“He said unto them, ‘Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
The Sermon of Sermons… is the Sermon for the Cross, presented to us today by our Mother Church, on the Sunday after the elevation of the Honourable Cross. And we are all invited to offer to the Cross our hearts, instead of flowers and basils. The Church calls us to raise ourselves from the earth and our ordinary life, to gaze upon the brightness emanating from Christ and His Cross. The most central sign in the gospel is the sermon of the Cross of Christ: God on the Cross – incomprehensible and never understandable. Only men whose hearts pound with sincere feeling are capable of comprehending the meaning. Only those who love, only they can understand the Sacrifice of the Son of God. The rest will remain indifferent. But again there is no real measure by which we can compare the love between men and the love of God towards man.
Sunday before Holy Cross, John 3: 13-17
For a long time the Cross served as the instrument of a shameful punishment, exciting fear and disgust among people, but from the time that Christ sanctified it by His Blood, it became an object of pious respect and veneration for all Christians. However, this did not become universal at once. The very life-bearing Tree on which the Lord was crucified laid in the ground for many years until it was revealed to the world in a miraculous manner.
Today, on this Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Lord presents the central theme of the Gospel in a few words: God saves the world from the devil and sin driven by endless love alone! Continue reading
13th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 21: 33-42
How many of us have a garden’ In that garden grow fruits and mostly vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, etc). We cook or can the vegetables or make lots of salads in the summer. We give some away to share our abundant crop with neighbours and friends. Probably we don’t think of our garden like a farmer does because it’s not our main source of income or livelihood. We do not depend on the crop to pay for the land. Thus, it may be difficult for us to understand Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner as told in today’s gospel reading on this the 13th Sunday of Matthew (21:33-42). Let us briefly review the parable. Continue reading
12th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 19: 16-26
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord warns us today of how difficult it is for a man who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.
Does it mean that the Kingdom of God is open only to destitute, to those who are materially poor, who lack everything on earth? No. The Kingdom of God is open to all who are not enslaved by possessions. When we read the first Beatitude, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’, we are given a key to this saying: the poor in spirit are those who have understood that they possess nothing which is their own. We have been created as an act of God, loved into existence; we are offered by God communion with Him to which we have no rights. All we are, all we possess is not our own in the sense that we have not made ourselves, we did not create what is seemingly ours – every thing which we are and which we have is love, the love of God and the love of people, and we cannot possess anything because everything is a gift that escapes us the moment we want to have possession of it and say, “It is mine”. Continue reading
11th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 18: 23-35
The parable challenges purely rationalistic logic by saying love is of extreme importance, far more important to Jesus than justice. Continue reading
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (17:14-23)
Today we hear the story of the man who brings his son (an epileptic) to the Lord Jesus Christ for healing. The man, a devout and caring father, comes and falls on his knees before the Lord and he cries out with a familiar cry “Lord, have mercy!” This is the proper way to worry about our children and loved ones, not with fruitless anxieties, but with heartfelt prayer to God with the cry “Lord have mercy!” Continue reading
In Matthew 14:22-34, we learn an important lesson about being Christ’s disciples.
In today’s Gospel, we see the disciples rowing against the howling wind. But the fact that they are going against the wind doesn’t mean they are headed in the wrong direction or that they are moving away from Christ. In this Gospel lesson, that raging wind is necessary for their encounter with Christ and for their understanding to grow. Continue reading
8th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 14: 14-22
For the first two weeks of August, we are in the Dormition Fast which leads to the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15. “Dormition” means “falling asleep” and every year at this time we commemorate the end of the earthly life of the Mother of God, after which she followed her Son body and soul into the Kingdom of Heaven. We fast during this time just as we do in Lent, for we all need to humble ourselves and fight self-centred desires if we are to follow her example of complete obedience and receptivity to the Lord. During this period, we will pray the Paraklesis service to the Theotokos, for there is no better intercessor with the Son of God for us than His Mother. We need her prayers now especially, with so much violence and hatred around the world and so many who have health problems.
7th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 9: 27-35
In today’s Gospel reading about the two blind men (Mat.9, 27-35) the path towards faith is depicted: we are shown how from a state of blindness one can be transformed to a state of seeing, how one can receive what one asks. Sin makes man blind, for the devil does not wish man to see God – his Creator. Spiritual blindness might be acknowledged only by admitting ones sinfulness. Furthermore, it is essential to follow Christ – that is to fulfill His commandments, God’s will, and patiently carry one’s cross. Also, one must “Shout” – in other words, pray strongly with zeal. When our prayer is not answered right away, Christ is testing our faith. Continue reading