of St Nicholas
Redeeming the Time Vol 02.28 Jan 11/24 1999 Sun after Theophany and of Zacchaeus
January 11/24 1999
33rd Sunday After Pentecost
The Sunday After Theophany
The Sunday of Zacchaeus
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.
News and Announcements *
Anthony Headley is getting married! *
Annual Parish Meeting *
Proposed Date *
Proposed Agenda *
Kontakion. Fourth tone: Thou who wast lifted up *
Megalynarion (Used in the Greek Menaion) *
A passage on Zacchaeus from THE ONE THING NEEDFUL *
Archbishop Andrei of Novo-Diveevo *
Special petitions used in the Serbian Church *
AT THE AUGUMENTED LITANY: *
Did the Jordan really "turn back"? *
St Cyril on Zacchaeus *
The Example of Zacchaeus *
The following House blessings are scheduled:
If you have not made arrangements for your house to be blessed, please contact Fr Seraphim.
Anthony Headley is getting married to a woman named Anna, who is from Russia (and living in Arkansas currently). We are not only excited for Anthony, who has, with many of us, prayed to God for this day to come, but are also VERY pleased that he wishes to have the wedding here as St Nicholas! Here are some details, from a recent email message Anthony sent Fr Seraphim:
"At this point, it looks as if the wedding will be on Sunday, May 2, two weeks after Pascha. This seems to be a good time for everyone. Let me know if this date is good for you and the parish. Anna's mother will be flying into Arkansas around Feb. 10 and will stay with her. She only has a 3 month visa, so we put the date at May 2 and then we can fly her out on the 3rd.
Also, do you have any ideas about where we might hold a reception? I have some friends exploring the possibilities for me. All I know for now is that I want to try to have it catered by Pappadeaux's (suprize......suprize). I'm sure there won't be objections to that. Looking forward to seeing you! Pray for us!"
From Anthony Headley: AHeadless@aol.com
Sunday Feb 7, 1999 1:30 PM
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.
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.
The following announcement was received on various electronic mailing lists Jan 21, 1999 (ns)
His Holiness Patriarch of Serbia Pavle has declared a special seven-day fast for all the members of the Serbian Orthodox Church, because of the Kosovo catastrophe. The fast begins today (21st January) and lasts until the feast of St Sava (27th January), with hopes that God will grant mercy to the suffering people of Kosovo, both Orthodox and Moslem, and move away the threat of continuation and outburst of even bigger destruction and bloodshed. The Holy land of Kosovo, bearing more than 1500 ancient holy places, Orthodox monasteries, temples and hermitages in the area of 11,000 square kilometers is greatly endangered, as well as all of its inhabitants, both Orthodox Christian Serbs and Moslem Albanians. The entire Serbian nation and Church is under a threat of great destruction by the intervention of NATO forces.
We call all the members of Serbian Church, as well as all our brothers and sisters from other Orthodox Churches to join this fast and prayers for the cease of the catastrophe and salvation of people and sanctities of Kosovo and Serbia.
So help us, God!
Sent by Vladimir
Some of us at St Nicholas are keeping the fast mentioned above, and
our weekly moleban (Wednesday) will be to St Sava, the first Archbishop
of Serbia, and it's greatest intercessor among the Saints. The Serbian
church celebrates the memory of St Sava on this exact day.
Can a bishop ask a Christian to fast? Absolutely! It is our tradition that a bishop may ask his flock to fast for an extraordinary reason, such as war, famine, or some calamity, or even as a form of repentance for a serious, far-reaching sin. In our day, few bishops invoke this right, as Partriarch Pavle has done, and, indeed, many turn it on it's ear, by "blessing" people to NOT fast, and then go on to ignore the fasts themselves! No bishop has the right to tell people to not fast during the canonically prescribed times, as some do, for events such as American Thanksgiving. We must obey our bishops, but not if they transgress the holy Orthodox faith with modernist accommodations.
Another right of our bishops is to add additional supplications in the ectenias of the services. We in the Russian church have been singing additional supplications for Russia for decades, and a few years ago, the Serbian church directed their churches to insert special supplications for Serbia, because of the ominous developments in that region of the world. These petitions are reproduces below.
A bishop always has the right to exhort us to fast and to pray, but
he never has the right to impede our fasting and prayer, either by his
own poor example, or even by foolish pronouncements. This is unfortunately
the case with too many Orthodox bishops, who are acting as false shepherds
by giving "dispensations" from fasting because of civil holidays, and by
shortening the divine services in an extreme way, making up false ecumenical
services, and omitting services entirely in order to be at silly Saturday
night banquets and the like. May God preserve our bishops from this kind
of deadly impiety!
The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church has directed that the
following petitions be inserted into appropriate litanies at Vespers, Matins
and the Divine Liturgy:
"For God's mercy upon us, His unworthy servants, that we may all be protected from hatred and evil actions, that we may have instilled in us unselfish love by which all shall know that we are disciples of Christ and God's people, as were our holy ancestors, so that we may always know to decide for the truth and righteousness of the Heavenly Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord".
"For all those who commit injustice against their neighbors, whether
by causing sorrow to orphans or spilling innocent blood or by returning
hatred for hatred, that God will grant them repentance, enlighten their
minds and hearts and illumine their souls with the light of love even towards
their enemies, let us pray to the Lord".
"O Lord, how many are our foes who battle against us and say: there is no help for them from God or man. O Lord, stretch forth Thy hands that we may remain Thy people in both faith and works. If we must suffer, let it by in the ways of Thy justice and Thy truth-let it not be because of our injustice or hatred against anyone. Let us all fervently say: Lord have mercy".
"Again let us pray to God, the Savior of all men, also for our enemies-that
our people Lord who loves mankind will turn them away from attacks on our
Orthodox people, that they not destroy our churches and cemeteries, that
they not kill our children or persecute our people, but that they too may
turn to the way of repentance, justice and salvation. Let us all fervently
say: Lord have mercy".
The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep the thoughts silent when the soul is stirred, the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing.
St. John Climacus, The Spiritual Ladder,
Then, when the Lord publicly and clearly submitted to the law of men, receiving baptism in the Jordan, this even was also accompanied by a wondrous natural phenomenon - according to Holy Tradition - that is to say, the stopping of the Jordan's flow by the driving back of the waters. "The sea saw and fled; Jordan was driven back" (Psalm 113:3). Then the heavens opened, the heavenly Father's voice was heard and the Holy Spirit was seen in the form of a dove. Humankind felt this, and saw it through its representative, Saint John the Baptist..."
Blessed Bishop Nikolai of Ochrid.
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
"Redeeming the Time" is an almost weekly Journal of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas. Distribute this text if you wish, but only if attribution and all contact information are included. I would appreciate being contacted if any large-scale use of this text is desired. All unsigned or unattributed portions © 1998 Fr Seraphim Holland. All rights reserved
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