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

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.

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

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? …

Commemoration of all benefactors on our summer feast.

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. …

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

he story of the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman, Photini, must be understood in a historical, theological, mystical and practical context. She said “the well is deep”, and this story can be discussed from many perspectives, many of which are, alas, unintelligible to most because of their low level of theological knowledge and interest. The most important one for us is what we must do do get the living water, the Holy Spirit. Saint Photini shows us several things that we MUST be if we are to be saved – theologically literate, having thirst for righteousness, humility, and zeal. Her conversation with the Lord and subsequent actions show all these things. Audio also available.

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

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)

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

Today is a feast day for all of us paralytics. 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. 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! …