“I won’t grumble about it, because a monk is the property of the Church. He has no personal life; he is alone. Wherever they put you, start working… Glory to God for all things!”
Recently, we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas. This is not the “Saint Nick” or “Santa Claus” who is so beloved, as well as so mocked and lampooned in our secular culture. This is the 4th century bishop who “dedicated his life to his people and saved the innocent from death.” Our Orthodox faith, so radical and counter-cultural when compared to most aspects of our dying secular culture, is just as radical when facing the reality of the life of St. Nicholas.
In this morning’s Gospel we hear this: And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Himself and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight and glorified God.
In the Gospel today, a lawyer poses the question to Christ: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Christ, knowing that the lawyer is trying to cunningly test Him, answers this question, with another question, and He asks the lawyer: “What does it say in the law? How do you read it?” And the lawyer responds: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” And Christ says: “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
The Scriptures, and especially the Gospels, are full of stories like those which we have just heard: stories of the miraculous power and the mercy and compassion of our God. As Christ said to the disciples of the Forerunner: “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” The first three Gospel books are dedicated almost entirely to telling of the healing miracles which the Saviour performed for the countless multitudes which came to Him.