Archive for May, 2008

???? ?????????

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

http://www.pagez.ru/days/index.php?id=begin

“???, ?? ??????? ????; ?? ? ???? ?????????”
(???. 13, 15)

?????? ???????. ?, ??? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ?????? ???????, ??? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ?????, ??? ?? ?? ?????????????? ????, – ??? ??????, ???? ???? ? ???? ?? ????????. ?? ? ??? ?????? ?????????????, ????? ??????? ??????? ?? ????, ? ? ???, ????? ???? ??? ?? ??????. ??? ? ?????? ????? ??????????? ??????? ?? ? ????????? ?????, ?????????, ?????????, ? ? ???, ????? ??? ??? ?? ????? ???????? ??? ???????? ????? ? ?????? ??? ???? ??????????? ??????, ?? ???????? ????? ?????? ???????.
???? ???????? ? ????? ?????? ????????? ?????? ???????????? ?????? ? ??????? ???????, ????????? ?????????? ??????? ?? ???, ??? ????? ????? ??????? ? ??? ????????????, ???????????, ??????, ? ?? ????? ? ??????? ???? ? ??????. ???? ??????? ???????????? ???? ????? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ??????????, ? ?? ??? ????? ????? ???????.
???????? ?? ?? ??????????? ????? ??????? ? ???????????? ? ?? ????? ?????????????? ?? ????????, ????? ? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ????? ???????, ? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? “?????? ??????????”.
??? ?????? ???????? ? ????????????, ??? ?????? ???????? ?????? ??????????, ???????, ?????????? ???? ????? ?????? ? ??????? ?????. ????? ??????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????????? ?????, ????????? ????? ?????? ?????????, ????? ???????? ? ?????????? ?????????? ????? ? ???? ??? ???? ?????????? ??????? ????.

“??? ??????????, ?? ?? ?? ???????, ??? ????????, ? ?? ?????? ????????” (2 ???. 10, 6, 9).

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The wise men teach us

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

????????, ????????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?????. ???? ???? ? ??? ?????, ???????? ???, ? ?? ????? ??????????. ???? ????? ????????????? ??????? ??? ?????? ??????, ?? ?? ???? ??????? ??????? ????, ????? ?? ??????????? ?????????? ????? ??????? ???? ??? ??????? ????? ??????? ???? ??? ????, ???? ?????? ??????????, ?? ??? ?????????? ??, ??????? ?? ?????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ????????? ??????????? ? ???????????? ? ????? ?? ??????????? ? ????? ?????? ?????, ????? ??? ? ??????? ??? ????, ? ?? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ? ??????????? ?????? ? ???????. ?? ???????? ?????, ? ?? ???? ??????? ?????. ??, ?????? ??????, ?????????????, ? ?? ?? ??????????, ???? ?????? ?????? ? ??????? ? ????. ?? ???????? ?? ???-?????? ????? ????, ???? ???? ?? ????? ?????????? ?????? ???????????, ??? ?? ???????????? ??? ?????? ????? ???????????, ????? ????????? ??? ????????? ????? ???????? ???????? ?? ??? ? ?????? – ????? ???????????? ?????? ??????? ? ??? ??? ????????, ??? ???? ?? ????? ????????? ?? ?????, ?? ????? ?????? ? ????? ????? ??? ????, ????? ??????? ?????? ? ???????? ?????? ???? ?? ? ???? ?????, ??????? ????? ????????? ?? ??????, ?? ???? ?? ??? ???????????? ??????? ?? ???????? ?????, ? ?????? ???? ????????? ?????? ???????? ? ??? ???? ????????. ???????, ?? ????? ??? ??????, ????? ??????? ??? ???? ???????? ????; ? ??, ? ????? ???, ?? ?????????? ??, ??, ????????, ?????????? ??? ? ??????? ???????? ?? ???? (? ????????? ????? ? ???? ??, ? ??? ??????? ? ??????) ?, ???? ??????, ???????? ? ?????, ?????? ?? ???? ??? ????, ????? ?????? ?? ????? ??????.

http://www.ccel.org/contrib/ru/Zlatmat1/Mat1_07.html

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The wise men teach us

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

As I make my way through the sermons of St John Chrysostom, I am reminded of many things that I wish to share with my parish. This makes for very slow reading!

St John ALWAYS emphasizes the MORAL aspects of the scripture. Everything in the scripture is about morality, that is, following God’s law, because it is the way of life. Every story, every character, good or bad, every event, every dogma expressed must remind of of how to live the moral way of life.

I have many times told you that we must read the scriptures in such a way that they apply to us personally. We must assume that each word is meant for us, and attempt to glean the most benefit possible from it. To do this takes a little creativity at times.

Below is an example from St John’s sermons. He had just finished a wonderful exposition of the visit of the wise men to the Christ child, and as is his wont, immediately applies this to the morality or lack thereof of his audience.

He deftly teaches us to use the story of the wise men as a sort of mnemonic device, a spur for our memory, when we are tempted to be lazy and indifferent. Read and learn how a holy man uses the scripture to teach himself to be holy. It is invigorating to read St John’s holy admonitions! He is so fervent, and creative, and frightening. Sometimes it seems as if he can see into our very souls.

And let us cast everything out of our hands when we are to worship; though it be gold that we have, let us offer it unto him and not bury it. For if those barbarians [the wise men, (priest seraphim)] then offered it for honor, what will become of thee, not giving even to Him that hath need?
If those men journeyed so far to see Him newly born, what sort of excuse wilt thou have, not going out of thy way one alley’s length, that thou mayest visit Him sick or in bonds?
And yet when they are sick or in bonds, even our enemies have our pity; thine is denied even to thy Benefactor and Lord.
And they offered gold, thou hardly givest bread.
They saw the star and were glad, thou, seeing Christ Himself a stranger and naked, art not moved.
For which of you, for Christ’s sake, hath made so long a pilgrimage, you that have received countless benefits, as these barbarians, or rather, these wiser than the wisest philosophers?

And why say I, so long a journey? Nay, many of our women are so delicate, that they go not over so much as one crossing of the streets to behold Him on the spiritual manger, Or, “Spiritual Table.” [He is talking about coming to the services here (priest seraphim)] unless they can have mules to draw them. And others being able to walk, yet prefer to their attendance here, some a crowd of worldly business, some the theatres.

Whereas the barbarians accomplished so great a journey for His sake, before seeing Him; thou not even after thou hast seen Him dost emulate them, but forsakest Him after seeing Him, and runnest to see the stage player. … And seeing Christ lying in the manger, thou leavest Him, that thou mayest see women on the stage.

NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew. Homily VII. Matt. II. 4, 5: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.VII.html




(I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IS SOMEONE SENT THE LINK TO THIS SERMON IN RUSSIAN TEXT. I ASSUME IT IS ONLINE SOMEWHERE. As I have said before, I must at this time write in English, and most of what I write will be untranslated, but I wish that everything on this blog is accessible to as many people as possible)

….

St John continues to rail against the immorality of his time. I have only included a portion of his admonition (and he was only just getting warmed up!) I cannot see any difference in the events he later describes and watching half naked dancers try to win some stupid prize on TV, or indulging in the trash that passes for entertainment these days.

It would be good for you to read it. Here is the link: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.VII.html. The text I have cited is near the end of the sermon. He who has ears to hear and eyes which see things that should not be seen, let him hear.

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???????? ? ?????? ???-????????? – ????????? ??????? (???????????)

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

????????? ????????? ???????[1] ? ??????? ?????? ???, ????????????? ???????????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ??????????????, ?????? ??????????????? ??? ?????????, ???????????????? ??? ??? ??????????. ?????????? ??????????? ? ????? ?????. ????? ????? ?????? ??????????, ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ??????????? ????, ??????????? ?? ?????? ?? ???????, ?? ? ?? ???? ??????? ???; ????? ?????? ???????? ????????? ???? ???????? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? ????????? ?? ???????????? ????????; ????? ???? ????????? ?????, ??? ??????? ??? ?????????, ?????????? ???????? ??? ???????, ????? ??????, ?????? ?????? ?????????, ????????? ?????????? ???? ????????? ????? ?? ???????? ????????????? ?? ??????????, ???????? ???? ??????????, ?????, ???????? ???????? ??? ???????????, ?????????, ??????????, ?????? ??????????? ? ??????????? ???, ???????? ? ????????? ? ????????? ??????, ?????? ???? ?????????? ???????? ??????, ???????? ????, ????????? ???? ? ????????????? ? ????????.

????????? ???? ?????? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?????????????, ?????????????. ????? ??? ? ????. ???? ??????????, ???? ????? ??????????, ???????????? ????????????, ???? ????? ??????????, ?????????? ??????? ? ????????????, ??????? ? ?????? ???? ????????????, ??????? ??????????, ??????? ? ???, ????????????? ???? ????????? ????? ? ????. ???, ? ????????? ? ??????, ??? ????? ????, ? ????? ?????, ?????????? ? ??????? ???????? ?????, ??? ???????? ????????? ???????? ? ??????, ???????? ????, ??????? ????????? ? ???? ? ???? ???? ?????????, ????? ??? ???? ?????????? ????????, ??? ?????????? ? ?????????? ??????????? ?????????. ? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ???? ??????????, ???????, ??????????? ????? ? ???????, ?????????? ??????? ??????????? ????. ???????? ??????? ?????? ? ?????? ????? – ??????? ??????? ? ????????? ????????? ????????? ? ?????? – ????? ?????? ??? ?????????? ? ??????? ????????????????????? ???? ????????. ????????? ?????? ?? ?????????? ??????. ?? ????????? ???, ?? ?????????? ?????????? ?????? ?? ?????, ????????? ?????? ? ?????, ????????????? ????. ?????????? ??????? ??????????????????? ? ??????????????? ? ??????? ???. ???? ????? ??????????, ? ??????????? ? ????????? ???????? ?????????? ?????????, ?????????????? ????????? ?????????? ????????????????[2]: ??? ????????? ????????? ?????? ???????? ????????????, ????????? ?????????? ??? ?????????????????? ?????, ???????? ????????? ? ??? ?????? ? ????? ???????????? ??. ?????? ????? ??????????, ????????????? ???? ????????????? ???????????, ? ??????????? ??????????? ? ???????????? ???? ????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????, ???????? ? ??????????? ???? ????????? ????????????? ???????????? ????? ??????? ??????. ?????? ?????????? ?????????????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ??????.

?????? ???? ?? ???????? ? ???????????? ?????????????? ??????. ????????????? ??? ?????????? ? ?????, ??? ?? ????? ?????????????? ? ??????? – ? ???? ????? – ???????? ??? ?????, ??????? ????????? ? ????????? ????? ? ??????? ???????? ?????? ???? ???????. ???? ???????? ???? ?????? ???? ??????? ? ??????? ????????? ???? ?? ??? ????. ????????????? ? ?????????? ? ?????, ??? ?????????? ?????? ???????????? ?????????? ???????????? ???????? ? ??????? ???????????? ??? ?? ???????, ?????????? ???? ?????????, ??????????. ? ???? ????, ???? ???????? ??????, ????????????? ???? ??????????? ?? ?????. ?? ???? ??? ?????????, ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ???????? ??????? ??????. ??? ????????? ??, ? ???? ?????? ???????? ????? ?????: ??? ??????? ??? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? (??. 16: 2)? ?????? ??? ????? ????. ???????? ?? ?????, ???, ? ????????? ??????, ??????? ?????? ??????????. ??????? ??? ???????????, ??????? ?????: ??, ?? ??????????? ???????, ??????? ? ???? ?? ?????, ??????????? ???????????? ?????, ??????? ?????? ???????, ?????? ? ???????? ?????? ? ????????? ??????? ??????. ?? ??? ?? ?????, ?????? ?????????? ???. ????? ??? ??????, ?? ????????? ?? ? ??????????? ???????, ??????? ??????? ? ??? ?????????. ?? ??????? ???? ? ????????????, ?? ????????? ??????? ??????? ?????????? ????, ??????? ???????? ???????? ??????, ?? ??????? ????? ????????? ????????? ??????????, ?????? ????, ?????? ?? ?????????, ???????? ?????? ? ?????? ???????? ? ??????????? ??????, ?????????? ??????? ? ???????? ?????????????? ???????????, ??? ??????????? ???????? ? ??? ?? ??? ??????. ? ??????????????? ???? ??? ???????????: ??? ???????? ????? ???? ???, ? ??? ?? ????????? ???????????? ????????? ????? ??????, ? ????????? ?????? ? ???????? ?????????, ??????? ? ??????? ??????????????? ?????????? ? ????.

??? ??????? ??? ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ???????????? ????????. ??? ??? ????????????, ??? ?????? ? ??????? ? ??????? ?? ???????? ?????? ?? ????????? ???????? ? ???.

???? ? ???? ??????. ???? ?????? ??????; ?????????? ??? ??????. ? ???? ?????? ??????? ??????????? ???????? ????????, ???? ??????? ? ??? ? ??????????? ?? ???. ????? ?????? ?????????? ? ???? ????. ?? ???????? ? ?????? ??????????? ? ????????????, ??????? ?????? ??????? ????????, ???????? ????????? ?? ???????? ????? ?????? ????, ?????? ???????????? ????? ??????. ???????, ????????? ?????????, ?????????? ????????? ? ???, ?? ??? ?? ???????????? ? ???????????? ????? ??????????. ??????????????? ???? ????? ???????????? ? ?????? ? ?????? ????. ?? ????? ??? ????????????? ?????? ????? ????. ????? ????? ??????????? ?? ????? ??????, ????????? ??????? ?????????, ????????? ??????, ???????????? ?????? ? ?????, ????, ????? ???????, ?????????????? ?????? ?????????? ??????????? ? ?????. ????? ????? ???? ????????? ?? ??????????? ???????????! ??? ???????? ? ?????????? ??? ???????????, ???? ???????????? ???????????, ????????????????? ???, ???????? ??? ???????????.

?????? ? ??? ????? ????, ??????? ???????? ? ?????????????????? ??? ?????? ?????? ? ??????? ?????? ???? ???????? ???????????[3]. ??? ??? ?? ????? ? ??? ?? ? ?? ???????, ?????? ??????. ?? ??????????? ?????, ?????????? ???? ??????????? ???????? ????????, ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ????????????? ?? ????????? ? ???????? ????????? ??? ?????? ???????? ????? ?? ????????? ? ????????? ????????????. ?????????, ??? ?? ?????????????? ???????? ??????? ????????? ??? ????, ?????? ??? ??????????? ????, ????? ???????, ?? ?????? ???? ????, ???????? ??????? ????????????; ??? ???????? ????????, ?????? ??? ??????????, ??? ?? ????????????, ??????????? ? ???????????? ?? ??????? ????????? ???????????, ?? ??????? ????????, ????? ?????????????, ?? ???????????? ??????? ????????? ??????????. ?? ?? ????? ??????????? ? ? ????? ????????????. ?????????????? ????????? ????? ????? ??????????? ???????????, ????? ?????????? ???????????? ??????????, ??? ???????? ? ????, ? ????????, ??? ?????????? ??? ??? ???????? ????? ????????????? ????????? ? ?????? ????????? ???????? ? ?????? ???? ?????????? ? ???????? ?????????, ?????????? ??? ?? ????????? ? ???. ?????????, ??? ????????? ???????????? ??? ????, ?????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ??? ????????????: ??? ???? ??? ?????????? ? ?????? ?????????????, ??????????, ????????, ??????????.

??????, ??? ??????? ?????????????? ? ???????????? ??????????? ????????? ???? ?????, ???????? ? ??? ????? ??????????, ???????? ?????????? ???????? ???, ???????? ??????? ? ???????? ???, ?????????, ??? ?? – ?????????? ? ????????????? ????????? ????. ????? ?? ??????? ???????? ??????? ????? ?????, ????? ???????? ?? ??? ?????! ??? ???, ???????? ????, ?????????????? ??? ????????????, ?? ????????????? ????????, ????????! ??? ?????? ?? ???????????? ?????? ?? ????? ??????! ?????? ???? ??????, ??? ?? ?? ??????????? ????? ?????.

????? ?? ??????? ?? ???????, ????? ??????? ???????, ??????????! ??? ?????? ???????? ???? ?????????????, ??????????? ??????????? ???????! ??? ??????? ??????, ??? ?? ????? ????: ?? ?????? ? ????????????? ???? ??????? ?????; ??? ??? ??? ???????? ??????. ?????? ?????? ???? ????????? ????? ?? ????????? ?? ????? ???, ??????? ?????? ???????? ? ?? ?????????? ???????? ????? ?????? ?? ????????? ??? ????? ? ????, ??? ????????? ??? ?????? ?????????? ?????? ???? ??????, ??? ?? ??????????? ???? ????? ? ????????, ??????? ?? ?????? ? ?? ????? ?????? ? ????????, ???????? ??????????? ???????????? ??, ??????? ?????? ???????? ? ?????? ??????? ??????????????. ??? ?????? ???????? ???????????? ??? ?????? ????? ???????????. ?? ??????? ???????? ? ???????? ?????? ?????????, ??? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ???????? ????, ??????? ??????????? ???? ? ???? ? ?????? ??????, ????????? ?? ???????? ?? ????????? ??? ???? ????, ????? ??? ??? ?? ?????????? ?????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ????? ????.

?????? ?????????? ?? ???, ??? ?? ?????????, ?????????????, ???????????, ????????? ???????, ?????? ???????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ???????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ???? ? ????????? ???????????, ?? ??????? ??????? ? ???, ????????? ???? ??????? ??????? ???????? ??????, ? ??????????? ??????? ?? ????? ????????? ?? ?????????????? ?????????? ?????, ?? ???? ? ???? ??????, ??? ?? ??????? ?????????? ? ?????, ?? ????? ????????, ?? ?????, ??? ???????? ???? ? ???????? ? ??? ???????? ???? ? ????????; ??????, ??? ?? ???????? ?????????? ?? ???? ???????????, ???????? ? ????????, ?????????? ? ???????? ? ???????? ???????????? ???????????. ?????????? ??????????? ? ???? ?????????? ???? ????? ? ??????????? ???? ??????? ???????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ????????????. ??? ?????????? ? ??????????? ?????? ?? ??????? ????; ??? ?????????? ? ??????????? ?? ???????????? ????? ?????? ?????? ? ????, ?? ?????????? ???????? ???? ? ?? ?????????? ???????? ????. ????? ?????????? ??????? ? ???? ? ?????????? ?? ?????????, ????? ??? ? ?????????? ????????? ? ????? ?????? ????. ?????? ??? ??????? ? ??????? ????????????? ???? ? ??????? ??????, ? ???????? ????? ???????????? ???????????, ????????????? ?? ???? ?????? ???????, ? ?????????? ??????????????? ??????? ? ???????????? ????? ???????????.

??? ??????? ??? ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??????, ??????????? ????????????, ??????, ??????????. ??????? ??? ????????????, ??? ??????, ??? ?????????? ?? ????, ??????? ??????????? ?? ???????, ??????? ???????? ???? ? ?????. ???? ??????? ?? ??????????????, ?? ???? ??????? ?????? ? ???????? ?????, ????? ??????????. ??? ?????? ? ???????? ? ????????? ? ??????????? ? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ??????? ??????? ??????, ? ????????? ? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????? ?????, ? ?????????? ???????????? ? ???, ?????? ???????, ?????? ?????????, ???????????? ????, – ????????? ???????????, ??????????? ?????????? ???? ????????????? ? ????? ????: ?????????? ??????. ??????, ?????????? ???????????????? ????????? ??????, ??? ?? ??????????? ?????, ?? ???????????? ???????? ???????? ?????. ?????? ???????? ?? ?????????? ? ??????, ? ???? ??????, ? ????????? ?????????? ?????, ? ????? ???, ? ??????????? ???; ?????? ????????? ?? ??????? ? ?????? ????? ????????????: ??? ????????? ??? ?????????? ? ???, ??? ?? ? ??, ? ???, ? ??? ?????, ? ??????????, ? ????????? ??????? ? ???????? ?? ????? ? ?????? ???????? ?????????. ??? ???? ???????? ????, ???? ????????; ??? ????, ????????? ? ???????? ????????? ???????. ??? ??????? ??? ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???? – ????? ????.

?? ??????????? ?????? ?????, ??? ??????????? ?????????? ????? ?? ??????? ???????? ??????????, ??????????, ??????????? ???????? ?????? ??????????, ????? ??????????, ?????????????, ???????????? ?????. ????? ?????? ?????????? ????? ??????????; ?? ?????? ???????????? ???????? ???????? ?? ???????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????????????: ???????????? ?????????? ????????? ???????????? ?????????. ????? ?????, ?? ????????? ????, ???????? ? ?????? ? ???????????? ? ??????????? ????, ?????????? ?????? ??????????? ?? ??????, ????????? ?????? ????????, ????????? ???? ???????????, ??????? ?????? ??????? ???????????? ??????????? ????????[4]. ???????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ? ????????? ? ???? ? ? ????????. ??? ????? ????????? ???????? ???? ???????? ????????? ??????? ? ??????????? ? ?????? ????, ? ?????? ???????????? ?????????, ????????? ???????, ????????? ?????? ??????. ? ??????????????, ??????????? ? ??? ?????????? ?????????? ??????? ???????? ????? ? ???????????? ??????? ????????????, ??????? ???????, ??? ??? ????????? ??????? (????. 2:37).

?? ????????? ???? ??????? ? ??????????? ???? ?????????. ????????? ????? ??? ?????????? ????????????. ?? ?????? ???? ?????????????? ???????? ????, ?????? ????????, ??? ?????? ????? ??????, ? ??????????? ?????, ?????????????? ??????, ??????? ???????? ?????? ?????????? ? ???????????? ???????, ??????????? ???? ? ????????????, ????? ? ???????? ?????? ???? ????????? ????? ? ???????. ??? ?? ???????? ????????: ???????? ???????????? ?? ???????? ?????? ??????????? ?????? ??????, ?????????, ?? ??????? ?? ???? ???????????? ??????, ? ??????????? ???????????? ? ??????????? ? ??? ????????????.

?? ????? ????, ??? ???? ??????, ?????????? ????? ?????, ?????????? ???? ??? ? ???????????? ????? ? ???????? ??? – ??? ??? ??? ??????????. ???????? ??, ??? ????, ?? ????? ???????. ????????????? ????? ???? – ?????? ????????????. ? ?????? ????? ????????? ?? ???? ????? ?????; ?? ??? ???? ????? ???? – ?????? ????????????. ???????? ????? ?????????? ????????? ? ????????? ????: ?????? ???????????? ??????. ?? ???????? ????? ????????? ? ???? ????? ?????????? ? ???? ? ?? ????? ?????????????! ?? ???????? ????? ??????????? ??? ?????? ?????????????, ???????? ??? ???? ???????????? ??????????????.

?????????? ? ???????? ???? ? ???? ????????????? ?????? ? ??????????? ? ???? ???????? ? ???????????? ??????????? ????????????? ??????? ??????? ????, ??????????????? ?????????? ?? ???? ????????????, ?????????? ?????????????, ???????, ? ???? ?????, ?????????? ???????? ??????????? ????????, ??????? ?? ?????? ?????, ????????????, ?? ???????? ? ????????? ??????, ????????????? ??????????? ??? ?????? ?????. ??? ?? ????????? ??? ????????? ??????????? ?????, ??????? ? ??????? ? ??????? ??????, ????????????? ??, ??????? ? ???? ????? ????? ? ????? ? ????????????, ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?????????. ?? ????? ???????? ?????????? ?????? ???? ?? ????, ???? ?? ?????????? ?????????? ??????, ?? ????????? ??? ????????, ???? ?? ?? ????????? ???????????? ? ?????????? ? ??????? ?????????????? ????? ? ?????????, ???? ?? ???? ?????????, ??? ??????????? ???????, ? ??????? ??????, ????? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ??????????. ?????????? ?????????? ??????? ??????????? ?? ??? ????? ? ?? ??? ??????, ??? ?? ???????????? ???? ?????????. ?? ??? ??????? ?????????? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ????????; ?? ??? ??????? ??? ?????? ??????? ???? ? ????????? ?? ??????? ?? ????????. ????? ????? ??? ??????????? ??????????? ?????????; ????? ?????, ???? ????????????? ????????????? ??????? ????; ????? ????? ??? ???????? ???? ?? ???????; ????? ?????, ???? ???????? ? ???? ????????????, ?????????? ????????????? ??????????, ???????? ???????? ??? ??????????.

?????????? ? ????????, ?????????????? ? ????, ???????, ? ???? – ?????? – ????? ???????????? ? ???? ?????. ?????????, ???????, ????? ??, ???? ??? (??. 3: 8); ? ???? ???????????? ? ?????? ???????????? ??????????? ????? ??????????? ??? ????????. ?????.


[1] ??. 69 ???. (??. 15: 43 ? 16: 8)
[2] ??. ????. 3:17-18
[3] ????????. ????? 18-?
[4] ????????. ????? 1-?, ??. 6.
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/put/080511093001

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3rd Sun of Pascha – The Holy Myrhhbearers

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 

Christ is risen!
 

Today is the third Sunday after Pascha, and it is the Sunday of the myrrh-bearing women. And it is quite an interesting reading which we have because these women and these men, Joseph of Arimathaea, who is mentioned today, and also Nicodemus [1] , who is not mentioned in this gospel (but is mentioned in St. John's gospel), who acted with great love, but also in great ignorance. They were trying to do something that they were not going to be able to accomplish. These women wanted to anoint the Lord with myrrh, and Joseph and Nicodemus had prepared the Lord's body so carefully, wrapping it in clean, fine linen. Myrrh and aloes had been applied, according to the custom of the Jews. They carefully placed our Lord's body in a tomb that had been hewn out of a rock, which was Joseph's [2] . All this they did in ignorance. They acted without full knowledge, but with great desire and with great love.
 

There is a lesson for us. Pascha is God making man able to know God. This is really what Pascha is. It is not an event only; it is a fundamental change in human nature. The God-man becoming incarnate made us able to live. He accomplished our salvation by His death and His resurrection, and basically all of the period from Pascha to Pentecost we think about how He enlightens us and the practical ramifications of what Pascha means for the soul. In essence, it means enlightenment. It means to know God. But to know God you have to be able to live like God, and you must live in virtue before you have full enlightenment.
 

These women and these two men, Joseph and Nicodemus, acted with great love for our Savior, but in ignorance. The women came to anoint a body, and there was no body to anoint, Joseph and Nicodemus prepared so carefully a dead man, who was already alive, and in Hades, and in only a few hours would show Himself as resurrected. So they acted in ignorance. And there is a lesson for us because we don't know the whole story. We don't know very much, in fact, and we are ignorant of many things. We are ignorant even of what God wants to give to us. Part of that is our own fault because too few of us read the Scriptures very carefully or because we are wrapped up in worldly things and don't really think of holy things very much. If you don't think of holy things, you're not going to master them, you know. I wish some people knew about the Bible as well as they knew about a 56 Chevy manual. Some people understand about things like that better than they understand the Gospel. We poor Christians are too willfully ignorant, because of our worldly choices and misdirected priorities.
 

Much of our ignorance is really because we are not able to assimilate all that God has give to us. But that should not stop us. These women came to the tomb early in the morning. The early hour is mentioned because to get up early is a difficult thing. It shows that the first thing on their mind was Christ. As soon as they could go and anoint the body, according to the Jewish law, they did, and they brought myrrh and ointments. These myrrh and ointments signify bringing to Christ our good works, bringing to Christ our desire to live as He has shown us to live. They didn't come to Him empty-handed, as we unfortunately so often do. They came to Him bearing what they could, giving what they could . Even though it was the wrong gift, God received it because it was out of love that they bore this gift.
 

Myrrh also has an interesting property. It is a desiccant, and will dry out things and preserve them, and it's very sweet smelling. So let us dry out that which is wet in us, the passions. Let us dry it out with the heat of the Holy Spirit, and let us make ourselves sweet as myrrh smells sweet, and the ointment smells sweet.
 

Now the women went to a tomb that was hewn out of a rock. St Luke had said that never had a man been laid in it. It was a new tomb, unused, undefiled, and to hew a tomb out of a rock takes great work. It is very, very difficult, especially in that age with that technology. This tomb is the place where we would put Christ. The rock removed represents work we must do to our soul. We must hew out a place for Christ. This involves effort; this involves desire, toil. I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times again if God gives me breath. I believe the greatest heresy ever in the history of man is that salvation can be garnered without labor. This idea that only faith is needed, and not works. This is the greatest of the heresies. We must not subscribe to it. We must hew the tomb out of the rock. We must make a place for Christ to be, for Him to abide.
 

Now the women, when they were walking to the tomb, they were talking amongst themselves, saying, "Who's going to roll away the stone?" They were afraid, you know, for to do such a thing was to mark them for death. And also they were frail women. How were they going to roll away a great stone that takes a great many men to roll in front of the tomb? Well, if we will go to the tomb with our ointments, our stone will be rolled away, too. And what is that stone? That stone is what covers up the heart and makes us unable to see, or even sometimes to feel God, to become like Him. We have a stone in front of our hearts many times. God will roll it away. The angel is all-powerful, and he moved the stone with no effort at all. The women were not able to do it, and neither are we, although we are required to make some effort to do so.
 

I'm struck again and again when I read this passage: the women were walking to the tomb, and they had no way to roll away the stone, and they had no clue how it was going to happen, and they went despite all this! This stone is the things that assail us, our sins and our passions, which each one of us can mention, only in our heart of hearts, I'm sure. Some things we can't even mention aloud when we are the only one in the room. There are sins and passions that assail us. We cannot gain ascendancy over them. These sins, these difficulties, this jealousy, this anger, this lust, this laziness, this feeling of despondency, this feeling of worthlessness, these wicked habits that seem to take us over, despite our best intentions. I could name a dozen or two dozen other sins. These things are a large stone, in front of our tomb, the place where we want to put Christ.
 

God will roll it away, but we must go to this tomb. We must not say, "I don't know how it's going to be taken care of, and therefore, I'm not going to go." The women didn't do that. What they did, I want to impress upon you, brothers and sisters, was completely unrealistic. There was no reason for them to think that the tomb would be open, but they went. They didn't even think about it. They were outside of themselves. Love does that. Love for Christ makes us struggle even though there is a stone over our hearts, and we don't know how this stone will be moved. But we go anyway. We fast anyway, we come to the church anyway, we confess anyway. We say our prayers and force ourselves to pray in the morning and in the evening. We force ourselves to do things that are righteous, and the things that we are not able to change, that is, that big stone, God will move. This is only if we go to the tomb, only if we struggle.
 

These women didn't understand that they were going to anoint the God-man Who was risen from the dead. Their knowledge wasn't perfect, but their love was perfect, and because of their love, God enlightened them. It took quite some effort. They didn't even understand the first time when the angel spoke to them, and they trembled and were afraid and they forgot the command and they didn't tell the apostles the first time [3]. But they went back another time, and then they saw the risen Lord! And the apostles were the same way. They couldn't believe it the first time. The only one who believed with the first evidence was John [4] . Everyone else couldn't believe. It was too terrible, too wonderful for them, too outside of their understanding. God enlightened them, stepwise, a little bit at a time. This is what He does with us, but only if we make a great effort in our lives.
 

Christianity is very simple. The light of Christ illumines all men. We walk in this light, while there is the light, as the Savior says [5], and as we walk in this light, God gives us more light, more to see, more to spur us on. And we increase in knowledge and in virtue. It is impossible for a man to increase in knowledge without increasing in virtue or vice-versa, because the two are linked. The two are two sides of the same coin. To know Christ is to become like Him.
 

Now you and I, we are poor ones. We know very little. We don't know how to pray the prayer of the heart. We don't know how to cease jealousy when someone gains some position that we wanted. We don't know how to return goodness for evil. When someone rails against us, in our heart we tremble with ill feeling. These are the stones that we cannot turn away. We need help for these stones. And as a pastor, my prayer for you, my plea to God, is that all of you would believe in the resurrection and believe that these things that are assailing you will be removed. I pray that you will not fall into despondency, and look at the size of the stone and not believe that it cannot be changed, because then you will fall into disbelief and basically atheism and you won't be believers in the resurrection, nor in He Who was resurrected. And if you do not believe in the resurrection, that stone will stay there, in front of the tomb, and you will remain unenlightened, and basically, unchanged.
 

See how marvelous the scriptures are? In a few short words they sum up the whole of the Christian life. We struggle to follow Christ in the light that He has given. Some of us may have a little more light than others at this point in our life. We struggle, enabled by the light we've been given, and more light comes. And the things that we believed impossible, they are possible. All things are possible with God, but I tell you, it is not possible to be saved unless you struggle. God will only save those who have desire. He'll save many who had desire and didn't do a very good job of it. He'll save many who sinned grievously but desired to change [6] . But He will not save those who did not struggle to change, and who had the audacity to gaze into the empty tomb, and to still believe that the stone in front in their tomb could not be moved. We must believe the stone can be, indeed, WILL BE moved.
 

We must live this, and the key is in living virtuously. There's no replacement for it, because if we live virtuously, not only will God enlighten us more, we will also gain confidence. You know, some of you are still children, but those of us who were children, remember when you did something bad, and your mother or father or aunt or uncle didn't know about it when they came into the room? You know your feeling, that feeling of great guilt. But when you were doing something right — I assume when we were kids we did something right! — when you were doing things right you felt good when they came into the room. You felt at peace. Our virtues, small though they may be, will gain us confidence that God will change those things that we cannot change yet.
 

Believe this, brothers and sisters. Take your myrrh and your aloes and your ointment, no matter how small the flask is, take it to the tomb. Believe that the stone will be rolled away. Just continue to go to the tomb. That is our entire life, that trek to the tomb. And if you believe it, God will remove the stone, but only if you live according to the light. May God help you to live in the light of the resurrection, to live with virtue, and to believe, to believe the stone will be removed. Christ will have a place to abide in you, and you will be full of joy. May God help you in this. Christ is risen!
 

The Gospel
 

Mark 15:43-47
 

Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. {44} And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. {45} And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. {46} And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. {47} And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. {16:1} And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. {2} And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. {3} And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? {4} And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. {5} And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. {6} And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. {7} But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. {8} And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."
 

[1] (John 19:38-39) "And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. {39} And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight."
 

[2] (Luke 23:50-54) "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: {51} (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. {52} This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. {53} And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. {54} And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on."
 

[3] Some of the Fathers say in regards to this passage: "And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid." (Mark 16:8), that the women's silence refers to the enemies of Christ, and strangers, and they did immediately go to the apostles with the news they had been commissioned to tell.
 

[4] (John 20:3-8) "Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. {4} So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. {5} And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. {6} Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, {7} And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. {8} Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed."
 

[5] (John 12:35-36) "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. {36} While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light…"
 

[6] The examples in the scriptures of this important truth are numerous. Cf. (as but one example) (Mat 21:28-31) "But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. {29} He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. {30} And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. {31} Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."

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What then may be done?

Friday, May 9th, 2008
I hear many say, “While we are here, and enjoying the privilege of hearing, we are awed, but when we are gone out, we become altered men again, and the flame of zeal is quenched.” What then may be done, that this may not come to pass?
Let us observe whence it arises. Whence then doth so great a change in us arise? From the unbecoming employment of our time, and from the company of evil men.


For we ought not as soon as we retire from the Communion to plunge into business unsuited to the Communion, but as soon as ever we get home, to take our Bible into our hands, and call our wife and children to join us in putting together what we have heard, and then, not before, engage in the business of life.

NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily V., Matt. I. 22, 23 – http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.V_1.html


As I read things from St John’s homilies on St Matthew, I intend to share certain “golden nuggets” with you. This is actually quite difficult, because I am often sore tempted to send you most of the homily I am reading! That would defeat my purpose, which is to make the readings of the Holy Fathers more accessible to my flock, and to encourage you to read the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Fathers.

St John wrote a very long time ago, before Ipods and television and the Internet, but not evidently, before human nature was very resistant to holding on to holy zeal. We may kid ourselves and tell ourselves that we have more distractions and that living a holy life is more difficult now, but even a cursory reading of St John’s golden words belies that fiction.

Who among us can honestly say that St Johns words, above, do not apply to themselves? How many times are we inspired by a phrase from the Holy Scriptures, or a part of one of our hymns, or even by the preaching of the pastor, and then this zeal and clarity, like a tiny candle flame, is snuffed out as we exit the doors! Most of the time, we cannot remember what it was the inspired us!

St John is giving us the solution to our dilemma. It is not a solution that will work today, or tomorrow, but over time, our poor memories will recall holy things easily, and we will be changed. I hope that any of you who have heard more than three of my sermons knows that this is a constant theme for me.

Here is how we “get there from here”. St John lays is out for us so it is plain to see (which, to be honest, is not always the case for him; many times I must reread a passage many times to get the gist of what he is trying to teach us).

He offers two solutions to our vexing spiritual dilemmas.

1. Watch our behavior, and the company we keep. In the words of his great mentor, St Paul, “… Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

2. Do not rush back into the world after assembling in worship.

We, the people of God, should EXPECT something when we assemble together. We should expect to receive the grace of God, and then hold it close to our breast. After the assembly, our worship should not end. Why should we rush back into the world? Let us take St John’s advice, and take time with our loved ones in contemplation of the holy texts we have just heard read and expounded upon.

I want to be obedient to St John’s admonition, and as a pastor, would like to benefit all of you, and not just my extended family. Shall we begin again to have spiritual talks after the liturgy? I am not sure what form these will take, and to be perfectly honest, it is hard for me to present something every Sunday as I once did in the past, because the environment is often a distracting one, and it does not appear that many are very interested.

I am thinking out loud here, and I invite you to also join in, by commenting on the BLOG, or the mailing list. Shall we have a group discussion about the scripture of the day, or the service texts, or something else?

Let us, as a community, become stronger. We are already doing something to this end, by having more regularly scheduled services. This is critically important to our spiritual growth, and I will endeavor to increase this schedule as I am able.

An important parallel step to our growth as a parish family is our individual emphasis on our inner lives. St John is describing a way to affect our inner lives, by engaging in spiritual discussion together. Will we heed his advice?

Please, let us discuss this.
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Be Humble.

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

For nothing is so acceptable to God as to number one’s self with the last. This is a first principle of all practical wisdom.


For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart,
will not be vainglorious,
will not be wrathful,
will not envy his neighbor,
will not harbor any other passion.

I wish to share with you today from my personal reading. I am making my way through the homilies of St John Chrysostom on the Gospel of Matthew. I read them online, because it makes it easy to take notes, and perhaps excerpt something such as this for the edification of my flock.

St John is famous for his “tangents”. He is here commenting on “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10). This is in the middle of a sermon on the genealogy at the beginning of St Matthew!

St John’s tangents are always practical and moral in nature. Here he gives marvelous advice which we should all be careful to keep.

At the end of this letter will be a large excerpt from St. John’s sermon. It is a little difficult to read, because the English is archaic, but the meaning of the small bit I have put at the top of this letter should be clear to the Christian.

Basically, summing it up, if you want to be freed from your passions and achieve peace, then be humble. May God help us to be humble, and realize that peace which Christ came to give us.



So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10)

8. Let us beware therefore of saying anything about ourselves, for this renders us both odious with men and abominable to God. For this reason, the greater the good works we do, the less let us say of ourselves; this being the way to reap the greatest glory both with men and with God. Or rather, not only glory from God, but a reward, yea, a great recompense.

Demand not therefore a reward that thou mayest receive a reward.

Confess thyself to be saved by grace, that He may profess Himself a debtor to thee; and not for thy good works only, but also for such rightness of mind. For when we do good works, we have Him debtor for our good works only; but when we do not so much as think we have done any good work, then also for this disposition itself; and more for this, than for the other things: so that this is equivalent to our good works. For should this be absent, neither will they appear great.

For in the same way, we too, when we have servants, do then most approve them when, after having performed all their service with good will, they do not think they have done anything great.

Wherefore, if thou wouldest make thy good deeds great, do not think them to be great, and then they will be great.

It was in this way that the centurion also said, “I am not fit that thou shouldest enter under my roof;” because of this, he became worthy, and was “marvelled at” (Matt. viii. 8) above all Jews.

On this wise again Paul saith, “I am not meet to be called an apostle;”(1 Cor. xv. 9) because of this he became even first of all.

So likewise John: “I am not meet to loose the latchet of His shoe;”(Mark i. 7; Luke iii. 16; John i. 27, iii). 29. because of this he was the “friend of the Bridegroom,” and the hand which he affirmed to be unworthy to touch His shoes, this did Christ draw unto His own head.

So Peter too said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man;”(Luke v. 8) because of this he became a foundation of the Church.

For nothing is so acceptable to God as to number one’s self with the last. This is a first principle of all practical wisdom.

For he that is humbled, and bruised in heart,
will not be vainglorious,
will not be wrathful,
will not envy his neighbor,
will not harbor any other passion.

For neither when a hand is bruised, though we strive ten thousand times, shall we be able to lift it up on high. If therefore we were thus to bruise our heart likewise, though it were stirred by ten thousand swelling passions, it could not be lifted up, no, not ever so little. For if a man, by mourning for things pertaining to this life, drives out all the diseases of his soul, much more will he, who mourns for sins, enjoy the blessing of self-restraint.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.vi.html NPNF1-10. St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 3

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For God so loved the world…

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Today we are presented with the famous John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Do we really want to live forever? If we think of life in the world’s terms, many people would say no! “Truly all things are vanity, and life is but a shadow and a dream…” (from the Panikhida service).

But this is the case only because death and corruption reign in this world. This is so because the king and priest of this world — mankind — has rejected God, who is the only source of true life, joy, peace, and incorruption. Indeed, we have rejected him twice, in Eden and on the Cross – or rather, we continually reject Him each time we make a conscious choice to sin against Him. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

But our Savior answers, “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (John 17). “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life” — true, incorrupt life, full of joy and peace. “O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.” (Homily of St. John Chrysostom on Pascha)

The paralytic accepted the gift of healing from Peter and John, and gave thanks to God. The rulers of the people rejected the gift, and demanded that that the apostles cease preaching in the name of Jesus. “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” It is us to accept his gift of life, by living according to his commandments. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Let us believe in him, that we may have everlasting life! Let us stop beleiving in sin when it tempts us with pleasures, lusts, and the comfort of material wealth. Let us begin to instead believe our Lord when he tells us that “whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt 16:25).

Acts 4:1-10

1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. 5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.


John 3:16-21

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

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AUDIO homily:Thomas Sunday 2008 – Two ways to be at peace

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

John 20:19-31 Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.



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St Thomas Sunday – "Believing" Disbelief

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

St Thomas Sunday
The Second Sunday of Pascha
“Believing” Disbelief

http://orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-02_1998+saint-thomas-sunday.html

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christ is risen!

Today is the second Sunday of Pascha already. It is the Sunday of St. Thomas. Today we read about, as the church calls it, St. Thomas’ “believing unbelief.” [1] There is a theme here that the church is going to be talking about now in the light of the resurrection during the whole Pentecostarion period: the enlightenment of man. The resurrection is being applied now. We see it in the Acts that we’re reading for quite some time now. In the light of the resurrection, we see what’s happening. We see how many people were healed, how many people were converted, and how lives were changed. Even the shadow of the apostles healed people of their infirmities.[2] In the light of the resurrection, there was activity, there was motion, and there was enlightenment.

St Thomas, no different than you or I, had to be enlightened also. Everyone has different levels of understanding on various things, even among the apostles, even among the saints. It is fascinating to look and see how our Lord in the forty days that He spent on the earth enlightened so many using different ways to enlighten them, and also throughout the whole of the gospels how He reached people where they needed to be reached. The final destination is always the same: to follow the commandments and to become purified, so that we can know Christ in an intimate way. But sometimes Christ teaches certain people a little bit different. In fact, everyone is treated a little bit different.

Thomas wasn’t there the first night of Pascha.[3] He had just left probably on some errand, and that is when Christ came, the doors being shut. And Jesus spoke to the eleven, or actually, ten[4] at that point, and they were glad. I have always marveled how in the scriptures great, momentous occasions are stated so laconically. “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.”[5] Indeed, they were glad, when they saw the God-man! But Thomas was not there, and the resurrection was such an incredible thing; he cannot really be faulted for not believing.

Peter didn’t believe when he saw the grave clothes, only John did, when they went into the grave and saw the clothes lying folded up.[6] John saw and believed, but Peter didn’t. He went away, wondering in himself what had come to pass.[7] Mary Magdalene, who saw the stone rolled away from the tomb together with the Theotokos, didn’t immediately believe in the resurrection. She came back to the tomb with myrrh and aloes to anoint the Lord, He Who in her mind was dead. She was weeping because He wasn’t in the tomb.[8] She was weeping for someone Who was dead. That’s why we sing, “Do not weep for one who is dead,” it says (in a paraphrasement). “He is not dead, He is not here, He is alive and risen.” In our exapostilarion we speak of this quite a bit, of how Mary misunderstood. And our Lord came to her and she thought He was the gardener, till He spoke to her and just in the hearing of His voice, when He said, “Mary”, then she recognized Him.[9]

Other disciples spent an entire perhaps half a day with Christ, and didn’t understand. They were Luke and Cleopas on the way to Emmaus.[10] The tomb had already been empty for some time, and they were walking a long distance. It says in the scriptures 60 furlongs, quite a long distance, a day’s journey, in the hot sun, and our Lord drew alongside them, and He spoke to them, and they didn’t understand Who He was. They thought that He was a misinformed stranger, because He made like He wondered what the events were in the past couple days. But their hearts burned within them. Something about this Man captivated them, when He spoke to them about the scriptures, and opened their understanding. That’s why it says: “And then opened He their understanding of the scriptures” And when they sat down, and when He broke bread, (which was of course, the Body and Blood of Christ), then they saw Him, and He vanished. And as they were making their way back in the wee hours of the morning, another day’s journey, (they took two days’ journey in one day), Christ was appearing to the other apostles, save Thomas.

You see how He enlightened people where they needed to be enlightened. Luke and Cleopas must have needed this conversation with the Lord, and to see Him in the breaking of the bread, to really have the point brought home that yes, the Lord had risen. Mary had to be spoken with by Lord. She had to see Him. John believed just by seeing the empty tomb. Peter was met by the Lord, the church understands.[11] Peter was met individually by the Lord, because after all, he was a bit shaken, wasn’t he? Peter was a man of great bravery. He can’t be faulted for his denying Christ three times. We would have done it a thousand times. But he was very shaken because of this, and because of his emotional turmoil he was in, it was very difficult for him to believe in the resurrection, because he was all wrapped up with his feeling so completely unworthy of what the Lord had called him to do. So the Lord had to meet with Peter individually, apart from the other apostles. And in fact, Peter was the first of the apostles to see the risen Lord. And I suppose maybe the second to believe after John, who without seeing believed.

And now the last to find out, after eight long days of hearing from the apostles about the Lord being risen, Thomas, is in the room and the Lord comes, through the doors again, which were shut, passing through the doors, because after all, His body is a human body, but it is a transfigured human body. It’s not subject to the same kind of laws that we are subject to. It doesn’t get tired, it doesn’t get sick. And that’s the way we will be as well. The way Christ was in His transfigured body is a prophecy for us of how our bodies will be as well.

Jesus comes in and speaks very gently to Thomas. He says, “Alright, I know what you need. You need to touch Me. Feel the prints of the nails in my hands. Feel the slit in my side, and be not faithless, but believing.”[12] And then Thomas has the privilege of being the first of the apostles to proclaim unambiguously, in clear terms, the dual nature of Christ’s humanity and His divinity. It is the first confession of faith in the scriptures, where Christ is proclaimed God and man openly. He says, “My Lord and my God!”[13] Thomas had to wait awhile, but God gave him that great privilege of almost, shall we say, beginning the symbol of faith[14]. What a great privilege it was.

In the coming week we will be speaking about the myrrh-bearing women[15], and there is a theme throughout the story of the myrrh-bearing women of their continuing enlightenment, just like for Thomas or for Peter or for Luke and Cleopas or for the other apostles. And then we go onto the blind man and the lame man, the paralytic. We see how the resurrection is applied. Why does the church do this? Why do we speak of things that have to do with enlightenment and healing right after Pascha? Well, because the resurrection applies to us in our life now . It’s very important to understand this. That’s why I have been speaking of it so often. It’s very important to understand, because you must know that God has given you the ability to be able to get rid of your sins, of your passions, of the problems in your life that are making you to be away from God. You have the ability, through the resurrection. And all these examples of people that partially believed, even the great apostles, who were at times disbelievers, at times were cowards, at times were at odds with each other and vied amongst themselves who would be greatest, and all the other things — even them — the Lord purified them, and brought them to a great wholeness.

If He can do it with them and do it with all the others examples in the scriptures, with the paralytic and the blind man and the woman at the well, named Photini [16], and all the others, then He can do it with us. I tell you, the resurrection is not something that you believe in as an event that occurred in the past. Nor is it something that you believe, and say that it will happen in the future, like Mary and Martha did, saying, “Oh Lord, I believe in the resurrection. In the last day, all will be resurrected.”[17] When their brother Lazarus lay dead, and Christ showed them, “I am the resurrection. If I live in you, then you are resurrected now, not later.” It is very important to understand this.

A Christian who understands that Christ’s becoming man makes him able to do holy things will not fall prey to despondency. Despondency is really the negation of belief in God, you know. Despondency is a type of atheism. You should fear despondency and confess it every time. It is a terrible sin, because in it, you are rejecting the resurrection. God can save you, and God will save you if you live the Christian life. Yes, indeed, you must consider yourself unworthy of salvation, but you must also know that Christ has promised it.

So live as a Christian, fast as a Christian, think as a Christian, and when you cannot do things properly, when you do things that are sinful, run to confession with the sure hope the sure knowledge, that God will receive your repentance, because of the resurrection. I tell you if you live in the light of the resurrection, you will not become despondent. As a pastor I believe that the number one sin I see is despondency. Sometimes it is cloaked, so that people can have a sin and may be despondent about it, but not so noticeably despondent, so that it is a sort of semi-excuse.

And sometimes it is because people really desire to change, and they just can’t believe that they can really change. Mary and Martha couldn’t believe that their brother would be resurrected after four days. The apostles, many of them, could not believe that our Lord, Who spoke of the resurrection over and over and over again, could be resurrected. It took many proofs for some of them, such as Thomas, and the other ones as well. You know, it says “Many things the Lord did, many signs He did, but not everything is written in this book.”[18] By the way, as an aside, you realize that the Lord taught the apostles so much that is not written down, that is part of our holy tradition now. The apostles transmitted it to their disciples, and so on. It wasn’t written down, but it was precious, and St. John only in a dark way refers to it.

So today we see an example of a man, Thomas, enlightened. Christ went out of His way to enlighten him. He sort of accorded him special treatment, as it were. And Thomas believed, and he confessed. Christ did and does the same thing for us, to bring us to enlightenment. And now we must believe and confess.

Now He said something else that’s very important, important not to pass over. He said, before Thomas didn’t see this, but our Lord said it many other times when Thomas heard. He said, “As the Father hath sent me, so send I you.”[19] And by extension, it is the same for us. No, we don’t have the role of the apostles. We are not bishops, and we don’t have the grace that has been bestowed upon the apostles, but we are sent along basically the same path: the path of obedience to the same gospel, the path of obedience to the commandments of our God, the life in the church, and everything that living as an Orthodox Christian entails. Later on, just after this reading in fact, the disciples, seven of them, are fishing, and the Lord tells them to let down their nets, and they had a catch, and then Peter is told to bring the catch to the shore, a hundred and fifty and three fishes, and yet the net did not break.[20] And later, after they ate, our Lord restored Peter by asking him three times, “Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me?” and then He showed him how he would die. [21] This is tied in with when He was saying, “As my Father hath sent Me, so send I you.”

We must use Christ as the example of how to live, whether as an apostle or whether as anyone else. The Christian life is one of difficulty and one of strife. We are in the light of the resurrection, but we can never get far away from knowing that our life is a difficult one. We make it so because of our sins, sometimes, and other times because of the evil of the world surrounding us. Follow the example of the saints. Follow the example of the apostles. Live as they lived, which means you live the life in the church.

And brothers and sisters, always believe that the resurrection applies to you, now. Fear disbelief in it. Every time you fall into despondency, berate yourself for being a fool and gazing into an empty tomb, and wondering where the Lord is. Don’t be like this. Believe in the resurrection, and believe that you can be changed, and through struggle, arduous struggle, through many tears, through ups and downs, and even in the midst of your sins, God will perfect you, but you must believe. Amen.

The Gospel for St. Thomas Sunday

John 20:19-31

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. {20} And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. {21} Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. {22} And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: {23} Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. {24} But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. {25} The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. {26} And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. {27} Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. {28} And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. {29} Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. {30} And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: {31} But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

[1] Cf. one of the stichera at Vespers: “When Thou didst enter, O Christ, while the doors were shut, / Thomas, who was called the Twin, was not with them. / Wherefore, he doubted what was told him, / thus by unbelief confirming his belief. / And Thou, O Good One, didst not disdain to show him / Thine immaculate side and the wounds of Thy hands and feet. / Wherefore, having felt and beheld, / he confessed that Thou art neither naked God nor mere man, / and he cried: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee.”

[2] (Acts 5:15) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

[3] (John 20:19,24) Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. … {24} But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

[4] Judas was dead, Thomas was gone, and the replacement for Judas (Matthias) had not been elected yet. This leaves ten.

[5] John 20:20

[6] (John 20:1-8) The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. {2} Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. {3} Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. {4} So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. {5} And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. {6} Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, {7} And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. {8} Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

[7] (Luke 24:10-12) It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. {11} And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. {12} Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

[8] (John 20:11-16) But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, {12} And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. {13} And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. {14} And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. {15} Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. {16} Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Luke 24:13-33

[11] We understand this from holy tradition, and the scripture: (Luke 24:33-35) And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, {34} Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. {35} And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

[12] Cf. (John 20:27) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

[13] John 20:28

[14] The Symbol of faith is also known as the “Nicene Creed”.

[15] The Sunday of the Myrhbearers is the 3rd Sunday of Pascha (counting Pascha as the 1st Sunday of Pascha)

[16] The Samaritan Woman, whom the church knows as St Photini (5th Sunday of Pascha)

[17] Cf. John 11, and especially (John 11:23-26) Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. {24} Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. {25} Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: {26} And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

[18] (John 21:25) And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

[19] John 20:21

[20] John 21:11

[21] Cf. John 21:15-19

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