Archive for July, 2010

Feeding of the 5000. 8th Sunday. A promise, a command and instructions in how to accomplish the command. Audio Homily. 2010.

Monday, July 19th, 2010

miracle-feeding-the-multitude-coptic

 

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More homilies on the 8th Sunday after Pentecost at:

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Matthew 14:14-22 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. 15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.


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Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. What defines the ministry of the Apostles? Audio Homily

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

What defines the ministry of the Apostles?
Peter's confession.
The hundred and fifty three fish and the Restoration of Peter.
The life of the Apostles and the church is built upon the bedrock of the confession of faith.

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7th Sunday after Pentecost. The only path to happiness. Romans 15:1-7. Audio Homily

Monday, July 12th, 2010

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Romans 15:1-7 1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

 

More Homilies on this Sunday at: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#7th_Sunday_after_Pentecost


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Gleanings:The Incarnation vis-a-vis humanity and divinity

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Some incredible quotes from the Fathers and others regarding the implications of the incarnation. Taken from: "Beyond all Things – On the incarnation" (http://beyondallthings.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/on-the-incarnation/)

christ-pantocrator

Christ – Pantocrator

St. Clement of Alexandria: “The Word of God became man, that you may learn from man how man may become God.”

St. Athanasius of Alexandria: “For he was made man that we might be made God…and…he himself has made us sons of the Father, and deified men by becoming himself man.”

St. Gregory of Nazianzus (the Theologian): “Let us become as Christ is, since Christ became as we are; let us become gods for his sake, since he became man for our sake.”

St. Gregory of Nyssa: “…the Word became incarnate so that by becoming as we are, he might make us as he is.”

St. John Chrysostom: “He became Son of man, who was God’s own Son, in order that he might make the sons of men to be children of God.”

St. Ephrem the Syrian: “He gave us divinity, we gave him humanity.”

St. Hilary of Poitiers: “For when God was born to be man, the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost but that, the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be god.”

St. Augustine of Hippo: “God wanted to be the Son of Man and he wanted men to be the Sons of God.”

Pope St. Leo the Great: “[The Savior] was made the son of man, so that we could be the sons of God…and…He united humanity to himself in such a way that he remained God, unchangeable. He imparted divinity to human beings in such a way that he did not destroy, but enriched them, by glorification.”

Martin Luther in a Christmas sermon: “For the Word becomes flesh precisely so that the flesh may become word. In other words: God becomes man so that man may become God.”

John Calvin: “This is the wonderful exchange which, out of his measureless benevolence, he has made with us; that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power; that, receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself (which oppressed us), he has clothed us with his righteousness.”

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St Peter the Aleut Summer Camp 2010. Picture and reflections.

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Group Picture of St Peter the Aleut Summer Camp 6/28 - 7/2 ns 2010

St Peter the Aleut Summer camp Group Picture

(from Elizabeth Whiteford)

 

I just finished my third St Peter the Aleut summer camp at "Camp Grady Spruce". (June 28 – July 2 2010 ns) This is a wonderful camp and I highly recommend it. A few reflections (in stream of consciousness order)

1. It was not so hot! Last year it was 100 degrees almost every day. This year was for the most part very comfortable.

2. The food is good and it is very easy to fast. I love cherry peppers and halapenos and ate a zillion of them.Peanut butter and sunflower seeds were always available.

3. The coffee was bad, as in last year, but this time I was prepared! I left that part of the camp experience far behind.

4. I ate peanut butter and jalepeno and banana sandwiches for breakfast. This is quite good, and I started a trend, as one morning almost all of the "Eggs" (E group) ate them.

5. I was a very busy camp nurse (along with Uli, from near Austin), counselor for the 8-12 y/o boys, and of course served, conducted discussions, preached and was one of the clergy at the campfires.Other than that, I just chiiled.

6. One of the boys made my day when he asked me to write down the "Four bows" (Give the first fruits of your day to the Lord The "Four Bows" ) which I had previously talked about with him and several others as we walked to chow. I think he was really interested, and it is always good to get a little feedback. A priest gets very little. ,

7.It is always a joy to spend time with Fr John (St Seraphim's, Dallas) and Fr Antonio (St George, Pharr, Texas). I am honored to count them among my friends.

"Little Mount Athos, the bluff to the left, on Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. From http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/photo.php?pid=2124132&id=5978620778. I got to go to "Little Mount Athos" three times! This is my favorite part. It consists of a boat ride to a rock peninsula (left in the picture) not too far from camp. We walk up it,passing lots of cactus on the way, and have a wonderful view from the top. We meet a "holy elder" who "gives us a word". I hope we canoe to it sometime.

9. Another child made my day when we were eating lunch on the way home and asked me in confusion "we are not supposed to eat meat today are we?" as she had observed what I also saw – most young people were observing the Friday Fast. I told her that since we were commemorating St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (it was the anniversary of his repose, celebrated in the same day by old and new Calendar alike), we could have fish, and she was quite pleased. So was I.

10. We have good youth, but most do not fast very much. There is much that is good about them – they are truly good kids – but this is a shortcoming that does not help them with the temptations of youth. I have no solution for this except to teach when I can (in my parish), fast myself, and pray. By the way, I kept the fast, and nobody said boo to me about it and I never went hungry.

11. The boys I was with with were a blast. They are at the age where I am still "smart". :) They are with me on the bottom middle row, and the first two on the left of the row above.

12. The most fun I had in group discussions was with the little girls. They are very lively and animated, and many of them were well informed.

13. As in the last camp, after some of the group discussions we did pushups. I did them too. This may be a tradition.

14., As is usual for our camp, things were peaceful and there were no "incidents". These are all good kids.

15. The talent show was good, but things got a little out of hand – we took too long and the campfire that night was very short. I think a lot of people really look forward to the campfires. Also, I vote against Karioke! Just one man's opinion. I recognized a Taylor Swift song, but am quite proud to state that I have no idea about the other ones.

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6th Sun after Pentecost. The Paralytic. Faith. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The Healing of theParalytic

The healing of the paralytic shows that God hears the prayers of those who have faith. This is both a promise and a rebuke for us. We are responsible before God to have faith so that our prayers for our loved ones are effective. How do we gain more faith?

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Matthew 9:1-8 1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.


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Watch! – Words from St John Maximovich on his feast day.

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

john-maximovitch

Stand fast on spiritual watch, because you don't know when the Lord will call you to Himself. In your earthly life be ready at any moment to give Him an account. Beware that the enemy does not catch you in his nets, that he not deceive you causing you to fall into temptation. Daily examine your conscience; try the purity of your thoughts, your intentions.

There was a king who had a wicked son. Having no hope that he would change for the better, the father condemned the son to death. He gave him a month to prepare.

The month went by, and the father summoned the son. To his surprise he saw that the young man was noticeably changed: his face was thin and drawn, and his whole body looked as if it had suffered.

"How is it that such a transformation has come over you, my son?" the father asked.

"My father and my lord," replied the son, "how could I not change when each passing day brought me closer to death?"

"Good, my son," remarked the king. "Since you have evidently come to your senses, I shall pardon you. However, you must maintain this vigilant disposition of soul for the rest of your life."

"Father," replied the son, "that's impossible. How can I withstand the countless seductions and temptations?"

Then the king ordered that a vessel be brought, full of oil, and he told his son: "Take this vessel and carry it along all the streets of the city. Following you will be two soldiers with sharp swords. If you spill so much as a single drop they will cut off your head."

The son obeyed. With light, careful steps, he walked along all the streets, the soldiers accompanying him, and he did not spill a drop.

When he returned to the castle, the father asked, "My son, what did you see as you were walking through the city?"

"I saw nothing."

"What do you mean, 'nothing'?" said the king.

"Today is a holiday; you must have seen the booths with all kinds of trinkets, many carriages, people animals…"

"I didn't notice any of that," said the son. "All my attention was focussed on the oil in the vessel. I was afraid to spill a drop and thereby lose my life."

"Quite right, my son," said the king. "Keep this lesson in mind for the rest of you life. Be as vigilant over your soul as you were today over the oil in the vessel. Turn your thoughts away from what will soon pass away, and keep them focused on what is eternal. You will be followed not by armed soldiers but by death to which we are brought closer by every day. Be very careful to guard your soul from all ruinous temptations."

The son obeyed his father, and lived happily.

Watch, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (ICor. 16:13).

The Apostle gives Christians this important counsel to bring their attention to the danger of this world, to summon them to frequent examination of their hearts, because without this one can easily bring to ruin the purity and ardor of one's faith and unnoticeably cross over to the side of evil and faithlessness.

Just as a basic concern is to be careful of anything that might be harmful to our physical health, so our spiritual concern should watch out for anything that might harm our spiritual life and the work of faith and salvation. Therefore, carefully and attentively assess your inner impulses: are they from God or from the spirit of evil? Beware of temptations from this world and from worldly people; beware of hidden inner temptations which come from the spirit of indifference and carelessness in prayer, from the waning of Christian love.

If we turn our attention to our mind, we notice a torrent of successive thoughts and ideas. This torrent is uninterrupted; it is racing everywhere and at all times: at home, in church, at work, when we read, when we converse. It is usually called thinking, writes Bishop Theophan the Recluse, but in fact it is a disturbance of the mind, a scattering, a lack of concentration and attention.

The same happens with the heart. Have you ever observed the life of the heart? Try it even for a short time and see what you find. Something unpleasant happens, and you get irritated; some misfortune occurs, and you pity yourself; you see someone whom you dislike, and animosity wells up within you; you meet one of your equals who has now outdistanced you on the social scale, and you begin to envy him; you think of your talents and capabilities, and you begin to grow proud…

All this is rottenness: vainglory, carnal desire, gluttony, laziness, malice-one on top of the other, they destroy the heart. And all of this can pass through the heart in a matter of minutes. For this reason one ascetic, who was extremely attentive to himself, was quite right in saying that "man's heart is filled with poisonous serpents. Only the hearts of saints are free from these serpents, the passions."

But such freedom is attained only through a long and difficult process of self-knowledge, working on oneself and being vigilant towards one's inner life, i.e., the soul.

Be careful. Watch out for your soul! Turn your thoughts away from what will soon pass away and turn them towards what is eternal. Here you will find the happiness that your soul seeks, that your heart thirsts for.

(Translated from Pravoslavnaya Rus) and taken from
ORTHODOX AMERICA, Vol. XIV, No. 2-3, September-October, 1993


It is appropriate to quote words form St John on his feast day, which we have observed to the best of our sinful and distractible abilities by serving vigil last night and Divine Liturgy this morning.

St John is the patron of our parish brotherhood. May he help increase our zeal and cause our brotherhood to be what it should be. Right now, we are weak, and very distracted. Our liturgy attendance, not to mention vigil, was poor – and on such an important day! We are distracted people[, and should take St John's words to heart. Through his holy prayers, may we live according to the commandments, and teach the community we are planted in to do the same.

 

St John has a special significance for me, because I started my Texas pastoral ministry on the day of his glorification. That was the day I moved to Texas. I have felt I have been under his protection ever since. My ministry is miniscule compared to his, because of my sins, but if I continue to pray, and serve, and do the best I can, though his prayers, may the infirm vessel be filled and may our parish grow and be a light to the community.

 

 

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