July 24, 2022

Reflection on the Sixth Sunday of Matthew (St. Theophan the Recluse)

 Sixth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 9:1-8

By St. Theophan the Recluse

The Lord forgives the sins of the paralytic man. One should rejoice; but the evil mind of the learned scribes says: “This man blasphemes.” Even after the miracle of the healing of the paralytic man—a confirmation of the comforting truth that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins—the people glorified God; but nothing is said about the scribes, probably because they continued to weave their deceitful questions even after such a miracle. The mind without faith is a schemer; it constantly hammers out its evil suspicions and weaves blasphemy against the whole realm of faith. As for miracles—it either doesn’t believe in them, or it demands a tangible one. But when a miracle is given that would obligate one to submit to the faith, this mind is not ashamed to turn away from it, distorting or slandering the miraculous works of God. It treats irrefutable evidence of God’s truth in the same way. It is sufficiently and cogently presented with both experiential and intellectual proof, but it covers even this with doubt. Sort out all that it produces and you will see that in this there is only deceit, although its own language calls it cleverness, and you are unwillingly led to the conclusion that cleverness and deceit are one and the same. In the realm of faith the Apostle says, "We have the mind of Christ." Whose mind is outside of the realm of faith? The evil one’s. That is why deceit has become its distinguishing characteristic.