Luke 15: 11-32
Today is known in the church as the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Now just two weeks from the beginning of Great Lent, we are reminded today of who we are: beloved children of God who need to come to our senses and return to our loving, forgiving Father. No matter what we have done, no matter how we have diminished ourselves, no matter how broken we have made our relationship with God, He patiently awaits our return, runs to greet us, and welcomes us back into His family with joy and celebration. Continue reading
What would you do if you had an hour free to do whatever you wanted? How about a weekend, or even a whole summer break? How would you spend your time? Reading books? Napping? Playing video games? Some-times we might want to spend our time in a good way, but when it comes down to it, we waste our time on silly things.
Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. You remember that Gospel reading, don’t you? The young man wasted all his money on things he shouldn’t have. He might have wanted to spend his money on good things, but when he had the money in his hands, he wasted it all, every single bit of it! He didn’t have any money left for something he really needed—like food. Continue reading
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
Life of souls in the other world is described in the Bible and for our Church are realities.
(Luke 16:22-26, Matt 10:28, Matt 22:13, 1Cor 13:12, 1Cor 15:51, Phil 1:10, Heb. 12:22, Rev 2:10, 3:5, 21:8.)
The departed have not forgotten us nor are they indifferent to us.
Those who have pleased God with their holy life, the Saints, pray for us; the rest need our prayers.
Prayers for the departed are as ancient as the Christian Church (2Tim 1:18); in early Liturgies (Liturgies of St. James, St. Mark).
Christianity is a religion of love. Praying for the dead is an expression of love. We ask God to remember our departed because we love them.
It is our duty and obligation to pray for the forgiveness of the departed and our Church offers prayers for them at funerals, burials, services and at Holy Eucharist. We are also given the opportunity to pray for the departed three Saturdays before Lent and at Pentecost where all the dead are remembered – our forefathers; lost souls, forgotten souls; and all who have gone before us. We ask our Lord, to have mercy on their soul and trust in His loving kindness to hear our prayers.
SUNDAY 29 JANUARY
† 16th Sunday of Luke – Publican and Pharisee | Luke 18:10-14
† TRIODION BEGINS
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy
* This Sunday is the first of four Sundays that prepare us for Great Lent. This Sunday can be regarded as the gate which we pass through to the holy period that leads us to Pascha. This gate assists in directing us towards being conscious of repentance. Repentance should direct us through Great Lent. Continue reading
When we hear a story, sometimes we think about how we fit into it, don’t we?
Today we hear the story of the Publican and the Pharisee. Do you remember it? Two men went to the temple to pray. One of them said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people.” He went on to compare himself to other people, other sinners. He told God all the great things he did. But the other man would not even look up, and just said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
When we hear this story, we think about how we fit into it. You can ask yourself: Which way do I pray? Do I tell God all the great things I have done? Do I compare myself to the bad kids at school, and remind God that I’m not like them? OR do I tell God that I make mistakes? Do I ask Him to help me with my problems?
Which way do YOU pray?
Just think: the two men came to the same temple. They came to talk to the same God. But how different they were! Remember, God wants all of us to talk to Him, to pray to Him. But let’s follow the example of the humble man. “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn.net
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today we hear a Gospel about pride and humility – about judgment and self-condemnation. If we are to speak about pride, we may do so in the context of humility, for one stands completely opposed to the other. In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of the Publican (or tax collector), and the Pharisee. We know from the Holy Fathers that the Pharisee thinks himself to be something great. And anyone who thinks himself something great, loses grace and is distanced from God, as it is said: “The Lord resists the proud; but he gives grace unto the lowly.” Pride, dear brothers and sisters, is a powerful force, and it can also be a subtle one. Perhaps we would never come right out in our prayer and say “I thank thee that I am not like other men” because it just sounds so conceited! But, let us not be fooled into thinking we are not like the Pharisee! If we examine ourselves honestly, we will see that we fall into his same sin but perhaps in less obvious ways. Perhaps we have become so proud, that we do not even realize that our thoughts are saying to us the exact words that the Pharisee said out loud. And so, again on this Sunday, it is an opportunity to examine ourselves. And, if we examine ourselves according to the Holy Fathers and according to the words of the Lord in the Gospel, we will perceive within ourselves how much we fall short. Continue reading
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Whoever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a sign of pride, and God resists the proud. On the other hand, one who every hour prepares himself to give answer for his own sins will not quickly lift up his head to examine the mistakes of others.
– St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 53-55
A discerning man, when he eats grapes, takes only the ripe ones and leaves the sour. Thus also the discerning mind carefully marks the virtues which he sees in any person. A mindless man seeks out the vices and failings … Even if you see someone sin with your own eyes, do not judge; for often even your eyes are deceived.
– St. John of the Ladder, Ladder, 10.16-17