Archive for May, 2011

Meditations on the Paschal Canon, Ode 9

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Continuing the mediation on the Paschal Canon which I began in this post. The attentive reader might wonder when Odes 4-8 were posted. I'm wondering when I'll get around to writing them – perhaps next year, perhaps never… But it seemed appropriate to reflect on Ode 9 as we prepare to give up the feast for the year.

Ode 9

While the first eight biblical odes are taken from the Old Testament, the ninth is from the new. It consists of two different hymns in honor of the Saving Ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ: that of Zacharias (Luke 1:68-79) and that of the Theotokos (Luke 1:46-55).

The song of Zacharias speaks of the coming of the Messiah as the fulfillment of the promise given to the prophets and fathers,"that being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life." It speaks also of John the Baptist's role as the Lord's prophet and forerunner:

…to give knowledge of salvation to His people, by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; by which the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.

The song of the Theotokos speaks of God's strength and the great grace which He gives to those who humbly trust in Him — and in particular to she who surpasses all others in her humility and devotion:

My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy [is] his name…

This is the only one of the biblical odes that we continue to sing in (almost) every matins service, with the addition of the hymn "More honorable then the Cherubim…" thus fulfilling her prophecy: "for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."

For this reason, the ninth ode of nearly every canon has some reference to the Theotokos, particularly in the Irmos. The Paschal canon is no exception:

Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee! Dance, now, and be glad, O Zion; and do thou exult, O pure Theotokos, in the arising of Him whom thou didst bear!

The Lord has risen and has thus enlightened all of us, shining forth His glory upon all of us, especially on those who have been united to His Body, the Holy Church which He established, the new Jerusalem. And that glory shines forth most clearly in those who through humility and trust in Him have prepared themselves to receive it: the righteous of all ages, and at their head the Most Holy Theotokos who gave Him birth.

O how divine, how loving, how sweet is Thy voice. For Thou hast truly promised to be with us unto the end of the age, O Christ! Having this foundation of hope, we faithful rejoice!

"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world!" (Matt 28:20) If the risen Lord is with us, "who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31) What fear need we have if we place all of our hope in Him who has conquered sin, evil and death?

O Great and Most Sacred Pascha, Christ!

As we reflected in the beginning of Ode I, Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover (or Pascha in Greek). If in the Old Testament Passover the Hebrew people were delivered from bondage to the Egyptian tyrant, through Christ we are delivered from the tyranny of the devil! Truly this is a great and sacred Passover!

O Wisdom, Word and Power of God!

St. John the Evangelist calls our Lord Jesus Christ "the Word" of God. He is also God's Wisdom and God's Power, according to the testimony of the fathers of the Church. He is as it were the "right hand" of the Father and nobody can know the Father except through Him. What greater deliverer could there be?

Grant us to more perfectly partake of Thee in the unwaning day of Thy kingdom!

And not only has He delivered us, but He has also granted us to "partake of" Himself. This is a reference to Communion, both physical and spiritual. His victory over sin and death has been accomplished but its effects will not be fully revealed until the last day. Likewise, our Communion with Him is limited now but will be complete in His Kingdom. May He grant us to partake in this great grace!

And lest we forget:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

In the immortal words of St. Seraphim of Sarov,

My joy, Christ is Risen!

Dn. Nicholas Park

Share

The Sunday of the Blind Man. What must I do to be saved?

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Icons of the healing of the blind man

LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The story of the healing of the blind man who washed in the pool of Siloam is a primer on what we must do and must not do – to be saved. We discuss some very important dogma presented at the beginning of the reading (what does it mean when is says Jesus "passed by" – it is something very specific, personal and important, questions abut sin, what our Lord's important statement about work during the day means), and then we look at the character of the blind man, and the ruling Jewish elite. A clear pattern emerges of the things WE must do, and the things that God will do it we do these necessary things.

More homilies on the Sunday of the Blind Man are HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icons of the healing of the blind man

Icon of the healing of the blind man

Icon of the healing of the blind man

John 9:1-38 1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. 8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. 12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. 13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. 26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-06_2011-05-29+the-blind-man+what-must-i-do-to-be-saved_john9-1-38.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-06_2011-05-29+the-blind-man+what-must-i-do-to-be-saved_john9-1-38.mp3


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

Share

You can’t be saved unless you have character. God will not give it to you. Text/Audio. Sunday of the Blind Man.

Saturday, May 28th, 2011


Sunday of the Blind Man – Sixth Sunday of Pascha

You can’t be saved unless you have character. God will not give it to you.
John 9:1-38

2010

 

The Healing of the Blind Man. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/miracle-sunday-of-the-blind-man-sixth-sunday-of-pascha-01.jpgIn the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Christ is risen! (Truly He is risen!) Christos voskrese! (Voistinu voskrese!) Christos aneste! (Alithos aneste!)[1]

 
Today, brothers and sisters, it’s already the fifth Sunday of Pascha and the Sunday of the blind man, and in keeping with all the other Sundays it is a day in which we read about someone who is enlightened and the process of their enlightenment, and we have another important characteristic of enlightenment especially shown today. It is shown in some of the others too, in St. Thomas, in the Samaritan Woman, but especially here we see incredible courage; we see incredible character.

 
You can’t be saved unless you have character. God’s not going to give it to you. You can’t be saved unless in your heart you want to be honest and in your heart you want to be courageous. You won’t be saved unless you have good character. Don’t depend on God to give it to you. You have to have it. You have to have a desire to be good. This is good character. Whether or not you make mistakes and you have sins – that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what is it that you desire and what is it that you value and how do you order your life?

The blind man shows us how we should live. Put yourself in his position for a moment. The question that the disciples asked, everyone else would have been asking too. Who sinned, this man or his parents? So he was basically persona non grata in that kind of society. They thought there must have been some sin that he had committed or his parents, something that marked him as untouchable.

We also know from our tradition that he didn’t even have eyes[2], just had sockets with holes in them. So he must have looked very strange, and he would beg for his daily bread, and of course he wouldn’t get much, and he was alone.

 

Then comes Jesus and He heals him. He heals him in a very strange way. He takes clay and spits on it, makes it into little balls and makes, basically, eye balls for him, smashing them into his sockets and then tells him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam, which of course is indicative of baptism. It’s a type[3] of baptism, to go to the water and to wash and to be cleansed.

 
And even there we see that baptism is not just the remission of sins; it’s also the cleansing of sinful nature, typified here by here by his blindness. It does not just remit our sins; it makes us capable of not sinning.
 

Healing of the Blind Man http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/miracle-sunday-of-the-blind-man-sixth-sunday-of-pascha-03.jpgSo he goes to the Pool of Siloam to wash. It wasn’t easy. It’s not like he had a Seeing Eye dog or anything. He had to stumble there, people looking at him with mud on his face, wash and then he saw, a great miracle.

 

Now, just as we see good character in the blind man, we see horrible character in the Pharisees and the Sadducees. We should pause a moment to wonder why did they wonder if this man was the one who was healed. They knew it. Oh yes, I’m sure he looked quite different with eyes now, whereas before he had no eyes. But it was a small town; it’s not as if they didn’t recognize him. But they didn’t want to recognize the healing which occurred on the Sabbath day, so they had some pretense for questioning him because there’s not supposed to be work done on the Sabbath day.

But the Lord had already addressed this question, perhaps not until this time. I don’t know when He said this, but remember when He said that if you have an ox or an ass and it falls into the ditch on the Sabbath day, what are you going to do? You’re going to pull it out[4]. Are you going to feed your animals on the Sabbath day? Well, of course. It’s never wrong to do any good on the Sabbath day.

We don’t have a Sabbath day, as it were, anymore, but certainly we have excuses we can make for ourselves about what we do or don’t do. Let not us make any kind of excuse as to whether or not we should do good. We should always do good, no matter what[5]. No matter what day it is or time it is or no matter what the consequences of doing that good are.

So the Jews had a pretense that He healed on the Sabbath day, so they were questioning the man, trying to determine is this really the one. And so they asked him questions and they’re hostile. I am sure he noticed it, and he knew that if he didn’t answer the questions in the right way, what he had hoped for all of his life, was going to go away in an instant because he wanted to be part of the community again, to be part of the synagogue, to be one with his people again, to be considered a peer instead of some sort of outcast. But they were questioning him vehemently, and he was standing up to their questioning.

Now, if you look at the questioning, we won’t go into great detail, but it’s interesting to see how he progressively learns, progressively understands. Part of his understanding comes from the very opposition against Jesus Christ. But first they question him, and he told him how he got his vision. He says, a man named Jesus told me to wash in the Pool of Siloam, and now I see. And then he comes up with the idea that he must be a prophet if He healed him. And then they call his parents because they still don’t want to believe. They’re blinded with envy. They’re blinded with their own false priorities, their own hidden agendas.

Brothers and sisters, don’t think we are so far from the Pharisees. Any time that you do something with an ulterior motive, you’re like the Pharisees. Any time that you do something dishonestly for your own gain but making it appear that it’s for something else, you’re a Pharisee. This is a common human condition, to be full of pride and to be jealous and to manipulate things. This is what they were trying to do.

So just as we see the blind man as exemplary in character and we should try to have his type of character, we should also see what the Pharisees do. And then we should try to avoid such things. Look in your life carefully. If you’re careful, you’ll see. There’s a lot of dishonesty there. You may not tell a lie, but will you act in a way that’s a lie? Christianity is always about telling the truth or actually, I should say, Christianity is always about being the truth. Jesus Christ is the truth[6], and we are supposed to become like Him. So we should be the truth in everything we do, in the things we say and the things we do, in our motivations. They’re the most important thing to check of all. Because from your motivations comes everything.

So they continue to question him, and they really bring him to an understanding that since they really hate this man Jesus so much, there must be something to this. So he says to them that it has never been known since the beginning of time that a man blind would receive sight. If this man were a sinner, He couldn’t give me sight. And then they cast him out.

 

It takes great courage for him to say what he said. He had been denied by his parents. He saw that the authorities were about to cast him out if he didn’t say the right things. He could have said the right things and they would have left him alone. He could have either feigned ignorance or he could have — what is the saying? — thrown Jesus under the bus, somehow, and he could have skated by. It would not have been that hard to do. But instead he spoke, not only the truth, but he spoke with great courage and showed the Pharisees and the Sadducees how false they were in the way that they were speaking.

Brothers and sisters, we live now in a time that takes great courage. Perhaps it will become worse. You know, there are places in the world where it is very, very hard to be a Christian. Just think of places like Egypt where rape is an everyday occurrence for Christians. But in this society it comes more in little things where the society, our business, or other institutions, try to make us think in a certain way. No, we must think in a Christian way. We must have the courage to think in this way and not be afraid to say what is the truth and to live the truth. That’s what this blind man is teaching us. You can’t be saved unless you have courage. I kind of looked over some of my old sermons and I guess I always said that, because it’s critically important. If you don’t have courage, you can’t be saved. It won’t happen. If you don’t have personal integrity, you won’t be saved.

Now, God will help you in all things. But He will not give you integrity. You must have it. If you have the desire to do well, He will help you to do well. But if you don’t have that desire, He will not give it to you. [READ THE FOOTNOTE![7]] You must have good character to be saved. And the blind man shows us this.

Enlightenment comes to those who have the capacity to understand. Certainly our sins and our passions obscure the truth from us; there’s no doubt; it happens to every human being. But if we don’t even have the right priorities, we are lost completely. We must have the right priorities in how we live our life. Honesty and courage are among the greatest of these priorities. The blind man had them. This is what this really teaches me every time I read it. It takes a lot of courage to be a Christian. I hope you know this. I hope you feel sometimes the pull on you and you pull back, because you can’t be saved unless you have good character.

May God help us to be like the blind man. There will come many times in your life where you will have to stand up and be counted. And you know, the way things are going in our society, it could be that there will be repression in some period of time. You can look at the signs. Things are happening. Things are becoming more controlling. There’s more possibility of control. I don’t want to speak politically here, but if you just have eyes to see and ears to hear, you can see that the world is moving in such a way that controlling people will be easier and easier. And you can see in our society how things that used to be unthinkable and unspeakable now are codified in law. And now we are under pressure to accept these things, sometimes not only with our silence but even with our acquiescence in the work place and in the school and other places.

It takes courage to be a Christian. Do not be afraid to speak the truth. And if you’re not afraid to speak the truth, then God will help you in everything. But if you refuse to speak the truth, then you are denying Jesus Christ. And you know what the Scripture says: If we deny Him, He will deny us[8].

I’ve told you many times before, don’t be afraid of sin; Be afraid of not repenting of sin. If you have good character, God will help you with your sin. If you’re a little sketchy, as far as your morality, if you’re a little dishonest here and there, then you might not get help.

So let us be honest, let us be courageous like the blind man, because it is only if we have good character that God will do everything, with His grace, to make us truly good in everything. God help us.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·          Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-06_2010-05-09+the-blind-man.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-06_2010-05-09+the-blind-man.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-06_2010-05-09+the-blind-man.mp3

 

More Homilies on the Sunday of the Blind Manhttp://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#The_Blind_Man

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

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

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

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list (http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

 

 

 



[1] It is the custom during the Paschal season (from Pascha till the day before the Ascension) to greet one another with “Christ is risen!” which is answered “Truly He is risen!” The Faithfull’s “answers” are in parentheses. The languages used are English, Slavonic and Greek. This should not be said softly.

[2] The service texts make this clear. Vespers and Matins are critical for the Christians because they contain the bulk of teaching. Divine Liturgy is not primarily for teaching. We are mediocre as a people because so few Orthodox value the evening services.

[3] “Type” – something that foreshadows or “points to” an important event or doctrine, such as baptism, the cross, the resurrection, etc. Examples: the “sign of Jonah”, which of course is a type of the resurrection, Moses holding the staff with the serpent on the top, which the people looked upon to be healed, which is a type of the cross. There are hundreds and perhaps thousands of types in the OT and even in the NT also.

[4] Luke 13:15 KJV The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

[5] Here is a favorite little aphorism” “It is always right to do the right thing.”

 

[6] “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

 

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

 

There are many other scriptures. When we lie, or act in a way that is a lie, we are not in Christ, we are choosing to have our Father be Satan, as Christ said: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44 KJV  )

 

[7] I tell my flock this all the time, and it scares some people. The people who are scared are not the ones in danger; the one’s who do not think they have a problem are in grave danger. If we do not feel the desire for doing good, we must at least beg God to give us this desire. In other words, we must “want to want to”. God will always answer this prayer, but He will not help those who do not feel anything lacking in themselves.

[8] Mat 10:33 KJV But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

 

 

Share

Electronic Newsletter May 15 / May 29 Sunday of the Blind Man

Friday, May 27th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

May 15 / May 29

Sunday of the Blind Man

Announcements
Prayer Requests
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week
Links related to the coming week

"Blinded in the eyes of my soul, I cry out to Thee, O Christ, like the man blind from his birth, and in repentance I cry to Thee: Thou art the exceeding radiant light of those in darkness!"

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

And He brings enlightenment and peace to all who desire it — to all who turn away in disgust from the darkness that so often besets us, who flee to Him with tears, who repent of the many poor choices we have made and seek redemption by His grace from the pit we have dug for ourselves!

On this last Sunday of Pascha let us renew our prayer for this enlightenment, knowing that He will not delay to grant us our desire. And so let us meet the holy feast of His Ascension with joy, knowing that He raises us with Himself!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee!


Announcements

We will be taking up a special collection this Sunday to support Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, which is faced with some very expensive mandatory repair work on their facilities. Please help!


 

Our new facility brings with it many new maintenance and upkeep tasks. Matushka Marina and Reader David Hawthorne need volunteers to help get all the work done.If you can give a few hours of our time to help care for God's house, please contact Matushka Marina, Reader David or Deacon Nicholas and we'll tell you how you can help.

We have a list of things our parish needs. If you or somebody you know wish to supply one of these items, please contact us.
 

 

 


Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • Kateryna (Kayla) Bayda. (employment)
  • Natalia and Nicholas (traveling in Ukraine until mid August)
  • David
  • Elizabeth
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire & all the faithful and suffering of Haiti.
  • The suffering people of East Japan.

For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list. Anyone can make requests.
 


Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 5/28

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 5/29 Sunday of the Blind Man.

  • 8AM Baptism
  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Church School for Adults and Children

Monday 5/30

  • 7:30PM Moleben

Wednesday 6/1

  • 7:00PM Vigil for Ascension

Thursday 6/2 Ascension of the Lord.

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy

Saturday 6/4

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 6/5 Sunday of the Holy Fathers.

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Church School for Adults and Children

Fasting in the Coming week

  • We fast from animal products on Wednesday and Friday, but wine and oil are allowed.

LINKS

 

      Share

      Commemoration of all benefactors on our summer feast.

      Saturday, May 21st, 2011

      Icon of the translation of the relics of St Nicholas

      Nicholas relics are translated to Bari, Italy

      We have been in our new temple since last June. We could not have built this temple with of the grace of God, and also without the generosity of many benefactors. We came close to being out of money, and a bad example according to the Gospel parable, many times, but always, somehow, funds became available.

      We have made a solemn promise to commemorate our benefactors and their loved ones perpetually in our liturgies and to serve a yearly Moleben and panakhida for them. We have a permanent parish document with all the names, and it is mandated in our parish by-laws that each rector use these dyptichs in the proskimidie of the Divine liturgy.

      We have fixed one or around the day of the "summer feast" of St Nicholas for this. since the commemoration of the translation of his holy relics falls on the 5th Sunday of Pascha, 2011, tomorrow, we will be serving a panakhida for the reposed loved one of our benefactors and also a Moleben for our benefactors and their families on Sunday.

      The Dyptichs document is divided by benefactor families, and has addresses and other information. Below are just the first names only, stripped out of the document, to give you an idea of how many people have helped us, and how many we pray for, generally at least two times a week.

      St Nichoals the Wonderworker, with scenes from his life.

      Orthodox Living: Menas & Mary Paraskevi,Samuel John & Haitho Rdr Daniel Vassiliki & Mark Ioannis & Ioanna, Efthymia Priest Anastasy Nicholas & Monica, Maximus, Elizabeth Rdr Symeon &Marianne ,Patrick,Edward Priest Sergius Mat. Lubov Nectarios Peter Katherine Xsenia Anna Priest George & Mat. Parasceva, Tatianna Celia Nicholas, Helen, Peter, Walter, Paul, James, Gabriela, Helen, Michael, Yvonne, Marie, Adam, Daria ArchPr Paul, Mat Barbara, Martha, Rupert, Hannah, Olivia, Mary, Subdcn Andrey, Susanna, Juliana, Emelia, Andrea, Isaac Thomas Priest Ilya ArchPriest Pimen ArchPriest Sergius Elias, Esther, Matthew, Rebecca, Paul Rdr Nicholas & Genevieve, Anna, Emelia, Sophia, Lucy Subdeacon Peter George & Mary ,Mark, Zacharias ,Non ,Elizabeth  Peter & Helen Protodeacon Gregory & Alexandra Stephen & Helen Juliana Protopresbyter George Priest Vasile & Mirela, Maria, Luca,Matei, Elena, Tatiana Priest Justin & Michelle, Katherine, Thea, Zoe Kristina, Rajko, Angelina, Jelena, Miodrag, Jovan, Natalija, Tijana Michael & Evangelia, Marina, Joanne, Michael, Patricia ArchPriest Martin & Katherine, James Rev. Daniel Marshall & Anya, James, Alexandra, Leo  St. Nicholas Orthodox Church  Archpriest Anthony, Reader Joel, Anna, Elizabeth, Alexander Priest James Juliana, Michael Shawn & Elizabeth  Nicholas & Lydia, Michael Sergey Priest Cassian & Mat Olympia ,Magdelene Kateryna, Arseny, Evangelina, Sergei, Olga John & Elena, ,Artemiy,Michael, Olga, Cecelia, Natalie,Nicholas Nicole Daniel & Liliana, Alyna Joseph & Lauren, Noah, Mary Madeleine, Daniel, Anna Sophia, Eilís, Basil. Randy Elizabeth? Deacon Joseph & Amy, Quincy, Katie, Kimberly,Andrea, Julie, Jeremy, Andrew   Elizabeth & David Archbishop Dmitri Virgina Sveteslav & Irina Archpriest Peter Nicholas & Corina, Alexander David Elaine & Gregory Sergi & Helen, Christine, Lawrence & Larissa, Gabriel, Emelie, Kyra, Elizabeth, Matthew, Krista, Sophia, Tanya, Irene, George, Yaraslav St Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church Stefan & Natalia, Angelina Priest Seraphim & Margaret, Tatiana, Mary Andres Inna Igor John & Molly Mihai Tatiana Archpriest John & Alexandra Christopher & Jeanine   Peter & Melissa, Sergius, Alexis, Vasili, Symeon, Dimitri Therapon & Macrina, Paul, Isabella, Thomas, Mary Katherine (children) Emile, Seile, Therapon, Macrina, Matthew   Deborah, Sergius, James Peter & Ekaterina, Lydia, Ludmilla, Maria, Elisaveta, Ekaterina, Peter Deacon Gregory Eleni, Peter Elizabeth, Vladislav Konstantin & Irina Juliana & Stephanos, Hariton Charles Nikolaj & Frieda Priest Seraphim & Marina, Genevieve, Christina, Timothy, Natalia, Daniel Steven & Diana, Sarah, Joshua Sergei Michael & Olga Vladislav Vladimir Sinisa & Marina  Marko, Danica, Aleksander, Konstandina, Aleksander, Ann, Mihailo, Gavrilo, Marko, Urosh, Mirjana, Aleksander,   Katarina, Ivan, Olga, Alexander, Alexander,Michael,Ivan, Anatoliy Ann Makrina Catherine Dana Berquist Priest John Michael & Jelena, Danilo, Nicola Nektarios & Seraphima, Elizabeth, Ruth Agnes, Irene Viktor, Tatiana, Sophia, Marina Marko & Elissa James & Sylvia, Amelia John & Dominica Katherine, Sarah, Elizabeth,Helena George & Andrea Mary Priest Christopher & Nonna, Christian St Seraphim Orthodox Church Richard Kory Richard Rdr. Innocent Britt Janalyn John Jeff & Gail Alexander, Ludmilla, Adriana, Lia, Lubov, Elizabeth, Constantine, Nina, Bridget, Juliana John & Dominica, Katherine, Sarah, Elizabeth, Helena Lubov, Stephen, Helen, Juliana, Alexander, Natalia, Stephen, Michael, Paul, Michelle, Jefferey, Michael, Maria, Michael, Gloria, John Deacon Damjan, Mat Ljiljana, Ivan, Lidija, Dusan, Marko, Ivana, Dragana, Stanko, Stefan, Otac, Adam, Mat Miilka, Spasoje, Stojka, Perka, Nadezda, Zorka, Radojka, Mira, Nada, Milija

      Not Orthodox:  Luke Christopher Caroline Eric John Walter William & Carolyn Wesley & Catherine, Elijah  George Etta James & Katy Philip, Philip, Jack, Christopher, Charlotte, Andrew  Ralph, John, Robert  Mary, Douglas, Benjamin, Ellen  +Juanita +Myron & Ruth Alexander Jill Park  George ? Jim & Dana, Elijah, Jeremy, Juan Kevin & Kristi. Baby Gieger Celeste, Alicia, Olivia, Orianna Eric, Donna Frieda, Paul, Mona (Catholic) Frank, Devin, Brendan, Shaun Mikhail Carmen, Penn, Bill, Francis Nicholas, Joshua,Zacahrias Jorge Erik Nevaeh, Jennifer, Manmeet, Carol, Patricia, Teri, Valeria, Jean Marie, Pauline, Mary Ann, Thomas, Jason, Allyn, Mary Ann

      Orthodox Reposed: Nina, Evdodokia, Ioann, Simo, Mihailo, Vasiliy, Alexander, Alexander, Michael, Ivan, Anatoliy, Genadi, Efim



      Share

      5th Sunday of Pascha – The Samaritan Woman. Literacy, thirst, humility. zeal.

      Saturday, May 21st, 2011


      5th Sunday of Pascha – The Samaritan Woman

      We MUST be theologically literate, having thirst for righteousness, humility, and zeal to be saved

      John 4:5-42
      2010

       

      (More Homilies on the Samaritan Woman are here: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#The_Samaritan_Woman)

       

       

      The Samaritan woman at the well. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/samaritan-woman-at-the-well-jruchi-gospels-ii-mss-georgia-12th-cen.jpgIn the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

       

      Brothers and sisters, this story about the conversion  of the Samaritan Woman is also in line with all of the  Gospels of this Paschal period about enlightenment.  We can speak of many things concerning it. Since it is a historical event, there are practical things that happened that we can glean from the way the Lord talked to her and the reactions of this woman who has a name, Photini, Svetlana, Equal to the Apostles.

      And also, it has a wealth of theology in it, and also, a lot of mystical theology in it as well. And, as it should be all Scripture for us, there should be a practical application, something that touches us. My meaning might be different than yours. I’m speaking of where certain things touch us in a certain way. That’s the way the Scriptures should be for all of us.

       

      Now, this only happens if you read the Scripture often. If you don’t read the Scripture very often, then it’s not going to touch you very often because it’s complicated. This story is extremely complicated. The theology spoken of here is very complex. So if we only read the Scripture occasionally, then the full nuance of the story will not reach our hearts.

       

      This woman was theologically literate. Oh, she was incorrect in her theology because she was a Samaritan. The Samaritans only accepted the five books, the Pentateuch of Moses. They had little to say about the prophets, didn’t like them very much, and they had mixed in some pagan practices. So the Jews hated them. So her theology was not all correct, but she was theologically literate, as you can see from the story, when she asked the Lord intelligent questions based upon her theological world view.

       

      I think we can learn many things from the story, but the most important one, the essence of the story is: how can we obtain the Living Water? Because the focus of the story is our obtaining Living Water, which the Lord offers to her, and of course Living Water is the Holy Spirit.

       

      How does one obtain it? The actions of Saint Photini show us how you obtain the Living Water, and her actions were very nuanced, very beautiful. Let’s go over her personality because her personality must be inculcated in our personality.

       

      Her errors are probably a lot like our errors. But are our virtues like her virtues? She was theologically literate. She knew the Scriptures. She could ask intelligent questions. So when the Lord had a theological discussion with her, she understood. And as her understanding increased, as the Lord gently brought her along, she had the vocabulary, the background, so that she could understand what He was saying and not merely just be offended when He said, ‘salvation is from the Jews.’ She wasn’t a Jew, but she can understand why He would be saying that. And with the grace of God present, her mind was changed. But if she didn’t have a mind to change, she wouldn’t be changed. If she didn’t have some understanding already, then this conversation would have not meant anything to her. So we must have theological understanding, brothers and sisters.

       

      I tell you, this is a difficult Scripture for a pastor to preach about because it’s very complex, very nuanced. There are many roads to go down, and some of them would be unintelligible to most of you and not profitable to you because you don’t read the Scripture enough, because you don’t come to the Services and hear the Scriptures expounded enough.

       

      Last night we covered it. These Scriptures were covered. The Samaritan Woman, the Living Water, was covered over and over again in the vigil service. This is the kind of thing you need. You might not think you need it. You might not feel the loss, but you are poorer if you do not have theological understanding. The Lord said it Himself, and He said it in many other places, but today He said it: You must worship God in spirit and in truth.

       

      There must be a truth but then you must inculcate it into your spirit. If you don’t know who God is, then you can’t follow Him. It’s important to know that God is Trinity, that Jesus Christ is God and man, that He was born of a Virgin, that He is perfectly God and perfectly man, having two natures that are not mixed together but exist cooperatively in the same person. And having two natures, He has two wills. And His human will, He completely, of His own, subjugated to the Divine will.

       

      The Samaritan woman at the well http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/samaritan-woman-at-the-well.jpgThese things are important to know because they apply to us. If they are just static pieces of information that are a little hard to understand, then you’re not reading enough, you’re not praying enough, you’re not struggling enough. So even if you don’t have a perfect understanding, you can become perfected. God will work with what you know. If you don’t know anything, there’s not much to work with. So I’ll tell you, many of you are very much poorer because you didn’t hear the beautiful theology last night that told us so many truths, restated over and over in poetic ways, about the Resurrection, about the Living Water, about the Samaritan Woman.

       

      So, brothers and sisters, there is no substitute for being theologically literate. Christianity is not for people who are not intelligent. I’m not speaking about whether you know reading, writing and arithmetic. I’m not talking about that kind of intelligence. I’m speaking about spiritual intelligence. What should be important to you is to know the things of God.

       

      It was important to her. She didn’t know all the truth, but what she did know she knew well. And so when God presented the truth to her, she could understand it.
       

      So go home, take a look at your Bible. Does it have any dust on it? It shouldn’t. Consider what your priorities are. Do you pray? Do you fast? Yes, fasting is part of learning theology, too. What are your priorities? What’s the most important thing for you today and tomorrow and the next day? Well, it should be to learn about the One Who is meek and lowly of heart, to take His yoke upon us. That should be the most important thing.
       

      He’s not a stranger. There’s much that we can know about Jesus. He spoke of it Himself. The prophets spoke about Him, and the fathers after them. It’s all out there for us to know. And I tell you, there’s a principle, a human principle, that you must hear something many times to understand it. It’s very easy to learn one plus one equals two. That’s a simple fact. But to learn that God became man, you cannot speak of it enough, because the only way to really understand it is to live it. That means reading about it. That means praying about it, listening to the hymns about it, reading the Psalter, because every page of the Psalter speaks about Christ. Every page of the Old Testament speaks about Christ. And all this reading and praying and fasting and struggle must help you inculcate the Incarnation in the way you live.

      This woman had a good foundation. When the Lord revealed to her the truth, she could understand it. And we could see practical things about her personality that we must also possess. She was a good woman living in a bad situation. She was living with a man. She had had five husbands before. I guess the saying is, there was a lot of mileage on her. Definitely hadn’t had a perfect life. She was going to the well late in the day when it’s hot. Everybody else would go in the morning. She went at noon. Why? Because she didn’t want to be around other people because of her shame.

       

      Here’s one of those personal applications of Scripture. Perhaps this doesn’t mean as much to you as to me, that’s okay. Hopefully there’s something else in the story that really touches you, really makes you want to change or maybe gives you hope that you will change, and have confidence that you will change.

       

      The woman went to the well at noon because of her shame. The Lord spoke to her about Living Water that cleanses away all shame. And then  - miracle of miracles – her heart was so changed that she didn’t care about her shame, and she went to her own people and became equal to the apostles and told them of the Messiah. A conversation of what? An hour or two, maybe? –  completely changed her. He life became completely different; There was no longer any shame but now hope, now joy, now understanding.

       

      That’s what the Lord can do for each one of us. What a wonderful thing it is to have our shame taken away by the Living Water. But it’s not going to happen unless we’re like her. And we have already spoken of her theological understanding. And if you don’t have it, you’d better get it, and you’re not going to get it by sitting at home, and you’re not going to get it by being wherever you are on Saturday night instead of the vigil. You’re not going to get it unless you read and pray and study.
       

      Look at her personality. She’s a woman of deep zeal, of interest in the theological things. When the Lord started to speak to her, she was interested. Can you see her in your mind’s eye sitting up and listening carefully, watching the Lord, eyes fixed on His, thinking that this is a holy moment? She didn’t know who He was yet. He was just a Jew who was lax, in her opinion, according to Saint John, because He was asking for water; the Jews shouldn’t even use the vessels of people that are considered unclean. But she was listening to Him with desire because she had thirst.

       

      I tell you, the Lord offers Living Water to all of us, to the entire world, and a lot of people are not thirsty. If you’re not thirsty, you’re not going to want the Living Water. Now, everyone should be thirsty, but not everyone is. And even among Christians, there are different levels of thirst. If you desire with all your heart to be holy, God will help you to be holy. Most people don’t desire that. That’s why we live in such mediocre ways.

       

      But this woman was thirsty. So when He offered her water, although it was something that sounded impossible because she was thinking of water; you drink water and later on you have to drink more. But He said you don’t have to drink anymore. You would never thirst again. It didn’t make any sense to her. But because of her desire, she continued to question Him and found out about this Living Water, that He was speaking of the Holy Spirit.

       

      So we must have the desire. And I tell you, if you don’t have desire, you can gain desire if you want to have desire. More than once I have prayed and I have heard others ask, Lord, help me to have the desire to desire; help me to want to change.

       

      Perhaps it is sometimes with a person that we have some trouble with and we want to forgive them, but there’s something in our heart that doesn’t let us. Of course it’s our sins; it’s our darkness. But the desire to forgive them is the beginning of forgiveness.

       

      So she had desire. And so should we. And desire just doesn’t fall out of Heaven like manna. Desire comes to you from your effort. If you’re cold, then do something to become warm.

       

      Saint John Climacos has this proverb that he says in The Ladder. He says, some people, when they begin to exercise, they do it slowly and their joints hurt, but after a little while of movement the joints warm up and they go faster. And he says, heed this proverbial word. What it means is: if you’re cold, do something to become warm. So you don’t love God, do something to love God. Pray, fast, come to the Services, read the Scriptures, even if they seem unintelligible to you. Struggle to be kind to the person that you don’t want to be kind to. Make small little steps, and eventually you’ll complete the whole journey.

       

      Now, this woman was humble because the Lord, He showed her sins right to her. That’s why He said, call your husband. She answered “I don’t have a husband.” She was honest but sort of partially honest, right? There was something she didn’t say because she was ashamed. So she didn’t lie, but she didn’t tell the whole story. But the Lord knows it all. He says, “you have had five husbands, and the one you’re with now is not your husband, and this you spoke truly.”
       

      Now, how did she react to this? I think what happened in her heart was there was this little glimmer of warmth thinking: ‘Maybe I can finally be delivered from my shame; maybe I can be rid of this sort of up and down in my life and stop coming to the well at noon because of my shame; maybe I can change; if this man knows this about me, maybe he can help me in some way.’ She didn’t know he was God so from her perspective, she said “I perceive you are a prophet.” She was correct, He is a prophet.

       

      The Samaritan woman at the well http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/samaritan-woman-at-the-well-02.jpgCan you feel in her heart this little desire, this little feeling that “I can be changed?” You should feel that every day, you know, just like she did. Every day you should think: God can change me. The things that I am now I won’t be later. The things that I am not now I will be. The things that I cannot do, God will help me to do. The darkness that is in me will become light. Not today maybe but certainly tomorrow.

       

      She had the feeling in her heart. This was holy, divine moment because this was a time in which she could be either offended with the Lord and go her way, thinking He’s just like everybody else, judging me. Or she could look into His eyes and see that He held the key to life.

       

      And then the rest of the conversation continued. She learned, He’s more than a prophet. He’s the messiah. And then what did she want to do? The first thing she thought of was her own people, most of whom probably judged her, castigated her. All she wanted to do was run to her own

      people and tell them: This is the Messiah, we’ve found Him.

       

      So we’ve got to be like her too, share the Messiah with others. But you can’t share what you don’t have, brothers and sisters. If you don’t have that hope in your heart to become better, you can’t share it with others. You’ve got to feel it in your heart.

       

      I tell you, look in your heart. If you don’t feel it, don’t despair, but do something about feeling it. There’s practical things you can do, I’ve told you, to pray, come to church even when it’s boring, even when you don’t feel like it, fast when you don’t feel like it. But it’s more profound than all of that. Those are just the sort of the external things. I mean they are internal too, they should be internalized. But you must have desire to be different than you are today. You must not be satisfied with who you are.

       

      I told you many times that I absolutely, this is truth, I want each one of you to feel the darkness in you, to feel that cold that’s in you. Because it’s there. You’re human. Therefore, it’s there. God came so that you’d become all light, and you’re not all light yet. God came so that you would be perfectly warm, but you’re not all warm yet. You know that. It’s the truth. You’ve got to feel it. This woman felt it. And that’s why she was listening to Him, because she felt how dark she was. When the Lord gave her light, she had enough background to understand what He was saying and the nobility of soul to accept it. That’s how we’ve got to be.
       

      So this story, I’ve told you before, is the conversation of the Lord with the soul, and it is the Lord speaking to your soul every day. When the Lord reveals to you – and He does this all the time, that He knows you, and that He has a plan for you, that He wishes you to know Him intimately, and that despite whatever is in you, it can be fixed, there should be in your heart what happened to the Samaritan Woman’s heart, this feeling of I can be changed. And then go out and get this change. It’s not just going to happen to you. It’s going to happen because of desire and because of following through on who the Lord is, worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth.

       

      So brothers and sisters, the Samaritan woman, Saint Photini, is a luminous example of how to listen to God. It’s a whole process. It’s a whole life process. I beg of you, look within your heart and see the darkness and feel the cold, because if you don’t feel the cold and see the darkness, you won’t want to change it. You won’t know it’s there. And then do something about this cold and this darkness. Read, study, pray, fast. Order your life so that you would know the one thing that is needful. And that is: How to obtain this Living Water.

       

      May God help you. Amen.

       

       

      Priest Seraphim Holland 2010

       

      This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

      St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

       

      ·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

      ·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

      ·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

      ·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

      ·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

       

      This homily is at:

      http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-05_2010-05-02+samaritan-woman.html

      http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-05_2010-05-02+samaritan-woman.doc

      http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-05_2010-05-02+samaritan-woman.mp3

       

      (More Homilies on the Samaritan Woman are here: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#The_Samaritan_Woman)

       

      http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

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

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

       

      To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

       

      Our parish Email list (http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

       

      All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

       

       

       

       

       

      Share

      Electronic Newsletter May 8 / May 22 Sunday of the Samaritan Woman / Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas

      Friday, May 20th, 2011

      St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

      Electronic Newsletter

      May 8 / May 22

      Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

      Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas

      Announcements
      Prayer Requests
      Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
      Fasting in the Coming week
      Links related to the coming week

       

      Assembling, O ye who love the feasts of the Church, / let us hymn the adornment of hierarchs, / the glory of the fathers, / the well-spring of miracles / and great defender of the faithful, saying: / Rejoice, O protector of Myra, / honored primate and steadfast pillar of its Church! / Rejoice, O most radiant beacon, / illumining the ends of the earth with wonders! / Rejoice, divine joy of the sorrowful / and fervent intercessor for the oppressed! / And now, O blessed Nicholas, / cease not to entreat Christ God / in behalf of them that honor thine ever-gladsome and most illustrious memory // with faith and love.

       


      Announcements

      Our new facility brings with it many new maintenance and upkeep tasks. Matushka Marina and Reader David Hawthorne need volunteers to help get all the work done.If you can give a few hours of our time to help care for God's house, please contact Matushka Marina, Reader David or Deacon Nicholas and we'll tell you how you can help.

      We have a list of things our parish needs. If you or somebody you know wish to supply one of these items, please contact us.
       


      Prayer Requests

      For the Health and Salvation.

      • Kateryna (Kayla) Bayda. (employment)
      • Natalia and Nicholas (traveling in Ukraine until mid August)
      • David
      • Elizabeth
      • Priests Jean and Grégoire & all the faithful and suffering of Haiti.
      • The suffering people of East Japan.

      For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list. Anyone can make requests.
       


      Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

      Saturday 5/21. St. John the Theologian.

      • 2PM Pannykhida for Parish Benefactors
      • 3PM Parish Council Meeting
      • 4PM Confession
      • 5PM Vigil

      Sunday 5/22 Sunday of the Samaritan Woman. Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas

      • 8AM Baptism
      • 10AM  Divine Liturgy, followed immediately by Blessing of Marriage
      • 1PM Church School for Adults and Children
      • 2PM Molieben for Parish Benefactors

      Monday 5/23

      • 7:30PM Moleben

      Wednesday 5/25

      • 7:00PM Vespers

      Thursday 5/26

      • 9AM Divine Liturgy

      Saturday 5/28

      • 4PM Confession
      • 5PM  Vigil

      Sunday 5/29 Sunday of the Blind Man.

      • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
      • 12:45PM Church School for Adults and Children

      Fasting in the Coming week

      • We fast from animal products on Wednesday and Friday, but wine and oil are allowed.

      LINKS

      Share

      The doctrine of the cross in the hymns of the Octoechos Victory over death and healing. Sunday Octoechos Tone 3

      Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

      Icon of the crucifixion

      LISTEN NOW

      Synopsis: The Orthodox dogma about the cross is often displayed in the Sunday hymns for Vespers and Matins. Many or even most who identify with Christianity and are not Orthodox only have a legal view of what happened on the cross. For us Orthodox, what happened on the cross was the destruction of death, and our healing. We have a relational view. What good is it to be forgiven and not also healed? Two hymns from the Sunday Octoechos help illustrate a part of our understanding of the significance of the cross:

      "By Thy cross, O Christ our Savior, the dominion of death hath been destroyed, and the deception of the devil hath been abolished; and the race of man, having been saved by faith, doth ever offer praise to Thee" (Lord I have cried, Sunday Octoechos, Tone 3)

      "Thy precious cross do we worship O Christ, and Thy resurrection do we praise and glorify, for by Thy wounding are we all healed." (Lord I have cried, Sunday Octoechos, Tone 3)


      If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2011-05-14+doctrine-of-the-cross-in-vespers+victory-over-death-and-healing_sunday-octoechos-tone-3.m3u

      If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2011-05-14+doctrine-of-the-cross-in-vespers+victory-over-death-and-healing_sunday-octoechos-tone-3.mp3


      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

      Share

      The paralytic at the sheep’s pool. The healing of the paralytic teaches the doctrine of baptism and gives important baptismal admonitions.

      Sunday, May 15th, 2011

      Ikon of the healing of the paralytic by the sheep's pool.LISTEN NOW

      Synopsis: The healing of the paralytic teaches the doctrine of baptism and gives important baptismal admonitions.

      More homilies on the Sunday of the Paralytic are HERE

      John 5:1-15 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.


      If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2011-05-15+the-paralytic+doctrine-of-baptism-and-baptismal-admonitions_john5-1-15.m3u

      If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2011-05-15+the-paralytic+doctrine-of-baptism-and-baptismal-admonitions_john5-1-15.mp3


      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

      Share

      The Paralytic: “Today Is A Feast Day For All Of Us Paralytics” Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Sretensky Monastery, Moscow

      Saturday, May 14th, 2011


      4th Sunday of Pascha – The Paralytic

      “Today is a feast day for all of us paralytics”

      Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Sretensky Monastery in Moscow

       

      Ikon of the healing of the paralytic by the sheep's pool. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/miracle-healing-of-the-paralytic-by-the-sheeps-pool-01.jpgToday is a feast day for all of us paralytics[1]. Today, brothers and sisters, we to a certain degree are meeting our name-day, our feast day. Who among us can boast that he is strong, courageous, bearing all the misfortunes of this age, fulfilling all of Christ’s commandments?

       

      Deliver us, O Lord, if such a person stands in our midst — one cannot imagine a worse righteous or strong man! The Apostle Paul says: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Cor 12:10). But the Apostle did not deprive himself of one thing: strong faith and undoubting hope in the Savior. “The power of God is made perfect in weakness!”

      How can the world, which does not believe in God and preaches the illusory omnipotence of mankind, understand this?

      Paralytic brothers and sisters! Let us rejoice that we at least understand ourselves as we are! The Lord came into the world to save paralytic sinners, and us among them. The strong crucified Jesus Christ and the Lord allowed them this terrible, mindless power to crucify God. When we become proud and sure of ourselves, then we repeat this terrible crime of the God-killers: the crucifixion of the Savior.

      Let us recognize ourselves for who we are in fact. The Apostle James writes: For what is your life? It is a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14). No matter how strongly our pride rebels against this, let us look dispassionately at the universe: the myriads of planets, the thousands of generations, endlessly following one another, the billions of people who are erased from the memory of their descendants and their neighbors.

      I had a friend to whom I owe very much, and my faith in the first place. He died twelve years ago, and I thought that I would never forget him, that I would always remember him, and certainly at the Liturgy. And I suddenly realized with horror that one Liturgy had gone by, and another, and I did not remember him, one of the dearest people to me. And my spiritual paralysis, my ingratitude to a man who did so much for me, became terrible to me. Do we every day remember with the necessary zeal our parents — both alive and departed? Do we every day remember our own salvation — the most important thing for which we live?

      Yet something within us tells us unmistakably that man is something more than vapor. Our life, yes, is transient and withering, like the grass under the hot summer sun. Recall in the Psalter: as the flower of the field, so hath he blossomed forth (Ps. 103:15).

       

      But the soul – a unique human personality created by God – its story in time and eternity is altogether different. If the soul is united with its Creator and God, then it becomes the most beautiful, the most precious of everything that is on earth. In the memory of God, in God such a soul receives not simply life, but life “more abundantly,” as the Apostle Paul writes. He can not with human words express in any other way the mystery revealed to him of the future age. And the same Apostle writes: Eye hath no seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Cor 2:9).

      In the lives of each one of us there will still be moments of weakness and failures, of what we call paralysis. They can last for many years, just as with the paralytic at the Sheep pool, of which the Gospel speaks. This paralytic lay for many years awaiting healing. But he believed that a messenger of God would come and heal him.

      Let us not recognize ourselves as strong, because out strength is Christ alone. Let us never recognize ourselves as indestructible and not prone to sin, because we are fallen people. And let us strive not to lose faith in Christ, because the Lord Jesus Christ is eternally powerful and has the power to save us not only from temporal passions and misfortunes. The Lord, “trampling down death by death,” can give eternal life to us, who one day will be in the grave, and will free us from this eternal and final paralysis.

      Let us not think highly of ourselves, let us not be surprised by our infirmities, let us not, because of them, fall into despair and despondency. Let us sincerely, with all our strength, strive towards correction, struggling against the evil and sin living within us. Let us firmly believe that our Lord Jesus Christ will help us in this. He loves us, because we are His children. We, who recognize ourselves as paralytics and asking help from our Heavenly Father, will not be left behind, for He gives us His invincible power. Only by this are we strong – just as only by this were the Apostles, Confessors, Venerable Ones, and Martyrs strong.

       

      Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), deputy abbot (namestnik) of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow http://www.orthodox.net/photos/tikhon-archimandrite-(shevkunov)-deputy-abbot-sretensky-monastery-moscow.jpg (from http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2010/04/fr-tikhon-on-sunday-of-paralytic.html)

       

       

       

       

       

      Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), deputy abbot (namestnik) of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow

       

       

       

      This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

      St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

       

      ·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

      ·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

      ·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

      ·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

      ·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

       

      This homily is at:

      http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_+the-paralytic+today-is-a-feast-day-for-all-of-us-paralytics-archimandrite-tikhon-shevkunov-sretensky-monastery-moscow_john5-1-15.html

      http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_+the-paralytic+today-is-a-feast-day-for-all-of-us-paralytics-archimandrite-tikhon-shevkunov-sretensky-monastery-moscow_john5-1-15.doc

       

      More Homilies on the Sunday of the Paralytic: 
       

      http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#The_Paralytic

       

      http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

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

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

       

      To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

       

      Our parish Email list (http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

       

      All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

       

       

       

       



      [1] This incredible homily was gleaned from “Ora Et Labora”, one of the best blogs  out there, which unfortunately, is no longer being updated. Here is the introduction to it, and the link: “Here is my translation, with the help of the indefatigable Natalia Mikhaylova of Orthodoxy and the World, of a sermon by Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), deputy abbot (namestnik) of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow, on the Sunday of the Paralytic

      http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2010/04/fr-tikhon-on-sunday-of-paralytic.html

       

       

      Share