Gospel Message & Recording
Achilles, a character in Greek mythology, was the hero of the Trojan War. He had a supernatural power to be invincible in battle, with the exception of his heel. The mythological story says that as an infant Achilles mother dipped him into the river Styx, holding him by the heel, which gave him his invincible power; but on an oversight, his mother forgot to dip his heel. Hence his heel became the “one” area of his body that was vulnerable to attack during war. Eventually, as the story goes, he died by a poisonous arrow that was shot at his heel.
In modern times the term “Achilles heel”, which originated from the above mythological story, eventually evolved into defining a person’s “one” area of weakness in life.
In the Gospel reading today, taken from St. Luke 18:18-27, Jesus Christ tells the rich man that he “lacks one thing,” that is, he should sell all his possession and follow God. The rich man “lacks this one thing” because the most important “thing” in his life is money and not God. It was his greatest weakness, which he could not get a handle on. In other words, it was his “Achilles heel!” It was his area of weakness. We could even say that was the area of his life that he gave more importance than God.
As Christians, we have our “Achilles heel,” the one area of our life that is extremely vulnerable, if not treated with discipline and caution. Ours’ might not be money; however, it could be anger, pride, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, and sexually sinful behavior, just to mention a few. This is, in fact, the “one thing that we lack,” because it either keeps us away from experiencing the fullness of God or eventually gets us in trouble. What is your Achilles heel?
First, I don’t think we need to look far to figure out our Achilles heel. We know it! Second, it is not necessary that we make it public, but rather, attempt to receive help so that in some way or the other we are not “lacking,” as Jesus said, the “one thing,” which keeps us away from God.
Here are a few tips to deal with your Achilles heel:
Stop lying to yourself: this means that a person must come to terms with his or her overwhelming desire to indulge in sinful behavior, as well as, recognizing that it is the “one thing” that is keeping him or her away from receiving the fullness of God’s blessing. DON’T MAKE EXCUSES!
Get help: having a spiritual father in the Orthodox Church is essential, although not necessary. One should find a Priest, who is spiritually qualified and able, to help them work through their Achilles heel.
Pray and fasting: this is necessary, without which, no one can overcome their Achilles heel and come closer to God. Evening pray, the Jesus pray, reading the Bible, are necessary in order for a person to cast out the “one thing” he or she lacks.
Don’t give up: whatever you do, don’t give up. It’s easier said than don’t but it must be done! The rich man had to make a slip-second decision but often for us it is a “work in progress” that will take years for us to get a handle on our Achilles heel. It is foolish to think that anything would happen in a matte of months or a year; hard work and time will bring healing to our Achilles heel.