THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
August 9, 2020
Paregentan of the Fast of the Assumption
Carried by the Faith of Others
Is it curious when the four friends tore through the roof, that Jesus didn’t see the faith of the paralytic, the one obviously in need of healing, the one we would most likely assume should be have faith? It gets even more odd. Not only did Jesus recognize this particular destruction of someone else’s property as an act of faith, but it was the faith of the four friends that he saw! St. Gregory of Narek affirms that it was their faith and not that of the paralytic, who was perhaps not only totally dependent on others for all practical and physical needs, but even for faith in a God who seemed to have forgot him:
And by becoming man, you, one of “the One who is,” your gifts of life, diverse talents, splendid divine work and miracles, poured down abundantly upon some who asked for themselves, and others who asked blessings for others. Moved by the faith of his nurses, you cured the cripple, though he was lacking in faith. (35A)
How often when we are in need of physical healing we tend to look for only physical healing. But it doesn’t always come. But does that mean God forgot us? There’s a broader component to the healing process Jesus wants us to be aware of which emerges in this story. Jesus says to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” In other words, pick up the very thing that has been the symbol of your suffering and take it with you. Don’t throw it away, carry it with you and go home. Our bed of suffering, a very personal symbol of pain (see Psalm 6:6), becomes a gift to others, serving as a platform from which we can bring healing to our neighbor, and on which we can carry them to Jesus. As one theologian reflected on our bed of pain: “Its very weight our measure of strength that has been restored to us.”
We all sin, we all carry pain. At this very moment each one of us is experiencing suffering on some level and it’s safe to assume we want healing from it. We can retreat from our fear, shame, doubt, rejection, loss, and hopelessness, but it just makes us more alone, more broken. Indeed, we don’t want to go through our pain alone, which is why we ask others to believe and pray for us. It is why we entreat the prayers of the Mother of God and the Saints of the Church.
Whether or not I doubt, am I humble enough to approach my community and ask to be carried to the feet of Jesus? Does our faith overflow to believe for others? Who in our parish community is the “paralytic?” In what ways am I paralyzed? Who is that person in my life who needs to be carried, needs my faith, the experience of my own suffering in order to receive healing and forgiveness? Do we lift each other up and bear each other’s burdens, or are we the burden, tearing each other down? Do we believe what we pray during Badarak when we sing the song during the Kiss of Peace?
This Church has now become one soul, the kiss is given for a full bond. The enmity has been removed, and love is spread over us all.
Do we unite our hearts with the words of the deacons as they chant Գոհութիւն?
Let us ask deliverance for those of our brethren who have been made captive, and grace to the congregation here present.
Faith is not only personal, but communal and collective. If you can’t believe, let others believe for you. The mission of the Church is to stand side by side with the poor and the downtrodden, those suffering with pain, and to lift them up. If we see someone in our respective communities, let’s join together, pick them up, and carry them. We are responsible for each other. That is what it means to be a community, family, a Christ-centered community – the Body of Christ. In faith, like the four friends who carried their paralyzed friend, carry others to Jesus Christ so they can hear the loving, healing words of our Savior, “Your sins are forgiven.”
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
1 Corinthians 13: 11-14:5 (page 159) New Testament
Mark 2: 1-12 (pages 32-33) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 7:1-9 (pages 687) Old Testament
REQUIEM SERVICES: Karasoonk (40th Day memorial Service) today will be for:
– ROSE MINASSIAN on the 40th Day of Her eternal life requested by Melanie and Andrea Minassian.
Hokehankist today will be for:
– FRAN TORCOMIAN (2nd Anniversary of Her eternal life) requested by her Family and everyone that loved Her.
– for all those who perished, including many Armenians, in the massive explosion which took place in Beirut days ago.
“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles, Armen & Theodora Mirakian.
CALLING ALL GRADUATES: The next issue of the LOOYS will feature information about our graduates and we are hoping that you will submit your own details so that you can be included. Write-up should include: full name, parents’ names, name of institution, grade level or degree achieved, activity involvement, and future plans (further education/ work). Please include a picture (in high resolution color), if possible. Everything should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by a FINAL deadline of August 9, 2020
FAR UPDATE: Distribution of PPE to Clinics Throughout the Tavush Region – With the troubling rise of COVID-19 cases throughout Armenia and the low supply of much-needed medical equipment, FAR recently delivered a third round of more than 30,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items, including masks, gloves, medical suits and gowns, thermometers, shoe covers and sanitizers to medical clinics throughout Armenia’s impoverished Tavush Province.Dr. Gagik Mikaelyan was happy to receive the protective suit from FAR since he administers PCR tests for the community of Movses on the border with Azjerbaijan. “Unfortunately we have registered positive cases, but I feel more protected now when I wear this suit before going to a patient’s home,” says the doctor who makes house calls and is the only general practitioner for a rural community of nearly 2,000. To learn more, go to: https://www.farusa.org/post/far-distributes-ppe-to-clinics-throughout-the-tavush-region