What Does the Church Have to Say?
“Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit” (Mark 9:17-31)
Dear brethren, today’s gospel reading tells us that a father brought his child to Christ to be cured of his sickness saying, “Master, I have brought my child. He suffers and is in pain. You are my last hope. Please make him well”. Christ inquired how long the child had suffered. The father answered, “paedeothen” – that is, from childhood. Continue reading
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
Some people living carelessly in the world have asked me: ‘We have wives and are beset with social cares, and how can we lead the solitary life?’ I replied to them: ‘Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not hate anyone; do not be absent from the divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man’s domestic happiness, and be content with what your own wives can give you. If you behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven.’
St John Climacus, from The Ladder of Divine Ascent, (Step 1, Section 21)
SUNDAY 19 MARCH
† Third Sunday of Lent, Veneration of the Holy Cross | Mark 8: 34-38, 9:1
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy
Mark 8: 34-38, 9:1
In today’s gospel homily, taken from Mark 8:34, Jesus says: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” According to accepted English dictionaries, “deny” means to refuse, reject, repudiate and/or to declare something untrue. If we limit ourselves to these definitions, we do an injustice to the deeper meaning of Christian self-denial. For a clearer picture of what Jesus means, we must return to the original Greek text. The Greek is “aparnisastho” and it has the meaning of renunciation and absolute rejection of whatever is incongruous with Jesus’ planned salvation for us. Continue reading
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
‘For with God nothing shall be impossible’ (Lk. 1:37).
And God said: ‘Let there be light’, and there was light; until God spoke the word there was no light. Neither could anyone conceive of the nature of light until God spoke and light came to be. In the same way, when God spoke, the water and the dry land came into being, and the starry vault, the plants and the animals, and finally man. Until God spoke, there was nothing of all this, neither could anyone except God know what might exist. By the power of His word, God created all that was created in heaven and on earth. Whatever God wished to be and called into being, that had to be, and it was impossible for it not to be, because the word of God is irresistible and creative. The creation of the world is a great miracle wrought by the divine word.
Having created all things, God also established by His word the order and manner of existence of all things and their behaviour and relationship one with another. And this order and manner of existence which God has established is a great miracle of the divine word.
But, as well as this order and manner of existence among created things, visible and comprehensible to us, there is an order and manner of existence unseen and incomprehensible. From this invisible and incomprehensible order and manner of existence, which is a mystery hidden in the Holy Trinity, there have occurred, and continue to occur, phenomena which people call miracles. One such phenomenon was the conception of our Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of the most holy Virgin Mary, who had not known a man. This seems to be an interruption of the visible and comprehensible order and manner of existence, but it is not at all a strange event for the invisible and incomprehensible world. This birth is indeed a great wonder; perhaps no greater wonder has ever been revealed to us mortals. But the entire created world is itself a miracle, and the entire visible and comprehensible order of things is a miracle, and just as this miracle came to be by the word of God, so in the same fashion the Lord took human form in a virgin’s womb. Both the one and the other took place by the power of the word of God.
Therefore the wondrous Gabriel replied to the Virgin’s question (a question asked by all generations: ‘How can this be?’): ‘With God nothing that He says shall be impossible.’
SUNDAY 12 MARCH
† Second Sunday of Lent, St Gregory Palamas | Mark 2: 1-12
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy Continue reading
Mark 22: 1-12
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Why do we fast? Why do we make sacrifices? Why do we stand at long services? Why do we pray? To those of us who are beginning to doubt and waver after only two weeks of the Fast, the Church brings us an answer today. This answer is in the person of St Gregory Palamas, the fourteenth-century Archbishop of Salonica in Greece to whom this Sunday is dedicated. Continue reading