Archive for July, 2011

Electronic Newsletter July 18/31 7th Sunday after Pentecost

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church,

McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

July 18/31

7th Sunday after Pentecost

Fathers of the 1st Six Ecumenical Councils

Announcements
Prayer Requests
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week


Announcements

Father Seraphim will be on vacation for one week, from Wednesday July 27 until Thursday August 4. During this time, Wednesday and Thursday services will be cancelled, and all other services will be held as reader's services. See the calendar below for details.


 

We will beginning our Church School program for 2011-2012 on Sunday, August 14th. We will be running three regular classes this year, in addition to the year-round preschool class during the Sunday homily. All three classes will take place at approximately 12:45 on Sunday afternoons, after we have had some time to get something to eat.

1. Elementary School class, for children in grades 1-4 or so.
2. Middle School class for children in grades 5-8 or so.
3. Class for Adults and Older Children, focusing on the fundamentals of the faith — the dogmas we confess and their meaning for our daily lives as Orthodox Christians.

 



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.

  • 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.
  • The suffering people of Minot, ND

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



Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 7/30 

  • 5PM Reader's Vigil

Sunday 7/31

  • 10AM Hours and Typica

Monday 8/1

  • 7:30PM Akathist

Saturday 8/6

  • 3PM Pannykhida — 7th Anniversary of the Repose of Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Krapovitsky)
  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 8/7

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy

Fasting in the Coming weeks

Fasting is "normal" now. We abstain from animal products, wine and oil on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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Electronic Newsletter July 11/24 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church,

McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

July 11/24

6th Sunday after Pentecost

Sts. Euphemia and Olga

Announcements
Prayer Requests
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week


Announcements

Father Seraphim will be on vacation for one week, from Wednesday July 27 until Thursday August 4. During this time, Wednesday and Thursday services will be cancelled, and all other services will be held as reader's services. See the calendar below for details.


 

We will beginning our Church School program for 2011-2012 on Sunday, August 14th. We will be running three regular classes this year, in addition to the year-round preschool class during the Sunday homily. All three classes will take place at approximately 12:45 on Sunday afternoons, after we have had some time to get something to eat.

1. Elementary School class, for children in grades 1-4 or so.
2. Middle School class for children in grades 5-8 or so.
3. Class for Adults and Older Children, focusing on the fundamentals of the faith — the dogmas we confess and their meaning for our daily lives as Orthodox Christians.

 



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.

  • 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.
  • The suffering people of Minot, ND

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



Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 7/23 

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 7/24

  • 8:30AM Baptism of Marlene and Tina
  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy

Monday 7/25

  • 7:30PM Molieben

Saturday 7/30 

  • 5PM Reader's Vigil

Sunday 7/31

  • 10AM Hours and Typica

Monday 8/1

  • 7:30PM Akathist

Saturday 8/6

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 8/7

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy

Fasting in the Coming weeks

Fasting is "normal" now. We abstain from animal products, wine and oil on Wednesdays and Fridays.



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New Book: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Exploring Belief Systems Through the Lens of the Ancient Christian Faith

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Orthodox y and Heterodoxy Book cover

Are you an Orthodox Christian who wonders how to explain to your Baptist grandmother, your Buddhist neighbor, or the Jehovah s Witness at your door how your faith differs from theirs? Or are you a member of another faith who is curious what Orthodoxy is all about? Look no further. In Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick covers the gamut of ancient heresies, modern Christian denominations, fringe groups, and major world religions, highlighting the main points of each faith. This book is an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to understand the faiths of those they come in contact with as well as their own. Read More here.

Buy it here: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Exploring Belief Systems Through the Lens of the Ancient Christian Faith

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What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? & Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Questions that must be answered. 5th Sun after Pentecost.

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Healing of the Gadarenee Demoniacs

LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: This Sunday the 1st Gospel reading was about the Healing of the Demoniac of the Gergesenes, and the 2nd Epistle, for the Royal Martyrs of Russia, from Romans. A general principle of scriptural exegesis is that we must answer all questions! St Paul asks: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" and then gives a long list of things that will not separate us – tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword. The demons who inhabited the man of the Gergesenes also asked a question :"What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?", and in so doing, together with the people of the Gergesenes, provided an terrible "answer" to Paul's question. Their reaction showed that how we react to Jesus is the only thing that can separate us from the love of Christ. These questions are of critical importance, and apply to us daily, moment by moment, whether we acknowledge them or not.

More homilies on the 5th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 8:28-9:1 28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. 1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

Romans 8:28-39 We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. * For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. * Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. * What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? * He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? * Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. * Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. * Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? * As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. * Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. * For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, * Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to sepa rate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/entecost-sunday-05_2011-07-17+what-have-we-to-do-with-thee,-jesus,-thou-son-of-god-and-who-shall-separate-us-from-the-love-of-christ+questions-that-must-be-answered_matthew8-28-9-1,romans8-28-39.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/entecost-sunday-05_2011-07-17+what-have-we-to-do-with-thee,-jesus,-thou-son-of-god-and-who-shall-separate-us-from-the-love-of-christ+questions-that-must-be-answered_matthew8-28-9-1,romans8-28-39.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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Holy Martyr Jacinthus (Hyacinth) Commemorated July 3. It is all because of holiness..

Saturday, July 16th, 2011


Holy Martyr Jacinthus (Hyacinth)

Commemorated July 3[1]

It is all because of holiness.

 

The Holy Martyr Jacinthus (Hyacinth), a native of Caesarea Cappadocia, grew up in a Christian family. The Roman emperor Trajan made him his "cubicularius" (bed-chamberlain)[2].

 

Once during the time of a pagan festival the emperor Trajan was feasting in a pagan-temple together with his companions, eating of the idol-offered food, but the youth Jacinthus, having remained at the palace, shut himself up in a small room and prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the servants overheard the words of prayer. He made a denunciation to the emperor, that Jacinthus, entrusted with an imperial position, did not honour the Roman gods but was secretly praying to Christ.

 

They immediately arrested Saint Jacinthus and led him to Trajan. The emperor demanded that he eat of the idol-offered meat, but the saint bravely refused and declared himself a Christian. By order of Trajan, they locked up the holy martyr in prison after fierce tortures, and they exhausted him with hunger and thirst, so as to force him to eat of idolatrous food. On the 38th day, one of the guards, bringing the idol-offering meat, saw Angels alongside the martyr, dressing him in bright attire and placing on his head a crown.

 

The torturers decided to continue with the trial over the saint, but they found him in prison already dead. The twelve year old Jacinthus died in the year 108 in the city of Rome. They afterwards transferred the relics of the saint to Caesarea.

 

 

 

I read the lives of the Saints to inspire me and to show what I am not and what I should be. Who cannot be inspired by the super-human bravery of a TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY?

 

When I read the lives of the Saints, I often have a “question” in my mind – how could a person do such a thing – have such bravery, endurance, humility, chastity, etc? The answer is always the same – holiness. Or more properly, the ABSOLUTE, UNCOMPROMISING pursuit of holiness.

 

Would I have the courage to pray secretly when I knew being discovered would mean a terrible (in earthly terms) death? Yes, if I had faith and was holy.

 

Would I endure in my faith when spending long periods of absolute solitude and starvation in between periods of torture? It would be very easy to stop the tortures, and I think, impossible no to unless there was the great grace of holiness in my soul.

 

Hyacinth clearly was holy. He had a secular job with many duties, but somehow he was able to fulfill his absolute destiny which we also have – to become holy.

 

We are distracted, lazy, and poor at prayer, pampered. May God, through the prayers of holy Hyacinth the martyrs save us

 

Troparion of St Hyacinth    Tone 4

With rays of grace thou dost shine to the ends of the world,/ like a hyacinth in Christ's Church, O blessed Hyacinth;/ for thy confession of the Faith was radiant;/ and in thy contest thou didst follow Christ the Word./ Thou dost ever illumine those who honour thee.

 

Kontakion of St Hyacinth    Tone 4

Come O you faithful, plait a crown of unfading hyacinths today/ for the Martyr Hyacinth, and let us cry to him:/ Rejoice, O Hyacinth, glory of the martyrs.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal\2011-07-16+martyr-hyacinth+all+because+of+holiness.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/journal\2011-07-16+martyr-hyacinth+all+because+of+holiness.html

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 



[1] July 3 on the church calendar corresponds to July 16th on the secular calendar.

[2] I wondered what this is, and found out that it was a quite varied and extensive position in ancient Byzantium. Here is a short article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubicularius

Cubicularius, hellenized as koubikoularios (Greek: κουβικουλάριος), was a title used for the eunuch chamberlains of the imperial palace in the later Roman Empire and after in the Byzantine Empire. …

The term derives from their service in the sacrum cubiculum, the emperor's "sacred bedchamber". …

In Byzantium, they played a very important role, holding senior palace offices such as parakoimōmenos or the epi tēs trapezēs, but also served in posts in the central financial departments, as provincial administrators and sometimes even as generals….

 

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Good news in Russian regarding abortion

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Here is an article from the NYT which has good news indeed regarding abortion in Russia.

A pastor must always be aware of  potential problems. Perhaps someone who reads this will have some regret because of past deeds. If I know you, please talk to me, otherwise talk to someone! Do not let your abortion victimize you for the rest of your life.


Russia Enacts Law Opposing Abortion

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/world/europe/15iht-russia15.html?_r=2

MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev has signed into law the first steps intended to restrict abortion since the collapse of communism, the latest salvo in what is beginning to resemble the fierce divide over abortion in the United States.

The changes require abortion providers to devote 10 percent of any advertising to describing the dangers of abortion to a woman’s health, and they make it illegal to describe abortion as a safe medical procedure.

Tighter restrictions on abortion may follow after Parliament considers a separate health bill in the autumn.

The changes were passed by the upper house of Parliament this month as an amendment to the law governing advertising and were signed by Mr. Medvedev on Monday. A summary of the changes, which take effect within 30 days, was posted Thursday on the Kremlin’s Web site, which reproduces reams of documents on all of Mr. Medvedev’s legislative measures but highlights only some.

The summary on the Web site said the new law “is directed on the whole towards protecting women’s health and makes it mandatory for advertising of medical services on the artificial termination of pregnancy to include warnings on the danger of this procedure for women’s health and the possible harmful consequences, including infertility.”

In Soviet times, abortion was free and unrestricted after the late 1960s. But in recent years, contention over abortion has begun to sound like the debate in the United States.

Mr. Medvedev has made the fight against Russia’s falling birthrate and plunging population, now at just under 143 million, a feature of his presidency, offering incentives like payouts for a third child and land plots to encourage women to give birth.

Official statistics placed the number of abortions at 1.3 million in 2009, a significant drop from the 1990s. Russia’s increasingly vocal anti-abortion activists, some in Parliament, say it is perhaps many times higher, and Mr. Medvedev’s wife, Svetlana Medvedeva, has taken up the cause.

Last Friday, her Foundation for Social and Cultural Initiatives launched a nationwide campaign, “Give Me Life!” which it advertised on its Web site and in brochures and other materials as a “week against abortion.”

One brochure distributed by the foundation warns that “the consequences of a thoughtless step can ruin one’s life” and offered graphic descriptions of what it called the health threat posed by abortion, chiefly in upsetting hormones in a way that could lead to cancer.

Several local governments, including Murmansk, in the north, and Tula, just south of Moscow, supported the campaign, and state-run medical centers offered families and single women consultations to avoid abortion and lift the birthrate.

The campaign was tied into the “Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness,” a holiday created by Mrs. Medvedeva and the Russian Orthodox Church and centered around Pyotr and Fevronia, a couple who ruled the Murom region northeast of Moscow in the late 12th century and were later declared saints. The president and his wife went to Murom to extol family values and encourage childbirth.

Meanwhile, Valery Draganov, a member of Parliament from United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party, reintroduced a legislative package for consideration in the lower house that would place strict limits on abortion.

Officials of the Russian Orthodox Church had complained that members of Parliament who support a right to abortion had scuttled amendments to a health bill that would have imposed a waiting period. Voting on that bill, which raises a number of other medical issues that have caused an outcry in Russia, has been postponed until autumn.

Sensing a threat, Russian abortion-rights activists, who include feminists, doctors and demographers, have held seminars for journalists and even a small protest in St. Petersburg. Boris Denisov, a Moscow State University demographer working to create a pro-choice coalition, said, “Since obscurantists cannot turn history back, they limit themselves to small meanness like a week without abortion.”

The Rev. Maksim Obukhov, a Russian Orthodox priest campaigning against abortion since the 1990s, when he was a lone voice, insists that more and more Russians favor restrictions.

A conference last month in Moscow brought together abortion opponents from Russia, the United States and Eastern Europe. It also resulted in a declaration condemning what it called other “social deviations” including “refusal of marriage and childbearing.”

 
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Important stuff!! about morality in the Epistles read at the Vespers for Peter and Paul

Thursday, July 14th, 2011


Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
 

Exegesis of vespers Readings

The Difference between Peter and Paul.

1 Peter 1:3-9 ; 1 Peter 1:13-19  ; 1 Peter 2:11-24

June 29 2011

Peter and Paul embracing http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/peter-paul-01.gifIn the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today we read the epistles of Saint Peter. Tomorrow we will read the epistle of Saint Paul for the Feast of Saint Peter and Paul. They are very different, because they came from different backgrounds. Of course, Peter was a fisherman. He was simple, and was not highly educated. He was very forthright in how he wrote; he wrote simply and directly. There was always application to what he wrote.

Saint Paul was different. He was highly educated, highly intelligent, and much of what he wrote was very, very complicated and difficult to understand, and there is great application in his teaching. But there is also a lot of very deep and difficult complex theology. You don’t see that with Saint Peter.

What I see with Saint Peter perhaps you do too. I see a very wise grandfather who has lived a good and long life and learned many of life’s lessons, imparting his wisdom to his children and to his grandchildren, and doesn’t have to speak with citations and proofs. He speaks with authority, and he speaks with experience. This is the way that Saint Peter writes,  and also the way that Saint John the Theologian writes as well.

 
If you look at the epistles of Peter, you will see that they are all about moral admonitions based upon what God has done for us, what Jesus Christ has done for us. He generally will give a moral admonition and say, because of this, or might say something that is wonderful that God has done and then tell us what we should do.

This is the Christian life, and I would say that Saint Peter’s epistles and Saint John’ s epistles, more than any of the other apostles or the other letters of the Scripture, have shaped my preaching because, really, life is aboutperfection, and Saint Peter gets right to the point.

 
Saint Paul gives the groundwork, and it’s very necessary to have that groundwork for the Church to be safe from heresy. But Saint Peter is like, as I said, a holy grandfather sitting by the fire, perhaps, let’s say, and teaching with authority from his life experience.
 

He begins his first letter, after giving a little bit of a salutation,

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which according to His abundant mercy had begotten us again unto a livelihood by the Resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead.”[1]

 

And he goes on and says a few more things. And then what does he say?

 

“Wherein ye greatly rejoiced. Though now for a season if need be are in heaviness through manifold temptations.”

He knew what his flock was going through. They were going through periods of persecution. And even if there are not periods of persecution, perhaps we would say that we are not being persecuted now, although the Christian faith is being heavily persecuted around the world, and it will come here soon, very soon; it’s already coming in bits and pieces. Mostly it’s political now and economic, but it will happen. Even if there is not persecution that is direct, there is heaviness because of the difficulties of life. But if we are like Peter, we remember what God has done for us. We remember that He has given us a lively hope or a love that turned afraid.

 

Lively. Our hope is not dead. Our hope is alive. Our hope is full of life. It is refreshing like the Holy Spirit refreshes as a wellspring of water. So it is lively. We should not forget this because there are times in our life that are difficult. We must remember, we were called to this lively hope, and because of this lively hope we will sometimes suffer.

At the end of this first reading, after speaking of asking his flock to endure because of this lively hope, he says,

 

“Receiving the end of your faith even the salvation of your souls.”

 

This is the purpose of what we go through. We should never forget it.

We don’t do things for no reason. Peter didn’t do things for no reason. The reason why he labored as an apostle was because of his great love for the Lord.


Coptic Icon of Apostles Peter and Paul http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/peter-paul-coptic-01.jpgNow, we didn’t read this today, but the last one of the eleven resurrectional Gospels[2] – have Peter figuring prominently. There was the fishing and then they brought the fish to land of course, and Peter had pulled the fish, a hundred and fifty and three, and though there were so many, the net was not broken, and then they sat down to eat.

 

And Jesus restored Peter by saying three times, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?”[3] And He used the word for love that is the highest word possible, agape[4], the love that God has for us and that we should have for God. And by extension, since we should love our neighbor as ourselves, and it is like the first Commandment, we should love our neighbor with this love. This is a pure love, an unselfish love. And each time of the first two that Jesus asked, Do you love Me with this love of God, Peter answered, I have great affection[5] for You. This is a lower love, more of a human kind of love, certainly a good love to have, but not the love of God.

And the third time Jesus changed and says, Do you have affection for Me? And Peter was grieved, the Gospel tells us, because the third time the Lord changed the word. But Peter still didn’t have courage enough to say that he loved God with a love that God has for us. So he said, I have affection for Thee, three times in answering the Lord.

But we see in the end of Peter’s life when he writes his epistles, if the Lord were to ask him this question again, he would emphatically say, Yea, Lord, I love Thee with the love that Thou has for me. He loved the Lord with not just an affection, not just a great attachment, but a perfect love, because he was perfected by his trials.

 

And so he is sharing with us that there is another side to these trials. There is the perfection of our faith, the salvation of our souls. He speaks with experience. We should understand this. It means much more when you know some measure of man, the one who was timid about saying, I love thee as Thou lovest me, and afraid to say it. But in the end of his life he spoke with conviction. His epistles are permeated with great love for God. St. John’s are the same way. There is this confidence, absolute knowledge of God’s love, that permeates both of the writings of the Apostle John and the Apostle Peter.

In the second reading he says,

 

“Wherefore gird up your loins of your mind, and be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”[6]

 
There are only a couple of sentences removed from the first reading still in what we would call the first chapter. So he’s again making a moral application. Girding up your loins means being ready, being ready to fight. Not to fight against man, but to fight; as the Lord said, the Kingdom of Heaven is being won by violence.[7]

 

It goes on to say,

 

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  (15)  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct)”[8]

 

These words really resonate for me right now because I see a complete breakdown of morality that is happening in our society, and it is happening even among those in the Church. As a pastor, I pay attention to some certain mailing lists and, I’ll tell you, it is frightening how easily people will say what is politically correct and believe it with all their heart. There are many that would believe that any type of sexual expression, if it is supposedly monogamous, is okay because it’s about people loving one another. And of course the Scripture recoils against this idea. Scripture recoils against lusts and against fornication and certainly against unnatural sexual expression.

And yet there are many who do not experience the words of Saint Peter who believe the things that are said by our politicians, and they’re swept away. We should not be like this.

There’s only one way to avoid being swept away, brothers and sisters.

 

It’s not by studying the Scriptures and making sure you know, what the  Church teaches about this, this and this; to know what they teach about sexuality, and know what they teach about fasting. No, these things by themselves are not going to help you.
Of course, you should know those things. I’m not against studying those things; I do – But what will help you is if you live with conviction as Saint Peter obviously did.

 

Then, in your heart you know what is right and what is wrong and it’s obvious to you what lust is and what good desire is, because God will reveal it to you just as He revealed it to Peter. So we must live in this way. You must, when you read the epistles of Peter – and I recommend that you do several times a year – understand that he is writing from conviction because of how he lived. He experienced it. We must experience this.

If Christians experienced holiness, they wouldn’t be saying foolish things about monogamous relationships of unnatural kind, because they would understand in their heart about holiness.

 

This is very, very important.

 

This is how we fight the immorality of the age:

By living in a moral way.

By living with conviction.
 

Now, you see that Peter went through ups and downs. He made some serious errors. He denied our Lord three times, a very serious and grievous sin. But he had great strength of character. He did not abandon the Lord even after he had denied Him. And the Lord restored him.

 

So we can see that there is no sin that we could commit that the Lord will not restore us. But we must have an inner conviction in our heart about the Lord, that He is true, that only the things that He gives us have meaning and nothing else has meaning.

.
Then we will be able to read the epistles of Peter and have every word resonate with us and know that they are true, not because we say, “well, it’s in the Bible and it’s true.” – but because we feel the resonance of the words from experience.

We must do this if we are to be saved, especially in this world now that is calling righteousness, sin; and sin, righteousness. And will eventually, I believe in my lifetime, it will be successful in large part, in calling righteousness mental illness.
 

We must be ready for this.

 

We must be ready by living a moral life, and then you will have conviction, and you will not believe the great lie because you will be living like Peter did – with conviction. This is how we must be.

The night is stretching on[9]; it’s getting late. I’d like to talk about the next epistle, but that is enough for now. Please, read the epistles of Peter with expectation that he would reach out to you, because he can, and enlighten you with God being his helper and our helper, to know the truth by living it.

This is very, very important. Saint Paul is important too. Perhaps, overall, if one can actually say such a thing, Saint Paul perhaps is more important in keeping our theology intact, our dogmatic theology safe, because it was attacked in many places and many times by many robbers, and Saint Paul’s writings were instrumental in protecting the church. Saint Peter, though, has his place as does Saint John. They write from authority because they lived in the way that they wrote. Of course, Saint Paul did too. But there is a different perspective.

So I recommend to you, if you can, tomorrow, read the epistles of Saint Peter with expectation.
 

The blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love for mankind always now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.[10]

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.    

Transcribed by the hand of  Helen; may the Lord save her and her loved ones.

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

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This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2011-07-12+exegesis-of-vespers-readings+differences-between-peter-and-paul_1peter1-3-9,1peter1-13-19,1peter2-11-24.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2011-07-12+exegesis-of-vespers-readings+differences-between-peter-and-paul_1peter1-3-9,1peter1-13-19,1peter2-11-24.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2011-07-12+exegesis-of-vespers-readings+differences-between-peter-and-paul_1peter1-3-9,1peter1-13-19,1peter2-11-24.mp3

 

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[1] 1 Peter 1:3

[2] There is a repeating cycle of 11 Resurrection Gospels, each read in its turn at Sunday Matins. The first is form Mark, the second two are from Mark, the next three are from Luke, and the last five from John, They all detail events from the end of the Gospels, from the day of the Resurrection onwards. These are among the most important AND LEAST LISTENED TO Gospels in the church year, since most Christians do not consider Matins to be an important service, judging from their attendance. This is a great tragedy for them. We cannot hear or meditate enough about the resurrection, and in the Matins service, there is a great grace that increased the understanding when we hear these scriptures.

[3] This stuff is really important, and therefore has been mentioned in other homilies,. This one – http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.html has a more lengthy discourse about the kinds of love “agape” and “phileo” and why the way Christ asked and Peter answered is significant. Also in Word form: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.doc and Audio: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.mp3

[4] The word for love used by Christ the first two times is “agape” which denotes the highest, purest love. It is the love of God for us and the love we should have for God. It is the perfect fulfillment of the Greatest commandment, and certainly by extension, since the “second one is like it”, the way we must love everyone. “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  (36)  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  (37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (40)  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:35-40 KJV) – footnote taken from http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.doc

[5] Agape – the highest love.

phileō – to be a friend of, to have affection for (Philadelphia Pennsylvania is known as the city of brotherly love)

Eros – often refers to erotic love. Ibid.

[6] 1 Peter 1:13

[7] Mat 11:12 KJV  “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

[8] 1Peter 1:14-15 KJV 

[9] This homily was given at the Vigil for the Apostles Peter and Paul, between Vespers and Matins. Because of work schedules,

the service did not begin until about 7:45 pm.

[10] The last blessing of Vespers, when served at a vigil after which the Six Psalms immediately begin.

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Two things that made the Apostles great. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” & “Therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities”

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Peter and Paul Patmos 15th C. LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Our Lord asked two questions of His followers – one completely unimportant, and takes up too much of our time, and the other is of priceless important and should take up all of our time. St Peter answered correctly, with conviction: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." & This confession is part of what made the Apostles great. It is not a one-time answer, but must be answered with conviction, in all that we do. Our Lord told Peter that because of this confession, the gates of Hell would not prevail against the church. We examine this confession, and how the church endures. Part if the reason why the church endures is because of those who hold to the inner conviction the Apostle Paul had (and we must have): "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Matthew 16:13-19 13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

2 Corinthians 11:21-12:9 21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. 1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


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Exegesis of Vespers readings for the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Differences between Peter and Paul

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Icons of Apostles Peter and PaulLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: A short exegesis of the 3 selections from the Epistles of the Apostle Peter, read at the Vespers for the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The difference between their writings is explored. The Apostle Peter writes with simplicity and the conviction and wisdom that can only be gained by a life lived well, with many moral admonitions, based upon a deep understanding of what the God-man has done for us. It is like listening to your wise grandfather imparting his wisdom at the end of his life. He does not feel compelled to give detailed proofs, but he merely speaks with overpowering conviction because of experience. A few of verses from the selections are explored to illustrate this kind of "fireside chat" character of his writings. Those who are temped to call themselves Christians and still not heed the words of the Apostle " abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" should read the Apostle with greater care and humility. We are in an age that very much needs to heed the words of the Apostle Peter. There is also a short excursus into Peter's restoration and how he was able eventually to say to His Lord, not only did he have affection for Him, but that He loved him with an all consuming, perfect love. This love is only possible if the admonitions of Peter are heeded.

 

Also available in text format:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2011-07-12+exegesis-of-vespers-readings+differences-between-peter-and-paul_1peter1-3-9,1peter1-13-19,1peter2-11-24.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2011-07-12+exegesis-of-vespers-readings+differences-between-peter-and-paul_1peter1-3-9,1peter1-13-19,1peter2-11-24.doc

 

1 Peter 1:3-9 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

 

 

1 Peter 1:13-19 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 2:11-24 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.


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Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. What defines the ministry of the Apostles? The life of the Apostles and the church is built upon the bedrock of the confession of faith.

Monday, July 11th, 2011


Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
What defines the ministry of the Apostles?

The life of the Apostles and the church is built upon the bedrock of the confession of faith.
Peter’s confession.
The hundred and fifty three fish and the Restoration of Peter.

Matthew 16:13-19, John 21:15-25

2008


Tommorow, June 29 on the church calendar, July 12 on the civil calendar, is the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Here is a homily which discussed the Great catch of 153 fish, that defines the ministry of the Apostles and what Peter's confession really is. We must also have this confession!


Icon of the Apostles Peter and Paul embracing - Patmos 15th Century http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/peter-paul-patmos-by-angelos15thc-01.jpgIn the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Brothers and sisters, we celebrate the Apostles Peter and Paul today[1].

 

What is it that defines the ministry of the Apostles?

 

The two Gospels show us. The first Gospel I want to speak about shortly and briefly, because I think the matinal Gospel is much more powerful for our needs.

 

Today many people were thinking many things about Jesus, but Peter knew Who He was. He said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

The life of the Apostles is built upon the bedrock of their confession of faith.

To believe that Jesus is the Christ entails following His commandments because belief is not just a static thing; it is not just saying that we believe in a fact. It is dedicating ourselves. If we believe that Jesus is God, then we should obey Him. And the ministry of the Apostles was grounded in this fact.

 

Even while others were saying all kinds of things, He might be Elias, Jeremiah, a prophet, John the Baptist; Peter knew. And so the Lord said this famous part of the Scriptures where He says, Thou art Simon, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.” The rock is the confession of Christ.

Now, in our day and age, especially in the West, the idea of confession of Christ is just BELIEF. No, it is LIVING according to the commandments because Jesus is God, and because He is reliable, and He showed us the way, and it is the only way to life.

So that is the first aspect of the Apostles — and it should be of us and of all the saints, and of course it was – the confession of Christ, to believe that Jesus is God, correctly, in every way – that means according to the Creed, according to the Seven Ecumenical Councils, according to the universal witness of the Church – Who Jesus is.

 

That’s why it is so important to know Who He is. That’s why it is so important that in our services; over and over and over again, we speak dogmatically of the nature of God and of the two natures of Christ, and of what His resurrection entails and how He was a man and how He was God. All these things are over and over again in our services. That’s the reason. Because without knowing Christ, we will know nothing.

 

What is the application of this knowledge? It is what happened in the first Gospel, that is, the Gospel for matins last night[2], happens to also be a resurrectional Gospel, one of the eleven of the cycle[3] and one of my favorites. It’s truly breathtaking in its scope.

Icon of Apostles Peter and Paul, holding a church between them. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/peter-paul-dorm-skete-01.jpg The Lord has appeared on the shore; the Apostles have seen Him. Peter is so excited to see Him, he throws his fisher’s cloak on him and he swims to shore and to the Lord. And then the Apostles follow, dragging the net full of fishes, one hundred fifty and three, and yet the net was not broken.

We could speak about that for a long time. This is very meaningful. The Apostles were prepared for their ministry by the three years. Remember that before, three years ago, they, when they caught the fish, their nets broke. But after seasoning with the Lord, after learning of His ways and taking His yoke upon them, they were ready so they could truly be fishers of men. And those 153 fish, they include us. That’s all of humanity. Because regarding the Apostles: Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”[4] So we are part of those fish.

Then Peter is on the shore with the Apostles, and they have eaten. And then the Lord says to Simon, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” He asks him, Do you love Me with a love that is above all things? Do you love Me as God loves and as we should love God? The word that He uses for “love” leaves no room for anything else. It is the love of God and a love for God[5]. Now, in Greek there are three words for love.[6]

 
Simon, only a few days before, remember, had rejected the Lord.[7] He had denied Him three times. So he felt still shaky in his faith. He felt guilty. How would you feel? We’d feel guilty, right? We’d feel a sense of unworthiness.

So he says to the Lord, unsure of himself, he says, “I love You,” but he used a different word[8] – “I love you deeply, sincerely, as a friend, as a brother.” And that is not how we should love God.

But the Lord said, afterwards, “Feed My sheep.” And then He said the same question again identically, and identically Peter answered it again, and the Lord said, “Feed My lambs.”

Now, the third time the Lord wants to teach Simon something and us too. He said, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me as a brother? Do you love me as a friend? Do you have great affection towards Me? He didn’t say, Do you love Me as you would love God. He used the same word for love that Simon had used the previous two times.

The Gospel says Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Do you love me as a friend, as a brother, but not as God?”

And Simon said, “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.”

Now, it is interesting to me also that at this point, Simon still uses the same word: I love you as a brother. But we know from his life that he loved Him as one would love God because we see the fruit of his life, the struggles that he went through. He was crucified for our Lord. We can see it in his epistles which have a striking clarity about the love of God and a peacefulness about them that can only be from someone who loves God with a whole heart. But at that moment Simon was still being prepared by the Lord. In time, he would show that he truly loved the Lord as one should love God.

What does this little vignette teach us? It teaches us that the apostles were called to love the Lord with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind; just as we are.

They weren’t really called any differently than we are. The extent of their ministry is different, but the base of their ministry, the reason for their ministry, is the same as us, because they are responsible for the same commandments as we are. And they know the same God we know. But they loved the Lord with such power that it obliterated everything else.

And look at what they went through. The Apostle Paul gives a recounting of some of the things that happened to him. He was beaten with 40 stripes save one, five times. He was beaten with rods three times, shipwrecked three times. A day and a night he was in the water. There were many other things – hunger and thirst and nakedness and wondering what would happen the next day, and fear and all the other gamut of human emotions that happen when we have very difficult trials that we go through[9]. It was the same for the Apostle Paul, for the Apostle Peter, for John, James, all the rest of them.

This is what we are called to do – to love God such that we will feed the sheep.  The Lord talks a lot about love for Himself, but He mostly talks about how we should love our neighbor.  If you read the Gospels, they are mostly about how we should
relate to other human beings. Why would this be?

Now, Saint John makes it very clear. If we say we love God Whom we have not seen, and we don’t love our brother whom we have seen, we are liars, and the truth of God is not within us[10].

 So, if we are Christians, we will love the brethren, and the brethren are everyone. Remember the parable about who is my neighbor?[11] Everybody is your neighbor. The mean ones, the kind ones, the honest ones, the thieves, the cruel, those who are good to you, those who are evil towards you, those who speak badly of you, those who praise you, those who would give you back something of what you have done for them, those who would spit in your face and take more beside. All of those are the sheep.

There are many things, especially in our society; we seem to be a society that’s created weaknesses, created passions. People have passions for television or smoking or video games; there’s a hundred and fifty other things that we can become addicted to that many of our brethren from the earlier age were not tempted by, because they had no access to these things. And there are still things you can be addicted to, for sure, but we have so many things in our society that it’s very hard for us to pray, for us to be attentive.

And, yes, we should pray and be attentive. But here is the most important thing that you should do. I’ve told you many times.

If you cannot stop sinning, at least be kind.

Love your brethren – that is  the most important thing. It’s more important to love your brethren –  and that’s everybody – rather than it is to pray or to fast. If we love the brethren, then we are showing love for God. Now, we must pray and fast, of course. But if we only pray and fast and do not love the brethren, we will not be saved. It will not happen.
 

Let us emulate the apostles, brother and sisters. Let us first confess Christ. It doesn’t mean just saying I believe in Jesus Christ – it means living according to Who He is and what He taught. And let us, above all things, love Him so that we would, above all things, consider it our life’s mission to feed the lambs and feed the sheep.

May God grant us this blessed ministry. Amen.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2008    

Transcribed by the hand of the handmaiden Helen (2011). May God save her and her loved ones.

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

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This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-06-29_2008-07-12+holy-apostles-peter-and-paul.mp3

 

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

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

 

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[1] The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is on June 29th according to the church calendar, which is July 12 on the “wall calendar”. It follows a fasting period that begins on the Monday after the Sunday of All Saints. This is the second Monday after Pentecost, and this is  the only major fast that has a variable beginning day, and a fixed ending day. Great Lent, which precedes Pascha, has a variable beginning and ending date each year. The other two major fasting periods – the two weeks before the Dormition (Aug 1-14, church calendar), and the fast before the Nativity of Christ, begin and end on fixed calendar dates every year.

[2] John 21:15-25

[3] The eleven Resurrectional Gospels all refer to the events in the resurrection and are read in an 11 week repeated cycles. There is one from Matthew, two from Mark, three from Luke and five from John. These Gospels are read at Sunday matins.

[4] Psalm 18:5 (Sept) , also quoted in Romans 10:18. This is part of the prokeimenon for the Apostles, which we use on their feast and on every Thursday at liturgy, before we read the Epistle. The church knows this psalm to be a prophesy regarding the evangelism of the Apostles and their successors.

[5] The word for love used by Christ the first two times is “agape” which denotes the highest, purest love. It is the love of God for us and the love we should have for God. It is the perfect fulfillment of the Greatest commandment, and certainly by extension, since the “second one is like it”, the way we must love everyone. “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  (36)  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  (37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (40)  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:35-40 KJV)

[6] Agape – the highest love.

phileō – to be a friend of, to have affection for (Philadelphia Pennsylvania is known as the city of brotherly love)

Eros – often refers to erotic love.

[7] John 13:37-38 “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.  (38)  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”

John 18:25-27 KJV  “And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.  (26)  One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?  (27)  Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.”

[8] Phileo – affectionate love. This is no doubt a powerful love, but it is not as perfect as agape.

[9] “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28) from the selection read at liturgy for the Apostles Peter and Paul (2 Corinthians 11:21-12:9)

[10] “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1John 4:16 KJV) OF COURSE,  the word for love used is “agape”.

[11] The parable of the Good Samaritan. This is read on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost.

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  (26)  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?  (27)  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.  (28)  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  (29)  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?  (30)  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  (31)  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  (32)  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  (33)  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  (34)  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  (35)  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  (36)  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?  (37)  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:25-37)

 

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