We beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 16th Sunday after Pentecost – 2 Corinthians 6:1 10.

This Sunday the Apostle Paul beseeches us that we receive not the grace of God in vain. His admonition is not something that is a rhetorical question. It is meant to be answered. All Christians must answer it.

He goes on to describe the ministry of being an apostle but really, by extension, the life of any Christian. Not all of the things he says would apply to us directly but most of them do. And then he goes on after giving this list of things that is very important to look at closely. At the end he says that he lives as sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

This is a key to the victorious Christian life, to always have sorrow and rejoicing. The world doesn’t understand this. The world really doesn’t like sorrow, so they try to always replace it with something that makes them happy, whether it is for a little time or a long time, whether it’s artificial or natural, they want to feel happy, not to be sorrowful.

The Christian, on the other hand, courts the feeling of sorrow and desires it. We’re not talking about sorrow that is depression and despondency and feeling like there is no meaning in life, or that there is nothing good that is happening in our lives or that all is difficult and all is terrible. That is the sorrow of the unbeliever.

Our kind of sorrow is that perhaps we have not received all of the grace of God properly and some of it was in vain. Our sorrow is that we wish to do good and sometimes we do not. Our sorrow is that God loves us and we do not love Him enough back. This is Christian sorrow….

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Understand yourself, and repentance and change will be unhindered.

Synopsis: It is crucial that we apply the Scripture we read *personally*. St Paul’s writings especially have important doctrinal teachings, but they always have personal application that we must not miss. We hone in on a critical “pointer” the Apostle gives regarding our nature and sin. We must takes his words to heart, and “own” them, so that we do not waste time with sadness, grief, guilt, surprise and shame, and always have productive repentance for our sins.

Parable of the Wedding Feast & the earnest of the Spirit, & also how/when to pray for people during the Divine Liturgy.

The homily begins with a request to pray for an Orthodox woman who is planning to have an abortion. The most important place in the liturgy to offer our heartfelt prayers to God for others is given, and it is explained that among other things, the earnest of the spirit, which St Paul mentions in his epistle should motivate us for our brethren who are suffering or in danger. After a little bit about how Orthodox should view abortion, this " earnest" and the "tie in" to the parable of the wedding feast are explained, and we see how praying for others and struggling for good MUST be the result of our entry into the wedding feast, which has already occurred, and is occurring.

arable of the Vineyard: the outer (Jewish) and inner (Christian) meanings and symbolism: we must bear fruit! AND The Holy Prophet Samuel: Behold, here am I. Speak, for thy servant hears.

Another TWO_FER on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 2012!

The Parable of the Vineyard, like most parable, has an immediate, outer meaning, and many layers of inner meaning. We compare all the symbolism in the parable, giving the immediate (Jewish) meaning, and The Christian meaning, and then talk about the main inner point of the parable: we must bear fruit – we are commanded to!

We celebrated The Prophet Samuel today, and talked about him at Vigil. The Holy Prophet Samuel teaches us how to approach EVERYTHING in life. The manner of the birth and calling of Samuel is also mentioned.