Instruction on the Sunday of the Paralytic

Christ is Risen!

The holy Evangelist John the Theologian tells us that in Jerusalem, by the Sheep’s gate is a pool, before which there were five closed entrances where a multitude of the sick lay. At times an Angel of the Lord would descend into the pool and trouble the waters, and whoever would first step into those waters would be healed (Jn. 5:2–4). Passing through towns and villages, revealing to people the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, Christ came one day to the Sheep’s pool. He saw there those sick people who desired healing. Among them was a man who suffered from an infirmity for thirty-eight years. Christ came to him and asked, "Do you want to be made whole?" (cf. Jn. 5:6). The sick man answered, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Christ said to him, "Take up your bed and walk," and the sick man was immediately healed (cf. Jn. 5:7–9). After some time Jesus Christ met him in the temple and said, "See, you have been made healthy. Sin no more, lest a worse thing should come upon you" (cf. Jn. 5:14).

Christ worked many miracles During the time of His earthly life, healing all manner of illnesses in people. In the Lord’s eyes a person is, first and foremost, God’s creation, a son or daughter of the Heavenly Father. Earthly parents forgive their bad children no matter what they’ve done, and the love of the Heavenly Father also forgives us disobedient children. The Lord gave us life and He has provided in abundance everything necessary for life. However, we do not appreciate this and do not respond to God’s great love even in the least.

Each of us are possessed by one or another infirmity. There are no people on earth who are absolutely healthy. The Lord at times knocks at our hearts and souls through illness. Just as we must be saved through many sorrows, so must we become perfect through many illnesses.

Physical pain is frightening, but pain of soul is even more frightening. A constant connection exists between physical illness and illness of the soul, because the body is the temple of the soul, the Spirit of God that lives in every person. According to the Apostle Paul, in taking care for the salvation of the soul we must not neglect the body. Every person, says the apostle, feeds and warms his flesh (cf. Eph. 5:29). In the Christian understanding, the flesh is the temple of the Spirit of God living in us. We cross ourselves before giving the final kiss to the body of the deceased, just as we would before a church. But with all due care for the body, we must not forget about the soul, about its state, and about spiritual matters.

No illness that befalls a person comes about by itself, or without any cause There are many causes. The main cause is hidden in ourselves. Our state depends upon how we live, how we fulfill the Gospel commandments and general human norms. If we neglect Christ’s commandments about moral purity, about spiritual perfection, then we will definitely be sick in soul. Illness of the soul brings with it illnesses of the body. Mainly it is sin that paralyzes and strikes our spirit and our flesh. Sin is the violation of existing norms, the violation of God’s commandments. Therefore any sin makes us paralyzed, just like that man whom the Lord now heals at the Sheep’s pool in Jerusalem.

Sin brings destructive, painful consequences: "Sin no more, lest a worse thing should come upon you," but no matter what state we might be in, we must remember that we have a Heavenly Doctor, Who has cleansed us of our sin by His blood, and given us all healing.

Through the holy Gospels the Church teaches us, brothers and sisters, how we must live in order to have a healthy spirit and a healthy body. Both the former and the latter were given us by the Lord. The Lord took our infirmities upon Himself, and He came to earth in order to heal us from sins; He took on our flesh, renewed it, deified it, and ascended with it into the heavens; He was in everything like us, except for sin. This was needed not by the Lord, but by us. He gave us an example by His life, by His teaching, and by His ascetic labor of the Cross.

The Resurrection of Christ is the victory over sin, over sickness; it is the victory over evil--death. Christ is risen, and there is no longer any sin that could conquer man. Christ is risen, and we received the fulness of grace-filled power, which heals and saves us. The goal of our life is perfection in Christ, to become like unto Him.

In these sacred days of the Pascha of the Lord, rejoicing in the Risen Christ, let us pray to the Author of our life that He might resurrect our souls. Amen.

Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan)
Translation by


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