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Sunday of the Paralytic

"Remember, now, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you” (John 5, 14)

Christ is Risen! Христос Воскрес!

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today in the holy Gospel, we hear the story of Jesus’ love for the sinner. It was in Jerusalem. There was a pond called Bethesda, having 5 porches for sick people waiting for the moving of the water. There was a certain man that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity. Jesus healed the sick man who was a sinner. Jesus met him later in the temple and said ho him: “Remember, now you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you” (John 5, 14).

The Church shows us that just as the poor paralyzed man was healed after thirty eight years of sickness, so every sinner can be spiritually cured from his sins and infirmities, if he turns with faith to the risen Christ. The Holy Fathers of the Church affirm that the bathing-pool represents the Sacrament of Penance.

The first chapters of the Book of Genesis describe God creating everything. Hence all of creation, especially mankind, was good. But early in human history man committed the first sin. Mankind, not God, was responsible for moral evil in the world. Throughout Old Testament history God frequently sent special messengers to call mankind back to lead a morally good life. The prophets preached the need for repentance and reconciliation.

In the fullness of time God the Father sent his only Son Jesus. He calls every person to live a holy life. Our Lord spent almost three years in public teaching. While he denounced sin he manifested great personal love for sinners. God desires not the death of the sinners, but that he be converted and saved. Jesus, who is true God and true man, knows and understands human nature. He not only calls for a conversion but he gives us the Sacrament of Penance to make reconciliation possible. Confession should be a joyful experience. Confession should be for us a kind of pool purification. In it we hear God speaking through the priest saying, “I forgive you”. In fact, God seems to be unable to resist a humble penitent pleading for mercy.

Penance is the Sacrament by which Jesus, through the absolution of the priest, forgives for penitent. Christ made confession a part of the Sacrament of Penance because of his understanding of the needs of the human heart. He realized that the confession of sin helps the sinner. This Sacrament of Penance not only forgives sin; it also develops virtues which make us more Christ-like. Through the Sacrament of Penance, called Mysteries of service (together with the Sacrament of Anointing), we receive both spiritual and physical healing. Let’s receive this!

V. Rev.Myroslav Dumych

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