Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Paralytic

A man had been paralysed for years. He had lain at a short distance from healing, but he himself had no strength to merge into the waters of ablution. And no one – no one in the course of all these years – had had compassion on him. The ones rushed to be the first in order to be healed. Others who were attached to them by love, by friendship, helped them to be healed. But no one cast a glance at this man, who for years had longed for healing and was not in himself able to find strength to become whole. If only one person had been there, if only one heart had responded with compassion, this man might have been whole years and years earlier. As no one, not one person, had compassion on him, all that was left to him – and I say all that was left to him with a sense of horror – was the direct intervention of God. ~Metr. Anthony Bloom

We are surrounded today by people who are in desperate need: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. These people are today's 'paralysed', in need of help. People perhaps in need of a companion, or advise, or someone who would listen to them without judging them, or someone to give them a helping hand; someone who would go out of their way when it is not even expected...Because that is what Christians are supposed to do.

Indeed, the paralytic is in all of us. All of us in some way or another have our problems, we are all broken and in need of healing. It is part of the human condition since the fall. Everyone hurts. We all have to deal with our weaknesses, our faults, our shortcomings, but sometimes dealing with these is not completely up to us. Sometimes we need the hand of another. Sometimes we have to humble ourselves enought to ask for help, for guidance, for support, even if we believe that we do not deserve it. And we must give support and show love to people whom we believe do not deserve it, because they need it most. It is enough to ask someone, 'Are you ok?' And you may be surprised with the answer. Everyone is a deep human being, you just have to pay close attention to the details, to the little things which count. Look closer...

This man of which the Gospel speaks about was alone; he had no family, no friends, no support, no-one to tell him, 'It's all going to work out...I will help you'. For 38 years he was alone. He had no-one.

It is possible in his day and age to be surrounded by thousands of people and still feel alone.

Metr. Anthony Bloom writes:
We are responsible, mutually, for one another; because when we look right and left at the people who stand by us, what do we know about them? Do we know how broken they are? How much pain there is in their hearts? How much agony there has been in their lives? How many broken hopes, how much fear and rejection and contempt that has made them contemptuous of themselves and unable even to respect themselves – not to speak of having the courage of making a move towards wholeness, that wholeness of which the Gospel speaks in this passage and in so many other places?

Let us reflect on this. Let us look at each other and ask ourselves, ‘How much frailty is there in him or her? How much pain has accumulated in his or her heart? How much fear of life – but life expressed by my neighbour, the people whom I should be able to count for life – has come in to my existence?

Let us look at one another with understanding, with attention. Christ is there. He can heal; yes. But we will be answerable for each other, because there are so many ways in which we should be the eyes of Christ who sees the needs, the ears of Christ who hears the cry, the hands of Christ who supports and heals or makes it possible for the person to be healed.

Let us look at this parable of the paralytic with new eyes; not thinking of this poor man two thousand years ago who was so lucky that Christ happened to be near him and in the end did what every neighbour should have done. Let us look at each other and have compassion, active compassion; insight; love if we can.

Thank you to Vasiliki from for the quotes by Metr. Anthony Bloom.

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