Corner Man


“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.” 

There is a new movie out called “Creed.” Its about the son of a famous boxer, Apollo Creed. Like his father, the son wants to box. Even though he has some skills, he has no chance until he gets Rocky Balboa into his corner. Rocky fought this fight and won. He knows what it takes to win even when you get knocked down and bloodied.

We know that life is a fight. The Orthodox understand this even more than some. After all, to be Orthodox is to struggle. We can make a valiant fight of it, but we often feel like we are losing. We need a corner man – someone that we trust, someone that will train and inspire us.

Jesus told a story of a man who was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves and robbers who beat him and left him for dead. Then the Good Samaritan came along and treated his wounds with wine and oil and put bandages on him and then took him to an inn to recover. In this story, Jesus shows  us that first it is about love – love of God and love of neighbor. Love is demonstrated by how we judge and by what we do.  We know that we should all be good Samaritans and help those in need.

St. Theophylact puts another angle on the story. He says that the Good Samaritan was the Lord himself. The Lord sees that I am losing the fight. I have been beaten by the robbers and thieves; that is, my passions and the demons. He becomes my corner man. He gives me the water of his Word to drink, he pours the oil of  his life, and the wine of his words on my wounds. He puts me the donkey which is his own body upon which he carried my sins.  He takes me to his Inn, the Church, where I can grow strong again. To those who manage His Inn, He promises to pay for everything that I require.

That is a real corner man! We should try to follow His example and be a corner man for someone else.

There was a hermit with two monks in obedience to him. He did his utmost to foster their spiritual development and to make them good. He was unsure, however, whether they were really making progress in the spiritual life. He looked for some sign from God about this, but he received no answer. One day there was going to be a vigil service in the church of another hermitage. It was several hours away and they would have to cross the desert. He sent off his two monks early in the morning so that they could help prepare the church and he planned to follow later in the afternoon. The monks had covered some considerable distance when suddenly they heard a groaning noise. A man was lying by the road badly injured and was crying out for assistance.

‘Take me with you, please,’ he implored. ‘Here in the desert on one else is going to pass by and who will help me? There are two of you. Lift me up and take me to the nearest village.’  ‘There’s no way we can do that,’ they replied. ‘We’re in a hurry to go to a vigil and we’ve got instructions to prepare everything.’ ‘Please take me with you! If you leave me, I’ll die. I’ll be eaten by the wild beasts,’ the man pleaded. They answered, ‘We can’t do it. We’re under obedience and must do what we’ve been told to do.’ And so they walked on.

In the afternoon the elder set out along the same road. He came upon the spot where the injured man was lying. He saw him and went up to him and asked, ‘What’s happened to you, good man of God? How long have you been lying here? Did no one see you?’ The injured man replied, ‘Two monks passed by in the morning and I asked them to help me, but they were in a hurry to go to a service.’ ‘Don’t worry. I’ll carry you along,’ said the elder. ‘You won’t be able to carry me,’ said the injured man. You are an old man and there is no way the you’ll be able to lift me up.’ ‘Not at all, you’ll see I’ll manage. I can’t leave you here. I’ll bend down and you will grab hold of me and I’ll carry you along until we get to the nearest village. A little today and a little tomorrow, but I will get you there,’ the elder responded.

With great difficulty he hoisted the man onto his back and set off. Walking in the sand with such a great weight was nearly impossible. Sweat was pouring off of him in rivers. He thought to himself, ‘It will take three days, but I will get there.’ As he continued on his way, however, he felt his burden getting lighter and lighter until he felt as if he was carrying nothing at all. He turned around to see what was happening and was astonished to see an angel on his back. The angel said to him, ‘God sent me to inform you that your two monks are not worthy of the Kingdom of God because they don’t have love.’

The fight is tough, the opponent is fierce, and our bruises are many.  Christ is our Corner Man!  No matter how tough the last round, no matter how much we are beaten and bruised,  he will get you ready for the next round and call you champ!

Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.:

So, are you in anyone’s corner?

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