On the public confession of faith

Two blind man

Тhere is a very moving passage from the Gospel about the healing of two blind men. (Matthew 9:27-35

We can never totally relate to them because God has spared us the misfortune of being blind. However, we can be sure of one thing: their joy was immense after their healing

The Gospel describes other, even greater instances of Christ’s healing, so much greater in fact, that this one could very well leave us with a feeling of indifference. However, there is something here that should cause us to stop and think. It says in the Gospel, “When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, ‘Son of David, have mercy on us.’ And when He had come into the house the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’” (Matthew 9:27-29

This is seemingly an ordinary parable, akin to many of its kind in the Gospel. However, if we stop and think about the public confession of faith by the two blind men, we delve deeper into its content

We, Christians, are asked to publicly and actively confess our faith. This is not always profitable, but it is something we must count on. It was certainly not profitable to confess one’s faith publicly in Jesus’ time. However, we hear the blind men crying, “Son of David, have mercy on us.” In doing so they confess that Christ is the Messiah. The Pharisees could easily have had them stoned for such expostulations. However, they ignored this danger, for their misfortune was great, and their faith strong

Christ did not heal them immediately. He went into the house and they followed Him. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asks. He does not put this question to them because He does not know or see their faith. He sees everything well enough, but He wants them to publicly confess their faith once more before witnesses. And they did exactly that, and were cured according to their faith

There we have a topic to ponder. This is exactly where most of us have faltered and failed. Look around and see for yourselves – the church is half empty. We all know that where we live there are far more faithful than what we see in our churches. This gives us comfort, but it also worries us. Where are they

We have put our faith and our liturgical life aside for the purpose of our private life and special events. In all other aspects of life, we conceal our faith, for it is something that takes away from our overall value, as though it is forbidden to declare publicly that one is a Christian

Because of our calling, we priests enter many people’s homes. We see people bless themselves with the sign of the Cross, we know they celebrate their Slava, yet we never see them in Church. It seems as though it is desirable to publicly denounce one’s faith, one’s belonging to the Church. Many people do so in a loud and flamboyant manner, demonstrating very uncultured behaviour at the same time.

We ought to be reminded of Christ’s words: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33) Obviously, what is wanted is a clear-cut attitude on our part. Our faith must be visible to all. As a community of the faithful, the Church is kept alive by clear and public confession of faith. What good would it be if we Christians were even more numerous than we are, if we did not demonstrate our faith. If this were the case, our church would be closed. Christ demands the Church to be a community of the faithful. “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I also with you.

The confession of faith is a condition of salvation, and we glean this from Christ’s own words. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) A faith that is no confessed is not sufficient. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)

Of course, this does not mean that we should go to the other extreme and confess our faith only with our mouths, although this happens a lot

We are aware that there are times, as there have always been, when it is undesirable or even dangerous to confess Christ. Sometimes we can be subject to mockery. But we must prevail. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12)

As I said, if we were to be like the two blind men, the desire to be healed would prevail over our embarrassment and other interests and we would shout out our faith for all to hear. But do we really need to be in trouble in order to start praying? Is it not better to witness our faith constantly and pray that we might not fall into some kind of terrible ordeal here on earth and that we might find peace in God’s embrace in heaven?