Newsletter. Themes of 2nd Sunday of Lent, svc schedule, prayer requests, more.

The services for this 2nd Sunday of Great Lent have two major themes: our Lord’s parable of the Prodigal Son and the memory of St. Gregory Palamas.

We heard the parable of the Prodigal Son at the Divine Liturgy 2 weeks before Lent began, and the theme is repeated in the texts of the services throughout the fast, especially during this week. This parable is to a very great degree the theme of Great Lent. …

The Original parable of the vineyard compared with the NT version and “The man of judah his beloved plant” Isaiah 4:2-5:7

Christians should read, along with the church, the OT readings prescribed for Great Lent. It is appropriate to read Isaiah, because in describing the sins of the Jewish Nation and their consequences, it outlines the human condition and the need for a Messiah, and indeed, there are many important messianic prophesies in Isaiah. The original parable of the vineyard is in Isaiah, and it is like the retelling of the parable from our Lord in the Gospels, but also unlike it is some very important ways. The end of the parable in Isaiah mentions the “Man of Judah, His beloved plant”, and in context, this is none other that a prophesy of the need for and the coming of the God-man Jesus Christ.

“Follow me” and “Come and see” The simplest and most important instructions to live according to the Triumph of Orthodoxy.

The “Triumph of Orthodoxy” is not only a historical event that we commemorate today, but also applies to every individual Christian. We spoke about the meaning of icons and the incarnation last night – the triumph of Orthodoxy for the individual is that, as one of the hymns teaches, because of the incarnation “the sullied image (of God, in us) has been restored to its ancient glory and filled with the divine beauty.” The readings today teach us how to realize in our lives this promise, and the Gospel is short and succinct – the Lord commands us to “Follow me” and “Come and see” What does this mean practically for us.?

The Uncircumscribed Word Of The Father Became Circumscribed. The Meaning Of Icons, from Vespers and Matins, Sunday of Orthodoxy.

The true meaning of icons is proclaimed in the Sunday of Orthodoxy Services. The “surface meaning” of an icon is that we can depict Jesus Christ as a man precisely because He became a man. We are not satisfied with such a shallow explanation, and the services delve much deeper into the meaning of the incarnation. Two examples, one from Vespers, and the other from matins, describe the wonder of the incarnation. Every time we gaze upon an icon, we must remember that we, who have nothing in common with God, can know God because He chose to have everything in common (one hymn, below, describes this as the God-man taking on all the “distinctive properties” of our flesh), with us, save sin.

Thou who art uncircumscribed, O Master, in Thy divine nature, / wast pleased in the last times to take flesh and be circumscribed; / and in assuming flesh, / Thou hast also taken on Thyself all its distinctive properties. / Therefore we depict the likeness of Thine outward form, / venerating it with an honor that is relative. / So we are exalted to the love of Thee, / and following the holy traditions handed down by the apostles // from Thine icon we receive the grace of healing. (Sunday of Orthodoxy, “Lord I have cried”, Tone VI, spec. mel.: ‘Having set all your hope’)

The uncircumscribed Word of the Father became circumscribed, taking flesh from thee, O Theotokos, and He restored the sullied image to its ancient glory, filling it with the divine beauty. This our salvation we confess in deed and word, and we depict it in the holy icons. (Sunday of Orthodoxy, Kontakion, Tone 8)

Clean Friday 2011. The Spoil of the poor and other posts.

The Lord himself shall enter into judgment with the elders of the people, and with their rulers: but why have ye set my vineyard on fire, and why is the spoil of the poor in your houses?

Friday in the First Week – At the Sixth Hour – Is 3:1-14

Why is the spoil of the poor in your houses?

The Lord asks a question of the Jews through the prophet. Does this question apply to us? …

Also links to the entire lectionary, other meditations and homilies for this week.

The purpose of Great Lent, by Deacon Nicholas Park

Beloved brothers and sisters, what is the purpose of Great Lent?

The purpose of the Great Fast is the same as that of our entire life: the attainment of God’s likeness. Last Sunday we heard about the Last Judgment, when at the 2nd coming of our Lord we will all be judged on the basis of our works of mercy — on the extent to which we have become like our merciful and loving God. …