O Holy Apostle Philip,
Intercede with the merciful God
That He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost
This Sunday we read the Gospel where the devil departs a man and the legions of devils, as a mercy to them, enter a herd of swine. The father of lies and the murderer from the beginning acts true to who he is, and no sooner have the devils entered the swine, they cast themselves over a cliff and that us the end of them.
There are so many lessons we could learn. Firstly, we see the company the devil enjoys: dirty pigs. The soul which is in good order and which turns to God in an effort to come closer to Him through a life of prayer and asceticism, is not the soul wallowing in filth. The Holy Spirit makes us living temples. Temples are sacred places, remind us that praise echoes in our souls and that Saints are people whose lives focus on godliness. Temples are places of beauty and uplifting. This would describe the disposition of the soul of a Saint.
Secondly, sin is destructive. A person who has a vice has at the same time a very unhappy and un-centered life. Most often there are multiple vices in the truly vicious. Tis is the kingdom divided which Christ speaks of, and where there is no peace.
Thirdly, the devil tempts us with empty promises. The lure of sin is enticing, but after the fall we always acknowledge that the fleeting pleasure was a mirage. We are left with shame and remorse… albeit that moments before it all seemed so wonderful. It is Christ alone who offers what builds us up, to the point that we can think of St Irenaeus who says that the “glory of God is man fully alive.”
Fourthly, why did the devils ask the mercy of occupying pigs before killing themselves? Theologically the devil has no power except what God permits him in time to do. Once time is ended and in eternity his lot is fixed: self-hatred and suffering. The devil would sooner work havoc and spend the “time” doing it, rather than suffer the eternal flames. This is an important thought when we can be tempted by so much gloom and doom around us. Ultimately we are saved, restored and made whole in Christ.
Lastly, the herdsmen trafficking in pigs? This is not an occupation a Jew should be involved with. Is it really a great loss, (from the perspective of an observant Jew), that these unclean animals were no longer peddled? There are plenty of evils in our society that we should be glad to see the end of, and which we should not support as evil in themselves. And yet, the only complaint from the villagers, is that there is no more money to be made from these swine. Thus we have plenty to ponder.
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Fr Christopher: This coming week: I would ask those willing and able to see me today in order to organize the moving of furniture to my future residence. I would like to start moving furniture this coming Saturday at noon and if necessary make one trip next Sunday. I believe the bigger items will get moved (bed, table and sofa) and that the smaller items could be moved over time if necessary in a pick-up. Honestly, two trips should suffice. If you are able to help, your presence would be much appreciated.
- Tithes and Donations. Last Sunday, we received in tithes $, donations $, gift shop $, hospitality $, candles $ and miscellaneous $. Thank you for your generosity, may God bless you always. The collection amounted to $.
- Hospitality after Sunday Liturgy. If you wish to help out please put your name to the signup sheet.
- Mystery of First Confession: If you have a child ready to make his or her first confession please see me and I will start by instructing those who need it. This shouldn’t take too long, about 5 weeks and after that I hope that we will be able to relaunch Catechism for the children after Sunday Liturgies. Parents are invited to sit in on the classes, so as to be able to help their children with the homework. Also as part of ‘Safe Environment’ there will be another adult present
- Youth Group: After having spoken at the bi-weekly youth group with parishioners from 4 parishes and 4 Rites, I will continue to host a talk followed by ‘fun and games.’ There were about 20 or so youth. The meetings are mentored by Abouna Hezekiah (Melkite) and now by me. For details contact me or Tim Del Castillo. Ages range from early to late teens.
- Parish council meeting: We will have a meeting next Sunday October 31. The agenda will include: Golden Jubilee, May preparations and upkeep of church given the recent rains and interior flooding. Input and participation is most welcome.
Wed Nov 3rd 6:30 a.m. – Divine Liturgy.
Fri Nov 5th 5.30 p.m. – Moleben of the Holy Cross
Sun Nov 7th 8:30 a.m. Confessions. 9:30 AM Divine Liturgy.
Tone 7 – Cantor: Amy – Reader: Richard Agayoff
For Confession, please call Fr. Christopher for an appointment, or come 30 minutes before or after scheduled services. If you desire Spiritual Direction then please see Fr Andrews for an appointment during the week so as to allow everyone an opportunity on Sundays for Confessions. Please consider those traveling from long distances.
Fridays in general are days of penance and fasting, we observe abstinence for meat foods. Let us remember one another as we offer our prayers and sacrifices to the Lord.