of St Nicholas
Redeeming the Time Vol. 01.15 Sunday of Zacchaeus Jan 18/ Feb 1 1998
Redeeming the Time
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Dallas TX
See then that ye walk circumspectly,
not as fools, but as wise,
redeeming the time,
because the days are evil.
Jan 18/ Feb 1 1998
Hymns for Zacchaeus Sunday *
Dismissal hymn. Third Tone: Thy confession *
Kontakion. Fourth tone: Thou who wast lifted up *
Megalynarion (Used in the Greek Menaion) *
News and Announcements *
Fire in Montreal *
Press release from Montreal, Canada *
Comments from Fr George Lagodich, Montreal *
Yearly Parish Meeting February 2 / 15 *
"Irish" dinner February 2 / 15 *
The Sunday of Zacchaeus *
A passage from THE ONE THING NEEDFUL *
Archbishop Andrei of Novo-Diveevo *
Gleaning from the Fathers *
St Cyril on Zacchaeus *
The Example of Zacchaeus *
Having justly hated unjust riches, / thou didst lay up treasures of salvation; / for, receiving the Savior within thy house, / thou, O Zacchaeus, wast truly made marvelous/ with all the fruits of repentance thou broughtest forth: / deeds of mercy, the correction of wrongs, and godly life, / because of which we honor thee and call thee blest.
When He that bowed the Heavens came to save sinners, / Zacchaeus, great in zeal. but little of stature, / beheld the Tree of Life from in the Sycamore;/ lifted up above the earth,/ he saw Jesus, who called him:/ coming down in lowliness,/ he repenting, received Him;/ and so salvation came into his house,/ and he was shown forth a true son of Abraham.
Bidden by the Master to dine with Him, / thou, O wise Zacchaeus, / didst prepare Him a joyous feast; / and thy great repentance/ was pleasing to our Savior, / who crowned thy soul with glory and everlasting life.
Montreal, Canada -- Fire during the night of Saturday 24 January 1998 completely destroyed the temple of St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly states that this congregation of 500 families (some 1,500 souls) needs to find a space it could rent for at least 1 1/2 years that would accommodate an average Sunday attendance of some 350 people.
Customarily, no pews are used by the faithful during worship (though chairs for the elderly and infirm would usually be set-up on the perimeter to service those needing them) A separate adjoining hall containing kitchen and toilet facilities would be required as well.
Any organization with a facility available for use as described above is asked to contact His Eminence directly at.....
I will be posting more information on this tragic event as my personal time permits. As many of you can appreciate there are a million things to do in a very short period of time. Especially since there is a criminal investigation going on and most importantly we want to get back to our regular church service cycle.
This is a very tragic event for the Montreal community but is being viewed as a NEW BEGINNING for the parish. Everybody is quite enthusiastic and many people who have strayed away have felt strong desires to come back and help.
We ask for all of your prayers and support during this time for our parish. More to come. Please forgive the unstructured nature of this e-mail.
With Love in Christ, Fr George <GLagodich@compuserve.com>
Sergius (Sumeet) Bahadur will be traveling the entire month of February, in India and South Africa. Please pray for his safe return, and spiritual protection during his trip.
Please pray for the sick every day. Your prayer can be very simple: "Lord have mercy upon Thy (suffering) servantů"
This has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 2/ 15 (The Sunday of the Prodigal Son, and the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord).
The third "International" meal will be at the rectory, Sunday afternoon, after the parish meeting. We should be hungry by then! These dinners always have a theme emphasizing the Orthodox culture of another country or place, as well as other aspects of that places culture. So, along with the lives of St Patrick and Columba, bring on the fiddle and harp music, corn beef and cabbage, and green beer!
Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a very rich man. He was successful in life. At that time among the Jewish people, he had become what we would call a VIP. He possessed much and was a powerful man. All his worldly calculations turned out to be correct. But one thing he miscalculated: time is unyielding. Life and years go by and old age sets in. And he saw that everything he had gathered was for nothing. He couldn't make use of his riches. He lacked both strength and health.
And at the same time the life he was living, the life of a tax-collector, left in his heart a kind of anguish: he had offended a widow, he had treated an orphan unfairly, he had grieved a weak person. He was a "taker"! He was possessive, powerful and strong. Here the Lord had endowed him with many years, and he didn't need this wealth. And conscience? A bad conscience tormented him, and there was no way he could free himself from this conscience.
Then he heard that a prophet was passing by. At that time he didn't yet understand that Christ was the Son of God, but he knew that this was a rabbi, a teacher. So he decided to try this, as a last resort. And he went to meet Him. But here he saw that there was such a crowd that it would be impossible for him to meet Christ. But there happened to be a fig tree along the roadside, and he climbed up into this tree. There he was in the tree. Now don't miss this moment.
What would happen here in America if some important official, a congressman, a governor, the mayor of a city, or some millionaire, in his wish to look at a new preacher, before the eyes of the public, on one of the main streets, climbed the first available tree? What would you think of him? How this could harm his social position, the coming election! And yet the very same thing was happening in Jewish society. What mockery, what malice surrounded him! And he? He wasn't afraid of humiliation, he didn't need anything. He was suffering. He had to have help. And here he saw that, indeed, Christ was that prophet who could somehow help him. What was this crowd to him, this mockery?
And suddenly, Christ was unexpectedly before him. "Come down; for today I must abide at thy house" (Lk. 19:5). And here this miracle took place. Christ stayed at Zacchaeus' house. But maybe many people will ask, was this really a miracle? In the Gospel there are much greater miracles, real miracles. But here it was just a visit; there was nothing supernatural. Here was something more than supernatural. Look at what happened. The full strength of conscience was revealed to Zacchaeus. He as if gave over his conscience to Christ and Christ sanctified his heart. And out of joy that his heart was freed from this stone of sin, from everything that he had done, Zacchaeus said: "Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold" (Lk. 19:8).
The Sunday before last told us: "Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." And this Sunday shows us repentance in action: Zacchaeus, the fig tree, the sensation of a sick conscience. And we must bring ourselves to such a state that our heart will be penetrated by this fear of God, with weeping. Also we are shown what this "Kingdom of Heaven" is: this is after repentance, when his heart was made so expansive that he was ready to embrace everyone, was ready to give everything away, to make everyone rich. Here is the spirit of Eternal Life which must visit us.
May the Lord help us, brothers and sisters, to begin the work of fasting. We are still in the Forefeast of Lent, but the moment is approaching for us to cross the threshold into this time.
What doest Thou, O Lord? Goest Thou to lodge with Zacchaeus? and deignest Thou to abide with the chief of the publicans? He hath not yet washed away the stain of his greedy love of lucre; he is still sick with covetousness, the mother of all crimes; still full of the blame of rapine and extortion.' But yes, He says, I indeed know this, in that I am God by nature, and see the ways of every individual upon earth. And more than this, I know also thing to come. I have called him to repentance because he is ready thereto; and even though men murmur, and blame My gentleness, facts themselves shall prove that they are wrong. For Zacchaeus, is says, `stood up, and said unto the Lord, Behold, the half of whatever I possess I give unto the poor, and if I have defrauded any man, I make four-fold restoration.
St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke.
The stand of the Lord towards Zacchaeus should serve as a lesson for Christians. Through His stand the Lord showed that we ought to embrace sinners with our love and not to avoid them. It shows us that we ought to seek the power of God to bring them to the regeneration which is effected by our Savior Jesus Christ.
So let us approach sinners with love. And if in the end we do not succeed in bringing them close and fully to the path of God, let us even then not cease praying for them. Perhaps our fervent prayer will be listened to by our compassionate God and He will grant to them the regeneration of their soul.
Spiritual counsels of St. Raphael, Modern Orthodox Saints, Vol. 10: Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesbos
All unsigned or unattributed portions Copyright 1997 Fr Seraphim Holland
Address: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071
Phone: 972 529-2754
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