Zacchaeus teaches us the process of repentance.

The Story of the repentance of Zacchaeus, the “chief among the publicans” marks the beginning of the preparation period for Great Lent, which in turn prepares us for Pascha. We look at this story in the larger context of what we should be doing in Great Lent. It is *not* just about fasting and repentance! It is more about opening ourselves to the grace of God to be changed and healed. This is what happened to Zacchaeus, and we look into our Lord’s dealings with him and his response in detail, with the aim that both would teach us how to live in a way that makes us more able to receive the grace of God and change, and be truly happy.

How to answer temptations and what happens after baptism. Sat/Sun after Theophany Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 4:12-17

The history of what Jesus did after His baptism is critical for us to understand. He set the example, both by accepting baptism and showing us what we MUST do after baptism. Let’ look in detail at how to encounter temptation, which will surely come to us. We must be ready.

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and baptism, and the end, where we will have fought the good fight and finished the course. Readings for the Sunday before Theophany explained.

The Sunday before Theophany (the baptism of Jesus Christ), we read from Mark about the “beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and about the baptism of John, which is a vivid type of Christian Baptism. The entire selection, form Mark 1:1-8 us explained, and especially how John’s baptism (of repentance) is different (and the same) as Christian baptism. It is also appropriate on this day to think about the eventual fruit of baptism, which is human perfection and union with God, and the passage of 2Timothy 4:5-8 presents us with a beautiful “after” picture. This is our destiny, if we accept baptism and work to attain it.

We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ, Show us also Thy divine Theophany Nativity of Jesus Christ, Eve of Nativity. Text/Audio.

Today, brothers and sisters, on this pre feast of Nativity, we hear so much about the humility and the lowliness of Christ. Many things that are not befitting of a king are happening. Now, we just read from St. Luke’s account about the Nativity that Mary kept all these things conjecturing them in her heart. We should follow that example. That is what the services really do. All of our services are this conjecturing in our heart, this thinking about holy things and rephrasing the dogmas of our faith in ways that touch us. If you listen to the services carefully, you will see things or hear things every day that are striking to you, that are amazing to you, that cut you to the core. And you should conjecture on them in your heart.

Now, today in the ninth hour there is this solemn troparion that is sung. It’s sung three times in the middle of the church. It is very beautiful, very profound, and you do prostrations afterwards. And its meaning is something that you should conjecture in your heart because it ends in this very solemn and profound way: “We worship Thy Nativity, O, Christ. We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ. Show us also Thy divine Theophany.” ….