FOURTH SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 8: 5-13
So much in our world today seems to boil down to money and power. So many will sacrifice everything for those false gods. But today we are reminded that God’s ways are not our ways, that His love, mercy, and blessing are not the prisoners of the false boundaries that we have constructed be- tween ourselves and others – and between ourselves and Him. That was shocking news to the Jews of first century Palestine and it still challenges us all today. Continue reading
~ Words of the Church Fathers ~
“The saints were people like all of us. Many of them came out of great sins, but by repentance they attained the Kingdom of Heaven. And everyone who comes there comes through repentance, which the merciful Lord has given us through His sufferings.”
~ St. Silouan the Athonite
St. Peter of Damaskos: We should give thanks to God . . .
“We should give thanks to Him, as it is said: ‘In everything give thanks’ (I Thess. 5:18). Closely linked to this phrase is another of St. Paul’s injunctions: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (I Thess. 5:17), that is, be mindful of God at all times, in all places, and in every circumstance. For no matter what you do, you should keep in mind the Creator of all things. When you see the light, do not forget Him who gave it to you; when you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator; when you put on cloth- ing, acknowledge whose gift it is and praise Him who in His providence has given you life. In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice, as St. Paul commends (cf. I Thess. 5:16).”
~ St. Peter of Damaskos, “Book I: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge”
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!
Today, on this Sunday, the Gospel reading is about what we really need in life, about what our real requirements are. In this Gospel, the Lord offers several images or comparisons, saying: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thy eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness (Matthew 6:22-23).
Here the Lord offers us three images. Continue reading
The divinely-blessed Peter was from Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the son of Jonas and the brother of Andrew the First-called. He was a fisherman by trade, unlearned and poor, and was called Simon; later he was renamed Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who looked at him and said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter)” (John 1:42). Continue reading
~ Words of the Church Fathers ~
A man went into the forest to choose a tree from which to make roof-beams. And he saw two trees, one beside the other. One was smooth and tall, but had rotted away inside, and the other was rough on the outside and ugly, but its core was healthy. The man sighed, and said to himself: “What use is this tree to me if it is rotten inside and useless for beams? The other it is rough and ugly, is at least healthy on the inside and so, if I put a bit more effort into it, I can use it for roof-beams for my house.” And, without thinking any more about it, he chose that tree. Continue reading
SECOND SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 4: 18-23
In some ways, we may envy Peter, Andrew, James, and John for the clarity of their call. On the day that Jesus Christ called them to leave everything behind and follow Him, there was no question what He wanted them to do. The message was clear and they did as they were told. Continue reading
St Nikolai Velimirovic asks us to ponder on:
THE ACTION OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT UPON THE APOSTLES: Continue reading
Matthew 10: 32-33, 37-38, 19: 27-30
Saints are models of transformation. They are people just like all of us, who lived in this world. They show us it is possible to follow Christ, to be a Christian, even fully united to and transformed by Christ in this world, in our lifetime – despite the world and the times we live in! Continue reading
Feast Day ~ 11 June
It is truly meet and right to bless you, O Theotokos,
Ever-blessed and most-pure mother of our God.
More honourable than the Cherubim,
And beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim,
Who without corruption gave birth to God the Word,
True Theotokos: we magnify you.
Axion Estin is also the name given to the icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God) before which, according to tradition, the hymn was revealed. It stands in the high place of the altar (sanctuary) of the katholikon (main church) of Karyes on Mount Athos.
According to tradition, an Elder and his disciple lived in a cell on Mount Athos. One Saturday night the Elder left to attend the All- Night Vigil in Karyes. He told his disciple to chant the service alone. That evening an unknown monk who called himself Gabriel, came to the cell, and they began the Vigil together. During the Ninth Ode of the Canon, when they began to sing the Magnificat, the disciple sang the original hymn “More honourable than the Cherubim…” and afterwards the visiting monk chanted it again, but with “It is truly meet…” preceding the original Irmos.
As he sang, the icon began to radiate with Uncreated Light. When the disciple asked the visiting monk to write the words of the new hymn down, he took a roof tile and wrote on it with his finger, as though the tile were made of wax. The disciple knew then that this was no ordinary monk, but the Archangel Gabriel. At that moment the Archangel disappeared, but the icon of the Mother of God continued to radiate light for some time afterward.
Pentecost was one of the major feasts of the Jews, the Feast of Weeks, a harvest festival celebrated fifty days after Passover. Pentecost literally means “the fiftieth day.” It was a feast of joy and thanksgiving for God’s protection and His rich provisions. The whole community presented itself before the Lord as a “holy convocation” (see Lev. 23:15-22). The first fruits of the wheat harvest and loaves baked from the new wheat crop were offered to the Lord. The people worshipped God, the source of life. They thanked Him for His great acts of deliverance in history and His gift of the Promised Land. Continue reading