without a purpose, but as by a figure and type they show in outline things to come, in order that what was exceedingly strange might not by coming unexpectedly harm among the many the power of faith. What then is it that they show in outline? Baptism was about to be given, possessing much power, and the greatest of gifts, a Baptism purging all sins, and making men alive instead of dead. These things then are foreshown as in a picture by the pool, and by many other circumstances." (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on John, Homily 36, on John 4:54; 5:1)

ANSWER 8

The Holy Archangel Michael troubled the water at the Sheep's pool each year. The canon for the paralytic makes mention of Michael (who is known by the church as the "Supreme Commander" of the Heavenly Hosts) and asks his intercession several times. It is a shame that so many Orthodox and even priests eschew this holy service and deprive themselves of its mellifluent teaching. In so doing they deprive themselves of the heartfelt acknowledgement of the constant and powerful intercession of the Archangel Michael, the grandeur of the incarnation, pious and joyful meditation on the resurrection, and countless other "food for the soul". Truly, we are in the last days if Christians barely pray even on the weekend, and consider their "duty" to have been fulfilled by a scant hour on Sunday morning, and do not know even the simplest things.

"Together with the Hosts on High, O Archangel of God, make supplication for us who praise thee with faith, preserving and protecting us from falling into the passions of life" (Canon of the paralytic, Ode 3, Troparion 4)

"O leader of the Angels and guide for the erring, O Supreme Commander of the Lord, come into our midst at this hour, and bear the prayers of us all unto the only creator and Master. (Canon of the paralytic, Ode 4, Troparion 5)

ANSWER 9

The paralytic told the God-man that he had "no man" to help him. The priest, whose temple he was near, could not help him, nor would the Levite come near. Only the God-man could help him. The same exact meaning is also conveyed in the parable of the "Good Samaritan". The man who is attacked by robbers, who represents all of humanity, is left half dead on the side of the road. The priest and the Levite pass by, because they cannot help the man. Some take this "passing by" to be an indication of their lack of charity, but the fathers have mined a deeper and more powerful meaning from their passing. Neither the law nor the prophets, not any mortal man or teaching can save us. Only the God-man, Who is the Samaritan who helps the half-dead man, can effect our complete healing.

At the Sheep's Pool, a man lay in illness; / and on seeing Thee, O Lord, he cried; / I have no man, that, when the water is troubled, / he might put me therein. / But when I go, / another preceedeth me and receiveth the healing, / and I lie in illness. / And straightway, taking compassion on him, / the Savior saith unto him: / For thee I became man, / for thee I am clothed in flesh, / and sayest thou: I have no man? / take up thy bed and walk. / All things are possible to Thee, / all things are obedient to Thee, / all things are subject to thee. / Remember us all and have mercy on us, O Holy One, // since Thou art the Friend of man. (Vespers for the Sunday of the Paralytic, Glory from the Litya)

ANSWER 10

Here are several differences and similarities between the two stories:

  • Sins mentioned at different times. The paralytic at Peter's house was healed of his sins first, and the one at the sheep's' pool was reminded concerning his sins after he was healed of his physical infirmity.
  • Both had faith. The one on the pallet had to endure much to get in the presence of Jesus, the one at the pool waited a long time.
  • The one on the pallet had the help of four men, the one at the pool had "no man" to help him.
  • Both were healed by a word by Jesus.
  • Both healings were on the Sabbath.
  • The wicked unbelieving Pharisees were angry both times.
  • Both stories are read during the Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of the Paralytic, which is the Fourth Sunday of Pascha.
  • Look at these two stories yourself - don't just read the answer!
Something to think about for Next Week

Questions about the Samaritan Woman

QUESTION 1

Who was the Samaritan woman? Tell something of her life after meeting Jesus.

QUESTION 2

Who were the Samaritans? Describe their religion and relationship with the Jews.

QUESTION 3

Compare and contrast the reaction of the Samaritan woman and townspeople and the townspeople in the region of the Gadarenes when Jesus visited them.

QUESTION 4

What two revolutionary things did Jesus do by even talking to the Samaritan woman? The proud Pharisees would have judged Him on at least two accounts.

QUESTION 5

What time did Jesus meet the Samaritan woman at the well? Is there anything odd about this time? Why do you think she drew water at this time?

QUESTION 6

Water plays a big role in the story of the Samaritan woman. Cite at least five other places where water is used to describe or point to our salvation.

QUESTION 7

The Sunday of the Samaritan woman is more complicated liturgically because of the multiple commemorations this day. Name them. List how many stichera for each commemoration are sung at 'Lord I have cried', and explain why.

QUESTION 8

There was a significant prophesy concerning salvation which Jesus made when He spoke to the Samaritan woman. What was it? Approximate when it was understood by the entire church to be fulfilled (or being fulfilled).

QUESTION 9

The conversation between Christ and the Samaritan woman mystically is actually another conversation between what two parties?

QUESTION 10

Tell the story of the Samaritan woman. Don't look at the Bible when you do it.

"Redeeming the Time" is an almost weekly Journal of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas. All issues may be found at: http://www.orthodox.net/redeeming

All unsigned or unattributed portions Copyright 1998 Fr Seraphim Holland


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