“And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain, and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” (Mt 15: 29-31)
Here we see our Lord Jesus Christ enabling the dumb to speak, the maimed to walk, and the blind to see, i.e., to do the things most people could do in the first place. He also liberates me to do the things I am supposed to be able to do in the first place, like speak, walk, and see, when merely-human fears and self-centeredness have me going arou...
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to divide (διχάσαι, to divide in two) a man against/regarding his father (κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ), and a daughter against/regarding her mother, and a daughter-in-law against/regarding her mother-in-law; and one’s foes (ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) are those of one’s own household (οἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ). He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” (Mt 10: 34-37)
What “sword” does Christ bring between us and those of our own “house”? Himself. In faith, I learn that no relationship with another human being is healthy, when it’s just the two of us, without God between us, and without an inspired awareness...
“Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy...“
(Litany of Peace, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
In this very first litany of Divine Liturgy, we are called to pray “in peace“ and “for peace,“ specifically the kind “from above.“ It is the kind we cannot muster up or negotiate on our own, just amidst ourselves. In fact we have never done very well, when it comes to “peace,“ either within or without “the holy churches of God.“ That is why we are called to give up self-reliance...
“And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4: 19)
That’s quite a promise! But note that St. Paul makes this promise to the Philippians, who were just as good at giving as they were at receiving: “You Philippians,” he writes to them, “indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once.” (Phil 4: 15-16)
God does fully satisfy every need of mine, but specifically “according to His riches,” and “in glory in Christ Jesus.” His kind of “riches” come to me abundantly in self-giving, not in self-seeking. Because God does not “fully satisfy” the kinds of...