June 3, 2024

Homily on the Paralytic, the Samaritan Woman and the Man Born Blind (St. John Maximovitch)

The Paralytic, the Samaritan Woman and the Man Born Blind

By St. John Maximovitch

(Delivered in Bitola in 1928)

Before concluding today's service, I would like to draw your attention to three Gospel events commemorated on the Sundays between the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women and the Ascension. In one the Gospel is read about Christ’s healing of the paralytic, in the other about the conversation with the Samaritan woman, in the third about the granting of sight to a man born blind. Three were honored to converse with Christ and accept His gift: one was healing from a long-term illness, the other was the resolution of issues that she herself could not resolve, the third was bodily vision. But their future fate is different.

Historical records are silent about the former paralytic, but a legend that can be trusted tells us that he was the one who later, as a high priest’s servant, struck Christ on the cheek during the interrogation of the high priest. It is known about the Samaritan woman that she believed in Christ and many years later, during the persecution of Nero, she suffered with her sisters and sons. The Church still commemorates her as the martyr Photini. And about the healed of the man born blind, the Gospel itself tells us that as soon as he confessed Christ, he was immediately expelled by the Pharisees. So the paralytic, after being healed of a temporary illness, inherited eternal death; the Samaritan Photini, having been honored to speak with Christ, lived for a long time in peace and honor among her fellow citizens, and after many years she testified to her faith with her blood; and the former blind man, immediately after receiving the benefit, suffered persecution for loyalty to his benefactor. But his reward is also great: Christ Himself sought him and, having found him, opened his spiritual eyes and called him to follow the path leading to the kingdom above.

Let us remember these three examples. Having received any gift from God - be it spiritual or earthly, let us use it worthily to inherit eternal salvation. Let us remember that if we do not use it worthily, we will move away from God and lose eternal life. Let us follow Christ’s teaching, and if we have to suffer for it, Christ Himself will come to support and strengthen us, just as He came to strengthen and enlighten the man born blind who was healed by Him, and persecuted by unfaithful compatriots. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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