This is a parable about how to live the only way that leads to eternal life. The most important place in the liturgy to offer our heartfelt prayers to God for others is given, and it is explained that among other things, the earnest of the spirit, which St Paul mentions in his epistle should motivate us for our brethren who are suffering or in danger. After a little bit about how Orthodox should view abortion, this " earnest" and the "tie in" to the parable of the wedding feast are explained, and we see how praying for others and struggling for good MUST be the result of our entry into the wedding feast, which has already occurred, and is occurring.
And he was speechless. How do we put on this garment? How do we keep it on, and just as important, how do we keep it clean? What is the outer darkness, the weeping and gnashing of teeth? What is repentance, and how is it related to the wedding garment? Were we made to fear Hell, or long for heaven? Parable of the Wedding Feast - it has questions we must answer! There are many questions directed towards US in this parable. Will you answer them?
St Paul's writings especially have important doctrinal teachings, but they always have personal application that we must not miss. We hone in on a critical "pointer" the Apostle gives regarding our nature and sin. We must takes his words to heart, and "own" them, so that we do not waste time with sadness, grief, guilt, surprise and shame, and always have productive repentance for our sins. Perhaps some do not know the reason why this Commandment is singled out by the Lord as the greatest. We look at the context of the Greatest Commandment and the second one that is like it scripture from Deuteronomy and Leviticus , and at the most important scripture verse that a true Christian must know and live by: "Let us make man according to our image and likeness".
This scripture fully explains the reason for the Greatest commandment: " Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. In doing so, we heap scorn upon the recent heresy held by so many: that salvation is obtained by faith alone. Anyone who understands the Love of God knows that this new doctrine, which is foreign to the church's thought and came about with the Protestant Reformation, is false and illogical.
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We have this treasure in earthen vessels. A close examination of her encounter with Christ shows these virtues plainly, and should also show us which ones we are lacking in definitely at least 3 of the 4! We compare the two great catches, and explore what it means to be with Christ. The Epistle reading is from Galatians, them overall theme of which is that we cannot be saved bu. We are not saved by works, but we cannot be saved unless we stay with Christ throughout our life - we examine what this means.
This principle is all over the Scriptures. Although prayer is not explicitly mentioned, it is also about prayer, and especially about the Jesus prayer. How and why must we "launch out into the deep"? We discuss these related laws and the good news that is contained in them! We must learn to read the scripture with skill and understand its internal laws "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give This homily challenges us as to how Christian we really are.
Sowing bountifully. A necessity of a good, Christian marriage. How marriage enables almsgiving. Practical and theological reasons to "sow bountifully". We have learned to be actors and deceitful even with ourselves. This miracle is our life in microcosm. We are both the woman and the boy in the "parable", and the words "Weep Not" do not fully apply to us now, but they will. In our life we must weep, with purpose and hope, and also "stand still", and only if we do this, will we receive the much anticipated words of our Savior, "weep Not".
Apologies for the sound quality. The homily was inadvertently recorded at too low a volume, and the audio was massaged by an incompetent sound engineer! All of Galatians refutes this heresy, and teaches why Christians must be moral. This passage particularly highlights the differences between Jewish justification which was only an external declaration and Christian Justification, which is also a declaration, but also involves the inner man becoming righteous - that is, the obliteration of sin not just forgiveness , and eventual perfection. Why should we care about the difference between the Jewish view and the Christian reality?
Because almost everyone, to a greater or lesser degree often lives and thinks as the Jews did. Ephesians is the classic declaration of the Gospel,and the parable of the sower speaks in metaphor, but both declare that how the gospel is received by us and what we do with it determines whether or not we "bring forth fruit with patience", and be His workmanship We examine patience, and how it is the active aspect of faith, hope, love and many virtues.
How can we increase our patience? This was part of a short after liturgy talk, because the parable was not the subject of the homily after the Gospel at liturgy. We focus on two: everything in life is a trade; what do you want the most, pleasure now or happiness later? How do we remind ourselves of this trading, and trade well? Read the Scriptures. God has blessed you. WHAT are you doing with it? They are not always hard. Even in complicated parts, we can understand that are useful to our souls if we read with expectation and desire.
An example of something simple is in the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, one of the most complex parables in all of the Gospel. We will look at the behavior of the rich man and WHY he was in torments, and the reply of Abraham to the unnamed rich man: "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
How do we become the good ground? The epistle tells us exactly how. It tells us that we should walk according to a "rule", and this rule must be that we bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus because we are a new creature. Listen carefully. The apostle is telling us the only way that leads to life. It is a wonderful, difficult, and joyous way. We go through it carefully, emphasizing that we must not only understand what Christ did for us, but also that this understanding places a moral obligation upon us.
Every point made by the Apostle has a moral application to our daily lives, culminating in the significant, somewhat forgotten words since they follow the famous and significant statement: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. At the end of the homily, a pastoral exhortation regarding what we MUST expect when we attend the liturgy or any service and how to learn to do this by degrees and the MOST important prayer that a pastor must have in his heart when he celebrates any service.
There are two ways to be "dead in sins", and one leads to life. We look at some examples from the Scriptures, and "define" other important words in Eph , that seem simple, but are not well understood: being "quickened", grace, faith, works which do no save and works without which we will not be saved. We also touch again as we did yesterday on our identity in Christ as His workmanship, and tell the sad story of a man who identified with free masonry and his grandfather above Christ.
Do you know what is dead and what is alive? This is a critical question which you must answer many times each day. People identify themselves by many things - their wealth, success, politics, race, sexuality and many more things. Only one identity saves us. We discuss the life of Great Martyr Demetrius in light of the teaching on identity by St Paul: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
This is not so among Orthodox Christians. We explain the relationship between faith and works and grace. This is easy to know, if we live according to the OTHER parts of the passage in Ephesians, besides "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Let us look at the meaning of being "quickened The entire passage is discussed, especially "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity What is peace accordig to the Gospel?
What did Christ do so we can obtain it?
What must we do? What two things are at enmity with each other? We see two kinds of faith - weak and strong, and the good news that the Lord will respond to even to weak faith, but we must also respond when He does! Of course, the whole point of His response to our weak faith is that it would become stronger! We look at the weak faith of Jairus and his necessary response to the Lord, and learn form the strong faith of the woman with an issue of blood. The healing of the woman with an issue of blood and the daughter of Jairus.
A parable showing perfect faith, and how to obtain it. It demonstrates perfect faith, and how to obtain it. The woman had perfect faith - this is shown by all of her actions, especially that she touched Jesus.
Eastern Orthodox Christian sermons on the Sunday Readings, Feasts and other Scriptures
We discuss what touching Jesus is, and Jairus teaches us what we must do to learn this. The parable of the Good Samaritan is rich in symbolism and Theology, and teaches about morality, the church, the second coming and the judgment, but it basically boils down to two broad "answers": we must know God and know ourselves. This parable, more than any other in Scripture, shows the ministry of the incarnate God-man Jesus Christ and the nature of man.
If we understand both, we will always know who our neighbor is. This selection not only presents important dogmas that are the bedrock of our faith, it also presents the proper perspective to have regarding our neighbor - a perspective that will help us to fulfill all the commandments. The doctrine of Christ's descent into Hell is discussed, and its moral application to all of our prayer, and indeed, all of our life.
This selection contains some of the most important spiritual lessons a pastor can preach. The answer to the question teaches us a critical virtue - empathy with our fellow man, without which we will not be saved, by describing the whole economy of the incarnation in the symbolism of the elements of the parable. Truly, this is a parable we should contemplate deeply.
This parable is read on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost, or in some years when the Lukan jump is employed before this Sunday, on whatever Sunday is the 8th Sunday of Luke. In this year , it was read on the 27th Sunday after Pentecost, which was the first day of the Nativity fast. Follow the Greatest commandment and understand how to do this by understanding the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The Good Samaritan: Kindness produces endurance. The context of the parable is discussed, and then follows an exposotion of the symbolism and moral teacing of the parable. Let us compare oursleves to the rich man and see if we also live as if we had plenty. For example, in the Gospel today, the parable of the harvest of the rich man, wondering about his harvest, "He thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
If we do not understand this, we have not understood Christianity. There are moral requirements placed upon a Christian - things he should do and not do. This passage explains. It also, in a mystical way explains the reason for confusion and despondency and similar ailments they are common in modern man: "All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
That was the question of the rich man who had a great harvest. The Scripture talks about "what we should do" today, in both the Epistle and the Gospel. They mention an incredible gift and incredible privilege. The Apostle Paul especially shows the greatest motivation a man can have for knowing what to do and doing it - that we can become "all goodness and righteousness and truth", and in making manifest these things, become light - that is, be united with God and be perfected. First of all, "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners".
The reason and effect of the incarnation is succinctly explained, including how the Lord calls to each one of us, and an example of its effect is given - the woman with the infirmity of 18 years, in which her physical infirmity is like the infirmity of the soul - bent over because of sin - and the only solution to this infirmity is the incarnation of the God-man, Jesus Christ. To understand this, we must understand what sin is. Most have a great misconception about sin and only think that is is something that offends Almighty God, and do not understand that the reason God is offended is because all sin darkens us, and makes us "bent over", unable to see God and know Him.
The effect of sin is well shown by the woman with the infirmity of 18 years. Lets us explore what sin does to us, and the only solution to our terrible predicament. Love is the highest law; we can only obey this law if we understand something critically important about ourselves. This healing teaches us both of these things. We should learn something about ourselves every time we read it.
The sinful and cruel reaction of the rule of the synagogue when the woman with an infirmity of 18 years was healed on the Sabbath has much to teach us - about ourselves. If we do not know ourselves, we will not love God. This Gospel will teach us, and teach us how to become more compassionate, if we have the humility to listen. The wiles of the devil and the human condition, and praying for those who are bent over, so that they would rise up.
We should blame these, and not our brother, since we share the infirmities of our brother. It is important to read this passage correctly, as some heretics, such as the Arians Jehovah Witnesses do not understand the phrase. Also, the importance of reading the scriptures is mentioned. The energy in thankfulness, to the "first born of every creature". Healing of the 10 Lepers. The greatest personal truth for man and the exegesis of Colossians , and the 3 ways in which Jesus Christ is the "first born of every creature", and then, another unfortunate truth about man, as we examine the healing of the ten Lepers.
Which are we - the nine, or the one? How do we make sure we are the one? This Samaritan's faith was expressed in two ways, that he prayed for mercy and he gave thanks for his great gift. Regarding his prayer, we have a detailed interlude to talk about the Jesus prayer and how we should pray it, including praying it for others.
Then we link the prayer to thanksgiving, for without the latter, the former withers. As we become aware of how much God's mercy surrounds us and helps us. Our heart becomes softer, and feels the needs of others - our heart becomes like that of Jesus. These two things, seeking God's mercy and thanking him for everything - are required for salvation. There are moral requirments placed upon a Christian - things he should do and not do.
It also, in a mystical way explains the reason for confusion and despondency and similar ailments thay are common in modern man: "All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. It is fundamental part of the Christian life, and absolutely necessity if we are to "be made whole" - and this is the aim and purpose of human life. We look at the two healings in the healing of the ten lepers. All were healed of leprosy but only one was made whole. Let us learn how to inculcate gratitude in practical ways in our life.
We also speak briefly on the Jesus prayer and how it should be a model for our prayer. The only Christian life is that which is lived in the heart. Paul to his son Timothy are an example of living in the heart. The actions of the ruler who followed the external commandments but did not know anything besides them are an example of a man who lives outside of his heart. The Christian life has no power whatsoever if it is not lived in the heart.
We examine these positive and negative examples about life in the heart.
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The person living in his heart understands that " Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief", and that He has "shown forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting"and that, in these things, we know everything needful to know how to live, what to think, and who to be in every situation in life.
So starts the reading for the Sunday of the Holy Fathers before Nativity , which I mistakenly preached on today. I am happy I made the mistake because the epistle integrated nicely with both of the Gospels, that of the rules who wanted to know what he should do to be saved, and the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. There are general reasons why so many of us lead mediocre and unhappy, not very spiritual lives.
These scriptures address all of them. Here is the reason to struggle against sin! There is a lot here, and it is all important. One of these questions is asked today by the Rich Young Ruler: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life? The response of Jesus makes it clear this is a bad question. Implications of calling Jesus good. Fulfilling the commandments is NOT the purpose of life. Knowing what we lack, and selling all to be healed. Let us look at how in our daily lives we can make this saying "worthy of all acceptation".
Many examples from the scriptures will help us, such as the publican, the woman who annointed the Lord's feet, and the Apostle Peter. It must be read in conjunction with the second great fish of fishes, which occurred after the resurrection, and was His last earthly meal with His apostles John There are many beautiful morsels here! After sampling this beautiful smorgasbord, we must not miss the most important aspect of this story: 1. If we do not learn these two things from these stories, we have learned nothing.
When He commanded his disciples to "Launch out into the deep" He was giving us a rule for victorious living. We examine this rule, examples of how to follow it and when it is not followed. May God help us to follow it! Prayer is the hardest and most important thing you will ever do in your life. This story, coupled with the second great catch of fish which occurred after the resurrection and is only in John may be understood as a parable which describes the most significant prayer a human being can have - the prayer of the heart. May God help us to understand how to pray, how to combat temptations when in prayer, and to pray!
They were ignorant and untested men. This incident is more powerful for the soul when it is read with the account of the second great catch of fish, in the Gospel of John. The differences in the two accounts are very edifying to explore. They will affect the way you live your life if you are paying attention. The link between the first and second great catches of fish, and the parable of the leaven. Let us look at the first, then connect it to the second, and also weave in the teaching about the parable of the leaven, and understand the significance of the words of Peter: "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
The first great catch of fish as a parable about life. Things in the story have a mystical significance: launching out into the deep, letting down the nets, toiling overnight, doing things by the Word of the Lord, the boat starting to sink and the fish being salvaged by other boats, and Simon Peter seen the Lord and saying "depart from me if I am a sinful man". The Great Catch of fish: obedience before anything. How to read the bible.
This is a learned skill, and all one must do to obtain it is read, and pray and struggle to live the Christian life. We discuss several life lessons from this story, including how to deal with doubt, despondency, fatigue, sorrow - anything. This Gospel contains the admonishments of our Lord to love, using concrete examples, and concludes with the promise "And ye shall be children of the highest". This is the purpose of the incarnation, and examining this Gospel along with the life of St John, which struggled to fulfill it illuminates this purpose for us.
We also suggest another way to describe the "Golden Rule" and what should be our inner motivation for loving our fellow man, and doing anything that is good in this life. Many feel it is a command based upon common sense, and others even believe it is a way of changing the behavior of others. The reason for it is given plainly by the words of our Lord: "Your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
It is good to understand the "stages" a Christian goes through in obeying this rule, and what it is and what it is not. Most think it is about fairness, or, if more advanced, that it tells us to use our desires and feelings to judge how others would want to be treated. These understanding are good, but not perfect.
At the end of His teaching, Jesus gives the reason why the perfect follow the Golden rule: "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Real incidents commonly encountered in regular life show how easy it is to practice the golden rule and derive great benefit. First, some theology, then the application of that theology. Two principles of the way of life: You should use yourself as a measurement of how other people should be treated, and you are not to expect something in return.
When we follow The Golden Rule, we are choosing the good part and are children of the highest. If we follow this rule, we will be choosing the "good part" and be "sons of the highest". Let us look at the Golden Rule in this way - not as an externally imposed law, but an easy way of life that always chooses the "good part". There is an epidemic of dysfunctional sadness in the world today; it is being treated by many partial solutions that often increase the despair and emptiness: medications, entertainments, passions. After His command to the Widow of Nain, the Lord mystically gives us the path we must travel in order to fulfill His command to "weep not" - "And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still.
We explore the mystical meaning of these words, also incorporating an epistle read today: "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. The World does not have it; only Christ does, and through the healing of the Widow of Nain and the exhortation of St Paul to the Galatians, the path to it is clearly explained. Both contain important mystical references to the Jesus prayer. The solution to everything is before us! This is exciting news! The whole Gospel is contained in the sublime words of Paul: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Simple is not easy, but is becomes easy. It is not accidental that two crowds of people met, and that Jesus alone noticed the grieving widow. Jesus showed love that was overflowing from within Him - the love of God. Most people are suffering, and we must become aware of them, if we are to understand God when He communicates with us. Jesus communicated with the widow in three distinct ways, as he does with all of us. We must understand His methods if we are to understand Him. This healing is advanced instruction in how to love, how to pray, and how to hear God answer us. Only Jesus has the authority to say these words to those who grieve, because He has the ability to do anything.
Why do we weep; why are we sad about things great and small in life. Our Lord is continually, forcefully ordering us to "weep not" about such things. We should only weep about sin in ourselves and others. We look at why we weep inappropriately, and how to live in such a way to understand and follow the command of our Lord: "weep not". This explanation is actually longer than most people think and we discuss what His other words, which are not part of the traditional reading, mean.
These include "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel" and "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. We must be that good ground if we are to be saved. The parable does little to explain. The Epistle today explains: "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully". This is the key to happiness in this life and the next.
The purpose of Christianity is fulfilled only by bearing fruit. This parable describes 4 kinds of ground, that is, souls, and only one kind bears fruit and is saved. We look quickly at the 3 kinds of ground that are not saved, especially focusing on the words that should be emphasized, such as "cares and riches and pleasures". The description of the good ground is the most important part of the parable, and we look at the critical words "honest and good heart" This parable refutes the heresy of "faith without works", but more importantly, teaches us what we must do to prepare our ground to receive the seed and be filled with God.
This is good news for those who desire to be saved! It is a command; it teaches us how to live. We go over some of the "circled words" at the end of the parable, "good ground", and "an honest and good heart", and "bring forth fruit with patience". They all teach us the way of life. We especially describe two kinds of patience.
One is a wonderful personality trait to possess, but is not salvific, in and of itself, The other is absolutely necessary for salvation; without this kind of patience, no person can be saved. We also talk about ways to cultivate this kind of patience from personal pastoral experience. We skip to the chase and evaluate how much our Savior's words apply to us: "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables The Rich man knew Lazarus by name, but his sinful life made him blind to the suffering of Lazarus until it was too late for him.
How many times in our lives have we passed a "Lazarus"? We must learn to become aware. Practical ways to achieve this essential virtue are discussed. All that is important to know, but the most pressing aspect of the Gospel is that we meet Christ, and learn to become like Him. We must look for moral direction when we read the Gospels, and the focus of this parable is the dialogue of Abraham with the rich man: "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. Many times we do not understand about the eternal choices we a making in our temporary time on Earth.
We must learn to think eternally, and spiritually, and then we will understand about temporary good things in this life, and permanent good things in the next. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;" 2 Timothy a Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. Self-indulgence kills. We talk about what Christian asceticism is and the necessity for it.
We are shown that without God, we would be annihilated by the demons, and that their most deadly attacks are invisible to most people. If we want to be rid of the demons and their influence, there is one thing that we must do. The good news is that a tormented demoniac, could be delivered from his affliction and that he could be "sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind" These are among the most beautiful words in Scripture.
The healing of the Gadarene demoniac is our healing too. All the healings of the Scriptures apply to us. If we are not demon possessed God forbid! If we read the scripture with desire and compunction, the answer is clear. We have a legion of passions, and we are should be striving to be rid of all of them, so that we can be in our "right mind".
We must understand the bad to appreciate the good. The question of the legion of demons in the Gaderene demoniac is one we must answer every moment: "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? The only possible correct and rare! There are some good examples of this answer: from a man recently baptised in prison, and the Shunaminte woman who went to Elisha because her son died. We also discuss what we should expect when we attend any service, especially liturgy.
Answer the question of the Gaderne demons. It applies to all Christians every single day. We answer this important question, nevermind that is was the question of demons - it applies to us every single day: "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? Both will lead to salvation, because both are reactions to the Lord when He meets us at our level of faith. We should learn our personal lesson from these two items: The woman spent all her living on physicians before she encountered the Great Physician and was healed, and Jesus said "who touched me" Let us compare our faith to this woman, and also to Jairus who definitely had faith, of a weaker sort, but when the Lord responded to Him, he also responded or else His daughter would not have been saved.
This is a miracle which all of us MUST have, and alas, very few of us experience. A woman who was an outcast, a sufferer from the human condition, was touched by Jesus, because she reached out to Him in faith. This touching is necessary for eternal life. We must cultivate being touched by Jesus. Faith is not just belief; It is action based on belief, and even action in spite of disbelief.
It involves courage, and initiative, patience, endurance, and not listening to negative thoughts - self-talk. All these things are present in this story. We also discuss faith and the Jesus prayer, that prayer that tests our faith and rewards us when we have faith. We must learn to be like Jairos in our prayer. He walked with the Lord to the house, even though he knew his daughter was dead. No matter what we think, God knows the truth.
To the Lord that girl was alive, and that is all that matters, for He sees everything as it really is. We read this story about the healing of the woman with an issue of blood and the daughter of Jairus in a way I want you to learn to read. You are a "fly on the wall" as I emphasize the things that most touch my heart, those things that are "underlined", and reveal Christ. This can only be understood by understanding our own human nature and what the "Good Samaritan", Jesus Christ has done for it.
Much is explained in this parable concerning the incarnation, the church, and ourselves. If we do not understand it, we will NEVER know who is our neighbor, because we will not know ourselves. It is clear from the way we live our lives that many, and even we ourselves, do not know the answer to this question! How do we learn to love our neighbor and why is it so important? The parable is a deep well, and we can talk about many things.
Today we will "connect the dots", between theoretical knowledge and practical actions. Theory is useless without practice. The lawyer understood theory well, and the parable further explained the incarnation theory and applied it to how we must live. The dots we connect are summed up by the following snippets from this Gospel: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God At the end we give two critical practical suggestions to how we can love our neighbor, and perhaps an unexpected benefit.
It is also the answer to the question "Who is my neighbor". This parable, if we understand it, teaches us who we are, and what the Incarnation did. If this knowledge abides in our heart, we know ourselves and easily can answer the question. Why would God want to have communion with me? What have I to offer God? The answer is in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We look at all of them. We explain this important virtue and how the rich man mistook death for life.
He equated the love of riches and pleasures, which are death, with life. Let us learn from his example! What was his greatest sin? It was not greed or not caring for the poor. It was something more basic than that. We must learn to know what is life, and what is death. If God is an abstraction to us, we take our own counsel as the rich man did, and choose death over life. Who are you, and what does your life consist of? The parable of the Harvest of the Rich Man shows a man who does not know who he is, or what his life consists of, who squanders his deep heart Ps , numbering his produce and asking counsel only from himself.
The man was hateful and blind because of hidden motivations and passions. Let us look at ourselves and see if we have any of these hidden cockroaches that scurry away from the light so that we are not aware of them: anger, jealousy, ambition, pride, and a host of others.
We must work intensely to have the light of Christ shine on our hidden motivations or else we will never be healed. So are we. We must feel our infirmity and desire to stand up straight! Unfortunately, many people do not feel their infirmity, and therefore do not expect to be loosed from it.
We must cultivate this feeling. The aftermath of the healing of this woman shows us the major sin which keeps us from knowing our infirmity and seeking the healing of God - unkindness. The ruler of the synagogue knew all the commandments save the most important two, and the second will especially save us. If we cannot stop sinning, we must at least be kind, and God will loose us from our infirmities. Our precious ideas challenged - Healing of the woman with an infirmity of 18 years. The ruler of the synagogue should have been healed of his "precious opinions". Why was he not healed? What must we do to be healed?
Healing of the woman on the Sabbath day. At least be kind. The first is that we are also bent over, so should we should identify with the woman and everyone suffering. In the second is that since we are bent over, we should at least be kind. Maybe he was the only one brave enough to go out for supplies.
Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Before Thomas doubted, he showed great courage and faithfulness. Recall the story of how Jesus decided, despite threats of arrest, to go to Bethany, near Jerusalem, to raise Lazarus. Only one disciple immediately supported him. At the Last Supper, Jesus assured the disciples that where he was going they too would go. Once again it was loyal Thomas who spoke up, seeking direction lest they get separated from him. Despite these two stories in which the apostle is looking good, he did not become known as Heroic Thomas or Loyal Thomas.
He had been left out of the most stunning experience the disciples had ever had. Perhaps his refusal to take their word about the resurrection was rooted in the fear of discovering that they were victims of an illusion. Thomas had to have proof before he could go on. It has been said that only those who have a deep faith can survive a deep doubt.
The apostle best known as Thomas the Believer encourages us to trust in Jesus, risen and waiting to raise us up. Hilarion Kistner, OFM, editor. Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, April 19, The peace which is the absence of conflict? If one goes to a graveyard everyone is at peace. Because they are all dead. There is nothing happening. This is not the peace with which our Lord greets his Apostles.
His peace is an inner peace, which is the fruit of grace born of an upright conscience in which man experiences integrity. Adam and Eve experienced this peace before the sin because they enjoyed the union of all their interior forces with God. The body served the passions, the passion served the intellect and will and these in turn served God. This peace was shattered by the disobedient and unloving Adam and Eve. They lost peace because they lost grace and union with the Trinity. Adam was not responsible for this peace but it was caused by grace, the presence of the Holy Spirit elevating man to communion with God in heaven.
In losing this peace, the human race entered a period of turmoil, an inner turmoil caused by our inability to experience personal communion with the Trinity and an outward turmoil caused by the violence which resulted from lust. When Christ stands in the Upper Room in his risen body, he first shows his Apostles the means to return to this peace of grace, the glorious wounds, and the signs of his triumph over sin and death.
His crucifixion has won the forgiveness of the Original Sin and all sin by opening heaven to us again by sanctifying grace. His flesh is the necessary means how to experience this life. John, in his vision in the Apocalypse, transfers images used in the apocalyptic prophecies of the Old Testament, especially to Christ. This includes his body. He was sent to earth to accomplish this part of the atonement by suffering death.
So his body is now a necessary means to experience the second part of the atonement, the renewal presence of the Holy Spirit. These keys are the authority given to Christ in his human nature to forgive sins and exercise divine judgment at the end of time. In the Upper Room now, he invokes this second part of his mission by breathing on the Apostles. This is not the final public manifestation of the Spirit, which will be given on Pentecost, but it is a pouring out of his Spirit through his flesh. In order to experience this healing, though, one must believe in it.
Thomas would not believe that Christ had risen, and so there would be no power communicated by his risen body to his Church. He represents the spirit of our age, which blends a skepticism and pessimism about religious things, together with his own melancholic temperament. This is a model for us today. The sacrament of penance demands both the exterior association by physical confession of sins with the lips, but also spiritual association by contrition and satisfaction. In these three acts, the Christian implements the faith of Thomas and through the body with the glorious wounds experiences again the peace brought by the Holy Spirit.
Brian T. Mullady, OP. CX, No. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, March , pp. One of the most difficult and saddest decisions that a bishop must make is to close a parish. Unfortunately closing parishes is now a common occurrence in many parts of the nation.
Lectionary Stories for Teaching and Preaching, Cycle C
Demographics are supposed to explain it, but there are other reasons as well, for example, the shortage of priests, falling Mass attendance and the indifference of parishioners. At the root of it all is weak faith. Nevertheless when the FOR SALE sign posted in front of a parish church, parishioners suddenly become upset and grieve almost like for a deceased love one. Most of them begin to appreciate the sacrifices of past generations, the hard work of the pastors, and the dedication of the parish church and school staff, among which the sacristans, music directors and custodians are not the least important.
At times, almost reluctantly, people admit that the parish was the center of their religious lives. This was without a doubt a description of the earliest Christian community in Jerusalem. Things soon changed. It was bound to happen. Human nature with all its weaknesses soon asserted itself. Even in the times of the apostles problems arose about property held in common.
We have the tragic example of Ananias and Sapphira Acts and the complaints of some about discrimination in the care of widows — widows who spoke Hebrew seemed to be favored at the expense of those who spoke Greek Acts 6. Within twenty years, St. Paul criticized some communities for factions and sexual immorality Gal He often warned of false teachers and apostles.
Before long the writer of the Book of Revelation was forced to reprimand Christian communities in the name of Jesus for factions and cliques, personality clashes, envy and jealousy, lukewarmness and indifference, dissensions and authority problems, and, of course, the ever-present danger of sexual immorality. From the very beginning the Church has had to face the challenge of creating a Christian community as described in the first reading out of leaders and believers who were all too human. Indeed the Church is a community of saints and sinners.
As the Church grew and Christian communities were established, Church organization also developed. Bishops were the successors of the apostles. They associated priests and deacons in their ministry, and these three levels of priestly ministry are acknowledged to be of divine origin. For the first four centuries dioceses and parishes were for practical purposes the same since the Christian community was cared for by a bishop.
With the end of persecutions and the spread of the faith, bishops found it necessary to depend more and more on priests to tend to the spiritual needs of the faithful. Parishes gradually were identified according to the division of responsibilities delegated to priests by bishops. Up to the Council of Trent parishes had loosely defined boundaries but then Trent decreed that parishes be established with definite boundaries and that the pastor, or parish priest, have jurisdiction only over the faithful residing within these boundaries. What a parish should be can best be understood by considering the duties a pastor assumes by virtue of his appointment.
Canon law requires that he sees to it that the Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly. He is to provide opportunities for the reception of the sacraments, especially Holy Communion and reconciliation. We in America have special problems that we must address through our parishes. The closing of many parishes may be a distressing phenomenon, but it is only a surface eruption.
Underlying it are spiritual maladies that were highlighted by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to our country. Our Holy Father identified materialism, secularism and individualism as eroding our faith. Materialism closes our eyes to spiritual values. Individualism has look at the Church as mother but not teacher.
What our parishes should be and will be remains to be seen. It depends on us. Source: Rev. George M. CIX, No. This same risen Lord seeks to transform us as well, first during our earthly pilgrimage by means of the sacraments; then, when that pilgrimage ends, by means of our own rising from the dead. Have you ever seen children enthralled by one of those magicians-for-hire at a birthday party? As a kid, I loved magic, and practiced for hours various tricks contained in the magic kit my parents bought me, before I tested them on family members and friends.
Unlike master illusionists, Jesus performed authentic miracles that transformed reality in a profound and permanent manner. The body that now passes through locked doors and serves up a fish fry, according to John 21! Indeed, Thomas probes with his fingers those very marks of his Passion.
Resurrection, however, is an entirely different reality than resuscitation! The little girl and Lazarus eventually experienced a definitive death, as did everyone Jesus healed. After Jesus rises and bestows the gift of the Holy Spirit, all the Apostles are likewise transformed. He wants to deepen our belief in him as Lord and Savior just as he did with Thomas.
He wills to exorcise evil from our hearts and bring healing to our illnesses, especially to the self-inflicted wounds of sin. This sacrament, and that of the Eucharist, progressively transform us into Christ over the course of our lives. Further reading from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: nos. In his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis , he wrote:. Often, when we think of the Resurrection, we think of a perfectly manicured lawn with everything sitting perfectly.
Then, we imagine the upper room where the apostles hid as some kind of idyllic setting with wide windows looking down on Jerusalem. Caravaggio breaks these notions. In this painting we see Jesus pulling aside his cloak while the dirty hand of Thomas reaches inside.
This is a more realistic image than we often have. The room was probably pretty barren, as they were hiding out, wondering if the Sanhedrin would get them next and crucify them. As Jesus entered the messy world, he enters our messy lives. The second reading shows how Jesus comes even when we are down. The Gospel tells us that it is a personal relationship. The first reading tells us how Jesus heals us. Finally, the Psalm tells us how to respond. In the second reading, John seems completely abandoned.
He feels despair. All seems lost. Nothing seems to work. He was not alone. God did not abandon him in his moment of need. Do we turn to God in our need? In our messiness? God wants to be with us in these most difficult moments. Then we move to the Gospel. Our society might consider Jesus some shadowy figure or ghost, but he is a person. Not only that, he wants a personal relationship with each of his followers. Thomas was not there the first time. Jesus looks at Thomas and invites him to take up his doubts.
He responds exactly to what Thomas wanted. Jesus wants to respond specifically to our messy situations. When we have our doubts or troubles, Jesus wants to come there and heal us. Moving on to the first reading, we see how Jesus does that. He heals us. As Peter would walk by the crowds coming close to him after the Resurrection, the people would be healed. Likewise, in our lives, when we get close to Jesus, especially after his resurrection, he can heal us of so many spiritual ailments. He may or may not heal us of physical ailments, but definitely of the spiritual ones. So often these spiritual ailments are what cause the real messes in our lives.
Finally, after Jesus has come into our lives and helped us be cured of spiritual sicknesses, what do we have? Thanksgiving is the proper response to a God who comes into the messiness of our lives and cures us. A God who raises us up to be with him. Carefully backing into a parking lot space, the driver of a big, heavy old Rolls Royce was angered when a teenager in a cool sports car zipped in and stole his place. At first, we must admit, we are easily distracted by dealing only with the more appealing and exotic gospel story of Thomas, his doubt and dramatic reclamation.
But when we are sidetracked too narrowly like this, we miss the whole impact of the combined three readings that tell us that the point of the second Sunday after Easter, and the first indication from Jesus of what his faith community would be about, was that it would be, above all, like himself, a reconciling community. Forgiveness of those who have harmed us—who are harming us—then, is the hallmark of Christianity.
Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them. And yet, on those occasions when it has been put into practice, we recognize its authenticity. Elsa Joseph was a Jewish woman who was cut off from both her children, both girls, during the Second World War. It was years later that she discovered that her daughters had been gassed at Auschwitz.
A former concert violinist, Elsa responded to this tragic news by picking up her violin and going to play it in Germany. But she did not seek vengeance. An eyewitness reported that Father James Carney, an American priest in Honduras, who was murdered there, prayed for his murderers before they threw him out of a helicopter to his death below. Yes, both share one thing in common: they are prepared to die for a cause. But whereas the terrorist, in dying, adds to the violence of the world, hating and cursing what he has killed and encouraging others to do the same, the man or woman who responds to violence by begging God to have mercy on its perpetrators comes close to redeeming the world.
If the world is to be saved, the chain of evil and the vicious cycle of revenge have to be broken. An unknown woman in the Ravensbruck concentration camp wrote this little prayer and pinned it to the dead body of a little girl there. But do not remember all the sufferings they have inflicted on us. Remember rather the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity; the greatness of heart that has grown out of all of this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness.
Betsie Ten Boom, who died in the same concentration camp, steadfastly refused to hate the guards who beat her and eventually beat her to death. Her dying words are both simple and profound. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that he is not deeper still. Calvary in the twentieth century!
For all of that, the injunction to forgive, the inner demand of being a Christian to forgive, there are people who cannot bring themselves to offer forgiveness. And there are people who cannot bring themselves to accept it. I think of a man that every once in a while I visit in jail. He should be there because he has committed a terrible murder. He feels there is no hope for himself either in this world or the next. He spends his time hugging his guilt to himself, thereby blocking out the forgiveness of the Christ who is on record for forgiving other murderers.
Here the murderer recognizes his guilt, his unworthiness, but offers them as the very reason for being open to mercy. He cries out in a famous passage from the book:. I ought to be crucified. Crucified and not pitied. But he who takes pity on all men will also take pity on me. And he who understands all men and all things, he alone is judge. And he will judge all and will forgive them: the good and the bad, the wise and the meek. Come forth, ye who are drunk. Come forth, ye who know no shame. There are probably very few of us here who have not been hurt or know people who have been hurt deeply.
A spouse has walked out of our lives. Children have disappointed us. Parents have abused us. Friends have betrayed us. The company to which we gave so much devotion has fired us without notice, leaving us unemployed and bitter. We have been refused promotion. We have been treated unfairly. To consciously break the vicious cycle of revenge is hard. Forgiveness, after all, is the deliberate decision to put up with an uneven score, and that rubs our American psyches the wrong way.
To surrender a right to get even in a nation of Rambos with Uzi machine guns blasting enemy bodies all over the media is almost un-American. But the point is that we are not just anybody. A wise man who knows what it means to forgive—his youngest son had been brutalized by a police officer—offers three somewhat earthy bits of practical advice that are worth sharing. I felt the caricature I had made of the officer change. Oh, a year later when that same cop drove past my house I had to go through the whole forgiveness process again. Forgiveness by fallible creatures is repetitious.
For us weak creatures forgiveness indeed turns out to be a repetitious affair. They are still your enemy. They still hate your guts. Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven. William J. More Telling Stories Compelling Stories. Connecticut: Twenty-Third Publications, , pp. That sounds, for good reason, like today, right here and right now!
Catholics, either in Jerusalem in Biblical times, or in [this city] today, hold to the catechesis or instruction of the apostles teaching , to friendship and mutual support fellowship [ kononia ] , to the celebration of the most holy Eucharist the breaking of the bread , and to community praise and petitions prayers. The earliest believers were united as a family. The Church teaches that such unity is not broken by death, and that we who live here and now are inseparably linked with those who are already in the arms of Christ.
Our parents, or grandparents, or great-grandparents, who have died, but who are alive in Christ Lk , 1 Cor , can do more for us now in prayer than even while they lived on earth. That is the Communion of Saints. What mercy that is! Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy, gave us a new birth to a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
With real vision, they were able to see the Lord—except, of course, for Doubting Thomas, who had to see for himself. When we truly see Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine, how can we fail to approach the blessed sacrament without the deepest reverence, the greatest piety, the most profound thanksgiving? The holy Eucharist, which is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ CCC , is the greatest mercy ever given! This is Divine Mercy Sunday, which is based upon a divine revelation to a Polish nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska , who kept a diary which is now regarded as a spiritual classic of the twentieth century.
The devotion to the Divine Mercy means that we center our faith and hope in the merciful love of God, and in the desire to let His mercy flow through our hearts, minds, and souls. Indeed the message [St. Faustina] brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies. See St. Divine Mercy Sunday helps us to recall, in sorrow, that we are not worthy; and that we must strive now, and always, to be more faithful disciples of Christ and of His bride, the Church. Psalm 32; Isaiah ; CCC After the Our Father, the priest will offer this embolism, which is an extension of the last petition of that sacred prayer:.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That is the spirit of Divine Mercy Sunday and, in fact, of every day for Christians: Like the early apostles, we live and move and have our being Acts in Christ and His Church; like St.
Peter, we rejoice in the living hope Christ has given us; like St. Thomas, who doubted and then believed, we see the Lord through the eyes of faith cf. The liturgy of this Second Sunday of Easter celebrates the risen Christ who gives peace and forgiveness. With the offering of the gift of his peace, Christ fills the heart of the apostles with his mercy. This explains why St.
The love of God is stronger than evil and death, and in the risen Christ love and mercy have won. On this Feast of Divine Mercy, let us fill our hearts with the mercy of God who freely loves, forgives and gives peace. Today, to us, as about two thousand years ago to the Apostles, Jesus gives, along with his peace, the Holy Spirit so that we may spread in the world his mercy that forgives and gives new and true life. Today, it is to us that Christ gives the mandate to bring to men the remission of sins.
Consequently, the Kingdom of love will grow and peace in hearts will be sown so that it may also be affirmed in our relationships in the family and in society. Today, the Spirit of the Risen Christ drives out fear from our hearts. During the last supper the Cenacle was the place where Jesus had given the bread, but, after the passion and death of the Messiah, for the Apostles, that hall had become as a sepulcher. They lived there in fear, and in fear of death. But the fear of the Apostles and of all of us does not stop Christ. In the same way as the great stone that sealed his tomb was not an obstacle to him, so our fear is not an obstacle for him.
He comes in this sepulcher, full of fear and with locked doors. The bolted doors were not an obstacle for him, as the sepulcher stone was not. Above all, it was not difficult for him to come to these people whom He had chosen and of whom one had betrayed him, the other denied him, the others fled and abandoned him.
In the same way, as he then entered the place where his Apostles had taken refuge, so today he comes to meet us driving away our fears. It is there that He makes us rise. It is evident that it is not just a greeting. It is a gift, the gift that the Risen Lord gives us, his friends. It is a gift to share. Therefore, this peace, purchased by Christ with his blood, is also a task.
It is not just for us, it is for everyone, and we, the disciples of today, must take it everywhere in the world. In this way, we participate in the peaceful battle begun by the Easter of Christ, helping him to affirm his victory with his own weapons: those of justice and truth, of mercy, of forgiveness and of love. These weapons do not kill but give life and peace. Joy and peace are the sign of the presence of the risen Christ. Why is the experience of the risen Jesus who stands among us and shows us his hands and his side, an experience of peace and joy?
Because we know who we are for Christ and who Christ is for us. He is the one who carries those nailed hands and that pierced side for us. He is infinite love who gives himself. And we, who are we for him? We are a finite, limited love that expands in his Love. The pierced side shows the heart that loves infinitely and totally. The nailed hands show that the power of God is to wash the feet and to be nailed to the service of love for man.
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Home Journey With The Fathers. Journey With The Fathers. Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels, Year C. In stock. SKU ISBN Number: Page Count: Format: Paperback. Add to Cart. Add to Compare. Reviews "This user-friendly compendium of commentaries on Lectionary C should prove valuable to all who thirst after a closer communion with God. Burnham Abbey, England "Each Sunday Gospel is adorned with a reading from one of the early classic writers.
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