Archive for November, 2008

24th Sun after Pentecost 2008. Who touched me?

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

 

Luke 8:41-56 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2008-11-30.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-24_2008-11-30.mp3

Other Homilies for this day: 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_1997.html
24th Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_1998+the-healing-of-the-woman-with-an-issue-of-blood-and-the-raising-of-the-daughter-of-jairus.doc
24th Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Healing Of The Woman With An Issue Of Blood And The Raising Of The Daughter Of Jairus
1998

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2002+the-woman-with-the-issue-blood-and-the-raising-of-jairus-daughter.mp3
24th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Woman With The Issue Blood And The Raising Of Jairus Daughter
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2007-11-11+my-yoke-is-easy-and-my-burden-is-light.mp3
24th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
My Yoke Is Easy And My Burden Is Light
2007

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2008-11-30.mp3
24th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Healing Of The Woman With An Issue Of Blood And The Raising Of The Daughter Of Jairus
Who touched me?
Luke 8:41-56
2008

 

 



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23SunafterPentecost 2008, The Gadarene Demoniac. Do not miss any opportunity!

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008




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Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Luke 8:26-39 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. 38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2008-11-23.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-23_2008-11-23.mp3



More homilies on this day:

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_1997.html
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_1997+the-gadarene-demoniac.doc
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2002+the-gadarene-demoniac.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2004.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2007-11-04+the-gadarene-demoniac_ephesians2;4-10+luke8;26-39.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
Ephesians 2:4-10, Luke 8:26-39
2007

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2008-11-23.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
Do not miss any opportunity!
Ephesians 2:4-10, Luke 8:26-39
2008


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

 

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About the Angels.

Friday, November 21st, 2008

 On this feast day of Archangel Michael, and all the bodiless hosts, I thought I would write a little bit about the angels. This is not by any means a complete treatment, but just so semi-random ideas that I think are important or interesting.

  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Gen 1:1)

The angels were created as part of the “heavens”, above. They are part of the invisible (for the most part), spiritual world. They were all created before God proceeded refine His creation of the earth.

 

Angels are free, intelligent beings.


They have a will, and are able to choose to follow God or disobey Him. It seems that because of their nature, once they choose, they do not change their way of life. All angels chose to follow of not follow Lucifer when he revolted against God. From that point on, their personality vis-?-vis God is fixed – they either obey God or do not obey Him. I have always tried to explain this by an analogy about jumping off a cliff. Before you jump, you may choose to jump or not jump, but once you have jumped, your fate is fixed – you will fall.


Demons are angels that hate God.

They are part of the 2/3 of the Angelic host that followed Lucifer when he revolted against God. The Archangel

Michael led the resistance against Lucifer to cast him out of heaven. This is an instructive story, If anybody reminds me, we can discuss it Sunday.


“Angel” means “MESSENGER”


God tasks them with delivering news to all mankind, individually and collectively. How they communicate with us is a mystery, but since we are also part spirit, we can communicate with them.


Angels are not, in the strictest sense of the word, “bodiless”.


Only God is pure Spirit. Angels were created, and according to the Fathers, have a very fine body, which we cannot perceive with our eyes of flesh.


All Christians have a guardian angel.


In the prayers for the making of a catechumen, we pray “Yoke unto his/her life a radiant angel…” From this point onwards, we certainly have a guardian angel who protects us in ways we cannot fully understand.


 

If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step28: On Holy and Blessed Prayer, the Mother of Virtues, and on the Attitude of Mind and Body in Prayer)

 

In the presence of an invisible spirit, the body becomes afraid; but in the presence of an angel, the soul of the humble is filled with joy. Therefore, when we recognize the presence from the effect, let us quickly hasten to prayer, for our good guardian has come to pray with us. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 21: On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice

 

The angel who is always near us is by nothing so distressed and made indignant as when, without being constrained by some necessity, we deprive ourselves of the ministration of the Holy Mysteries and of reception of Holy Communion, which grants remission of sins. For at that hour the priest offers up the sacrifice of the Body of Him Who gives us life, and the Holy Spirit descends and consecrates the Body and Blood and grants remission to creation. The Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the angels stand with great awe, fear, and joy. They rejoice over the Holy Mysteries while experiencing inexpressible astonishment. The angel who is always by us is consoled, because he also partakes in that dread spectacle and is not deprived of that perfect intercourse. St. Isaac the Syrian

 

When you close the doors to your dwelling and are alone you should know that there is present with you the angel whom God has appointed for each man…This angel, who is sleepless and cannot be deceived, is always present with you; he sees all things and is not hindered by darkness. You should know, too, that with him is God, who is in every place; for there is no place and nothing material in which God is not, since He is greater than all things and holds all men in His hand. St. Antony the Great (On the Character of Men no. 62)

 

See http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/guardian_angel.html


We should pray to our guardian angel daily.

 
There is a prayer to the guardian angel in the morning prayers. Each day, we should ask for his assistance. He has been sent by God to help us. Off course, by “pray”, we mean merely that we should ask for help. All help ultimately comes from God, but He enables men and angels to help others according to His will.


The “four bows” have a prayer to the guardian angel.


I have recommended to almost all of my flock at one time or another to begin their day with the “four bows”. A little article about this is at http://www.orthodox.net/fourbows.html Here is a part of that article:


Upon arising in the morning, before anything else, direct your heart and mind towards God, and face your icons, or face East and with compunction, and without haste, make four bows, or better, four prostrations. Do this with hope in God, and the sure belief that He will receive your prayer, as He received the widow’s two mites, and protect you during the day, even if you fall into inattention and these prayers are the last you will say for the entire day.

Making the sign of the cross, with a bow of prostration during each prayer say:

1 Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.
2 Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
3 Holy Saint ______ (your patron saint), pray to God for me.
4 Holy Angel of God, my guardian, pray to God for me.

After these prayers, it is best to continue with your morning prayers, and then turn your attentions to the cares of the day. Even if the weakness of the flesh compels us to abandon our prayer and rush into our day, perhaps not to return to our morning prayer, at least we have begun the by giving our "first fruits" to God. Let us do these "few things", four short prayers that take under a minute, so that in time, our heart will become aflame with the love of God, and our Lord will say to us: ""Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Mat 25:21)

 


A great article about the ranks of the angels is in the Menologion program.


On the feast of the “ASSEMBLY OF THE CHIEF OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS MICHAEL AND THE OTHER HEAVENLY BODILESS POWERS” (Nov 8 on the church calendar (this occurs Nov 21 on the calendar hanging in Joe’s garage (the “civil” calendar)), there is a great description of this feast, with lots of background information.

 

The “Menologion” is a program which runs in Windows (sort of making the unholy holy J) , which has daily readings, synaxarion (short lives of saints/description of feast days), and troparia and kontakia. Get this program! I use it every day to read the daily readings, and, as often as I can, copy the text and comment on it (see http://www.orthodox.net/scripture) GET IT HERE: http://saintjohnwonderworker.org/menologion.htm

 
Priest Seraphim Nov 8/21, 2008.

 
This document: http://www.orthodox.net/articles/angels.htmlhttp://www.orthodox.net/articles/angels.doc,  http://www.orthodox.net/articles/angels.pdf


Use it for any edifying purpose, but please let us know, and give attribution and the url to the document.

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Many years to the Mike/Myke(s) Feast day of St Michael and all the bodiless host.

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Nov 8/21 2008

THE SOBOR (ASSEMBLAGE) OF THE CHIEF OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS MICHAEL AND THE OTHER HEAVENLY BODILESS POWERS.
THE ARCHANGELS: GABRIEL, RAPHAEL, URIEL, SELAPHIEL, JEHUDIEL, BARACHIEL, AND JEREMIEL.

The Celebration of the Sobor (Assemblage) of the Leader of the Heavenly Hosts Michael, and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Hosts was established at the beginning of the IV Century at the local Laodician Council, which occurred several years before the First OEcumenical Council. The Laodician Council by its 35th Canon condemned and renounced as heretical the worship of angels as creators and rulers of the world and it affirmed their proper Orthodox veneration.

 

A feastday was established in November — the ninth month from March (with which month the year began in ancient times) — in accordance with the 9 Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was decreed for the intended Sobor (Assemblage) of all the Heavenly Powers — in conjunction with the Day of the Dread Last-Judgement of God, which the holy fathers called the "Eighth Day", — since after this age in which the seven days [of Creation] have elapsed will come the "Eighth Day", — and then "shalt come the Son of Man in His Glory and all the holy Angels together with Him" (Mt. 25: 31).


The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: — highest, middle, and lowest. In the

Highest Hierarchy are included the three Ranks: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

 

Closest of all to the MostHoly Trinity stand the six-winged Seraphim [Seraphimy] (Flaming, and Fiery) (Is. 6: 12). They blaze with love for God and impel others to it.


After the Seraphim there stand before the Lord the many-eyed Cherubim [Cheruvimy] (Gen. 3: 24). Their name means: outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment, since through them, — radiating with the light of Divine-knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of God, there is sent down wisdom and enlightenment for true Divine-knowledge.


After the Cherubim — stand God-bearing through grace given them for their service, the Thrones [Prestoly] (Col. 1: 16), mysteriously and incomprehensibly upholding God. They serve the uprightness of God’s justice.


    The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three Ranks: Dominions, Powers, and Authorities.

Dominions [Gospodstva] (Col. 1: 16) hold dominion over the successive ranks of Angels. They instruct the earthly authorities, established from God, to wise governance. The Dominions influence rule by miracles, they quell sinful impulses, subordinate the flesh to the spirit, and provide mastery over the will to conquer temptation.
   

Powers [Sily] (1 Pet. 3: 22) fulfill the will of God. They work the miracles and send down the grace of wonderworking and perspicacity to saints pleasing to God. The Powers give assist to people in bearing obediences, encourage them in patience, and give them spiritual strength and fortitude.

Authorities [Vlasti] (1 Pet. 3: 22, Col. 1: 16) have authority to quell the power of the devil. They repel from people demonic temptations, uphold ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with evil ponderings.

In the Lowest Hierarchy are included the three Ranks: Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.

Principalities [Nachala] (Col. 1: 16) have command over the lower angels, instructing them in the fulfilling of Divine commands. To them are entrusted to direct the universe, and protect lands, nations and peoples. Principalities instruct people to render honour to everyone, as becomes their station. They teach those in authority to fulfill their necessary obligations, not for personal glory and gain, but out of respect for God and benefit for neighbour.

Archangels [Arkhangely] (1 Thess. 4: 16) announce about the great and most holy, they reveal the mysteries of the faith, prophecy and understanding of the will of God, they intensify deep faith in people, enlightening their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.

Angels [Angely] (1 Pet. 3: 22)are closest to all to people. They proclaim the intent of God, guiding people to virtuous and holy life. They protect believers restraining them from falling, and they raise up the fallen; never do they abandon us and always they are prepared to help us, if we so desire.

    All the Ranks of the Heavenly Powers have in common the name Angels — by virtue of their service. The Lord reveals His will to the highest of the Angels, and they in turn inform the others.

Over all the Nine Ranks, the Lord put the Holy Leader ("Archistrategos") Michael (his name in translation from the Hebrew means — "who is like unto God") — a faithful servitor of God, wherein he hurled down from Heaven the arrogantly proud day-star Lucifer together with the other fallen spirits. And to the remaining Angelic powers he cried out: "Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and not ponder that which is displeasing unto God!"

 

According to Church tradition, in the church service to the Archistrategos Michael concerning him, he participated in many other Old Testament events. During the time of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Through him the power of the Lord was made manifest, annihilating the Egyptians and Pharaoh who were in pursuit of the Israelites. The Archangel Michael defended Israel in all its misfortunes.


He appeared to Jesus Son of Navin (Joshua) and revealed the will of the Lord at the taking of Jericho (Nav. / Josh. 5: 13-16). The power of the great Archistrategos of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4 [2] Kings 19: 35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Antiochos Illiodoros; and in the protecting from fire of the Three Holy Youths — Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan. 3: 22-25).

Through the will of God, the Archistrategos Michael transported the Prophet Avvakum (Habbakuk) from Judea to Babylon, so as to give food to Daniel, locked up in a lions’ den (Kondak of Akathist, 8).


The Archangel Michael prevented the devil from displaying the body of the holy Prophet Moses to the Jews for idolisation (Jude 1: 9).


The holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he miraculously saved a lad, cast by robbers into the sea with a stone about his neck at the shores of Athos (Athos Paterikon).


From ancient times the Archangel Michael was famed by his miracles in Rus’. In the Volokolamsk Paterikon there is included a narrative of the Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk with an account of Tatar "baskaki" (tax-gatherers) concerning the miraculous saving of Novgorod the Great:

"And wherefore Great Novgorod never was taken by the Hagarites… when by the sufferance of God for our sins the godless Hagarite emperor Batu devoured and set aflame the Russian land and was come to the New City (i.e. Novgorod) and God and the MostHoly Mother of God shielded it with an appearance of Michael the Archistrategos, which did forbid him to enter into it. He [Batu] was come to the Lithuanian city and did come towards Kiev and did see the stone church over the doors of which the great Archangel Michael had written and spoken unto the prince his allotted fate: ‘By this we have forbidden entry into Great Novgorod’".


Intercession for Russian cities by the Most Holy Queen of Heaven always involved Her appearances with the Heavenly Hosts, under the leadership of the Archistategos. Grateful Rus’ acclaimed the MostPure Mother of God and the Archangel Michael in church singing. To the Archistrategos Michael are dedicated many a monastery, cathedrals, court and merchant churches. In old Kiev at the time of the accepting of Christianity, there was erected a cathedral of the Archangel, and a monastery also was built in his name. Archangel cathedrals stand at Smolensk, Nizhni Novgorod, Staritsa, a monastery at Great Ustiug (beginning XIII Century), and a cathedral at Sviyazhsk. In Rus’ there was not a city, wherein was not a church or chapel, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. One of the chief temples of the city of Moscow — the burial church in the Kremlin — is dedicated to him. Numerous and beautiful icons of the Chief-in-Rank of the Highest Powers are also in his Cathedral. One of these — the Icon "Blest Soldiery" –written in the Uspenie (Dormition) Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, where the saintly soldiers — Russian princes — are depicted under the leadership of the Archistrategos Michael.


    From Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are likewise known the Archangels: Gabriel – strength (power) of God, herald and servitor of Divine almightiness (Dan. 8: 16, Lk. 1: 26); Raphael — the healing of God, the curer of human infirmities (Tobit 3: 16, 12: 15); Uriel – the fire or light of God, enlightener (3 Ezdras 5: 20); Selaphiel – the prayer of God, impelling to prayer (3 Ezdras 5: 16); Jehudiel – the glorifying of God, encouraging exertion for the glory of the Lord and interceding about the reward of efforts; Barachiel – distributor of the blessing of God for good deeds, entreating the mercy of God for people; Jeremiel – the raising up to God (3 Ezdras 4:36).


    On icons the Archangels are depicted in accord with the trait of their service:


  •     Michael – tramples the devil underfoot, and in his left hand holds a green date-tree branch, and in his right hand — a spear with a white banner (or sometimes a fiery sword), on which is outlined a scarlet cross.
  •     Gabriel – with a branch from paradise, presented by him to the MostHoly Virgin, or with a shining lantern in his right hand and with a mirror made of jasper — in his left.
  •     Raphael – holds a vessel with healing medications in his left hand, and with his right hand leads Tobias, carrying the fish [for healing -- Tobit 5-8].
  •     Uriel – in raised right hand hold a bare sword at the level of his chest, and in his lowered left hand — "a fiery flame".
  •     Selaphiel – in a prayerful posture, gazing downwards, hands folded to the chest.
  •     Jehudiel – in his right hand holds a golden crown, in his left — a whip of three red (or black) branches.
  •     Barachiel – on his garb are a multitude of rose blossoms.
  •     Jeremiel – holds in his hand balance-scales.

©  1997  by translator Fr. S. Janos.

From the Menologion, which has daily readings, synaxarion (short lives of saints/desciption of feast days), and troparia and kontakia.

Get this program! I use it every day to read the daily readings, copy the text and comment (as often as I can).

GET IT HERE: http://saintjohnwonderworker.org/menologion.htm

 

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23rd Week After Pentecost – TUESDAY. The “longer” version of the “Our Father”

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008


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

 

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

 

Luke 11:1-10 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

 

 

The “Our Father” was taught by the Lord as a model of how to pray. The teaching does not end with the recitation of the prayer! IMMEDIATELY after the Lord finishes reciting the words that we know so well, He tells us we must pursue God in prayer. Too many recite the “Our Father” in the morning or evening, or perhaps even both times let this suffice as prayer for the day. This is not what the Lord taught us.

 

It is easy to learn prayers, but the Lord does not teach us to say prayers by rote here. We must be as the man who goes to his friend at Midnight. We must pray with consistency, insistency and expectation. It does us no good to know the right words to say if we do not say them in the right way.

 

Have we learned to pray as the Lord has taught us?

 

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/.

 

Priest Seraphim Nov 5/18 2008.                                                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church , McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/ pentecost-tuesday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;6-10+luke11;1-10.html

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/pentecost pentecost-tuesday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;6-10+luke11;1-10.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/ pentecost-tuesday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;6-10+luke11;1-10.pdf

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

Archive of: commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture 

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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23rd Week After Pentecost – MONDAY. “…and he to whom the Son will reveal him”

Monday, November 17th, 2008

23rd  Week After Pentecost – MONDAY

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

 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

 

Luke 10:22-24 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

 

 

The Gospel today contains the classic, immutable, Christological truth: salvation is through the Son. There are many places in scripture where Jesus touches on this critical dogma:

 

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:18

 

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. John 6:44-45

 

As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:15

 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3

 

There are many more scriptures which teach this central dogma of our faith, and not all of them are in the Gospel of John, but these have been selected because the Evangelist John preeminently among all the Apostles reveals the Son to the church.

 

Most heresies have denigrated the Son. This makes perfect sense if salvation is only through the Son, Who reveals the Father.  Of the “Great Three” religions, only true Christianity has the way of salvation, because it knows the Son. The Jews reject the Son, believing that the Messiah is not yet come, and the Moslems believe Jesus to be only a prophet, and subordinate in importance to Mohammed.

 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Son to be a creation of the Father, the Mormons likewise believe foolish things about the Son which are Arian in nature. Arianism is an ancient heresy, which was firmly addressed in the 1st Ecumenical council and is refuted for all time in the Symbol of Faith. It denies that the Son is God, believing Him to be a creation. A creature cannot perfectly know God. Only God knows Himself. If the Son is a creature, even if He is first created, and “god-like” in His qualities, He is incapable of knowing that which is higher than Himself, and His words: “no man knoweth… who the Father is, except the Son” (Luke 10:22, above) are a lie.

 

The question which we must answer if we are to be saved, is how do we place ourselves amongst those of whom the Lord says: “and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him” (Luke 10:22, above)

 

The Son knows the Father because He is like Him. So then, for us to know the Father, we must become like the Son. Like understands like. The Son understands the Father, and if we are like the Son, we will share in the Son’s understanding, which He will share with us. Of course, we cannot become the Son, since we are creatures, but as we have the “adoption of sonship”[1], we can become like the Son in morality, thought and purpose.

 

There is no other way to be saved, but to strive for moral improvement. Our works do not of themselves save us, but without working to become better morally, we can never understand God.

 

It is understandable, therefore, that another major way to attack the way of salvation (other than directly slandering Jesus Christ, as described above) is to deny that works are necessary to be saved. This is a “standard” Protestant heresy held by many. They misunderstand the Scriptures, because they do not read them in the context of the church.

 

Do not join in this heresy. We cannot know God is we do not struggle to become like Him. We cannot know the Father, except through the Son, but we can know the Son. He lived among us; He is God and man, and He showed us the way of life, for our eyes to see and our ears to hear, by his example and His words.

 

Today, the best and most important thing you must do in order to be closer to salvation is to become more like the Son.

 

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mat 11:29

 

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 Nov 4/17 2008.                                                                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/pentecost-monday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;1-5+luke10;22-24.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/pentecost-monday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;1-5+luke10;22-24.pdf

 

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

Archive of: commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture 

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 



[1] Gal 4:4-7  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (5)  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  (6)  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  (7)  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

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22nd Sunday 2008. The Rich Man and Lazarus. Be a good steward.

Monday, November 17th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.



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OTHER HOMILIES FOR THIS DAY

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_1997.html
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_1999+the-rich-man-and-lazarus.doc
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Rich Man And Lazarus
1999

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2002+the-parable-of-the-rich-man-and-lazarus.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Parable Of The Rich Man And Lazarus
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2003.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2003

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2004.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2004+rus.rtf
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (RTF format)
In Rusian
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2008-11-16.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Be a good steward.
Luke 16:19-31
2008

 

 

 


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22nd Week After Pentecost – FRIDAY

Friday, November 14th, 2008

 








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

 

Colossians 4:10-18 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

 

Luke 10:1-15 After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

 

 

Luke 10:1 After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

 

The sending of the 70 disciples was prophesied in the OT:

 

“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” (Exo 15:27) 

 

The 12 and the 70 foreshadow the 12 and the 70 apostles. Note how the 12 Apostles are wells (or fountains) of water, which in turn nourish the 70 palm trees. The teaching of the Apostles is preeminent, and feeds their disciples, and the entire church. It is fully appropriate that these fountains and palm trees were found at “Elim”, which interpreted means “ascent”. The fruit of the palm tree fully describes the teaching of the church, because, as Blessed Theophylact points out, the fruit is “sweet, yet tempered with astringency” (Commentary of Luke 10:1-3) This same idea is expressed when the Good Samaritan, our Savior, poured into the wounds of the traveler oil and wine.[1] Any true Christian teaching will have these qualities. We need to be encouraged and rebuked, many times at the same moment in time. The oil soothes us, and without it we would lose heart, but the wine cleanses us, and without it, our wounds, caused by our passions and sins, would fester and we would die.  

 

We know these things about this passage because it is part of the mind of the church. Correct biblical exegesis is not possible unless we share the mind of the church. This is obtained not only by reading the commentaries of the holy fathers (the meaning of this passage, for instance is expounded in Blessed Theophylact), but also especially by living the life of the church, and worshipping in an Orthodox manner.

 

The scriptures are continually interpreted in our services, especially in the matins service, and its canons. We can learn the inner meaning of the scriptures if we think and live liturgically. The word “liturgy” means “the work of the people”. It is not only a Sunday morning service, but the whole of our life. It is a terrible shame that we moderns have become by and large a non-liturgical people, with the liturgy confined to less than two hours on Sunday, instead of including daily perusal of the Holy Scriptures, fasting, standing in the other services in worship, with intent to learn of the things of God.

 

I have stated before and do so again that the most important two hours of the entire week is the matins service on Saturday evening. In it we take time out to stop all other distractions of life, and try to learn of the things of God, where the scriptures, the commandments and the way of life is expounded. . The Divine Liturgy is the center of our liturgical life, but it cannot be fully appreciated or understood without the entirety of our life being liturgical. If we wish to understand the scriptures, we must not only read them, but also worship with them and follow them.

 

Luke 10:5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

 

For many years this verse was a puzzle to me. How can our peace return to us again? Now after many years, it is clear: in all things we should bless and be bringers of peace. This describes a way of life, an attitude which we should bring to every encounter. There is no trace of cynicism in this way of life, and neither is there simple mindedness. We are to be “harmless as doves and wise as serpents”.

[2]

 

This passage tells us that we will never lose our peace, no matter how it is received. We must, give the “benefit of the doubt” to every man, in every situation. If our teaching, or help is rejected, our peace returns to us, and we are no poorer, but only if our efforts were accomplished in the spirit of peace. I have learned the hard way that nothing in my ministry has ever been successful unless I first said “Peace be to this house”, and then proceeded.

 

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/22nd-week-after-pentecost_friday_colossians4;10-18+luke10;1-15.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_friday_colossians4;10-18+luke10;1-15.pdf

 

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

Archive of: commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture 

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

 



[1] Luke 10:33-34  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  (34)  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

[2] Mat 10:16  Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

 

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I hope this sums it up for you.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

 

“Lord, we ain’t what we want to be;
we ain’t what we ought to be;
we ain’t what we gonna be,
but, thank God,
we ain’t what we was.”

An American preacher and former slave quoted by Martin Luther King Jr.

(gleaned from http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2008/11/farewell.html)

 

I stress several things over in over in my homilies, and often in private sessions in confession. I hope you know what they are! This quote sums up one of those themes.

 

Since the Christian life is about change, we should be able to recognize changes to the good and bad in our way of life, always knowing that we have not yet reached perfection. Humility does NOT mean that we should not recognize when we have changes to the better! This quote captures the right spirit we should maintain – a sense of not doing enough, with a profound thankfulness that we have done something good, with God helping us.

Today’s readings are really good. I want to write something about them, but cannot seem to get anything down. Please read them on your own.

 

 

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22nd Week After Pentecost – TUESDAY.

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

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

 

Colossians 2:20-3:3 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

 

Luke 9:23-27 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

 

 

Luke 9:23-27 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

It is interesting how one little word can really strengthen a thought. In this verse, the word DAILY stands out brightly as a challenge and a reminder. I have spoken many times about how the scripture can be used as a sort of mnemonic device (something which helps us remember the right way to think, act and live).  It would be good to check ourselves DAILY: are we taking up our cross, or are we just going through our daily routine without thought, effort or purpose? Indeed, it would be good at least hourly to check on how we are bearing our cross this day, if indeed we are struggling at all.

 

 

One cannot understand what the Lord is saying unless he understands what he should deny for himself, and what the talking up of the cross means. This cannot be understood unless there is effort in the Christian life.

 

There have been many false interpretations of our Lord’s command. Various heresies have taught that we must deny ourselves all pleasure or even cause ourselves pain and suffering (since, in taking up our cross, we must suffer as our Lord did on His cross) in order to be saved. Many have left the Lord’s company, like those who heard His teaching about being the bread of life, because this command seemed incomprehensible and too difficult for them.

 

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?  … 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:60.66 

 

All of the commands of our Lord can be understood only if they are followed. This is partially counter-intuitive to the mind of man. We tend to do something only after we have investigated it, and understood at least a little about it. At first, one must struggle to deny oneself pleasurable things, such as indulgence of the flesh, luxury and ease, but as one grows in the Christian life, he sees that the things which previously were difficult to deny to himself change in their appearance, and he sees them as they really are.

 

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

 

A life of indulgence, luxury and ease does not bring happiness, and never has and never will. It only wastes time, and dulls the senses of the soul, and we are left with a vague feeling of unhappiness and unfulfillment. The things we are called to deny ourselves of are all injurious to us.  We are able to see this only with experience. Most people never know why they feel this way. A very few, such as the prodigal son, come to their senses and see why their soul is in such a state. A better way to learn the benefit of denying ourselves is to live with effort and desire. 

 

A similar reading from St Mark is used on the 3rd Sunday of Great Lent (Mark 8:34-9:1). See http://www.orthodox.net/sermons under the Heading “Third Sunday of Great Lent” for homilies on this topic.

 

Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

 

This is a reference to our Lord’s transfiguration, which followed some few days after He spoke these words.

 

 

 

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 29/Nov 11  2008.                                                                                           St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_tuesday_colossians;22-33+luke9;23-27.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_tuesday_colossians;22-33+luke9;23-27.pdf

 

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

Archive of: commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture 

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

 

 

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