On May 19, on Sunday of the Paralytic, St. George parish family gathered for a nice liturgical celebration. It had been headed by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. He served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian.
In his homily Fr. Igor stressed that the paralytic in today’s Gospel story was waiting for 38 years at the Sheep Gate Pool and no one helped him. It tells about that man’s loneliness. The world around us is full of lonely people. A strange thing happens: we live in a world filled with so many people but many of us feel lonely. Some even say that loneliness is inevitable because finally we all end up being alone in the grave.
The paralytic in today’s Gospel lesson was also in a very crowded place, near a healing pool and in a big city of Jerusalem. But he was laying there alone and nobody helped him. Living in America we observe how people greet each other. They say, “Hi! How are you doing?” but these are just duty phrases. Not too many like to know how really are you doing. Sometimes if you begin responding to those phrases by telling the people about yourself, they either don’t listen and rush to say, “Good!” or they start to move away from you. This is a real loneliness of a person in today’s world.
But our Lord Jesus Christ acted totally different. He approached the paralytic, He spoke with him and He healed him. Jesus had acted as a true human being, a man without sin. The paralytic complained that he “had no man” to help him (Jn. 5, 7). Jesus became that man, God became Man to help not only the paralytic but the whole human kind.
Therefore, today’s story of the Paralytic teaches us to remember that God is with us. Even if we feel lonely in the world, God can always relate to us and is ready to help. Christ Himself said to His Disciples that they will abandon Him and He will suffer in loneliness. But He said, “Yet I am not alone for My Father is with Me” (Jn. 16, 32). Thus, if we believe in God, we should remember that we won’t remain alone in the grave but we will pass away to eternal life with the Lord.
This Gospel story also teaches us that in our loneliness we should join together in the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ established His Church, so we won’t be alone but will be helped spiritually and even bodily.
In the course of the history of mankind a number of people wished to be gods for their subjects. Yet God alone wished to become Man and did it, so we could be saved. Therefore, let us be grateful to Him for that and to strive to stay in the Church where we are not going to be lonely, but we may stay with God and His Saints in this life and in life eternal.
The choir beautifully performed the Stichera of Sunday of the Paralytic during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English addressing the main thoughts of his Russian homily. He also made some announcements regarding feast days of the coming week.
Our celebration continued at the coffee hour where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.