Archive for May, 2011

4th Sunday of Pascha – The Paralytic “Wilt thou be made whole??” – 3 ways we must answer this question. John 5:1-15.

Saturday, May 14th, 2011


4th Sunday of Pascha – The Paralytic

“Wilt thou be made whole?” – 3 ways we must answer this question.
John 5:1-15

2010

Icon 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.jpg In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! Christos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese![1]
 

Today, brothers and sisters, we continue on the Paschal theme, which is the enlightenment of the Resurrection and how it occurs in real life, not in our fantasy, but how it really occurs. It occurs with difficulties, gradually. All of the Gospels, so far, of the Sundays have been about gradual enlightenment, as is this one, the healing of the paralytic.

And there are basically two major pieces to this story.

 

There is a lot of deep theological symbolism. It’s very beautiful and very profound. For instance, the five sides, the five porticoes, represent the Pentateuch, the law. Around the law is the water. The law shows about sin. It reveals sin, but it doesn’t heal sin. Only the water heals sin, and that is of course the water of baptism.

 

The Lord is the angel, the angel of great counsel, the angel of the Lord. Actually, it was an archangel that troubled the water. But this angel represents Jesus Christ through Whom, when we are baptized, we are made alive and able to follow the Commandments. So the law is not obliterated; it is fulfilled by the waters of baptism.

And there are other deep symbolisms to everything. The people that are around waiting are humanity. And the various illnesses are indicative of various problems with sin. And of course, the sin itself of the paralytic is what caused him to be paralyzed. It’s not considered an enlightened view in our day and age of scientific awareness of things, but the truth is that sin causes illnesses. A lot. Often. Now, we see a medical connection between various things, such as when a person drinks too much, and gets cirrhosis of the liver, and there are many other cases sin where causes illness, especially mental illness.

So those are some of the symbolic things. There’s a bunch more, to be honest with you, but the real meat, the real important part of this miracle, is the dialog between the Lord and the man. Each thing said is very important to understand.

 

Icon 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-03.jpgSo Jesus comes to the man; He says, “Wilt thou be made whole?” Here is a man who’s been 38 years as a paralytic, unable to walk, unable to really care for himself. And Jesus asks, really, a rather curious question. Wilt thou be made whole? Do you want to be made whole? Do you want to be healed? Well, that’s why he’s sitting there. He wants to be healed. But the Lord asks this question for a reason. He knew the answer. He knew the man wanted to be healed.

But how did the man answer the question? In a very curious way. He said, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to help me and get me down; someone always gets down ahead of me, so he’s healed and I’m not”. He didn’t answer that he wanted to be healed. He answered that he couldn’t be healed because of this and that obstacle.

The man wanted to be healed; there’s no doubt whatsoever. He was a man of great endurance. Can you imagine? Day after day coming, waiting for the troubling of the water which only occurred occasionally, and when it occurred he was always too late to get help. So he wanted to be healed, there’s no doubt about that. But how he answered the question shows something about human nature.

 

And I hope that you understand and identify with this man, because we are like him. Oh, yes, we can talk about and I talked about in the past that paralysis is also indicative of how sin paralyzes us; I’m not talking about that right now. That’s true. That’s very true, lamentably for us. But the Lord is constantly asking us: Do you want to be healed? And we don’t really answer Him: “Yes, of course I want to be healed!” Instead we answer Him: “I can’t because of this and that.” This is not so much in our minds that we say this, not explicitly, but by our actions. There is a type of despondency or indifference or distraction that takes over our lives.

The Lord asks: “Do you want to be healed?”

 

We answer: “Well, Lord, my life is too busy to pray. I can’t seem to find the time. I can’t get in the right set of circumstances so that I have time to read the Bible. I struggle against this person that I don’t like and that has harmed me and I have evil thoughts about them. “
 

Well, have you thought about praying for them? Have you thought about forcing yourself to do something good for them? Have you thought about confessing this sin? Have you thought about reading the Scriptures? Have you thought about going to the Services? Communing frequently? There are a lot of things that can help us.

 

See, when the Lord says, "Do you want to be whole" to this man, this is encompassing all the things that He says to us. And there are a lot of things that He says, not just the things that I mentioned, but day-to-day. Everything we do is a choice. We are always making a choice. You’ve chosen to be here rather than to sleep in. Everything is a choice, good or bad. It’s really that simple. You choose the right or you choose the wrong. And the more we choose the right, the better we become. The more we choose the wrong, either the worse we become or we just make little progress.

So the Lord is asking: Do you want to be whole? We can’t answer like this man if we are really going to get healed, because it’s not always that the Lord is going to ignore our answer like that and say, okay, get up and walk. He healed the man, but He also gave the man an order: Get up and walk, take up your bed and walk.

So actually, like I’ve said to you before, many times the Gospels are, in microcosm, our whole life. Things are compressed in the Gospels. So here, this getting up and walking represents our entire life, the following of the virtues, the struggle against sin, following the Commandments and prayer and fasting and desiring and mounting up from virtue to virtue. That’s what this “getting up and walking” is.

And the bearing of the bed is the bearing of the burdens of our neighbor, so say the Fathers. So He’s telling this man:

“Get up and bear the burdens of your neighbor. Mount from virtue to virtue. Struggle to follow the Commandments. In this you will be saved. “

Because later on He said to the man, don’t go on sinning or else a worse thing will befall thee. The man’s problems were because of sin. So the Lord, when He commanded him to get up, wasn’t just healing his legs; He was giving him the way of life: Get up and walk, follow the Commandments, bear your brother’s burdens, don’t judge him but love him.

The way of life is what the Lord told him. So we have to follow this way, or else we won’t be alive. The man’s healing was not just but the Lord said get up and walk. It wasn’t just that He healed his legs. It was that He healed his way of life. He showed him the way to live. So the healing is not just a one time occurrence. It is an ongoing thing. For you, for me, for the paralytic, for every man, it’s ongoing.

 

Let’s test ourselves. I do this often. I’ll be honest with you. I think about this particular Scripture and there are others that are similar to it. How much do I really want to be made whole? I say I want to, but then I do stupid stuff or I’m lazy or I don’t control my thoughts or I find that I didn’t do very much that was profitable that day.

 
Do I really want to be made whole? Yes, absolutely, no doubt about it. But the way I live shows that I don’t completely want to be made whole.

 

There are things that are lacking. It is the same thing with you. I know this, not because I am a seer of mysteries, but because I’m a human being and because you are human beings and I know something about human beings. And being human means you’re weak, but you can become strong.

Being human means that you need healing and that God is here to provide it. It’s all right here. There are angels among us right now. Do we see them? We should but we don’t because the things that are black in us and dark in us. God came so that everything will be light, everything. So He’s asking this question all the time: Do you want to be made whole? Well, do you or not?

 

And in this story there are basically three things that the Lord is teaching to be made whole.

 

Number one, negatively, when the man answered, I have no man to help me. Don’t talk like that! You have Jesus Christ to help you. You have the Holy Spirit abiding within you. You’re not alone. We should never answer like that. And when we do, we should castigate ourselves for saying it, censure ourselves. We should look for times when we answer like that. I would bet that there are times when you answer that like that. I do. It’s wrong. Because we are not alone.

Also, the Lord said: Get up, take your bed and walk. So that is, if you want to be made whole, bear the burdens of others, struggle in the Christian life. There’s no substitute for that. Without that, nobody can be saved; it won’t happen.

And then the Lord also says: Don’t keep on sinning. So that’s how we can be made whole and believing that Jesus Christ is all we need, completely sufficient for us and that we are not alone and by desiring to following the Commandments and by walking. That’s how we’re made whole. It’s a gradual process.

The paralytic felt very alone, but he was not. The paralytic didn’t realize that his paralysis was because of his sin, but the Lord taught him. The paralytic thought more in terms of “I need my legs to be working.” When the Lord taught him, he needs his soul to become purified. That is the way of salvation, to rise, take up our bed, bear the burdens of our neighbor and be walking in the virtues.
 

So, brothers and sisters, watch carefully in your life how you answer this question, because I’ll tell you, if this question is asked of you repeatedly throughout the day, do you want to be made whole or not? You’re faced with: Do I do A or B? That’s answering the question every time.

Learn to hear this question, to feel this question reverberating in your soul. Which one do you want to do? The good way or the bad way? Perhaps that bad way doesn’t seem so bad; maybe it just seems that you’re just taking a break or that you’re only human or that, after all, you’re powerless to stop a certain thing from happening. NO!  You always have a choice. You always have a choice whether or not you desire to be made whole with all of your heart or not. Everything is a choice. So let us desire to be made whole.

This man was in infirmity for 38 years. Another beautiful piece of symbolism is that that’s two short of 40. Forty is obtained by multiplying ten and four: The law and the Gospels. This is not any kind of numerology, mind you, but symbolism. The fullness of the virtues, the fulfillment of the law, obtained by following the way of the Gospels, which the Lord taught us, is the fullness of virtue. The man was two short of this. How much he was short (two) is not significant. The fact is that he was short of perfection. But he could have perfection, and so can we merely by always taking care to hear the question and answer it: Do you want to be made whole?

I hope you hear this question a lot now. And I hope you, with the best of your abilities, answer the question yes. Now the times that you don’t answer it yes, may the Lord forgive. But strive to hear the question. Because, I’ll tell you, it’s being asked of you many, many times every day. 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-04_2010-04-25+the-paralytic.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2010-04-25+the-paralytic.doc

AUIDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2010-04-25+the-paralytic.mp3

 

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] It is a Christian tradition during the Paschal season (from Pascha till the day before the Ascension, which is always 40 days after Pascha) to great each other when meeting, answering the phone, or in this case, beginning a sermon, with the Paschal Greeting “Christ is risen!”, with the person/people addressed replying “Truly He is risen!”.  The “answers” were from the faithful gathered in the Liturgy. The second Language is transliterated Slavonic, which is the language very similar to Russian used in Russian churches.

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Electronic Newsletter May 1 / May 15 Sunday of the Paralytic

Friday, May 13th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

May 1 / May 15

Sunday of the Paralytic

The Healing of the Paralyitic by the sheep's pool

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

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:24-29)


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 5/14

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 5/15 Sunday of the Paralytic

  • 8:30AM Baptism
  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Blessing of Marriage
  • 1:00PM Church School for Adults and Children

Monday 5/16

  • 7:30PM Moleben

Wednesday 5/18. Mid-Pentecost

  • 7:00PM Vespers

Thursday 5/19

  • 7AM Divine Liturgy

Saturday 5/21

  • 3PM Parish Council Meeting
  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 5/22 Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

  • 8:30AM Baptism
  • 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

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The Myrrhbearing Women. Joseph became bold and who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

Monday, May 9th, 2011

myrhhbearers-01

 

LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The most important parts of the reading for the Holy Myrhhbearers are the actions of Joseph and the myrhhbearers. We are told that "Joseph became bold" – the same man who had been a secret follower of Christ because of fear. Why did he become bold? This is very important. Three of the myrhhbearers observed the burial of Jesus. Why is this important? Life is full of ordinary things,. but sometimes when we do them, they are extraordinary,. We must do ordinary things in an extraordinary way, as did Joseph and Nicodemus and the Holy Myrhhbearers. In doing these things, we will encounter obstacles, and ask like the myrhhbearers "who shall roll away the stone", and if have fidelity to Christ as they had, the stone will always be rolled away.

More homilies on the Sunday of the Myrhhbearing Women are HERE

Mark 15:43-16:8 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. 1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-03_2011-05-08+myrrhbearing-women+joseph-became-bold-who-shall-roll-us-away-the-stone-from-the-door-of-the-sepulchre_mark15-43-47.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-03_2011-05-08+myrrhbearing-women+joseph-became-bold-who-shall-roll-us-away-the-stone-from-the-door-of-the-sepulchre_mark15-43-47.mp3


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Sunday of the Holy Myrhbearers. Homilies in Text, audio, and questions and answers

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

 

myrhhbearers-02

Today is the third Sunday after Pascha, and it is the Sunday of the myrrh-bearing women. And it is quite an interesting reading which we have because these women and these men, Joseph of Arimathaea, who is mentioned today, and also Nicodemus, who acted with great love, but also in great ignorance. They were trying to do something that they were not going to be able to accomplish. These women wanted to anoint the Lord with myrrh, and Joseph and Nicodemus had prepared the Lord's body so carefully, wrapping it in clean, fine linen. Myrrh and aloes had been applied, according to the custom of the Jews. All this they did in ignorance. They acted without full knowledge, but with great desire and with great love.

There is a lesson for us. Pascha is God making man able to know God. This is really what Pascha is. It is not an event only; it is a fundamental change in human nature. The God-man becoming incarnate made us able to live. He accomplished our salvation by His death and His resurrection, and basically all of the period from Pascha to Pentecost we think about how He enlightens us and the practical ramifications of what Pascha means for the soul. In essence, it means enlightenment. It means to know God. But to know God you have to be able to live like God, and you must live in virtue before you have full enlightenment. …

READ MORE…



 

mary-magdalene-01-with-jesus

Mary Magdalene at the tomb

Questions about the Myrrh bearers

Part 1

Mary Magdalene at the tomb

Part 2



The Myrrhbearing women – how to live in microcosm. Audio Homily 2010.

 

 

The story of the myrhhbearers is like ours, in microcosm. Life is full of moments when we must "become bold" as Joseph (and the myrhhbearers) did, and do what is right, even if we do not how we can accomplish the task (roll away the stone and deal with the armed guards) or what will come of it. Even when we have accomplished something, or grace visits us, we may not recognize it or understand it, just like the myrrhbearers, who were afraid after hearing the announcement of the resurrection from the angel. The myrhhbearers who us the way – do what is right, or even what we think is right, no matter ho "possible" it seems or how likely that the outcome will be pleasing, and in time, all will be revealed to us. This Gospel continues the theme of how the enlightenment of the resurrection is actualized in us. LISTEN NOW

Many more Homilies on the Myrhbearers here.

Mark 15:43-16:8 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. 1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-03_2010-04-18+myrhhbearing-women.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-03_2010-04-18+myrhhbearing-women.mp3



myrhhbearers-01

 

Myrhhbearing Women 2009. Act on what you know and you will know more, do what you can do, and you will be able to do more. Audio Homily

LISTEN NOW

If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-03_2009-05-03.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-03_2009-05-03.mp3

 

 



 

 


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

 

 

http://orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/2010/04/18/the-myrrhbeari…io-homily-2010/

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Electronic Newsletter April 25 / May 8 Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers

Friday, May 6th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

April 25 / May 8

Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers

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


"The myrhh-bearing maidens in the deep dawn came to the tomb of the Giver of Life. They found an angel sitting upon the stone. And he said to them: 'Why seek ye the living among the dead? Why mourn ye the incorruptible amid corruption? Go, proclaim it unto His disciples!'"


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 and Elizabeth Ash.
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire and 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 5/7

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 5/8 SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH-BEARERS

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

Monday 5/2

  • 7:30PM Moleben

Wednesday 5/4

  • 7:00PM Vespers

Thursday 5/5

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy

Saturday 5/7

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 5/8 Sunday of the Paralytic

  • 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

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Tons of Pascha music from our choir.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

The Angel Cried.

 

Christos Anesti (3 times, with the great ending).

 

Christ Is Risen in English and Slavonic

 

A bunch more at http://www.youtube.com/user/orthodoxnet


This link will let you select from any of 55 videos

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Meditations of the Paschal Canon, Ode 3

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Continuing the mediation on the Paschal Canon which I began in this post.

Ode 3

The third biblical ode is the Song of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, after God granted her a child (1 Samuel. The primary theme is the idea that all good comes from God and that man should not be arrogant because "The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up." The relevance of this to the good news of Pascha is clear: Christ's victory over death is the ultimate gift to man, given freely to all.

Come, let us drink a new drink: not one miraculously brought forth from a barren rock, but the fountain of incorruption springing forth from the tomb of Christ, in Whom we are strengthened.

The first part of this hymn refers to the water that God brought forth from a rock to quench the thirst of the people of Israel in the wilderness (Ex 17:5-6). They had passed over the Red Sea and escaped the bondage to Pharaoh (if you will recall, this event is a type, prefiguring our baptism). Now they require nourishment in the desert, and God provides this through Moses' hand. This also is a type, prefiguring to the "new drink" that God gives us through the hands of His Priests: the Holy Mystery of Communion, the "blood and water" (John 19:34) which flowed forth from the side of our Lord on the Cross

Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth and the nethermost parts of the earth. Let all creation therefore celebrate the arising of Christ, in Whom it is strengthened.

"To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe" (Phil 3:1). So much of our services consist of repetition, because this is needful for us. Bursting with joy (or teaching ourselves to understand this joy), we say "Christ is Risen!" more times than we can count — but not as often as we say "Lord, have mercy!" throughout the year.

It should therefore be no surprise that this second hymn of Ode 3 reminds us of the the third hymn of Ode 1: "…let the whole world, both visible and invisible, keep festival…." Moreover, this text makes the reason for this rejoicing even more explicit: "all things are filled with light." Christ's resurrection renews the whole of Creation!

Yesterday I was buried with Thee, O Christ; today I rise with Thine arising. Yesterday I was crucified with Thee; do Thou Thyself glorify me with Thee, O Savior, in Thy Kingdom!

This also hearkens back to a theme from Ode 1: our personal assimilation of the fruits of the Resurrection through baptism. Not only did Christ die and rise again, but each one of us is buried with Him and rises with Him in the waters of Baptism — and we pray that we will continue to abide with Him in His eternal kingdom!

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

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Radonitsa (day of rejoicing) explained.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Radonitsa is this Tuesday. I ask my flock and anyone else who reads this to send me the names of their Orthodox loved ones who have departed this life for commemoration in a panakhida tonight, at 7:30 PM. Because of work obligations, I cannot serve liturgy or visit cemeteries on Radonitsa.

Priest Seraphim .


On this day, the Tuesday of St. Thomas week, according to the order instituted by our Holy Fathers, we call to remembrance, in Paschal joy, all those who have died from the beginning of the ages in faith and in the hope of resurrection and life eternal.

Having previously celebrated the radiant feast of Christ's glorious Resurrection, the faithful commemorate the dead today with the pious intent to share the great joy of this Pascha feast with those who have departed this life in the hope of their own resurrection. This is the same blessed joy with which the dead heard our Lord announce His victory over death when He descended into Hades, thus leading forth by the hand the righteous souls of the Old Covenant into Paradise. This is the same unhoped-for joy the Holy Myrrhbearing Women experienced when discovering the empty tomb and the undisturbed grave clothes. In addition, this is the same bright joy the Holy Apostles encountered in the Upper Room where Christ appeared though the doors were closed. In short, this feast is a kindred joy, to celebrate the luminous Resurrection with our Orthodox forefathers who have fallen asleep.

There is evidence of the commemoration of the dead today in the writings of the Church Fathers. St. John Chrysostom mentions the commemoration of the dead performed on Tuesday of St. Thomas week in his "Homily on the Cemetery and the Cross."

Today, the faithful departed are remembered in Divine Liturgies, 'koliva' is prepared and blessed in the churches in memory of those who have fallen asleep, and the Orthodox graves in cemeteries are blessed by the priests and visited by the faithful. On this day alms are given to the poor. Furthermore, it should be noted that due to the great spiritual joy this jubilant commemoration bears, it is called in the Slavonic tongue, 'Radonitsa,' or Day of Rejoicing."

From the "Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion" (published in 1999 by HDM Press, Rives Junction, Michigan) on "Radonitsa':


A note in the English-language edition of the Synaxarion says that the above account was written "by a monk who wished to remain anonymous." This account does not appear in the Slavonic or Greek Pentecostaria.

The development of a special commemoration of the dead during Thomas Week is undoubtedly related closely to the fact that memorial services are prohibited by the Typicon from being served from Great Thursday through Thomas Sunday. Thus, in the entry for Holy and Great Thursday, the Typicon states: "It is fitting to know: That the Litia for the reposed does not take place in the narthex until Thomas Sunday." Then, in the entry for Monday of Thomas Week, the Typicon states at the end of the instructions for Matins and the First Hour: "And the usual Litia in the narthex."

 

Thus, the beginning of Thomas Week presents the first opportunity to commemorate the departed (other than at the Proskomidia) since the middle of Passion Week.

It is interesting to note that in the Typicon and Pentecostarion that are currently in use in the Russian Church, there is no specific mention of a commemoration of the dead on Tuesday of Thomas Week, and the services appointed for that day do not contain any requiem elements. Nonetheless, it is quite common to serve a General Panikhida in church on that day and also to serve Requiem Litias at the graves of the departed.

Daniel Olson, with permission

All of the above is also at http://www.orthodox.net/ustav/radonitsa.html

There are many folk customs associated with Radonitsa. Perhaps some readers would like to share their knowledge and experience of these customs with us.


Here is some more about:

Commemoration of the Dead in the Orthodox Church

Traditional days and ways of remembrance

The fortieth day after death is considered to be the the most important day of commemoration. Orthodox Christians zealous to keep the memory of the departed faithfully keep these twelve times of commemoration:

  1. The 3rd day.
  2. The 9th day.
  3. The 40th day.
  4. The half-year anniversary.
  5. The annual anniversary.
  6. Meat-fare Week.
    (Panikhidas for our ancestors during the week, with a Universal Panikhida on the Saturday of the Departed)
  7. 2nd Saturday of the Great Fast.
  8. 3rd Saturday of the Great Fast.
  9. 4th Saturday of the Great Fast.
  10. Radonitsa (Tuesday of the 2nd week of Pascha)
    Kept mainly by Russian Orthodox
  11. The week before Pentecost/Trinity Sunday, and especially on the Saturday before Pentecost.
  12. The week before the commemoration of St. Demetrios

Note: The day a Christian dies is counted the first day of/after death. If a Christian dies on Sunday, the 3rd day is Tuesday (Sunday, the 1st day, then Monday, Tuesday), the 9th day is a week after the day of death, in this case, Sunday.

Traditional ways a Christian commemorates the dead are:

The submission of the names of Orthodox departed with the giving of alms (usually a monetary donation to the church) to the priest for commemoration in the Proskomedia before every Divine Liturgy.

Asking the priest to serve a Panikhida for certain of the departed. This may be served at the cemetery, or the church, on any day save Sunday. Again, one should give alms. Most priests do not accept "payment" for their service, but a priest will accept alms, and give them to the church or another worthy cause.

Prayer for the dead in one's private prayers, in the morning and/or evening.

On the days when the dead are commemorated in the church, it is traditional to bring "Kolyva", or boiled wheat, with sugar, fruit and/or nuts, as an offering. This food is blessed, and eaten by the faithful after the service.

Another pious tradition is the making of "St Phanourios bread", for the giving of alms to the poor, and prayers to the Saint. There is a tradition concerning him and his mother, who was a harlot and great sinner. His love for his mother caused him to pray for her incessantly. At the time of his martyric death by stoning, he could not even then forget his mother, and with the boldness that is peculiar to athletes of Christ, prayed: "For the sake of these my sufferings, Lord, help all those who will pray to Thee for the salvation of Phanourios' sinful mother".

Taken from http://www.orthodox.net/articles/commemoration-dead-orthodox-church.html


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The new law of the land regarding Smart Phones.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Cell Phone notice.

 

This was gleaned from "Schole", at  http://frjamescoles.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/law-of-the-land

In a recent homily, I called these marvels of technology "stupid phones". Sure, they have uses, and I would love to have GPS for directions and to use when running, but many people are losing their ability to pay attention.

Prayer is a very "no cell phone like" activity. It is long, and has many extended discursions. It is not possible to get little sound bytes – to benefit you gotta listen to all of it!

Our society is losing its sense of beauty, and also beauty in prayer. The stupid phone obsession is not causing this, but is is part of it.

Buck the trend! Come to vigil, stand, listen and pray! All your messages will be there when you are done.

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Thomas Sunday – “Believing disbelief” is the most important part of the story. and Why are the altar doors open on pascha? When are they closed and what does it mean? – 2 homilies

Sunday, May 1st, 2011


feasts-of-the-lord-thomas-sunday-01

Thomas Sunday – "Believing disbelief" is the most important part of the story. LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: There are several important parts to the story of the encounter of the Apostle Thomas with the risen Lord, such as why the first words Jesus spoke to the assembled apostles were "Peace be unto you", the promise of the sending of the Holy Spirit and the power that Jesus gave to His Apostles to remit sins. The most important gleaning from the reading is none of these, but is understood in the blunder of St Thomas, and his subsequent behavior, which led to his full enlightenment, and gave him the privilege to be the first to proclaim in the scripture that Jesus is fully God and man. We are all much like Thomas in his mistakes; let us also investigate his great virtue, which the church calls "believing disbelief", without which, scarcely one would be saved.


Why are the altar doors open on pascha? When are they closed and what does it mean? – LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Five minutes in between Vespers and Matins at the Vigil for Thomas Sunday about the closing of the altar doors, which have been open all of Bright week. There is profound and sobering symbolism concering the closing of the doors which we should understand.


More homilies on the Thomas Sunday are HERE

John 20:19-31 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-02_2011-05-01+thomas-sunday+believing-disbelief-is-the-most-important-part-of-the-story_john20-19-31.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-02_2011-05-01+thomas-sunday+believing-disbelief-is-the-most-important-part-of-the-story_john20-19-31.mp3

If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-02_2011-04-30+why-are-the-altar-doors-open-on-pascha+when-are-they-closed-what-does-it-mean.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-02_2011-04-30+why-are-the-altar-doors-open-on-pascha+when-are-they-closed-what-does-it-mean.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

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