Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
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Redeeming the Time Vol 01.06 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Nov 10/23 1997


Redeeming the Time

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

23rd Sunday after Pentecost Nov 10/23 1997 Vol. 01.06

News and Announcements *

Nativity Fast Begins Friday, Nov 15/28 *

Nativity Fast Rules *

Bishop Gabriel to visit Houston Dec 13-14 *

St Herman's Conference *

Sick *

The Blessed Funeral of Brother Jose *

A Sermon by Archbishop Laurus on Luke 5:1-11 *

Scripture *

24th Monday after Pentecost *

Luke 11:29-33 *

24th Wednesday after Pentecost *

Luke 11:42-46 *

The Language of Orthodoxy *

Sabaoth *

News and Announcements

Nativity Fast Begins Friday, Nov 15/28

On this day we begin the fast for the Lord's Nativity. This fast begins Nov 15/28 (the day after Thanksgiving), and ends on the day of the Lord's Nativity, Dec 25/ Jan 7. After Nativity, there is NO FASTING of any kind until we begin to celebrate the prefestal services for Theophany.

Nativity Fast Rules

Monday, Wednesday and Friday are strict fast days. We should not eat any meat, fish, milk or milk products, eggs, alcoholic beverages, or olive oil on those days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the fast is relaxed a bit, and we can have wine or olive oil if we wish. On Saturday and Sunday, the fast is further relaxed, and we can have fish, until the last weekend before Nativity (when we do not eat fish). There are changes on certain days because of the celebration of certain feasts. Please consult the calendar.

Day

Fast from these foods

Eat these foods if you wish

Saturday

Sunday

Meat, milk, milk products, eggs

Wine, Olive Oil, Fish

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

Meat, milk, milk products, eggs, Wine, Olive oil

Tuesday

Thursday

Meat, milk, milk products, eggs, Fish

Wine, Olive Oil

These common foods may be eaten, at any time: Vegetables, bread, juices, fruit, and nuts shell fish.

We should also take care to eat simply, and not waste a lot of time catering to our bellies by preparing especially tasty fasting foods. Give yourself a little consolation on the weekend by preparing special meals, but during the week, try to eat simply, and make a special effort to read together and pray.

Bishop Gabriel to visit Houston Dec 13-14

Bishop Gabriel will be in Houston the second week of December, (Dec 13-14 civil dates). Before the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Paul Sanchez will be tonsured a reader. Everyone is strongly urged to make plans to go to Houston to meet our bishop, and exclaim "Axios" for Paul. If there are enough who are willing to make the trip, we will rent a large van, so the driving will be taken care of. On this weekend, St. Nicholas will have reader's services.

St Herman's Conference

The St Herman's conference is held around December 23-27 in the East, annually. This year it is in Lakewood, NJ. At least five from our parish are going to this conference, which more properly is termed a Pilgrimage, because it is dedicated to the memory of St Herman. Fr Seraphim, Reader Andrew, Joseph, Genevieve and Christina will leave on Tuesday, Dec 23rd, and return Saturday, Dec 27th (with a 5:30 AM flight!). There will be services as normal that weekend, even if the pilgrims do not feel very normal, due to lack of sleep!

Sick

Please pray for Hieromonk Averky, who is very ill with an ailment of the spine, and Tim Clader, who is recovering from a serious fall, which shattered one of his ankles.

The Blessed Funeral of Brother Jose

There were some amazing things that happened when the formerly suffering body of Brother Jose was buried last week in Jordanville. We still do not know the significance and meaning of many things, but it is clear that there is something to be learned from Jose's selfless life, the appearance of the Myrrh streaming icon outside of a church, the unknown location of the icon, Jose's tortured, and perhaps martyric end, and his incorrupt remains. Here is an account of the funeral, from Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff.

Funeral Service for Brother Jose Munoz Cortez

Holy Trinity Monastery Jordanville, N.Y.

Over three hundred mourners gathered in Holy Trinity Monastery's main cathedral for the funeral of Brother Jose (Joseph) Munoz Cortez on Wednesday, November 12 (n.s.). At such short notice, they arrived from many parts of the world, including France, Germany, Switzerland, South America, Canada, California and other parts of the United States His Grace, Archbishop Laurus, Rector of Holy Trinity Monastery, officiated, with 22 priests and 4 protodeacons, Bishop Mitrophan of Boston and other clergy also present.

Brother Joseph's body, murdered in Athens, Greece on October 30 (n.s.), arrived in Montreal, Canada on Monday, November 10. Here the coffin was opened for identification by friends of Brother Joseph, who were the first to witness in awe the total absence of even the faintest traces of decay--no odor whatsoever. Deep scars were visible on the upper neck and wrists. According to police reports, Brother Joseph was found with his hands and feet tied, his mouth stuffed and taped, wearing his pants but no shirt, death being caused by suffocation. These facts totally contradict previous sensational press reports of the murder.

On Tuesday, November 11, the coffin arrived in Holy Trinity Monastery. It was initially intended to keep the coffin sealed in fear of a foul odor, as almost two weeks had elapsed since Brother Joseph's death. When a trial opening of the coffin revealed no such odor, the coffin remained open throughout the funeral service.

The Psalter was read continuously Tuesday night and Wednesday, right up to the time of the funeral services, which began at 2:00 p.m. Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov delivered a most moving sermon, while Vladyka Laurus called upon all to pray daily for the repose of Brother Joseph's soul in gratitude for all that he had done for so many people in all parts of the world for almost fifteen years. Vladyka spoke with deep emotion and voiced his surprise at the total absence of any odor from Brother Joseph's murdered body.

Brother Joseph's miraculous Icon of the Iveron Mother of God first began to exude aromatic myrrh in Montreal on November 11/24, 1982. Divine Services will be celebrated on Monday, September 11/24 (the Icon's fifteenth anniversary) in all of ROCOR's churches around the globe, as mandated by an Ukaz of His Eminence, Metropolitan Vitaly, First Hierarch of the Church.

A fellow mourner

Fr. Alexander Lebedeff

lebedeff@WESTWORLD.COM

A Sermon by Archbishop Laurus on Luke 5:1-11

Today's reading from the Holy Gospel tells us how our Lord Jesus Christ, while teaching throughout the land of Palestine, came to the Lake of Gennesaret, where he was surrounded by a multitude of people wishing to hear the word of God. There were so many people crowding the Lord, that Christ found it necessary to climb into a nearby boat and teach the people from the water.

Those people, who surrounded the Lord in such large numbers and who listened to His words, were also attached, as we are, to this earthly life and to the fruits thereof; but not to such a great extent as we are.

Why are there so few people striving to hear the word of God? The Lord says in the Gospel: "Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it" (Luke 11:28). So few hear the word of God, and even fewer are they who keep it, that is, who fulfill the word of God.

Do we read the Gospel at home, or do we only hear it once a week on Sunday? Today, do we strive to go to church to listen to and be edified by the word of God, like the people of Gennesaret who hurried to hear the Lord? Alas, no! Our churches are deserted ­ especially during the All­Night Vigils. Even on Sundays and feast days many are late to the divine services and thus do not hear the reading of the Epistle or the Gospel, which is the word of God. Many leave before the end of the service and do not hear the sermon during which the word of God is explained.

Why are there so few that pay attention to the word of God? The reason is that we are tied to everything worldly, and we place our material needs and worldly cares above our spiritual needs. We take great care of our bodies ­ our flesh ­ and our property. But as for our soul, we have no time. The sorrows of this life drown out the "one thing needful" ­ attaining the salvation of our souls. Let us take great care for our souls. We must listen to and learn the word of God and fulfill it. Amen.

Parish Life, a publication of St John the Baptist Cathedral, Washington DC (November, 1993)

Available at: http://www.stjohndc.org/homilies/9311a.htm

Scripture

The daily scripture readings for the 24th week after Pentecost, 1997 (the coming week AFTER the publication date of this journal) are from 1 Thessalonians and Luke. Almost all scripture readings are on the St. Nicholas Calendar. All Orthodox Christians must have a scripture reading discipline, if they are serious about saving their souls. As your pastor, I beg of you that you at least read the daily readings. Some of those readings have a short commentary, below.

24th Monday after Pentecost

Luke 11:29-33

And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. {30} For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. (Luke 11:29-30)

The sign of Jonas is the resurrection. As Jonas was 3 days in the belly of the fish, so Christ was 3 days in the tomb.

This generation also continues to look for signs, but the "sign" has already been given. What is the meaning of this sign? It is not only that Christ was resurrected in the body, but that He made us able to change, to amend, and to be made whole. This sign cannot be divided from the entire life of Christ, His teachings, and the path he showed us how to walk. It points to, teaches about, and enables us to fulfil to only true meaning of life - the salvation of the soul.

Christian, do you still look for signs? If you are overwhelmed by your sins, and believe yourself incapable of changing, you are like those in Jonas' time who missed his sign, and those who disbelieve in the resurrection! Christ made us able to live, to change, and to become perfected. He freed us from tyranny, and showed us the difficult path we must traverse if we are to fulfil our purpose. When we despair, we disbelieve in His sign.

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Luke 11:31)

By the "Queen of the South", understand "every soul which holds and stands firm in what is good" (Bl Theofylact) Authority rises out of virtue. Those who love virtue, which is nothing less than the love of God, and His commandments, will come "from the utmost parts of the earth" to gain it. We must test ourselves against this most necessary attribute of not only the most righteous, but all who wish to be saved. Will we come from the utmost parts of the earth? Do we love virtue enough to carefully cultivate its growth in our soul, or are we choked with worldly cares? Do we pray each day? Do we confess and commune frequently? Do we come to church with expectation, at all times, or do we allow trivial and stupid things, or just our own laziness to keep us from going to the temple to pray (especially when the holy vigils are being served)? If we do not do these things, all righteous souls who loved God enough to follow the path of life WILL rise up and rebuke us in the judgement.

24th Wednesday after Pentecost

Luke 11:42-46

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Luke 11:42)

How misunderstood our Lord's words are today! In this age of pharisaical devotion to minimalism these words are inexplicable to the majority. So many take them to be an endorsement of their departures from holy tradition. Such ones, taught by bad or even evil shepherds, label holy practices and the Orthodox way of thought that is part of them as minor traditions, and are taught to disregard such things as being outmoded or no longer applicable. The most advanced in this disease of modernism and minimalism that is besieging the church even are taught and teach others to label those who love the traditions of the church as fanatics.

The Lord rebuked the Pharisees because they had lost the love of God. They were awash in their own conceits, and their own agendas. They were interested in man made institutions. The extent that a Christian loves the world, and depends on some legalistic fiction, such as his position in the church, or ethnic heritage, or even his knowledge of scripture, and loves not struggle in the life of virtue for his salvation, he is a Pharisee.

The discreet and pious Christian reads these words of the Lord and trembles. He measures himself against them, and wonders if he has loved enough to be pleasing to the Lord. He tests his priorities, and his obedience to the mind of the church, and the entire way of life that springs out of this mind. He further understands that the Lord, by His righteous words of rebuke, does not endorse the dismantling of the righteous way of life, with its "great" and "small" things. At the end the Lord adds "not the leave the other undone". He gives no mandate for the compartmentalization of the way of life, that is Orthodoxy, into things to do and things to ignore!

Christian, preserve the entire Orthodox way of life in your heart, because the path it walks is the narrow one that leads to salvation. Do not believe those who show love for things outside the church and a disdain for the way of life in the church. Let such ones run to their meetings, and statements of union (which deny basic Orthodox dogmas), and abominable assemblies with heretics. Do not listen when they belittle fasting, the holy feasts and services, fidelity to the church calendar, and all other things that are foolishly labeled as "little" things, and arrogantly discarded, falsely using the Lords' very words of rebuke as a witness! Do not discard anything that helps you to be pious.

The Language of Orthodoxy

Sabaoth

The transliteration of the Hebrew word tsebha'oth, meaning "hosts," "armies". (Rom. 9:29; James 5:4) In the LXX. the Hebrew word is rendered by "Almighty." (See Rev. 4:8; comp. Isa. 6:3.) (From Eastons Bible Dictionary)

God is known as the "the Lord of the Sabaoth", the Lord of the Hosts of the heavens. We know from Holy Scripture that the angelic host is continually singing praise to the Lord of the Sabaoth from the vision of Isaiah: "... I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. {2} Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. {3} And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Sabaoth: the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isa 6:1-3)


All unsigned or unattributed portions Copyright 1997 Fr Seraphim Holland

This journal is at http://www.orthodox.net/redeeming/redeeming.01.06.html

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