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Home / SERMONS FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD / 7th Sunday of Matthew; Matt 9:27-35

7th Sunday of Matthew; Matt 9:27-35

“And when the demon had been cast out, the mute spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel.’  (Matt. 9:33)

This Gospel refers to two miracles: the healing of two blind men, and a demon-possessed deaf and mute person, by Jesus Christ.

Authority over life and death is in the hand of God alone (Deut. 32:39; 1Sam. 2:6). Being of one essence with the Father, Jesus has this authority (Jn 5:21).

Our Church with her reference to Christ’s miracles emphasises that only through Christ do we become acquainted with the true God, who sets us free from sin and death, and guides us on the path of life.

A miracle causes admiration and amazement. Our faith is strengthened, so that we might follow Jesus Christ in our life, the example set by his disciples, and the life of our Saints.

The purpose of a miracle is always salvific. It is the revelation of God’s strength, so that we might believe and be saved and healed completely. For example, the preservation from an imminent danger as was the crossing of the Jews through the Red Sea, or like in this Gospel where we have the healing of ailing people.

Therefore, the miracles are the lights of God’s glory which enlighten and improve our life and consequently our society. For this reason, if a miracle has such great importance in our life, much greater importance is the person of Christ, who commands miracles, as the true and only God, who can set us free and lead us to eternal life.

With the presence of Jesus Christ, Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled, when he said: “He received our infirmities and carried our maladies” (Isa. 53:4-5).  Furthermore, Christ’s name ‘Jesus’, as translated by its Jewish provenance means, “The Lord Saves”.

When the elder Simeon on the day of Υπαπαντής (the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple) took the baby Jesus in his arms, he prophesied that he would become a point of opposition. Pious people would follow Him and be saved. The impious would deny Him and crucify Him, consequently directing themselves on the path of loss and shame.

Hence, in today’s Gospel with the miracles which Christ commands, we see some people praising and glorifying Him, and some like the Pharisees defaming, accusing, and slandering Him.

Does this perhaps not also happen in our time with our clerics whose primary mission is to convey God’s word to us? Some people esteem and respect them, and others slander them.

Despite the fact that the miracle of the healing of the blind men, was performed in the presence of everybody, yet the spiritually blind Pharisees rejected the holy strength of God. In any case, Christ had repeatedly called the Pharisees foolish and blind on previous occasions. By their stance, all the malice which dwelt within them was made obvious. They thought that with Christ’s presence all their vested interests would be comprimised, in the sense that the populace would now depart from their control. This is why they are jealous and envious of Christ. Their prejudice made them blind and they saw everything with animosity, malice, and mistrust.

Even behind the most meritorious deeds they saw sinister motives, that were suspect or sinful. Whoever accepts preconceptions, prejudice, or injustice against a fellow human being, becomes a persecutor. This is why the Pharisees in the end with their council (Sanhedrin) and their deeds, managed to crucify Christ who was in reality their King and God.

Thus, in the persons of the Pharisees and every slanderer, there is a combination of malice, jealousy, bias and animosity which constitute those stages which lead to the blinding of the soul, and in turn the deviation from the path of true life. So we see the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, trying to slander Christ and to distort the truth about the two miracles which He performed in everyone’s presence. They were disturbed that Jesus was being exalted above all others, not only those who are (themselves), but all who had ever been (the Prophets and the nation’s forefathers). For Christ did what He did so easily and quickly. He cured diseases innumerable and otherwise incurable. The crowd exalted Him. But the Pharisees continued to disparage His works, contradicting themselves unashamedly.

The Pharisees started with malice, and in a sly way to assert that Christ could only cast out evil spirits with the Strength of demons. Thus the Pharisees called the leader of Enlightenment, the leader of Darkness. They called God, a devil.

Having heard this malicious slandering of Christ from the Pharisees, we gain courage and we console ourselves, as many of us who are slandered and mocked in Christ’s name, for trying to be Christian. Those who struggle for the message of the Gospel and for the upholding of truth can expect shame, mocking, derision and slander. However, this dishonour that we should expect in the name of suffering for our Lord Jesus Christ, constitutes a source of joy and greatness. These healings are a sign that Jesus is the Messiah. According to the prophecy of Isaiah, the messianic age is signified when “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped” (Is. 35:5; c.f Is. 29:18; 42:7).

Let the world judge us unfairly and falsely, since Jesus said: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matt 5:7). In willingness to suffer persecution, the Christian shows loyalty and unity with Jesus Christ. In this way one walks the road of the prophets, saints and martyrs. Amen.

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