Archive for the ‘Great Lent:Sundays before’ Category

By the Waters of Babylon, The Great Fast, Our Exile

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

 


by Fr.Seraphim (Rose) March 1965

http://www.orthodox.net/greatlent/by-the-waters-of-babylon-the-great-fast-our-exile.html

 

 

 

This weekend, at the Sunday Vigil of the Prodigal Son, we will sing Psalm 135.[1]

 

 

 

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion".

 

 

 

In these words of the Lenten psalm, we Orthodox Christians, the New Israel, remember that we are in exile. For Orthodox Russians, banished from Holy Russia,[2] the Psalm has a special meaning; but all Orthodox Christians, too, live in exile in this world, longing to return to our true home, Heaven.

 

 

 

For us the Great Fast is a session of exile ordained for us by our Mother, the Church, to keep fresh in us the memory of Zion from which we have wandered so far. We have deserved our exile and we have great need of it because of our great sinfulness. Only through the chastisement of exile, which we remember in the fasting, prayer and repentance of this season,

 

 

 

Do we remain mindful of our Zion?

 

 

 

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem…"

 

 

 

Weak and forgetful, even in the midst of the Great Fast we live as though Jerusalem did not exist for us. We fall in love with the world, our Babylon; we are seduced by the frivolous pastimes of this "strange land" and neglect the services and discipline of the Church which remind us of our true home. Worse yet, we love our very captors – for our sins hold us captive more surely than any human master – and in their service we pass in idleness the precious days of Lent when we should be preparing to meet the Rising Sun of the New Jerusalem, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

There is still time; we must remember our true home and weep over the sins which have exiled us from it. Let us take to heart the words of St. John of the Ladder: "Exile is separation from everything in order to keep the mind inseparable from God. An exile loves and produces continual weeping." Exiled from Paradise, we must become exiled from the world if we hope to return.

 

 

 

This we may do by spending these days in fasting, prayer, separation from the world, attendance at the services of the Church, in tears of repentance, in preparation for the joyful Feast that is to end this time of exile; and by bearing witness to all in this "strange land" of our remembrance of that even greater Feast that shall be when our Lord returns to take His people to the New Jerusalem, from which there shall be no more exile, for it is eternal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An outline for a catechetical talk on “By the Waters of Babylon” is available at: http://www.orthodox.net/prayers-of-the-church-lenten-prayers_+by-the-waters-of-babylon_psalm136.pdf.

 

 

 

The talk given may be heard here: http://www.orthodox.net/prayers-of-the-church-lenten-prayers_+by-the-waters-of-babylon_psalm136.mp3

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

[1] “By the Waters of Babylon” is the entire Psalm 136, sung to a plaintive melody, after the Polyelos Psalm during Matins. It is only sung in church the three Sundays that precede Great Lent, Sunday of the Prodigal Son, The Last Judgment (Meatfare) and Forgivensss (Cheesefare)  It is significant that this same hymn is chanted at the beginning of the service of monastic tonsure.

 

 

 

[2] This homily was written in 1965, when the church in Russia was still under captivity to the Communist regime.

 

 



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Sunday Of The Prodigal Son, 2009. The most important part of the parable.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

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Other Homilies on this Sunday:

 

 


 

Luke 15:11-32 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.



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Zacchaeus Sunday 2009. A “before” and “begining” story, to be continued…

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

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Lots more about the Sunday of Zacchaeus:

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_1999+sunday-of-zacchaeus_1tim;4-9-15+luke19;1-10.doc
1st Sunday before Great Lent (Word DOC format)
Sunday Of Zacchaeus
1 Tim:4-9-15, Luke 19:1-10
1999

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_2001+sunday-of-zacchaeus.html
1st Sunday before Great Lent (HTML format)
Sunday Of Zacchaeus
2001

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_2002+zacchaeus-sunday.doc
1st Sunday before Great Lent (Word DOC format)
Zacchaeus Sunday
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_2007-01-21+sunday-of-zaccheaus.mp3
1st Sunday before Great Lent (mp3 format)
Sunday Of Zaccheaus
2007

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_2008-02-10+sunday-of-zaccheaus+encouragement.mp3
1st Sunday before Great Lent (mp3 format)
Sunday Of Zaccheaus
Encouragement
2008

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_2009-02-01+sunday-of-zacchaeus.mp3
1st Sunday before Great Lent (mp3 format)
Sunday Of Zacchaeus
A "before" and "begining" story, to be continued…
Luke 19:1-10
2009

 

Luke 19:1-10 1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/great-lent-sunday-before-great-lent-01_2009-02-01+sunday-of-zacchaeus.m3u

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Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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