O Holy Apostle Philip,
Intercede with the merciful God
That He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Sunday of the Forefathers
This Sunday we celebrate the Sunday of the Forefathers. The Liturgy would have us look back at the preparation over time for the advent, the coming of Christ. The Major and Minor prophets spoke as instruments of the Holy Spirit to tell us of the Savior who would come amongst us. The prophet Isaiah will even give us the detail of the ox and the ass. We will read of Wise Men coming from the East, camels and dromedaries laden with gifts. In short, the Old Testament Prophets show us the blessings to come when we will celebrate Emmanuel, God amongst us! The ‘TYPOI’ the anti-types of the Old Testament will also have their fulfillment in the New Testament. All of this is part of the preparation and pedagogy used by God the Father to reveal His Son and to prepare us to receive him.
We could look at the promise to the Patriarchs and see them as links in the chain God used and from whom Christ would be descended.
There are even women mentioned and as we look at the genealogy of Christ the three women all have a story: the adulteress Bethshabee (the mother of King Solomon), Ruth (the Moabite who by marriage to Boaz became the Grandmother of King David) and the woman Rahab (who was spared the ‘anathema,’ the destruction of the invading Israelites, whose sign was the red chord. A symbol not lost on the Church Fathers who saw in it the red of the Blood of Christ.) the mother of Salmon, the father of Boaz. In short, God mysteriously wove pagan women and sinners into the genealogy of Christ. In doing this we are shown that God planned to save all and came to save all. Both sexes, Sinners and Saints would be used as part of God’s great plan.
We just recently celebrated the immediate shape that that plan took when we celebrated the conception of Anna. The Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, was prepared to be the worthy Mother of God. From her flesh the Word would take flesh!
We begin to see the finger of God over time, places and people to bring about the Good News which is the birth of Christ amongst us!
The Proto-Evangelium, of Genesis chapter 3 verse 15, the first “First Good News,” that God had a plan to save us after the fall of Adam takes place on December 25th because the seed of the Woman will crush the head of the serpent.
As we know, the fall was grave and had its consequences BUT God not only reconciles the world to Himself through his Son, but he actually restores things and makes them even greater. For we are made, by grace, Children of God and are more than the friends of God which Adam and Eve were.
We should be grateful and marvel at God’s gift. The gift of His Son made known in an inchoative, that is faint way, until the fullness of time when in the light of the heralding Angels God’s plan is revealed and we sing : Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.
When we think of these tidings it begins to make sense that our Divine Liturgy would start with those words. Indeed it is time for the Lord to act – as the Liturgy tells us in its next sentence!
* As you know there is nothing perfect this side of heaven and the last few weeks have been very trying. The saying says that when the cat is away the mice play. I was gone for one Sunday… Whereas I had the church windows sealed and the spouting of the roof cleared, it became the occasion for an accident which saw the electric box come off the church exterior stucco wall. It took time to prove to the City Council that whereas I am not the Bishop residing in Phoenix I am his agent! Then there was Thanksgiving and the Black Friday when offices were closed. The following Monday was the permit experience on a website that had crashed… By Tuesday I paid for the permit and on Wednesday made the inspection appointment as soon as it was possible. Thursday the City Council inspected the work and Friday SMUD made a visit only to find that the new tower needed to have supporting braces! On Saturday, SMUD however was quick to restore power saying to me that they recognized my voice when I called. The day before this I made 4 trips to their customer service center!!! The next problem was the power surge which caused more damage. I am on top of things as a result today you see the newsletter back in print.
* Tithes and Donations. Since I was unable to post figures I will summarize as follows: the last three collections amounted to $. There was a check from an anonymous benefactor who contributed $ and donations from Byzantine friends in Oklahoma.
* Confessions: You will see that we will have confessions available December 15, 17 & 22 from 5pm until 6.30pm. This is being made known to Roman Catholics as I am told it is hard to get to confession. This is a modest gesture, but please pray that it will be an occasion for other Catholics to learn of St Philip’s and available themselves of the treasure and patrimony we have as they will learn of and see the Beauty of the East!
Wed Dec 15 – 5:30-6:30 p.m. Confessions, followed by Akathist
Fri Dec 18 – 6:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
5:30-6:30 p.m. Confessions, followed by Akathist
Sun Dec 19 – Sunday Before Christmas – Of The Holy Fathers
8:30 Confessions; 9:30 Divine Liturgy – Cantor Tim Del Castillo, Reader Victor Pacheco
Wed Dec 22 – 5:30-6:30 p.m. Confessions, followed by Akathist