Archive for the ‘Gospel:John’ Category

Pentecost “Out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water” Why the belly?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

John 7:37-52; 8:12  

2004

 This homily is at: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-00_2004.html

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

 

“He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water”.

 

So our Lord said on a feast of Pentecost — before the feast of Pentecost that we celebrate, during His earthly ministry when He promised the Spirit; because the living water is the Spirit, and concerning it we hear this wonderful image: "Out of his belly shall flow forth rivers of living water."

 

Now what is the belly for, what does the belly signify?

 

There’s a place where it says their god is their belly. The belly can be about corruption, selfishness, death, indulgence; the belly is about the earth. The belly commands that we eat every day. Sometimes the belly commands that we eat too much. It makes us tired, unwilling to pray, unwilling to work. The belly is one of the least honored members of the body.

 

Certainly, couldn’t there be a better place for the waters to flow? What about from the head, from the eyes, from the hands? The Lord said from his belly shall flow forth rivers of living water. Why is this?

 

The Lord Jesus Christ came to make it possible for us to be incorrupt. The belly, certainly, is the sign of corruption, the sign of our being rooted to the earth. He can clean up everything.

 

When he sent His Holy Spirit upon mankind it was so that the things of Christ would be revealed to those who would be willing to listen, and they would become completely alive. Everything would be cleaned; just as water that is rushing, cleans and freshens everything. So that even those parts of us which are dirty, which resist becoming perfected, the Lord will indeed perfect.

 

Water can not be held back when it is in a torrent; everything in its path is pushed out of the way. So it is with the Holy Spirit. But there is a difference: when a flood comes upon us it’s not of our own will that the water comes, and the water destroys things that are precious to us. But the flood of the Holy Spirit comes only if we desire it. If, of our will, we desire to follow the things of God, then indeed the torrent will come. The torrent will flow and never end. Anything that is ungodly that is in our way of the keeping of the commandments will be scoured away, will be pushed away, and the water will flow eternally– out of our belly, out of every part of us.

 

Now, the Pharisees’ captains– the soldiers who were attending to their dirty work– certainly spoke correctly: never had any man spoken as this man; never has any man done as this man. He lived the life of perfection in the body, and made us capable, and He promised that He would make us capable. And the Holy Spirit enables us to realize the power of the Resurrection, to become eternally fresh and new, to become perfected, even out of our belly.

 

Now, the Holy Spirit is also fire. Not just water, but also fire; Now these are two things that in Nature do not exist together—one destroys the other. But according to God, these things can coexist.

 

Fire burns away that which is trash, that which is unclean. Fire purifies. Fire softens. Fire warms. And we need the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn away impurity in our soul, and we need the warmth of the Holy Spirit to encourage us. He is called Comforter—He comforts with fire; He comforts by warming our hearts, by giving us that sure and certain hope that indeed we can be changed.

 

And He is water, eternally giving us life, refreshment, invigorating us; a spring that never, ever ends. A drought will never come upon he who has the Spirit; fire and water in the soul of a Christian, each doing their part, each from the same Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit abides in a Christian. Until the promise was given, the Holy Spirit did not live in men; all the things that were accomplished were accomplished by the Spirit outside. Even the prophets who spoke by the Spirit: the Spirit did not live in them. He inspired them, and they were still unable to accomplish perfection. But now the Comforter is given to us, and we can become perfected. Anything that’s impure, anything that’s temporal can all be changed– can become perfected, can become clean, can become light, life. Today when we celebrate the fulfillment of the Resurrection in man the Lord has given us everything now we need.

 

He lived on the earth and showed us the way of life that is perfect; the way of life that leads to eternal life, to true happiness, no other kind of happiness is possible. Only by following the will of God can we truly be happy. He showed us this. He showed us the way to live, of having priorities, to follow the commandments. But showing this would not do us any good, unless He also made us capable of doing what He shows us, because we weren’t capable of following His examples; we’re strangers and aliens as the apostle said, far from God, unable to follow the commandments, not completely, not so that we could have rivers of living water in our belly springing out; not so that we could be completely perfected, have nothing ever that is corruptible in us. So He died, and resurrected Himself so that our bodies can be resurrected, can defeat corruption.

 

But even this is not enough. How many people live in the Resurrection? We still see sin, suffering, unbelief, sadness in the world. The Resurrection is for all men, but not all men are able to apprehend it, to clasp it to their bosom.

 

We need a Comforter, a Guide, a Helper; that is the Holy Spirit. He is given so that we can live in the Resurrection; so we can apply the lessons the Lord has given us– and continues to give us on a moment by moment basis– of how to live, how to think, how to be, how to feel. All these lessons can be applied because the Comforter tells us in groanings that can not be uttered[1]. Most of what the Holy Spirit does for us we do not see, or feel, or even know, but he does enlighten, and He does change, and He does make alive, Without the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection would only be a painting on the wall inaccessible to us, beautiful to be sure, but not something that belongs to us. The Holy Spirit makes it belong to us, because we can be changed. We don’t have to live with incorruption.

 

Out of our belly shall flow forth rivers of living water, because our Lord showed us how to live. He made us capable of living, and gave us a Guide to show us, continually, how to live and to strengthen us.

 

May the fire and the water of the Holy Spirit continue to enlighten and help all of us, and make us incorrupt forever. Amen.

 

 

John 7:37-52; 8:12   37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. 41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 43 So there was a division among the people because of him. 44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. 45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. 50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? 52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

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

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-00_2004.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-00_2004.doc

New sermons, commentaries, etc  are posted on our BLOG: 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] “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom 8:26)

Share

What is “all truth” How do we find it? Campus Crusade for Christ. Dogma is moral. Monasticism.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Tuesday before Pentecost – John 16:2-13 

From http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2009-06-02.html

John 16:2-13  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

 

 

This reading has particular significance for me, as it caused me to search for the true church; thank God that God revealed it to me! During this search, I was in Campus Crusade for Christ, “witnessing” in the student union at Purdue University on a regular basis, and even went to Daytona Beach one Spring break to evangelize all the motorcycle riders, and to Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey for about two months to evangelize the New Jersey boardwalk.

I have “Campus Crusade”  to thank for leading me to Orthodoxy. They are quite serious, and also quite inconsistent in their faith. They basically agree that “We all believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and must invite Him into our heart” in order to be saved. They do not have any significant theological precision about WHO Jesus Christ is, and belief in any or all of the following is “optional”: 

the need for baptism,

the Holy Eucharist,

the priesthood,

the existence of a definable, VISIBLE church,

the intercession of the Saints,

the ever-virginity of the Theotokos,

and reverence in general for the Theotokos, who, for most of them was just a young Jewish girl who had several children, Christ among them.

I could go on with more things if I tried hard to think of them.

I was young, and gung-ho, and am sure glad there is no film about me from that time![1] The lack of dogma among us really bothered me. It did not make any sense to me that we accepted a bible from a church that we rejected. It did not make any sense that some much dogma and beliefs were negotiable or not even thought of. The verse:

 

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:(John 16:13)

 

Gave me no rest. If God is a God of order and not disorder[2], then how could it be that so many doctrines were unimportant? There was a cacophony of beliefs, and the only agreement that I could see was that we all “believed in Jesus”.

 

I have since learned that DOGMA is important, and it is defined, and is not optional. The entire history of the true church has been one of defending the dogmatic truths about God. Only recently, do we have Christians who are basically theologically illiterate.

 

How do we learn dogmatic truth? This is a small question, with a simple, but not easy answer. We learn of God from the Holy Spirit, and by living according to the things we learn.

 

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

 

The great gift of Orthodoxy, which I sorely lacked during my sojourn in Protestant Evangelicalism, is that morality is stressed with ALL dogma. Our entire ascetic tradition – the fasting, long and intricate services, the prayer book, the standing, prostrations, love of monasticism, and the writings of the Holy Fathers – all of it – assists the soul as it traverses the path  laid out for it by the Holy Spirit.

 

One of these days, I will write about monasticism in our church. Monasticism has guarded the church. In some places in Orthodoxy, especially in America, monasticism is being thrown out the window. Bishops are no longer monastic, but are just tonsured “bachelors”, who never lived as monks. They lack the spiritual formation that the church has deemed necessary for a millennium. Many Orthodox in these churches do not know about monasticism, or even fear or loathe it as too extreme for our age. These churches are much weaker because of this. Monasticism is our light which keeps us in line. It provides the rigor we must have. Without rigor, we cannot be saved.

 All things concerning God are learned from God, in a soul prepared for this knowledge by becoming purified.

 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God”[3].

 

“To the pure, all things are pure.”[4]

 

We cannot learn about God, Who is pure, without become pure,  we cannot learn anything about truth without living in it.

 

 Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St John, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2009-06-02.html

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2009-06-02.doc

 

New Journal entries are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

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

 

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!



[1] The way we evangelized using the “Four Spiritual Laws” is particularly embarrassing to me. It was Christian marketing 101, without the TV set, and it presented a shallow understanding of salvation. We were also more aggressive than I would like to admit. Gotta get those people in the field white for harvest saved!

[2] For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1Cor 14:33)

[3] Matthew 5:8, sung in most liturgies in the Beatitudes, except in too many churches who, do to a lack of rigor and monastic understanding of our services, never sing them.

[4] “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15)

 

 

Share

The Paralytic “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk!”

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-04_2000+the-paralytic.html

 

4th Sunday of Pascha

John 5:1-5

In the name of the Father, and the Son and the holy Spirit Amen.

Today we see a man who is healed … twice. The man’s healing was completed in stages, as it is for us also. And we Orthodox Christians must recognize how God heals us, and how that obligates us. As Christians we fall far short of the mark. We are very poor at giving thanks to God, we are very poor at remembering His mercies. We are very poor at changing our priorities, at arranging our schedules. And because of this, we too often fall far short of receiving the SECOND healing.

The paralytic could not walk, his legs were not strong. He hoped to be healed, and so he waited, lying on his bed, by the sheep’s pool. And he waited a long time. Thirty eight years is taken by the Fathers to be an indication of a lifetime – maybe not a lifetime now but very near an average lifetime then. And this lifetime indicates everything that is wrong with a man – all sins, all infirmities, all incompleteness, everything that is lacking in us. Any man who has any honesty in his heart knows that he is incomplete, and longs to be changed.

For the paralytic, the first healing was of his legs, so that he could be able to stand. For us, this first healing is bringing us into the church.

Now the second healing is when the man was enlightened by Christ. Our Lord saw him in the temple (which was a good place for him to be, and the reason why he received the second healing), and He conveyed to the man Who he was. And Jesus told the man something very important: "Thou art made whole – sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee". In other words, now that you have been made whole, and I have forgiven your sins, live according to the commandments!

I want you to understand the true nature of this second healing. In the story, it is mentioned once, but we know that our ascent to wholeness and perfection occurs during our whole life. We will not receive this second healing in full measure without us forcing our will to struggle to follow the commandments. This is why the place where Christ found the man is so significant. He was in the temple, praying, giving thanks. God provides the grace, but we must supply the effort.

We Orthodox Christians are very poor at remembering these things that the Lord says, such as "sin no more". God’s mercy is linked very strongly to our responsibility to think to act, to breath as Christians. We are very poor at fulfilling this responsibility. It is very strange that the time of the worst church attendance is after Pascha. This is the time when people often tell me in confession that they have hardly said their prayers. Satan steals away the grace from us, like the birds steal the seed away from the ground by the wayside, because it has not taken root.

This story really is present at this time of the year not for this message that I am trying to give you now, but instead to further focus us on how the resurrection changes and enlightens a man. We will see this again and again during this post Paschal period, how God enlightens and how the resurrection is applied to our life. We will see it in the paralytic, and the blind man, and the Samaritan woman. But we also must see a sidebar to these healings and these enlightenments that we will look at, even if only briefly, on a Sunday. We are obligated.

Every year I wrestle, and I think I lose the wrestling match each year, but my pastoral conscience compels me to emphasize the Lord’s words given to the paralytic after his first healing, which we do not take enough heed of: "Take up your bed and walk!"

You must look in the mirror and judge yourself, am I living as a Christian? Am I fasting with care, am I coming to church when I can, or only when it is convenient to me? Am I saying my prayers or am I just making the sign of the cross as I bolt out the door into my car, in order to immediately turn on the radio and immerse myself into the secular minutia of the day? Am I struggling against my passions? Is this struggle my chief aim of my day?

We are obligated brothers and sisters. And this obligation is not a rule God requires that is enforced with an iron fist. God wants to give you every blessing, and I as a minister of the gospel am charged with making everything possible available to you, that I as a mortal who has been given the responsibility and the ability to deal with the immortal, can do. But you must TAKE it! You must grab it! You must pray. You must fast. You must come to the services. You must take up your bed and walk.

Perhaps I will win this wrestling match some year, and only speak of the joy of Pascha and the enlightenment that God gives. But so far I have lost, because my heart is heavy this time if year. Take up your bed and walk!

You have been healed, you have been put in the waters of baptism, and emerged a new creature. That is what the troubling of the waters in this story means. This theology is a lot more important than the movie of the week you know. We should know these things. The troubling of the water indicates baptism, but only man was healed a year, when the Archangel Michael went down into the water. You should know the angel’s identity from the evening vigil service. Archangel Michael troubles the water. This is not mentioned in the scriptures, but our Holy tradition knows this. One man only was healed! But Christ can heal the whole man, and He can heal everybody.

This is exciting news. But when the God-man says "Take up your bed and walk", He does just tell you to do it. He gives you the ability to do it! Who are we, to languish in inconstancy, and laziness, and in falling headlong in to the narcotic stream of life, when we have been directed by our Savior to work, and He has given us all things to fulfill his command. When we remain unchanged, we are not recognizing the mercy of God. And you will miss the grace. It streams by you, and you do not catch any of it, or only catch a small amount, because the grace of God which He bestows is retained only by the active, who are, carrying their beds, that is struggling in the Christina life. And still have all of your sins, and all of your passions and all of your problems, and the grace of God is right there for you to use!

We have the oasis only within a few steps and we are thirsting to death. A heavily laden table full of sweet meats is nearby, and we are hungry! Pick up your bed and walk! You still have time in this blessed period between now and Pentecost, when God wants to revel in a very significant extreme way, His enlightenment. We must to be here to listen. Not just "here" in this building, but in our prayers, in our reading, in all these things that are necessary for our souls. Not for my sake, for your sake.

I pray that next year I will win this wrestling match, and I will speak to you about what I really want to talk about – exciting news. But this kind of news can only be shared by people that are of the same mind striving together. Let’s be of the same mind, about the living of the Christian life. Struggle with me. I am not a very good struggler, and I need a lot of help and support. Let’s struggle together. Make up your mind you are going to fast better, that you will say your prayers in the morning , and not just a minutes worth. If you always have a habit of listening to Paul Harvey at 12 noon, and always remember that, then you can remember 5 minutes of prayer in the morning, or fifteen. Lets start with five. And five at night. And read something holy each day.

If you do this you will expand! God will fill you with knowledge And some of the problems that have been assailing you will start to be washed away. The process if agonizingly slow for most Christians ands they see very little progress, because they have not added enough EFFORT to God’s grace! So may we take up our bed and walk. Some of us can run, some of us can fly like eagles. Some of us can only crawl. I can only crawl, but if that is the case for you as well, then let’s crawl together.

May God help us to take up our bed and walk, to struggle with all the things in the Christian life for our benefit. God has much to give us, and we don’t see it, even though it is right here! Do you realize the angels are present right now? They are right here, among us, but do we see them? No, because our eyes have scales on them. We do not see what God wants to give us. This is a tragedy – that we don’t see the angels, that we do not feel the fullness of what is happening right now.

May God enlighten us! It will be as little bit at a time, small steps. He is not asking you to pray in the air tomorrow . He is asking you to respond to his grace, like a flower responds to the sun and grows towards it. The flower never turns away from the sun, and yet the Christian does. Let us not be like the world. Let us focus our lives on what matters, the salvation of our souls, so that we can see what God wants to show us. There is exciting news, incredible news concerning what God has in store for those who struggle. May God bless you and help you. Amen.

Share

St Thomas Sunday. “My Lord and My God”

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

 

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Christ is risen! 

 

Today is the second Sunday of Pascha already.  It is the Sunday of St. Thomas.  Today we read about, as the church calls it, St. Thomas’ "believing unbelief."[1] 

 

There is a theme here that the church is going to be talking about now in the light of the resurrection during the whole Pentecostarion period: the enlightenment of man.  The resurrection is being applied now.  We see it in the Acts that we’re reading for quite some time now.  In the light of the resurrection, we see what’s happening.  We see how many people were healed, how many people were converted, and how lives were changed.  Even the shadow of the apostles healed people of their infirmities.[2]  In the light of the resurrection, there was activity, there was motion, and there was enlightenment. 

 

St Thomas, who was no different than you or I, had to be enlightened also.  Everyone has different levels of understanding on various things, even among the apostles, even among the saints. It is fascinating to look and see how our Lord in the forty days that He spent on the earth enlightened so many using different ways to enlighten them, and also throughout the whole of the gospels how He reached people where they needed to be reached.  The final destination is always the same: to follow the commandments and to become purified, so that we can know Christ in an intimate way.  But sometimes Christ teaches certain people a little bit different.  In fact, everyone is treated a little bit different.

 

Thomas wasn’t there the first night of Pascha.[3]  He had left probably on some errand, and that is when Christ came, the doors being shut.  And Jesus spoke to the eleven, or actually, ten[4] at that point, and they were glad.  I have always marveled how in the scriptures great, momentous occasions are stated so laconically.  "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord."[5]  Indeed, they were glad, when they saw the God-man!  But Thomas was not there, and the resurrection was such an incredible thing; he cannot really be faulted for not believing. 

 

Peter didn’t believe when he saw the grave clothes, only John did, when they went into the grave and saw the clothes lying folded up.[6]  John saw and believed, but Peter didn’t.  He went away, wondering in himself what had come to pass.[7] 

 

Mary Magdalene, who saw the stone rolled away from the tomb together with the Theotokos, didn’t immediately believe in the resurrection.  She came back to the tomb with myrrh and aloes to anoint the Lord, He Who in her mind was dead.  She was weeping because He wasn’t in the tomb.[8]  She was weeping for someone Who was dead.  That’s why we sing, "Do not weep for one who is dead," it says (in a paraphrasement).  "He is not dead, He is not here, He is alive and risen."  In our exapostilarion we speak of this quite a bit, of how Mary misunderstood.  And our Lord came to her and she thought He was the gardener, till He spoke to her and just in the hearing of His voice, when He said, "Mary", and then she recognized Him.[9] 

 

Other disciples spent an entire a day’s journey with Christ, and didn’t understand.  They were Luke and Cleopas, on the way to Emmaus.[10]  The tomb had already been empty for some time, and they were walking a long distance.  It says in the scriptures 60 furlongs, quite a long distance, a day’s journey, in the hot sun, and our Lord drew alongside them, and He spoke to them, and they didn’t understand Who He was.  They thought that He was a misinformed stranger, because He made like He wondered what the events were in the past couple days. 

 

But their hearts burned within them.  Something about this Man captivated them, when He spoke to them about the scriptures, and opened their understanding.  That’s why it says: "And then opened He their understanding of the scriptures."  And when they sat down, and when He broke bread, (which was of course, the Body and Blood of Christ), then they saw Him, and He vanished.  And as they were making their way back in the wee hours of the morning, another day’s journey, (they took two days’ journey in one day), Christ was appearing to the other apostles, save Thomas. 

 

You see how He enlightened people where they needed to be enlightened. 

 

Luke and Cleopas must have needed this conversation with the Lord, and to see Him in the breaking of the bread, to really have the point brought home that yes, the Lord had risen. 

 

Mary had to be spoken with by Lord.  She had to see Him. 

 

John believed just by seeing the empty tomb. 

 

Peter was met by the Lord, the church understands.[11]  Peter was met individually by the Lord, because after all, he was a bit shaken, wasn’t he?  Peter was a man of great bravery.  He can’t be faulted for his denying Christ three times.  We would have done it a thousand times.  But he was much shaken because of this, and because of his emotional turmoil he was in, it was very difficult for him to believe in the resurrection, because he was all wrapped up with his feeling so completely unworthy of what the Lord had called him to do.  So the Lord had to meet with Peter individually, apart from the other apostles.  And in fact, Peter was the first of the apostles to see the risen Lord.  And I suppose maybe the second to believe after John, who without seeing believed. 

 

And now the last to find out, after eight long days of hearing from the apostles about the Lord being risen, Thomas, is in the room and the Lord comes, through the doors again, which were shut, passing through the doors, because after all, His body is a human body, but it is a transfigured human body.  It’s not subject to the same kind of laws that we are subject to.  It doesn’t get tired, it doesn’t get sick.  And that’s the way we will be as well.  The way Christ was in His transfigured body is a prophecy for us of how our bodies will be as well. 

 

Jesus comes in and speaks very gently to Thomas.  He says, "I know what you need.  You need to touch Me.  Feel the prints of the nails in my hands.  Feel the slit in my side, and be not faithless, but believing."[12]  And then Thomas has the privilege of being the first of the apostles to proclaim unambiguously, in clear terms, the dual nature of Christ’s humanity and His divinity.  It is the first confession of faith in the scriptures, where Christ is proclaimed God and man openly.  He says, "My Lord and my God!"[13] 

 

Thomas had to wait awhile, but God gave him that great privilege of almost, shall we say, beginning the symbol of faith[14].  What a great privilege it was. 

 

In the coming week we will be speaking about the myrrh-bearing women[15], and there is a theme throughout the story of the myrrh-bearing women of their continuing enlightenment, just like for Thomas or for Peter or for Luke and Cleopas or for the other apostles.  And then we go onto the blind man and the lame man, the paralytic.  We see how the resurrection is applied. 

 

Why does the church do this?  Why do we speak of things that have to do with enlightenment and healing right after Pascha?  Well, because the resurrection applies to us in our life now.  It’s very important to understand this.  That’s why I have been speaking of it so often.  It’s very important to understand, because you must know that God has given you the ability to be able to get rid of your sins, of your passions, of the problems in your life that are making you to be away from God.  You have the ability, through the resurrection.  And all these examples of people that partially believed, even the great apostles, who were at times disbelievers, at times were cowards, at times were at odds with each other  and vied amongst themselves who would be greatest, and all the other things — even them — the Lord purified them, and brought them to a great wholeness. 

 

If He can do it with them and do it with all the others examples in the scriptures, with the paralytic and the blind man and the woman at the well, named Photini[16], and all the others, then He can do it with us. 

 

I tell you, the resurrection is not something that you believe in as an event that occurred in the past.  Nor is it something that you believe, and say that it will happen in the future, like Mary and Martha did, saying, "Oh Lord, I believe in the resurrection.  In the last day, all will be resurrected."[17]  When their brother Lazarus lay dead, and Christ showed them, "I am the resurrection.  If I live in you, then you are resurrected now, not later."  It is very important to understand this. 

 

A Christian who understands that Christ’s becoming man makes him able to do holy things will not fall prey to despondency.  Despondency is really the negation of belief in God, you know.  Despondency is a type of atheism.  You should fear despondency and confess it every time.  It is a terrible sin, because in it, you are rejecting the resurrection.  God can save you, and God will save you if you live the Christian life.  Yes, indeed, you must consider yourself unworthy of salvation, but you must also know that Christ has promised it. 

 

So live as a Christian, fast as a Christian, think as a Christian, and when you cannot do things properly, when you do things that are sinful, run to confession with the sure hope and sure knowledge, that God will receive your repentance, because of the resurrection.  I tell you if you live in the light of the resurrection, you will not become despondent.  As a pastor I believe that the number one sin I see is despondency.  Sometimes it is cloaked, so that people can have a sin and may be despondent about it, but not so noticeably despondent, so that it is a sort of semi-excuse. 

 

And sometimes it is because people really desire to change, and they just can’t believe that they can really change.  Mary and Martha couldn’t believe that their brother would be resurrected after four days.  The apostles, many of them, could not believe that our Lord, Who spoke of the resurrection over and over and over again, could be resurrected.  It took many proofs for some of them, such as Thomas, and the other ones as well.  You know, it says "Many things the Lord did, many signs He did, but not everything is written in this book."[18] 

 

By the way, as an aside, you realize that the Lord taught the apostles so much that is not written down, that is part of our holy tradition now.  The apostles transmitted it to their disciples, and so on.  It wasn’t written down, but it was precious, and St. John only in a dark way refers to it. 

 

So today we see an example of a man, Thomas, enlightened.  Christ went out of His way to enlighten him. He sort of accorded him special treatment, as it were.  And Thomas believed, and he confessed.  Christ did and does the same thing for us, to bring us to enlightenment.  And now we must believe and confess. 

 

Now He said something else that’s very important, important not to pass over.  He said it, before Thomas was there, and many other times when Thomas heard.  He said, "As the Father hath sent me, so send I you."[19] 

 

And by extension, it is the same for us.  No, we don’t have the role of the apostles.  We are not bishops, and we don’t have the grace that has been bestowed upon the apostles, but we are sent along basically the same path: the path of obedience to the same gospel, the path of obedience to the commandments of our God, the life in the church, and everything that living as an Orthodox Christian entails. 

 

Later on, just after this reading in fact, the disciples, seven of them, are fishing, and the Lord tells them to let down their nets, and they had a catch, and then Peter is told to bring the catch to the shore, a hundred and fifty and three fishes, and yet the net did not break.[20]  And later, after they ate, our Lord restored Peter by asking him three times, "Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me?"  and then He showed him how he would die.[21]  This is tied in with when He was saying, "As my Father hath sent Me, so send I you." 

 

We must use Christ as the example of how to live, whether as an apostle or whether as anyone else.  The Christian life is one of difficulty and one of strife.  We are in the light of the resurrection, but we can never get far away from knowing that our life is a difficult one.  We make it so because of our sins, sometimes, and other times because of the evil of the world surrounding us.  Follow the example of the saints.  Follow the example of the apostles.  Live as they lived, which means you live the life in the church. 

 

And brothers and sisters, always believe that the resurrection applies to you, now.  Fear disbelief in it.  Every time you fall into despondency, berate yourself for being a fool and gazing into an empty tomb, and wondering where the Lord is.  Don’t be like this.  Believe in the resurrection, and believe that you can be changed, and through struggle, arduous struggle, through many tears, through ups and downs, and even in the midst of your sins, God will perfect you, but you must believe.  Amen.

 

 

——-

 

 

The Gospel for St. Thomas Sunday

John 20:19-31

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 showed 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.



 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

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

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-02_1998+saint-thomas-sunday.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-02_1998+saint-thomas-sunday.doc

 

New sermons, commentaries, etc  are posted on our BLOG: 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] Cf. one of the stichera at Vespers: "When Thou didst enter, O Christ, while the doors were shut, / Thomas, who was called the Twin, was not with them. / Wherefore, he doubted what was told him, / thus by unbelief confirming his belief. / And Thou, O Good One, didst not disdain to show him / Thine immaculate side and the wounds of Thy hands and feet. / Wherefore, having felt and beheld, / he confessed that Thou art neither naked God nor mere man, // and he cried: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee."

[2] (Acts 5:15)  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

[3] (John 20:19,24)  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. … {24} But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

 

[4] Judas was dead, Thomas was gone, and the replacement for Judas (Matthias) had not been elected yet. This leaves ten.

[5] John 20:20

[6] (John 20:1-8)  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. {2} Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. {3} Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. {4} So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. {5} And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. {6} Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, {7} And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. {8} Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

[7] (Luke 24:10-12)  It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. {11} And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. {12} Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

[8] (John 20:11-16)  But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, {12} And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. {13} And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. {14} And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. {15} Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. {16} Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Luke 24:13-33

[11] We understand this from holy tradition, and the scripture: (Luke 24:33-35)  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, {34} Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. {35} And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

 

[12] Cf. (John 20:27)  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.

[13] John 20:28

[14] The Symbol of faith is also known as the "Nicene Creed".

[15] The Sunday of the Myrhbearers  is the 3rd Sunday of Pascha (counting Pascha as the 1st Sunday of Pascha)

[16] The Samaritan Woman, whom the church knows as St Photini (5th Sunday of Pascha)

[17] Cf. John 11, and especially (John 11:23-26)  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. {24} Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. {25} Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: {26} And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

 

[18] (John 21:25)  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

[19] John 20:21

[20] John 21:11

[21] Cf. John 21:15-19

Share

Bright Thursday 2009. Nicodemus meets Jesus.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Bright Thursday

Illumination by degrees, but only if we stay in the kitchen!

 

The story of Nicodemus meeting with Christ is our story. We are Nicodemus, and Peter, and Mary Magdalene, and Thomas, and the Blind man, and the Paralytic, and all the rest, whom we have read about or will read about in this season; for them and us, illumination comes over time, and always with great effort and waiting on our part.

 

There is a constant theme throughout this Paschal period, up to and including Pentecost. It is the sure and certain aspect of everyone’s life – we come to an understanding of holy things slowly, and only if we struggle and endure.

 

We read about these people, such as Nicodemus, and still we do not really “get it”. He was a flesh and blood person; He did not understand all things, he made mistakes, he sinned, and he was confused. He was just like us, or shall we say, he had our weaknesses. It remains to be seen if we have a share in his strengths.

 

Look for a Saint in the bible that did not have feet of clay! Peter, David, all the Apostles – anyone! They struggled with their human condition, and it took them time to get better – to understand, to do, to repent, to become what they were made to be. So it is with us.

 

So many stories, and throughout them all, a golden thread – God’s grace is sufficient even if it does not seem sufficient, even if we cannot feel it at all, even if our weak-willed humanity gets in our own way as we crawl towards God! If we wait, and act upon what we know, God will help us. It does not matter what we feel – it matters what we do, and that we endure.

 

Nicodemus is a perfect example of this golden thread. He came to Jesus by night. Why? Because he was a Pharisee, and he was afraid of being found out by his peers! This is not an auspicious beginning for the man we would later call “equal to the Apostles”, because he was the first to evangelize Great Britain.

 

Nicodemus knew there was something different and profound about this man Jesus, because he has heard him speak in a way unlike any other man, with authority, unlike the Pharisees or Scribes. He was a thoughtful man, good, seeking God, but the ensuing conversation shows he was very confused, and the Lord even rebuked him because of this, saying:

 

“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

 

Jesus told him fantastic things, and Nicodemus must have gone away more confused than when he first came. We know he remained a Pharisee; he did not become a constant follower of Jesus. Perhaps he was still afraid of what would happen to him if he declared his loyalty to Jesus, perhaps he was still very confused about Jesus and his teaching. None of this matters.  We know he endured; he wrestled with these things, and he came to know the truth, because after the crucifixion, he became brave, and took the body of Jesus from Pilate, to prepare it for burial, ostensibly ruining his career as a Pharisee, and endangering his life.

 

It took some time for Nicodemus to understand. As his understanding grew, he found the courage to act upon it, and now we call him “Equal to the Apostles.”

 

It is like this with everyone, you and me too. We struggle with faith, we wrestle with ourselves. Sometimes it feels like we are losing. We know what we should become and we are not becoming it; we have times of confusion, sorrow, unbelief in various forms. This happens to everyone! Anybody who says they have never had a moment when their faith was weak, or even barely there – is a liar!

 

Our weakness does not matter. Our confusion does not matter. Not even our sins matter. The only thing that will kill us if we quit.  Nicodemus spent three years pondering the things Jesus said to him; he did not quit. As we learn, we must do. When we will learn, and how – these things are not revealed to us, because:

 

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

 

We have been born of water – we have been baptized. We will be born of the Spirit; we must wait, and endure, and act upon the truth as we understand it and develop a greater ability to act on it. If we do this, then truly Nicodemus story, will be our story in every way.

 

Christ is risen!

This post was referenced in:

Clergy Piggies & the Stinky Clay Wees from the excellent blog "Orthodixie"

 

John 3:1-15    1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 

 

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St John, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-thursday-01_2009-04-23.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-thursday-01_2009-04-23.html

 

New sermons and commentaries are posted on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

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

 

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

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

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

Share

1st Sun of Great Lent 2009. How do *we* partake in the triumph of Orthodoxy?

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

LISTEN NOW 

Other Homilies on this Sunday:



Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-12:2 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 1:43-51 43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-01_2009-03-08+triumph-of-orthodoxy.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-01_2009-03-08+triumph-of-orthodoxy.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

Share

The High Priestly prayer of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 28th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

Holy Fathers Of The First Six Ecumenical Councils (celebrated on the Sunday on or after July 13)

The High priestly prayer of Jesus Christ contains not only sublime dogmas about Jesus Christ, but also a two-fold definition of salvation, and an example of how to attain it: we must care for others as Jesus Christ did.

John 17:1-13These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.



If the “LISTEN NOW” link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:
http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-07-13_2008-07-27+holy-fathers-of-the-first-six-ecumenical-councils.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-saints-07-13_2008-07-27+holy-fathers-of-the-first-six-ecumenical-councils.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



Share

Pentecost 2008 – If any man thirst… 3 Important things

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

John 7:37-52; 8:12
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. 41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 43 So there was a division among the people because of him. 44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. 45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. 50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? 52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.



If the “LISTEN NOW” link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:
http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-00_2008-06-16.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-00_2008-06-16.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

Share

7th Sun of Pascha 2008 – What is heaven? >John 17:1-13

Monday, June 9th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

John 17:1-13 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.



If the “LISTEN NOW” link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:
http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-07_2008-06-08.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-07_2008-06-08.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

Share

6th sun of Pascha – The Blind Man – It really is about character too.

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

LISTEN NOW

John 9:1-38And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clayp, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. 8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. 12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. 13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. 26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.



If the “LISTEN NOW” link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:
http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pascha-sunday-06_2008-06-01+the-blind-man.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-06_2008-06-01+the-blind-man.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

Share