Rise, take up your pallet and go home—Sunday of St Gregory Palamas

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

The Lord calls to me, “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.”  I have been carried to him by the four Evangelists and a hole made in the roof of my mind; this roof is made of earth and clay, for I have covered myself with worldly cares, my desire is for earthly things which need to be stripped away.  And I am lowered, which is to say I am humbled, and brought before the Lord.  The Evangelists look on, in love towards me and in love for their Master; and seeing their Faithfulness, together with that of all the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Confessors, the Ascetics, the Teachers and especially the blessed Theotokos, seeing their Faithfulness he has said to me, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”  By their faithfulness, I have been numbered as one of the sons of God, an heir of the Kingdom, and my sins have been forgiven.

“I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.”  For what I have received thus far is not enough, I must do something about it.  I have had my sins forgiven me but the Lord expects me to do something: to lift myself up and return to the world.  I cannot live my spiritual life as a freeloader expecting others to carry me to wherever I would want, I must do something.  And my bed—that on which I travelled, that which supported me and helped me—must now be carried by me.  The prayer, which was once so easy in my life, now must be carried by me, attending services in the hard times as well as the easy, remaining grateful when evil befalls us as well as when we receive blessings all become my work in the life of being a Christian.

But there is more.  For I am called to bear others to the Lord, to carry them based on my own work.  I must be one of the four carrying friends to the Lord for him to forgive their sins.  And when I do this I must be prepared that they chose not to rise up and that I must carry them home, and I must do this without judgment nor anger.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, you have, each one of you, been brought to the Lord and he has forgiven your sins and he is saying to each one of you, “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.”  What is your response?  Because it would seem easier to remain on the spiritual bed of our infirmity, to receive the forgiveness then do nothing, but if we are to be worthy of the name Christian we must be as Christ and serve him and serve others.  Let us, therefore, hear the words of the Lord and act upon them, let us bring the news of the Resurrection of Christ, the defeat of idolatry, the defeat of sin and the defeat of death, into our homes and into our world.

That we may be true children of God and heirs of the Promise, and offer true honour and praise to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, together with his unoriginate Father and the All-holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit.  Amen.

In the beginning, Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end.” But to what angel has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet?” Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation? Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him.
— Hebrews 1:10–14, 2:1–3

At that time, Jesus entered Capernaum and it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is a blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven, ‘ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”-he said to the paralytic-“I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!
— Mark 2:1–12