Gospel for Sunday March 15, 2020

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen (بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس إلهٍ واحد آمين).

(First Sunday of Great Lent) -Christ is in our midst!

 In this gospel lesson of St. Mark 2:1-12, we hear of Jesus who returned to His house in Capernaum. This particular gospel lesson has a special meaning and that is, if our faith is robust and has no skepticism for the Lord, and if we want to get close to Him we will find a way as this person did in this gospel lesson. Thus, in order to get close to Him, you need to make the first move. That would be to come to Him in body, mind and soul (faith) so you can be free of your own spiritual illness or turmoil. With that being said, we should not let the defensive wall break down between good and evil so the devil will not come into our lives and that our faith with God will remain solid with Him. In verse 2, St. Mark tells us that Jesus preached in His house. Meaning, Christ can be everywhere, in homes, churches, etc. where there are people. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” Also, in the Divine Liturgy book, page 96 in the 3rd Antiphon, “when two or three are gathered together in thy name, thou will grant their request.” In verse 7, regarding the scribes saying about Christ, “who can forgive sins but God alone and that Christ blasphemed.” We can add a little humor to the statement and one for the Lord! 😄 Consequently, the scribes are accurate that God can only forgive sins, because the scribes inadvertently acknowledged His (Jesus) deity. Finally, in verse 9 the remark made by Jesus to the scribes about “which is easier” regarding sins, rising, pallet, and walking, hence it’s not about which one is easier, therefore the core of what Christ is saying here is sins, rising, walking, etc. that He (Jesus) is the only one that can forgive sins and say these words which is one of Christ’s hallmark. God bless you!

Reflection on Gospel

What a wonderful gospel lesson about a paralytic getting closer to Christ and what it entailed to make that happen which included other people that were in the house. Meaning, in today’s world the faithful should help one another to come to the light of Christ, like the people who opened the roof to let the paralytic person get closer to Jesus because of the crowd of people that were in the house. In the light of getting closer to God, do you make an attempt in your daily lives to get closer to Him, or do you just go to church on Sunday and chill out the rest of the day and week? Now is the perfect time to establish this (getting closer to Christ) especially during Lent which is a time of change and repentance in our lives. Regarding that (change), even the décor of the Orthodox church which includes the vestments of the clergy, changes to purple. Why do we change to the color purple? Because it embodies, sorrow, repentance, preparation, and humility! Referring back to the gospel lesson verse 5, “sons your sins are forgiven” which personifies repentance. Nevertheless, the perfect prayer for repentance is St. Ephrem prayer. Not only does it exemplify repentance and humility, it also expresses changes in our lives. Finally, I would like to include in this reflection this beautiful prayer of St. Ephrem which you should pray during the weekdays of Great Lent: “O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk (prostration or make sign of the cross after each verse). But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant (prostration or make sign of the cross after each verse). Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen (prostration or make sign of the cross after each verse).”

God bless you and have a blessed and wonderful Great Lent for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord!