8th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 10: 25- 37
There are some people who think that worshiping God in beautiful liturgical services distracts us from serving our neighbors and accomplishing His purposes for us in the world. There are those who say that focusing on prayer, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines wastes time and energy that could be better used in helping others. On November 17 we commemorate St John Chrysostom, whose life and ministry demonstrate that we do not have to choose between liturgical life and practical service, for true worship and prayer enable us to make all dimensions of our life in the world an entrance into the heavenly kingdom through Jesus Christ, our eternal High Priest.
~ Words of the Church Fathers ~
Do you wish to honour the Body of the Saviour? Do not despise it when it is naked.
Do not honour it in church with silk vestments while outside it is naked and numb with cold. He who said, “This is my body,” and made it so by His word, is the same who said, “You saw me hungry and you gave me no food. As you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me.”
Honour Him then by sharing your property with the poor. For what God needs is not golden chalices but golden souls.
St John Chrysostom, Homily 50, Homilies on the Gospel of St Matthew
~ Words of the Church Fathers ~
The venerable Saint Paisios the Athonite used to pray and commemorate the departed souls.
The Elder related:
“As soon as I went to live at the skete, old Thanassis, who worked for Philotheou as a forester, found out about it and came to see
me. He was a friend of mine, and he brought me some blessings, since it was early on then, and I didn’t have anything. I thanked him, and I told him to write down the names of his departed relatives , so that I could commemorate them. Influenced by a Jehovah’s Witness, he replied, ‘When someone dies, there’s nothing else―after death everything’s lost.’ Soon after that, he himself died. When I found out, I went to Philotheou and saw his grave. Every day I prayed from the heart that God would give rest to his soul. About thirty days afterward, I found out that someone from Philotheou was looking for me. He came to me all upset. It was one of the stewards of the monastery. ‘Father,’ he said to me, ‘old Thanassis, the one who just died, came to me and complained that I’ve forgotten him and haven’t done anything for him, and that you’re the only one who helps him
with your prayers. And the truth is, I haven’t commemorated him in my prayers. I’m in charge of things at the monastery now, and I have a lot of work. What can I do? I’ve had to put my prayer rule aside.’
‘Well, now you’ll have to do even more.’ ”
This event strengthened the Elder, so that he prayed even more for the souls of all the departed.
Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
©2012 For the English Language by The Holy Monastery Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian
The Holy Nektarios of Aegina was born on October 1, 1846, in Silyvria, Eastern Thrace and is considered one of the most widely known and beloved Greek Orthodox Saints. His parents Demosthenes and Vasiliki were poor, humble and pious Christians having been blessed with seven children. He was the third child and at Holy Baptism was named Anastasios. As a young child, he was very humble and obedient to his parents who brought him up in a God pleasing manner. His faith was also cultivated by his devout grandmother who played a significant role in his spiritual upbringing.
Sunday’s Gospel Luke 16: 19- 3 challenges us in its soberness: We see one man who suffered in this life, saved, and another man, who had everything in this life, condemned. This image is such a challenge because we live in an age where many assume they’re good (by their own definition of what ‘good’ is) and, therefore, ‘automatically’ going to heaven. But this subjective understanding of Heaven just doesn’t square with the Gospel, which makes it clear that the Kingdom of Heaven means foremost this: life with and in God, participation in the divine life of the Holy Trinity—what we call, ‘theosis’—and the bearing of the fruit of that theosis in how and for Whom we live out our earthly lives.
7th SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 8: 41-56
Even in a small parish like ours, it is not hard to see that people are different from one another in many ways. We have different interests, personal backgrounds, and opinions on all kinds of things. We do not all look or dress alike. But what we have in common as Orthodox Christians is far more profound than any of that. Our salvation is not in any conventional human characteristic or endeavor, but in the healing mercy of Jesus Christ.
Sunday Sermon on the Fourth Sunday of Luke, Luke 8: 5-15
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.
We live in a world obsessed with outcomes.
Winning – regardless of the methods, regardless of the means – counts. Nothing else.
In nearly every area of our lives – our athletics, our politics, our business – winning is the criteria by which people are assessed.
A person is either successful, by winning, or a loser.
I don’t think that was always the case. It was not that long ago when people of good character were winners. People who played by the rules were winners.