Archive for the ‘Great Lent:Sundays before’ Category

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare Sunday). Our Father will come to us in our repentance, and He will question us about our changes.

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Last Judgment

Synopsis: The Sunday of the Last Judgment gives the 3rd piece of important information to us in our preparation for Great Lent. We have learned that to be saved one must not judge others, and feel the weight of personal sins and ask God for mercy. We have seen the process of repentance, from the onset of sin, its destructive affects, self-realization of sin, and the importance process to "arise and go" to our Father, and the critical detail, without which we would never complete our repentance and be saved – our Father will go to us, as we are trying to change, and comfort us and empower us to complete the good work we have started. Today's Gospel about the last judgment shows the end result of true repentance, and also the "flip side" – the outcome for those who do not repent. It is a frightening spectacle, and not a pleasant one to meditate upon, but absolute necessary for us to remember. Lets us talk about how Jesus Christ came the first time, how His second coming will be, and what we must do to hear the blessed words: " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".

More homilies on the Sunday of the Last Judgment are HEREThe Last judgment

Matthew 25:31-46 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


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“Meat commendeth us not to God” exegesis of epistle reading for Meatfare Sunday.

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

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Synopsis: Perhaps one of the best remembered scriptures among those who do not fast and do not read the scripture much is the well known phrase of Saint Paul: "But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse." We look at the context of this true statement, and its application to our day. The entire passage is about sensitivity to our brother's weakness, and how the phrase "when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ" is quite similar to the one in today' Gospel: " ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" We also discuss why we fast – it is a natural requirement of our human nature, and is an easy and readily available way to train ourselves in self-control. Without self-control, we cannot make any progress in the spiritual life.

More homilies on the sunday of the Last Judgment, Meatfare are HERE

1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.


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Forgiveness Sunday And Cheesefare Sunday. Instructions For Great Lent. Romans 13:11-14 Matthew 6:14-21

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

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Synopsis: The Epistle and Gospel for today provide excellent instructions for the beginning of Great Lent, as a thorough exegesis of these readings shows. Let us understand what the purpose of Great Lent is and understand how we can "make no provision for the flesh" in order to learn to forgive completely.

More homilies on Forgiveness Sunday are HERE

Romans 13:11-14:4 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Matthew 6:14-21 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


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Forgiveness Sunday And Cheesefare Sunday. The Triodion teaches us how to think.

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

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Synopsis:An exposition of two hymns from the Triodion for Forgiveness Sunday, after Vespers. It is important to know how to think about ourselves and God, and how to approach God in prayer. More than any other season, the Triodion teaches this in almost every hymn. We look in detail at the hymns:

"Adam was cast out of Paradise through eating from the tree. / Seated before the gates he wept, / lamenting with a pitiful voice and saying: / 'Woe is me, what have I suffered in my misery! / I transgressed one commandment of the Master, / and now I am deprived of every blessing. / O most holy Paradise, / planted for my sake and shut because of Eve, / pray to Him that made thee and fashioned me, / that once more I may take pleasure in thy flowers.' / Then the Savior said to him: " and

"O Master, Guide to wisdom, / Giver of prudent counsel, / Instructor of the foolish and Champion of the poor, / make firm my heart and grant it understanding. / O Word of the Father, give me words, / for see, I shall not stop my lips from crying out to Thee: / I am fallen, // in Thy compassion have mercy on me."

More homilies on the Sunday of Forgiveness are HERE


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The Sunday of Forgiveness We are going to do violence now.

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.[1]

Today is the Sunday of Forgiveness, and it is also the day we enter Great Lent.  After we pray the Vespers service of Forgiveness early this afternoon, we will then be in the Holy Fast.  Why is it that we fast?  We have a blueprint for our life, and why we fast, in the Gospel today. 

Today is also interesting, because we are also commemorating the Finding of the Head of the Forerunner, and so we have this additional Gospel reading that has much richness in it. I want to quickly focus on one thing that it said:

 

"… the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."[2]

 

We are going to do violence now.  We are setting out on a path of doing violence to the violent one.  We are casting that which is corrupt within us, and the Church has given us a path to do so. 

 

Our Lord said, first of all, "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you."[3]

 

First and foremost in the Christian life is to forgive.   To forgive is to be like God – because God forgives all.  God loves all, without any respect for persons.  So when we forgive, we are participating in the energy of God.  We are acting like God!  And indeed, that is what we are to do.  In the scripture it says, "Ye are gods"[4].  We are to act like gods.  We are to acquire virtue, compassion, holiness, yea, even perfection, because the scriptures also say, "Be ye perfect, as my heavenly Father is perfect"[5].

 

So one must become like unto God, and the first step is to forgive.

 

And He says, "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."[6]

 

This is actually a promise and a threat, but the promise is so much more powerful than the threat.  Oh, yes, if you do not forgive, you won't be saved.  If you hold grudges, even though someone has harmed you greatly in this life, you won’t be saved, because, over and over, the Church says, the Holy Scripture says, the saints say, the Holy Spirit says: forgive, forgive, forgive.

 

And if you do forgive, what will happen?   You will see Christ.  You won’t be corrupt anymore.  You'll have peace, you'll have rest.  The promise is greater than the threat.  Absolutely.

 

And then He gives us some counsel about fasting. 

 

"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."[7]

 

These are among the most terrible words in all of scripture: "They have their reward."  This life, this life of corruption, and foul odors, and difficulties, and sadness and strife, and tempests – that is where they have their reward.  These are terrible words.  So if you want your reward now, God will give it to you.  You can be as a hypocrite, you can make it appear that you are holy, and some people will say, "Isn't that remarkable what he is doing.  I could not do that.  He must be filled with the Holy Spirit."  But if you have the reward only now, your life is a total waste.

 

Then He tells us, in a figure through the glass darkly, as it were, what our reward will be.  He says,

 

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."[8] 

 

Do you know what we have been promised?  The entire world tells us a story of death, dying, difficulties, passions and sadness – all the world.  No matter how rich a man becomes, the world is a difficult place because within, there is a pitched battle.  And a man with a conscience is not at peace with who he is.  He wants to become better.  The whole world is corrupt, all we ever see. 

 

But what does He say?  "If you lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven, they do not corrupt.  They will last forever."  These are amazing thoughts here: Forever.  No corruption. Full of satisfaction, peace, rest. 

 

I do not have a day that I am at rest.  There is not a day that I do not endure sadness.  There is not a day that I do not sin.  But there will be a day, in the eighth day, if I struggle now, and also, if you struggle, that we will be in the presence of God.  The mind cannot conceive and understand what this means, because all we see is corruption, and everything changes.  It is so hard to stay good.  Things change all the time, and so often, it seems, for the worse.  But our Lord and Savior is telling us, If we lay up treasures for ourselves now, in heaven they will not corrupt.  We won't corrupt!"

 

In the other reading, John, a great man, greatest born of woman, could not understand.  It was so incomprehensible to him that the Messiah had actually come.  He believed, but he was full of wonderment, so he sent his disciples to Christ, and our Lord said, "Look at the evidence.  The blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them."[9]  That is the greatest miracle. It gives people hope.  It makes people know what they are alive for.  We know what our Lord can do.

 

The evidence is all there, even though the world constantly countermands and slanders that evidence, every single day of our life, but we know the truth!  And this is why we are entering upon the Fast.  Because we want to lay up treasures in heaven, and we want to win the kingdom of Heaven by violence – violence against our passions, violence against that which saddens us – that part of us which is incomplete.  We want to cast it out, so that we can be filled.  That's why we fast.

 

The reason one must forgive is because the task in our life is to become like God, to be filled with Him, and to become like Him morally – to share in the energies of God.  His love for us will transfigure us and make us incorrupt.  And a man cannot become incorrupt, he cannot become like God, if fundamentally he disavows himself from that most fundamental aspect of God: God is love.  Love forgives.  Love forgives seventy times seven times; love forgives infinite times.  No matter how great the transgression, the forgiveness is greater.

 

This is why we begin Great Fast with Forgiveness ceremony.  No, it is not just a ceremony.  Every man who looks into his heart sees that he falls short with every breath he takes, and that he wrongs every man.  If you see one of your brothers or sisters, and they have a difficulty, some conflict in their marriage, or with their children or with some substance or some other such thing – we all fall into difficulties – you should berate yourself and say, "Have I prayed for my brother?  Have I done something to help my brother?  Is it possible that he or she is in peril because of my incompetence?"  That's why we ask forgiveness of one another, even if we have not exactly offended everyone specifically.  But then again there might be grudges that need to be settled today, too, and we must do this if we wish to enter into the Fast.

 

The Apostle says,

"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. "[10]

 

This is the time.  The church sets aside this time, this tithe, or tenth, of the year, so that we would be able to intensify and remember who we are, and who God is, and change.  The first step is to forgive, and then we proceed with the Fast.  And I tell you it will be difficult.  I have been through seventeen of them, and all of them were difficult.

 

 

We all have our different temptations.  One is tempted to eat meat.  Another is tempted to be angry.  Another is tempted to fall into despondency.  Another is tempted in another way.  As many souls as there are, so many temptations are there.  But we struggle together as a community praying for one another and fasting and believing that there is a reward and that it is permanent. 

 

Nothing in this life – nothing – is permanent, and we are living for permanence.  And when I think of these thoughts, it makes it a bit easier to abstain from this food or that, or to make more prostrations, or to forgive my brother, even when he has harmed me, even when he has hurt me purposefully, because everything in this life is going away, except for how we have lived.  The way we have lived, if it is holy, is going to endure

 

There is something else during this great fast all of you should do.  It is very important for us to pray for one another, and also to pray for Paul, Susan and Seth.  They are going to be made catechumens next week.  We are going to have the service to make them catechumens, and the exorcism part of the service, just before Liturgy next Sunday. I would ask you and admonish you, as ones who love, because He loved us, that you will be here to support them in prayer, and not just on Sunday, but during the whole time of their catechuminate, that they would learn of sweetness, learn about faith, about the sweetness you can never have enough of.  And yet indeed there will come a time when we will have enough, but not in this life; in the next life.  We will be completely filled with Him if we live now according to Who He is.  Amen

 

 

 

Romans 13:11-14 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. {12} The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. {13} Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. {14} But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. {41:1} Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. {2} For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. {3} Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. {4} Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

 

Matthew 6:14-21 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: {15}But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. {16} Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. {17}But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; {18} That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. {19} Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 1999.    

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[1] This homily was transcribed from one given in 1999, on the Sunday of Forgiveness, the last Sunday before Great Lent.  There are some stylistic changes and minor corrections made and several footnotes have been added, but otherwise, it is essentially in a colloquial, “spoken” style.

 

It is hoped that something in these words will help and edify the reader, but a sermon read from a page cannot enlighten a soul as much as attendance and reverent worship at the Vigil service, which prepares the soul for the Holy Liturgy, and the hearing of the scriptures and the preaching of them in the context of the Holy Divine Liturgy.  In such circumstances the soul is enlightened much more than when words are read on a page.

[2] Mat 11:12, partial

[3] Mat 6:14

[4] Psalm 82:6, Isaiah 41:23, John 10:34

[5] (Mat 5:48)  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

[6] Mat 6:15

[7] Mat 6:16

[8] Mat 6:19-21

[9] (Mat 11:5)  "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

[10] Romans 13:11

 

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Sunday Of The Last Judgment Meatfare. The Services Teach Us How To Pray Sitchera From Lord I Have Cried, Sunday Of The Last Judgment.

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

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Synopsis: A short homily given after Vespers and before matins on the Eve of the Sunday of the Last Judgment. The services contain much dogmatic content, but also teach us *how* to pray – what our attitude should be. The Sunday of the Last Judgment has many prayers (in the first person!) which mention the terrifying judgments and our terrible sinfulness, and they always end with hope in God's mercy. We must learn to pray in this way – to consider ourselves the worst of sinners and in the same breath, the same thought, having great confidence in God's mercy. Several examples for the services for tonight are discussed.

More homilies on the sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare) are HERE

Hymns cited in the homily

From Lord O have cried, Tone VI, spec. mel.: 'Having set all your hope':

When Thou shalt come, O righteous Judge, / to execute just judgment, / seated on Thy throne of glory, / a river of fire will draw all men amazed before Thy judgment-seat; / the powers of heaven will stand beside Thee, / and in fear mankind will be judged according to the deeds that each has done. / Then spare us, Christ, in Thy compassion, / with faith we entreat Thee, // and count us worthy of Thy blessings with those that are saved.

I lament and weep when I think of the eternal fire, / the outer darkness and the nether world, / the dread worm and the gnashing of teeth / and the unceasing anguish / that shall befall those who have sinned without measure, / by their wickedness arousing Thee to anger, O Supreme in love. / Among them in my misery I am first: / but, O Judge compassionate, // in Thy mercy save me.

The books will be opened and the acts of men will be revealed / before the unbearable judgment-seat; / and the whole vale of sorrow shall echo / with the fearful sound of lamentation, / as all the sinners, weeping in vain, / are sent by Thy just judgment to everlasting torment. / Therefore we beseech Thee, O compassionate and loving Lord: / spare us who sing Thy praise, // for Thou alone art rich in mercy.

The trumpets shall sound and the tombs shall be emptied, / and all mankind in trembling shall be raised. / Those that have done good shall rejoice in gladness, / awaiting their reward; / those that have sinned shall tremble and bitterly lament, / as they are sent to punishment / and parted from the chosen. / O Lord of glory, take pity on us in Thy goodness, // and count us worthy of a place with them that have loved Thee.

Glory…, in Tone VIII:

When the thrones are set up and the books are opened, / and God sits in judgment, / O what fear there will be then! / When the angels stand trembling in Thy presence / and the river of fire flows before Thee, / what shall we do then, guilty of many sins? / When we hear Him call the blessed of His Father into the Kingdom, / but send the sinners to their punishment, / who shall endure His fearful condemnation? / But, O Savior Who alone lovest mankind, King of the ages, / before the end comes turn me back through repentance // and have mercy on me.

Glory… From the Aposticha: Tone VIII:

Alas, black soul! / How long wilt thou continue in evil? / How long wilt thou lie in idleness? / Why dost thou not think of the fearful hour of death? / Why dost thou not tremble at the dread judgment seat of the Savior? / What defense then wilt thou make, or what wilt thou answer? / Thy works will be there to accuse thee; / thine actions will reproach thee and condemn thee. / O my soul, the time is near at hand; / make haste before it is too late, and cry aloud in faith: / I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against Thee; / but I know Thy love for man and Thy compassion. / O good Shepherd, deprive me not of a place at Thy right hand // in Thy great mercy.


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Sunday Of The Last Judgment Meatfare. Things That Are Repeated Are Important. Homily.

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Icon of the Last Judgment

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Synopsis: The account of the last judgment in the Gospel of Matthew has a lot of repetition in it. In scripture, when things are repeated, they are important. Both the righteous and the unrighteous heard the same list of good works (fed the hungry, visited the sick and those in prison, etc), and their reactions were externally similar – they wondered when the events the Lord describes occurred. The righteous "forgot" about their good works because their works were because of their consuming love for God and neighbor. Let us look carefully at the list of works the Lord describes and understand their exact meaning, and the meaning of the responses of the righteous and unrighteous. The main criterion for the judgment will be whether we have fulfilled the two greatest commandments.

More homilies on the sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare) are HERE

Matthew 25:31-46 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


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By The Waters Of Babylon. Dashing The Infants Against The Rock.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

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Synopsis: "By the waters of Babylon", Psalm 136 is sung only three times in the year, on the three Sundays before Great Lent, at matins. The Psalm is historical, being a lament of the exiled Jews in Babylon for their beloved Jerusalem, but like everyting in the Scriptures, there is also a deep spiritual meaning. This is especially true at the end of the psalm, which talks of "dashing thine infants against the rock". What does this mean? This is really important!

More homilies on the all the Sundays before Great Lent are HERE

For David. By Jeremias, in the Captivity, 136.By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and we wept when we remembered Sion. Alleluia.
/ Upon the willows in the midst thereof did we hang our instru-ments. Alleluia.
/ For there, they that had taken us captive asked us for words of song; And they that had led us away asked us for a hymn, saying: sing us one of the songs of Sion. Alleluia.
/ How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? Alleluia.
/ If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Alleluia.
/ Let my tongue cleave to my throat, if I remember thee not, If I set not Jerusalem above all others, as at the head of my joy. Alleluia.
/ Remember, O Lord, the sons of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem, Who said: Lay waste, lay waste to her, even to the founda-tions thereof. Alleluia.
/ O daughter of Babylon, thou wretched one, blessed shall he be who shall reward thee wherewith thou hast rewarded us. Alleluia.
/ Blessed shall he be who shall seize and dash thine infants against the rock. Alleluia.


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The Parable of the Publican and Pharisee. St. Nikolai Velimirovic Luke 18:10 – 14

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Imagine now that we are patients in this hospital of the world. The sickness that every one of us is suffering from has the same name – unrighteousness. The word includes all the passions, all lust, all sins – all the weakness and enervation of our souls, our heats and our minds.

 

The sick are one thing at the beginning of their illness, another at its peak and yet another in its healing. But such are the characteristics of these illnesses of the inner man that only those who are healed are aware of the terrible sickness from which they had been suffering.

 

The sickest are the least aware of their illness. In physical illness, a man with a high fever is unaware of himself or his illness. Neither does a madman say of himself that he is mad. Beginners in unrighteousness feel ashamed of their sickness for a while, but repeated sinning swiftly leads to the habit of sin, and this to the inebriation and delirium of unrighteousness in a state in which the soul has no longer any sense of itself or its sickness.

 

And just imagine a doctor going into a hospital and asking: "What is wrong with you?" Those whose illness is in the early stages are ashamed to admit they are sick, but will say: "Nothing!" Those whose illness has reached its peak will be angered by such a question, and will not only say: "Nothing's the matter with us!" but will begin to boast of their health.

 

Only those who are on the way to healing will sigh, and reply to the doctor: "Everything is wrong with us! Have mercy on us and help us!" Tertullian says, in a homily on repentance: "If you are afraid to confess your sins, look at the flames of hell that confession alone can extinguish."

 

Ponder, then, on all this; listen to Christ's parable and decide for yourself how apt it is. If you say in amazement: "This parable does not apple to me", then this means that you are sickened in the illness known as unrighteousness. If you protest: "I am righteous; this applies to the sinners around me", then this means your sickness has reached its peak. If, though, you beat your breast in repentance and reply: "It's true; I'm sick and need a doctor", then this means you are on the way to healing. Don't be afraid then; You'll get well.

 

 

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

 

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http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-02-16-parable-of-the-publican-and-pharisee-by-st-nikolai-velimirovic-_luke18-10-14.doc

 

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Sunday Of The Publican And Pharisee. Do not judge. 2011

Monday, February 14th, 2011

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Synopsis: The major thrust of Great Lent is given many times in the services for the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, such as "Vainglory brings to nothing the riches of righteousness, but humility scatters a multitude of passions. Grant then that we may seek humilty, O Savior, and do Thou bestow upon us the portion of the publican; (Matins canon, Ode 3). This time is for the pursuit of humility, because without humilty we will not be saved. What can we glean from the publican and pharisee? The worst sin of the pharisee was his judgment of the publican. Above all things, we must not judge others. Since this sin is so pervasive, how can we learn to not judge others? END:SUB:Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee

More homilies on the Publican and Pharisee are HERE

Luke 18:10-14 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


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