Archive for October, 2008

20th Week After Pentecost – Friday

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Today’s readings, followed by a few small pastoral and personal thoughts.

Philippians 3:8-19 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

 

Luke 7:31-35 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

 

 

Luke 7:31-34 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

 

The Lord is using a Jewish game of the time to ridicule the Pharisees. The game was played with two groups of children. One group would mourn and wail and the other would dance and play flutes. Each group would stay separate from the other. This doubtless was imitating the real funerals and celebrations they had seen.

 

The Lord is exposing the Pharisee’s hypocrisy. They would not join with St John the Baptist, nor with Christ. The mourning children represent St John, who lived and austere life. The dancing children represent our Lord, who did not live such an austere life in public, as St John did. The Pharisees held themselves from both, and ridiculed both their teachings and ways of life.

 

Luke 7:35 But wisdom is justified of all her children

 

“Wisdom”, is of course, Jesus Christ, and her children are those that believe in Christ, and follow His teachings. The Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, Proverbs and the Psalms especially contain references to “Wisdom”. In this passage, Jesus appropriates this name for Himself. “Son of Man” is another name He frequently used for himself (and just as “Wisdom”, this name occurs in the OT scriptures)

 

It is good to know the factual content of the scripture, but this is no good to our soul unless we apply it to ourselves. The admonition of the Lord to the Pharisees applies to many in our day. Can we with a straight face call ourselves the children of Wisdom if we do not follow Christ completely? In our politically correct day, many falsehoods are called true and good things labeled as evil. Most people, including those who fancy themselves to be Christian, are heavily influenced by the opinions of the day. These opinions, which are a mixture of good and evil, are held by those who neither mourn, nor dance. We must guard ourselves carefully from such opinions, because as we believe, so we live.

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

    Priest Seraphim Oct 18/31 2008.                                                  St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_friday_philippians3;8-19+ luke7;31-35.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_friday_philippians3;8-19+ luke7;31-35.pdf

New commentaries are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

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Redeeming the Time – October 2008

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

 

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, TX

Rector: Priest Seraphim Holland  972-529-2754  cell:972 658-5433  seraphim@orthodox.net 

St Nicholas Web Site: http://www.orthodox.net

 

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephes.5:16)

October 2008

 

This document is also at the link: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=d926dxr_62fphz5bf4. This version includes a Russian version  of the article "ON THE EUCHARIST", by Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller. We cannot publish in Russian on our blog at this time due to technical issues. Is their anyone who publishes in Russian succesfully on a WordPress blog, which is hosted on their own site (not a WordPress site), and wants to help us? Please contact Priest Seraphim at seraphim@orthodox.net.

 

What is the purpose of our life?

The blessed Moses says that God created man in His own image and likeness, and the apostle Paul says that "we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). The purpose of our life is to be like God, to love as He loves and to do good works in His name. But instead, we spend most of our time doing selfish and even wicked works, in rebellion against our Maker. As a result, we make life painful and sorrowful for ourselves and others, and grieve our loving God. This has been true since the most ancient times: "Then the LORD[a] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart" (Gen 6:5-6). But Christ has redeemed us! Incarnate as a man, Christ has chosen to humble Himself, participating in our nature so that we might once again participate in His blessedness through communion with Him. What an amazing gift! What an awesome sacrifice! How can we receive this gift? How can we attain to this blessedness that is offered?

Christ, through the Holy Church, gives us a number of means of coming closer to Him, of bringing peace to our lives and reconciling ourselves to Him. Among these are:

  • Prayer
  • Reading of the Bible
  • font size="3">Repentance and Confession
  • Holy Communion

Let us take more frequent advantage of these saving remedies, brothers and sisters! Let us flee to hospital more often, and receive the medicine of immortality, the Holy Eucharist! Let us pour out our hearts in prayer more frequently, repent of the sins by which we grieve our loving God, and feed our minds and hearts with His Holy Word by reading the Bible daily!

Reader Nicholas Park

 


 

ON THE EUCHARIST

(The Mystery of Holy Communion)

Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller

 

The most important place in the body of church services is occupied by the service we call the Liturgy. Liturgy is a Greek word that means communal service. Sometimes it signifies service to our neighbor, charity, and sometimes service in the Altar. Divine Services have as their goal to bring us closer to God, to bring us closer to Him in prayer. However, the greatest manifestation of closeness, the Lord’s presence among the faithful, "Theosis" of man and nature is accomplished in the Mystery of the Eucharist, which is at the center of the life of the Church.


The Eucharist was established by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself during the Mystical Supper He hosted. Jesus Christ assembled His disciples on the night when he was to be betrayed and given over to suffering, torment, crucifixion and death. He assembled His disciples as their head, as the eldest, although in terms of age He was not their elder. He performed the ritual of the meal according to the pattern accepted by the people in the Old Testament Church, but with one unusual difference: when He broke the Bread, and when he elevated the Cup after having read the special prayers of thanksgiving to God for everything, He said to his disciples: Do this in remembrance of Me. The Bread is My Body, and this Wine is my Blood. When you remember Me in this manner, you will be eating of My Body and drinking of My Blood. And whosoever will do that, will abide in Me, and I will abide in him, forever.


During the Eucharist, we remember everything that happened to Christ: His Incarnation, His entire life, Golgotha, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. However, when we remember all of this in the symbolism of the Divine Liturgy, it all happens anew! "My Father works hitherto, and I work" (John 5: 17), and this activity never ends. The Mystery, the Sacrament, of the Holy Eucharist rests in the fact that is does not consist only of our not our commemorations.

 

The Liturgy imparts a real, actual communion with God, illumining each participant, so that in a profound mystery, during each Liturgy the bread and wine that had been brought into the Altar is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Also, at the moment each of the faithful communing of the Very Body and Very Blood of Christ, is really, actually, not merely intellectually or seemingly, and united with God Himself. During the Liturgy, God’s fulfillment of His promise to be among men accomplishes man’s fullest enlightenment.


Here God’s unique action transpires, bringing Divine power into this world, and each of us partakes of that power. It enters into our hearts and acts through us in everything we do. That power of God imparts to everything you do, however seemingly insignificant, enormous importance, profundity; in this lies the spiritual meaning of Orthodoxy. Through everything that a Christian does in this world, participating worthily in the Eucharist, God’s power enters the world, the power that transforms the world that blesses the world, remakes the world. It does so despite the fact that the world does not understand it. The world does not even know about it. That is what the Eucharist is! That is why from the earliest days the Eucharist – the sacrifice of thanksgiving, the breaking of bread – has been the central fact of Christian life. The Eucharist is the greatest expression of Christian unity, of life in a single Body, the Single Holy Church of Christ. The Mystery is the source of that unity. We are a single Body – His Body. We all – living and dead – are one. In the Altar, the priest reads the words, "And all of us who partake of the one Bread and the one Cup do Thou unite one to another…" Everyone standing here, the living and the dead, the Church on earth and the glorified Church "which hath One Head."


Out of the need, the poverty, the darkness of my ego, I approach the Divine Mystery and come into the light. "Thine light hath entered and illumined my darkness." In those moments, we, still living here on earth, already enter into His grace-filled life, for He comes to us and "make[s] our abode with Him." (John 14: 23).


During the Eucharist, the central, most important event takes place: Christ appears in our midst. Where two or three are gathered together in My Name (and it was just so that Christians gather together during the Eucharist), there I am in their midst. There Christ is in our midst with all the power of His compassionate love, able to decisively grant each of us everything that we need, and so that the seed of God’s word that enters into our soul when we hear the Gospel, the Good News, might not be wasted and perish, but might grow in every heart. Amid the reign of anarchy and chaos in this world, the Mystery of the Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy, is the anticipation of a different world, a different Kingdom, "where is the light of God." The Eucharist is the link connecting the present and the future, our current state with the glorious Transfiguration to come.


In the Eucharist, time disappears, time enters into eternity. And we belong to and experience/take part in eternity. Because everything we remember as having been – Jesus Christ’s embarking on his mission to preach, the Mystical Supper – this in our intellect WAS, but in God IS. Everything that was, is. That is something impossible for the mind to comprehend.


Jesus Christ’s death is a sacrifice. There is His death, Resurrection, and Ascension. It all was and is. For us, it is yet to come, but for the Lord, it already is. And what is yet to come? Our own death, our own resurrection, our own ascension. But it already … is. During the Liturgy, we are in the past, the present and the future, and that is something that is not a concept, not a fantasy, not ideas, but actual reality. Such is the Mystery of the Eucharist.


  

Gleanings from the Fathers

And as in His providence He became man, so He deified us by grace, in this way teaching us not only to cleave to one another naturally and to love others spiritually as ourselves, but also, like God, to be more concerned for others than for ourselves, and as proof of our love for each other readily to choose, as virtue enjoins, to die for others. For as Scripture tells us, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend" (cf. John 15: 13).

Philokalia, Vol. 2, "Fifth Century on Various Texts," No. 12

 

Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good – as far as lies in our power – depends on us.

St. Mark the Ascetic, Philokalia, Vol. 1

 

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14). And just exactly as all who were bitten by the serpents looked upon the bronze serpent which was suspended and were healed, thus also every Christian who believes in our Christ and has recourse to His life-bearing wounds, who eats His Flesh and drinks His all-holy Blood, is cured of the bits of the spiritual serpent of sin and by this most holy nourishment is made to live unto the renewal of a new creation, that is, new life in harmony with His life-giving commandments.

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain




Regular Service Schedule

This is also at http://www.orthodox.net/aboutus/regular-service-schedule.html

Wednesday

6:30 PM

Vespers

Thursday

Time Varies

Divine Liturgy

Saturday

4:00 PM

5:00 PM

After Vigil

Confession

Vigil (Vespers, Matins, the First Hour)

Confession

Earlier confessions or confessions on other days by appt.

Sunday

9AM-10AM

9:40 AM

10:00 AM

12 Noon

Confession (please call before the night before if possible)

Hours

Divine Liturgy

Trapeza (public meal for EVERYONE)

Church School following on most Sundays.

 

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20th Week After Pentecost – Thursday. Philippians 3:1-8. Luke 7:17-30.

Thursday, October 30th, 2008








20th Week After Pentecost – Thursday

 

 

Today’s readings, followed by a few small pastoral and personal thoughts.

 

Philippians 3:1-8 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

 

Luke 7:17-30 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. 18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. 19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. 23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. 26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

 

Luke 7:17-30 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. 18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. 19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? 20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

 

Blessed Theophylact tells us that some of St John’s disciples were jealous, having heard of Christ. These were still holding onto their allegiance to John, even though their leader had already said: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30) Sometimes people do not adapt well to change, and become enamored of a personality instead of the message that person is trying to convey. St John, being a wise pastor, wished to bring his disciples to the proper understanding. They may have believed him if he told them again of Christ, but a better and more sure way was to send them to Christ, so they could see for themselves.

 

A shallow perusal of this text may raise the doubt in some that St John’s faith was weak. How can this be, since he was the one who leaped in the womb when he met Christ, who was in the womb of the Virgin, when she came to Elizabeth? (Luke 1:41). How can this be, since shortly after he prophesied to his followers that:  “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:13), when Christ came to him in the Jordan, he recognized the one of whom He had prophesied, and said with trembling: “have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” (Matthew 3:14).  

 

Luke 7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Some of the people who knew the St. John had sent messengers to Christ were scandalized, and our Lord is addressing this when he asks a series of questions beginning with “What went ye out to see”. A reed in the wind bends whichever  way the wind blows – this signifies inconstancy and weak faith.

 

Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

 

I know someone who was a pastor in a Protestant church who once discussed this passage with me. He was a reasonably scripturally literate, very sincere pastor. His incredible exegesis of this chapter, which he had obtained from his central church body, was that St John the Baptist was NOT in heaven and was not saved! His reasoning was that since the least person in the kingdom of God is greater than St John, he must not be in the Kingdom of God!  This demonstrates how crazy scriptural exegesis can be outside of Holy Tradition.

 

Christ is excluded from those “born of women”, since the word here indicates a wife.

 

Priest Seraphim Oct 17/30 2008

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_thursday_philippians3;1-8+luke7;17-30.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_thursday_philippians3;1-8+luke7;17-30.pdf

New commentaries are usually posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

 

 

 

 

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Redeeming the Time Print Edition

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The October issue of the print edition of Redeeming the Time was distributed this weekend, and is also available for viewing online. The theme of this issue is Holy Communion.

Nicholas

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20th Week After Pentecost – Wednesday

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008





Today’s readings, followed by a few small pastoral and personal thoughts.

 

Philippians 2:24-30 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. 25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

 

Luke 6:46-7:1 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. 1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

 

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?


Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 7:21)


You have heard many times that all dogma is moral. We believe in God, only if, in acknowledging Him, we obey Him. It is useless and destructive to the soul to believe in God without obedience – the demons also believe! It would be good for us if every time we say “Lord”, we evaluate how much we are living according to Whom we speak of. EVERT TIME we say “Lord, Lord”, we must evaluate whether or not we are also confessing Him with our deeds.

 

Luke 6:47-48 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

 

It takes great effort and perseverance to “dig deep”. A deep foundation will stand, and a shallow one will eventually be broken. This deep digging includes the searching of the scriptures, to understand the depth of the profundity of their meaning, and also the searching of the conscience. Of course, the rock upon which we build is Christ:


“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 3:11)


“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1Cor 10:1-4

 

 

At our present time, as we are beginning to actually build our new temple (after months of prayer, planning and fund raising), these words remind me of our present efforts. As your pastor, despite my own limitations, I have attempted to make the foundation of our church to be the rock that is Christ. I am not speaking of the concrete that will be poured this week or next, but the spiritual life of our community. Without spirit, the body is dead. Without effort and perseverance in our personal lives, we cannot expect God to bless our corporate lives in St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church.


I question myself daily, whether I am “digging deep”, and helping to provide a deep foundation for my small flock. I hope that you do this also. This “digging” consists of daily prayer for all of you, the searching of the scriptures, and my personal effort to be a better person. Everything we do privately affects our community corporately. If I do not pray with so much attention on a certain day, I weaken our community. The same is true for everyone in the community. Our fasting, and prayer, and efforts to follow the commandments are both personal and corporate.


The most important change I have made since we have begun seriously to talk of building has been to have a weekday Divine liturgy. We began this custom the week after Nativity this year, and have not failed to celebrate a Divine Liturgy at least once during the week (on Wednesday at the beginning, now on Thursday). Since then, with the one exception of when I was serving at our Diocesan Cathedral in Des Plaines, IL, for their patronal feast. Of course, at that liturgy, I made sure to commemorate everyone in the proskimidie.


We must continue to do all we can to make our building project successful. It will not end when temple is finished. The building we are doing is to build up the body of Christ. A new temple is critical to our success, but more critical is our personal involvement in the life of Christ. If we struggle spiritually, we will succeed physically and financially.

Priest Seraphim Oct 16/29 2008

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_wednesday_philippians2;24-30+luke6;46-7;1.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_wednesday_philippians2;24-30+luke6;46-7;1.pdf

 

 

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20th Monday After Pentecost

Monday, October 27th, 2008

 





20th Week After Pentecost – Monday

Today’s readings, followed by a few small pastoral and personal thoughts.

Philippians 2:12-16 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

 

Luke 6:24-30 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. 27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

 

Phil 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

It is quite easy to behave correctly when in the presence of authority. This action applies as much as the other things mentioned in yesterday’s Gospel in which our Lord stated “Even sinners do”. The test of a Christian is if he does good and is obedient when others are not present. Of course, we fool ourselves whenever we think we are alone, because God sees all, but nonetheless, our vanity and dishonesty goads us into attempting to appear more obedient , than we really are when we are with others, especially those who have some authority over us, or whom we wish to impress. This is in direct contradiction to the command of the holy apostle.

 

This desire is also shared by parents, pastors, and teachers. Whoever tries to instill in another person a sense of right and wrong, and attempts to enable them to be good feels this way. I often think about my flock, and wonder how they are doing during the day. You are all in God’s hands, and my influence is but for only a short time each week (or even less than that!), so I console myself by praying for everyone in my small flock every day.

 

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

 

The Christian faith is active; it is change. God works in us to help facilitate the change, but we must WILL to change and DO according to this will (in this verse, the one doing the “working” is god, and we are doing the “willing” and “doing”). The scripture is full of admonitions and encouragements like this. The world may tell us that salvation is won without labor, but the scriptures tell us emphatically that we must labor!

 

Phil 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

 

This is the prayer of every pastor. I wonder often if my labors will be fruitful. There many times when I am tempted to doubt this, such as when the church is almost empty at the beginning of the liturgy, or when other services are sparsely attended. There are many other things also. I also wonder when I see great inconsistency in lifestyles, and wonder why is this so? Is it because of my sins, my weak faith, my poor prayers? This is a dangerous feeling, which I believe all pastors are prone to, some more, some less. I admit I have it, and there is only one solution: “physician heal thyself!” This is actually the only solution for all our troubles, and by this I mean that we must attempt with great vigor to change ourselves, with consistent prayer, fasting and obedience to the commandments. We must attempt to change before we can expect God to intervene, I try to apply this idea to my life, and teach it. The only reason for doubt is lack of faith, and we lack faith because we lack purity.

 

 

Luke 6:24-26 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets

 

All of this is an amplification of the thought I shared yesterday (St John Chrysostom’s teaching, in agreement with the whole church, that we will be rewarded with the reward we see, whether a temporary reward, or an eternal one, but never both)

 

Priest Seraphim, Oct 14/27 2008

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_monday_philippians2;12-16+luke6;24-30.pdf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/20th-week-after-pentecost_monday_philippians2;12-16+luke6;24-30.rtf

 

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19th Sun after Pent – Luke 6:31-36 – “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise”

Monday, October 27th, 2008

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Luke 6:31-36 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Other homilies for this day:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-19_1997.html
19th Sunday of Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-19_1999+what-thank-have-ye.doc
19th Sunday of Pentecost (Word DOC format)
What Thank Have Ye
1999

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-19_2002+be-merciful.mp3
19th Sunday of Pentecost (mp3 format)
Be Merciful
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-19_2004.mp3
19th Sunday of Pentecost (mp3 format)
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-19_2008-10-26.mp3
19th Sunday of Pentecost (mp3 format)
";And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
Luke 6:31-36
2008



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Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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Holy Elders of Optina

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Today we celebrate the memory of the holy and venerable Elders of Optina Monastery. These truly wonderful saints lived in the Optina Monastery during recent centuries, and exemplified the Christian virtues in their lives and teachings. In their honor, we would like to provide a link to a set of their teachings, in both English and Russian. These soul-profiting words are worth reading on a daily basis.

-Rdr. Nicholas

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18th Sun after Pentecost 2008 – “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

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Luke 5:1-11 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-18_2008-10-19.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-18_2008-10-19.mp3

 

Other Homilies on this sunday:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-18_1997.html
18th Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-18_2000+the-miraculous-draught-of-fish.doc
18th Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Miraculous Draught Of Fish
2000

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-18_2002+the-first-great-catch-of-fish.mp3
18th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The First Great Catch Of Fish
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-18_2007-09-30+sunday-after-the-exaltation-of-the-cross+a-simple-way-of-life_galations2;16-20+mark8;34-9;1.mp3
18th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
Sunday After The Exaltation Of The Cross
A Simple Way Of Life
Galations 2:16-20, Mark 8:34-9:1
2007

 



RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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Video of “Breaking Ground” Moleben and planning on the land

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

These videos are part of our living history! Things are only just beginning!

 

Long Version – Lots of planning, and parts of the moleben

 

 

Short Version- Interview of Fr Seraphim, and planning.

 

 

Thanks to Nat for the Videos! Links to the Videos all over the web:

 

The long one: YouTube, Yahoo, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, AOL Video, DailyMotion, Blip.tv and Veoh

 

The short one: YouTube, Yahoo, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, AOL Video, DailyMotion, Blip.tv and Veoh

 

Slava Bogu!

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