Gospel Reading for the 36ᵗʰ Sunday
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Do you know that some people think what we do here in Church is silly—that praying, and receiving communion, and lighting candles is weird and a waste of time?
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about a man who is blind. He can’t see. When some people tell him Jesus is coming nearby, he cries out to Jesus to have mercy on him. The people around him think he’s wasting his time, and tell him to be quiet. But the man wants Jesus to help him, so he calls out louder. Jesus asks the man what he wants, and the man answers, “Lord, let me get my sight back.” So, Jesus answers him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”At that moment, the man was able to see, and he immediately started following Jesus and praising God.
Later today, there’s going to be a big football game—the biggest game of the year. The Super Bowl. Imagine if you went to the Super Bowl, but you couldn’t see the game. You can’t see the players or the field or the ball. Everyone around you would be cheering, and booing, and jumping up and down, but you wouldn’t know why. You’d say, what are you people doing? You look very silly, cheering at nothing, and jumping up and down for no reason.
In today’s Gospel reading, it was only the blind man who could really see what was going on. He was shouting for Jesus because he knew Jesus could heal him. Everyone else was telling him to keep quiet. They had a very different way of seeing the world, and they didn’t believe that anyone could give sight to a blind man. Sometimes, we’re like those people. Sometimes, we don’t believe that what we’re doing here is important. Sometimes, we don’t see the world, or each other, the way Jesus does.
Right now, the doors are closed, and we can’t see into the sanctuary. This reminds us that we are all blind sometimes. But, in a moment, those doors will open, and we’ll see Father come out, holding the chalice. Just like the mysterious way the blind man received his sight, we’ll receive our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ in the bread and the wine.
So, when we start to wonder why we’re here, let’s remember the blind man, and ask Jesus Christ to give us our sight to see what’s really important.
Man, I really wanted to get the Super Bowl in there somehow, since our team, The New England Patriots, are playing, and I know it’ll be on everyone’s mind.
I felt like this homily was a little jumbled, with several different topics, until I rearranged it to form a chiasmus: liturgy → Gospel → football → Gospel → liturgy. I’m sure the older kids will follow, but I’m not sure about the little ones
Our spiritual blindness deepens when we allow our faith to be merely a collection of abstract ideas or beliefs and not personal participation in the Divine Energies such that we become like an iron left in a fire that takes on the heat and light of the fire. In other words, religious doctrines, practices, and traditions do us no good if we do not grow in holiness through them, if they do not become paths to our partaking of the Divine Nature. Our souls, bodies, and minds must actually be sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual blindness must be overcome. Otherwise, we simply judge and condemn ourselves by claiming the spiritual advantages of Orthodox Christians without actually embracing them or being transformed by them.“Regaining our Spiritual Vision During Advent: Orthodox Christian Homily on the Healing of the Blind Beggar” (14th Sunday of Luke) December 1, 2013 · Fr. Philip LeMasters