Homilies & SermonsTheology & Spirituality

Love In His Voice

At every Liturgy at every reading of the Gospel we learn about true life and about God’s love for us.

The message is given to us over and over and in different contexts and different situations, and still we tend to see the Gospel as we want to see it and try to make it blend in with our worldview rather than shape our worldview.

Christ has come to give us life, and that in abundance. He does not hold back. We ask to know Him, we ask for mercy, we ask Him to show us the path. And He answers us with the truth. There are no riddles to decipher or secret panels to open.

“I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me.” And He said this way will not be easy. We have this treasure (the good news) in earthen vessels.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;   always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.   So death is at work in us, but life in you. Therefore, we do not lose heart, even though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. –2 Corinthians 4:8- 15

Ten lepers were healed, only one came back to thank Jesus and he was a Samaritan. Jesus says where are the nine? He asks with love in His voice, just as a mother who loses a child in a crowd because the child was not paying attention. It’s a disappointment. Why wouldn’t we want to be at the chalice and participate in His life?

Go show yourselves to the priest. Under the Mosaic Law the priest were obliged to inspect the people who were sick with leprosy or other diseases. If you had leprosy you were an outcast. And in order to return to the community you were required to get an official blessing. This is very significant.

The Samaritan, it seems to me, was prepared to live with thanksgiving, even with the leprosy. He came and fell at the feet of our Lord. We do not know what he said to Jesus but the posture he assumed says volumes. He was prostrate; the scriptures say he fell on his face, giving thanks to God.

Ten men were cured of a disease, but only one man was healed and made “whole.” Christ wants to do more than just clean us up; He wants to make us whole and complete. One of my favorite promises is found in St. Paul’s epistle to the Philippians:

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until (until means never ending) the day of Jesus Christ;” –Philippians 1:6

If we do not see ourselves in need of repentance or in need of the Church, or in need of Christ. If we do not see ourselves as sick, then none of this will make sense. Even when see ourselves in need, we ignore the best part; the ability to return to Christ over and over, giving thanks as we fall on our faces. This is one way we can “walk circumspectly, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

This world is corrupt, even if people are somehow able to do good, feed the hungry, and cloth the naked, they are still dying. So Paul tells us to be wise, to “walk circumspectly.” He tells us to “redeem the time.” We redeem the time when we take time back from the world and live in another way.

Redeeming the time can mean a lot of things, but at the very least the Church should stand apart from the world. This means that we who are members of the church should stand apart from the world, not judge the world.

As we stand apart from the world we will come to understand what the will of our Lord is. It is being filled with the Spirit,   speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.

When by God’s grace we see the condition of our souls, we will cry out Jesus Master have mercy on me and on us.

Our Lord says to us, “Go show yourselves to the priest.” This is a reference to the sacrament of repentance. Come to confession.

Jesus cured the nine lepers only one was healed. I am sure that the temptation for the nine as they were walking down the road was I’m not sick any more, Christ has taken away my sin why do I need to go to the Temple? It’s hard for us to look at repentance as a way of life and not a onetime event. We are not content with just a cure, we desire Christ, we desire to live His life, we desire to be complete and whole.

Photo courtesy of Lawrence OP.

Fr Gregory Owen

Fr Gregory Owen

Fr. Gregory is the priest of a small, canonical Orthodox Mission in Berrien Springs, MI. Ordained as a priest in 2007, he desires to use his position as a priest to see souls healed through the life in Christ as prescribed by the Orthodox Church.

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