Matthew 9:27-35 2023/07/23 Osaka Church
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Two blind men were beseeching Jesus to have mercy on them. The Lord asked them, “What is it that you want me to do for you? Do you believe that I can open your eyes?”
When He heard their answer, “Yes, I believe,” He touched their eyes. Then He said, “Let it be as you believe.”
Their eyes were opened. This is the healing that today’s gospel conveys.
What was the first thing they saw when their eyes were opened?
…When their eyes finally became accustomed to the sudden brightness of the light, what they saw must have been the image of Jesus, the One who pulled them out of the darkness. He gave them new life. He promised to live with them. …What they found first was the reality of that joy that had been hidden from their eyes and hearts for a long time.
What did they find next?
Each other. They found each other dancing for joy, looking up to the Lord in a state of partial disbelief at the miracle. They must have held hands tightly and embraced each other.
Is this not the Church?
Our encounters with our Lord Jesus, who has gathered us here now, are varied. Some of us have heard about Jesus from those close to us since we were infant. They would have been brought to church directly by their parents or grandparents. They may not have wanted to. Maybe they just enjoyed playing with their friends after “liturgy”. Or perhaps some people’s mother-in-law took them to church as part of your duties as a daughter-in-law in an Orthodox family. It may not have been exciting.
However, did not these people also have a ”certain time” when they encountered Jesus in a deep place in their hearts and received Him into their lives? There must have been. It is not possible to continue attending church for so many years just out of habit or a sense of obligation.
Was there not a time when you began to look up to the Lord, who is always with you, who shares your joys and sorrows, and who gives you forgiveness when you have made an irreversible mistake, saying, “Don’t worry anymore, get up.” Some people may have only known about Jesus Christ as just knowledge in books. But there must have been a time when those people suddenly found Jesus Christ in a completely different form, as the One who led their lives into the unknown, into a new world, into an exciting joy, not as knowledge, but as a companion for life.
And when we realized this, we found “each other” in the fellowship of the Church, who, like ourselves, had been led out of the darkness of our hearts by Jesus and the Holy Spirit and began to live together with Jesus Christ. This is the “Church”.
Through Himself, the Son of God, who came into the world as a human being, united us once again to God. As one united to Himself, He rescued us from the darkness of loneliness. We are once again living in a communion in which we are here for each other and the other’s joy is our very own joy. We began to live a new way of life in which we are completely free from each other, but united through faith in Christ.
This is the Church. This is salvation through Christ. This is the “Kingdom of God.
There is one last thing I want you to notice. Even before the eyes of the two blind men, or even before our eyes were opened, Christ was already there for us. It is only when one’s eyes are opened that one knows it. As grace.
When did you notice that the icon of Christ, which had been placed in a corner of a room in your house for a long time, quietly kept looking at you….