Bishop Basil (Nesterenko)


Christ is Risen, dear brothers and sisters!

I congratulate you with the Holy Sunday and Holy Communion.

Today we have heard the Gospel (John IX:1-38) about the story how Jesus Christ healed a man born blind, a man, who was always blind. This great miracle was made by God. And His disciplines saw that and asked: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The fact is that Israelites believed that a man suffered and was ill because of his sins. That is why there were no more thoughts about the reasons of people’s sufferings.

But what did Jesus answer to them? He said: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him”.

And here comes the moment of misunderstanding. Why this man, who was born not very long time ago and did not make any sin, must suffer? But people say that the Lord loves us and does not make any evil things and in this story a man suffered in the name of God’s glory. Why? And not every man can answer this question. And at first sight it seems that it is unfair. But if to think about this Gospel we can understand that people do not glorify God a lot if they live in love and material wealth. Do they think that everything good they have is from God? And they do not glorify God. I think that a lot of us would like to know that many people live happily, understand and glorify God.

But if a man has a trouble in family or county (as it is in our Ukraine now) people appeal to God, because they know that they can’t find help elsewhere. In such cases it is clear that friends that seems to be friends can betray and relatives do not hurry up to help. And it is true that in such moments people appeal to God and they know that the only salvation for them is coming from God.

And that is why we see from this Gospel that the help from God can come to a man even in the hopeless situation. That man recovered by a miracle and that miracle was physically huge. But there was even bigger miracle because that man recovered spiritually.

We see how a man became one who saw spiritually. During this Gospel we see that at first that man called Jesus just “man”. But later after his healing he started to call Jesus “Messiah”. We see how he was recovering his sight spiritually during a short period of time. And later, when they met Jesus he called Him a Son of God.

He did not see the Light during all his life. It is difficult for us to realize how to be blind. But when he was sitting at the end of the road and did not hope for the God’s mercy, he saw the Light. The sunlight which he never saw in his life. But he saw even more the Light of God, which lighted up his soul. He received his sight spiritually and glorified God.

We can see the Pharisees; they were not blind, they learned the laws, lived in laws, but did not live in God’s love, God’s laws. That is why they blamed that poor man, who was blind. And we see that instead of thanking God and glorifying Him they blamed Jesus for the healing on Saturday and said that He came not from God. And the man, who received his sight said: “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” And he really received his sight, he got that light – the Light of happiness, the Light of love; and he stayed in it.

We also renew in this light like the man, who was born blind. Every person heals spiritually and enters this beautiful Light of God’s love and grace with time; someone does it faster, someone - slower.

We are in this Light now. Let’s keep it carefully, that the powers of evil could not take it out. The Lord sent Jesus Christ, that He brought this Light in our world. And He brought it to the people. We live in this world and let’s hurry to do good God's things.

Let the Lord save you.