Bulletin for 7 Aug 2022

O Holy Apostle Philip,

Intercede with the merciful God

That He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory for ever! + Slava Isusu Christu! Slava i vo viki!

My Dear Friends,

Today’s Epistle reading can be seen as a continuation of last week’s Epistle message: we were reminded that there is no place to boast that one is baptized by Peter, Paul or Apollo. I quoted last week St Augustine who went further saying that it would not matter even if it were Judas baptizing because the principal agent at work is Christ Himself. We looked at the economy of Sacraments as infallible channels of an increase in grace precisely because Christ is the principal agent at work in them. As I told you water in and of itself does not wash away sin, it cleanses the body. But water through the invocation of the Trinity at Baptism will wash away all sin. We in the East are keenly aware of the importance of Christ’s own baptism and that His contact with the Jordan sanctified all the waters used for baptism.

Today’s epistle is to remind us that just as the sacraments are Christ at work so the Christian message is Christ’s wisdom. It is not man made. Historically, St Paul was mocked as he was not an eye witness to Jesus Christ as were all the other Apostles. St Paul however speaks of the exceptional grace which was his conversion and enlightenment to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. St Paul did not give us his own wisdom, rather he preached the wisdom of Christ which is not that of the worldly wise. With irony he points out the false preachers who enjoy fame and riches and he tells us that this is not the message of Christ who sought no fame and no riches. Indeed Christ chose his path of self-emptying, his kenosis, that we might be made rich through his poverty. St Paul is pointing out that he is not fleecing his flock but preaching the true message of Christ.

In today’s Gospel we have a pericope that follows on from last week’s Gospel reading. We looked at the multiplication of the loaves and we saw the significance of the five loaves and two fish as a symbol of the capital role the sacraments, the sacred mysteries we celebrate paly in our lives. Moving further in the same chapter of St Matthew’s Gospel we see Christ not just as someone who provides temporal goods (he did feed 5000 people) but Christ the One who dominates nature. The One who calms the waves. In other Gospel accounts of this miracle an ‘exceedingly big great’ calm pervades. Of course the Hebrew is saying something awkward: It is redundant to say exceedingly greatly big. The point is that the Evangelist is capturing the moment, he is sizing up Who Christ is.

Christ’s words: “fear not, it is I,” we will hear as Christ conquers death, this is the greeting of the Risen Lord! That knowledge should produce in us a great calm.

And yet we look at St Peter and wonder why he slipped? St Peter became frightened for he lost sight of who Christ is. The good news is that St Peter shows us what to do when he cries out; “Lord, save me.” As Christians knocked about on the stormy waves of life we can all too often sink when we lose sight of Christ. Our prayer should be: Lord save us, for we perish. This is indeed one of the oldest prayers and a prayer very dear to us who pray the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus Son of the Living God have mercy on me.”

We learn from today’s Gospel that we need to pray and sometimes even cry out, but we must always have faith in Christ in his message which is not the wisdom of the world.

News of the parish: Please note that next Sunday we will have a parish meeting. I do want to hear your concerns and present ideas of how we can grow and become better known as a Community. You will see a change in the timing of Liturgies during the week. So far there has been a good response from the faithful wishing to come to a later Liturgy after work. For practical reasons we are having more early Liturgies this week and this has to do with the cooling of the Church. Please do come with your questions, input and suggestions.

This Sunday will be the last Sunday that Pani Kim Murin and her children are among us and so I take the opportunity to thank Fr Francis for his coverage while I was in New Zealand and to wish them all God’s blessings and prosperity in Slovakia. I trust that you will all take a moment to see and speak with her before their departure.

Please also pay attention to the sign-up sheet for Hospitality – and of course many thanks to you all for signing up.

Last week’s collection amounted to $.

  • Prayer requests.  Please remember Alex Kachmar who passed away very recently. Also Iosif Grecu the father of Ingrid Stewart and Peter Haines recently deceased. Fr. Brian Escobedo, Fr. Michael, Fr. Marcus, Fr. Chris, Fr. Randall, Fr. Michal, Fr. Patrik, Fr Christopher, Fr Theodore, Sr. Patricia, Margaret, Gary and Ingrid, Margaret, Slawomir and Oceana, Darlene, Becky, Alexis, Marion, Curtis, Ronald, Jeannine, Taylor, Lorrie, Frances, Alex, Leroy, Michael, Thomas, Carol, Michael, Jennifer, John, Elizabeth, Judy, Ruth, Dimitri, Christie, Viktoria, Emily, Margaret, Patricia. Nadezda, Dan, Doug. Murin family, Aisha, Faustyna, John, Maia, Najwa, Nadia, Fabin, Nazmin, Deacon Dave, Gene Ford, Barbara, Trish, Abdul and family, Shalom World. Charles, and my mother Martha Andrews.
  • Liturgical schedule 

Aug 7 Sunday – Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

8:30 a.m. Confessions

9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Post Feast of the Transfiguration

Tone 8

Aug 9 Tues

6:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy

St Matthias, Apostle

Aug 10 Weds

6:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

St Lawrence, Archdeacon Martyr

Aug 11 Thurs

6:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

St Euplus, Martyr

Aug 13 Saturday

9:00 am Divine Liturgy

Otdanije (Leave Taking) of the Feast of the Transfiguration

Aug 14 Sunday – Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

8:30 a.m. Confessions

9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Prefeast of the Dormition. Translation of relics of St.Theodosius

Tone 1

 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.

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If It is Really What God Wants – No Reason to be Afraid

On the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, the Church gives us the story of Jesus walking on the water in a storm and telling Peter to come across the water to him (Matthew 14:22-34).  Peter’s fear causes him to start to sink, and he has to call on Jesus to save him.  In his homily, below, Fr James Graham, relates Peter’s experience to our own lives:  when the Lord calls us, we want to come, but fear makes us sink.

Be sure to come and celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us at 9:30 this Sunday morning!

IF IT’S REALLY WHAT GOD WANTS, THERE’S NO REASON TO BE AFRAID

mosaic of Christ walking on the sea.

Mosaic of Christ walking on the Sea. Monreale Cathedral, Sicily

Homily for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost

1 Corinthians 3:9-17                         Matthew 14:22-34

     As I read the Gospel to prepare for today’s homily, I noticed something in the story that I had never noticed before.

     Even though there is a violent storm, the disciples in the boat aren’t afraid until Jesus comes to them.  When they see the Lord, then they get scared.  Isn’t this just the opposite of what we would expect?  The storm would terrify them, but Jesus coming to them should make them feel better. . . .

     But in fact we are often terrified when the Lord comes into our lives.  And like Peter, when we’re afraid we challenge God to make us do what we fear—which is usually something we know God wants us to do and something we really want to do.

     But we’re afraid.  And this fear comes from the devil.  The Evil One wants us to lose faith in God—to doubt that God really has the power to show us His way, to call us to follow Him, to help us answer His call, and to save us.

     Our fear, our doubt, our lack of faith has no basis in reality.  God does not call us to do what we can’t do.  When Jesus says, “Come,” He’s not trying to trick us.  He doesn’t want to see us sink—He wants to see us walk in His path.  He wants us to do what He knows we can do, even though we think we can’t.  He’s not saying, “If I can do it, you can do it.”  He is saying, “You can do it because I am here to help you.”

     Usually the Lord doesn’t ask us to walk on water.  But often what He asks us to do seems almost as difficult.

     For instance, He might say to a priest, “I need you to go across the country and be the pastor of a church you’ve never seen, in a climate you’ve never lived in, far away from your family and your friends.  Come!”

     To a young person, the Lord might say, “I need you to move far away from your parents to go to college.  Come!”  Or He might say, “It’s time for you to leave home and get married.  Come!”

     To almost anyone, the Lord might say, “I need you to follow me as a deacon or a priest or a nun or a monk.  I need you to radically change your life and minister to people, to teach them, to explain my Word to them.  Come!”

     To a parish, the Lord might say, “It’s time for you to go in a new direction, to rediscover your love for Me, to find out how to bring more people to Me through your love and open-ness and faith and example.  Come!”

     In these and so many other situations where the Lord is calling us, we have doubts.  Can we do it?  Am I good enough?  Is this the right person?  Can we afford it?  What if we don’t like it?  Is this really what God wants?”

     We can let our doubts sink us, or we can step out in faith.  If it is really what God wants, there’s no reason to be afraid or to doubt.  If we get into difficulty, we can call out to the Lord and He will save us.  But He will ask, “Why did you doubt?”  And we probably won’t be able to answer, because there’s no good answer to that question.  The truth is, sometimes we let the devil come between us and Jesus.  But Jesus is always there to help us when we call on Him.

     We CAN step out of the boat and walk on the water.  When Jesus says, “Come,” we have to come.  He will make it happen for the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and ever and to ages of ages.  Amen.

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We don’t have to keep it a secret

On 6 August we celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mt Tabor (Matthew 17:1-9).  Join us in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for this Great Feast at 9 am, Saturday 6 August.  It is traditional to bless and share grapes and other fruits at the Transfiguration; we will do so on Saturday and again at the Liturgy on Sunday.  Below, Fr James Graham‘s homily talks about why Jesus told Peter, James, and John not to talk about the Transfiguration–and why we should talk about it.

C9136B1D-78FF-4E95-A443-0DBDFD48D727WE DON’T HAVE TO KEEP IT A SECRET

Homily for the Transfiguration of the Lord (6 August 2022)

2 Peter 1:10-19                               Matthew 17:1-9

When we talk about the Transfiguration of the Lord, we usually concentrate on what happened—on the details of the event:

• Jesus’ “face shone like the sun; His clothing became as white as light.”

• Moses and Elias and Jesus talking together.

• Peter’s idea of setting up three tents.

• The Father’s voice coming from the bright cloud, saying, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him.”

• Peter, James, and John stunned, dazed into unconsciousness, and Jesus telling them, “Do not be afraid.”

• Jesus telling Peter, James, and John not to tell anyone what happened.

We understand that Jesus is revealing his divinity to Peter, James, and John, and that His appearance with Moses and Elias demonstrates that He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets—of all that God commanded and promised in the Old Testament.

But we don’t usually ask WHY Jesus did this.  Why did He reveal his divinity to Peter, James, and John?  Why did He take them up a “high mountain”?  Why did He not agree to the proposal to set up three tents?  Why did He tell them to get up and not be afraid?  Why did He command them not to tell anyone about what they saw?

The clue comes in the very last words of the passage:  “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Jesus knew that He must suffer and die and rise again to take aways humanity’s sins, restore our relationship with God, and make eternal life possible for us.

He knew that it would be a terrible, difficult time for His disciples.  He knew that they would need strength to continue His work.  He knew that people in centuries to come, who had never known Him in the flesh, would need assurance and strength.

So Jesus arranged for His most beloved and trusted friends to see a sort of preview of what His Passion and Resurrection would look like and what it would mean.

Jesus’ transfigured appearance hinted at His resurrected body—transformed because He would have overcome death.  But it also pointed to our own eventual resurrection to eternal life with God in Paradise.

And Peter could not put up three tents to preserve the glorious meeting of Jesus and Moses and Elias because that encounter was a preview of Paradise and could not be captured in this world.

Peter, James, and John had to climb a high mountain because each of us has to struggle and work to know God and to develop our relationship with God.

After the vision had ended, they saw only Jesus, because only through relationship with Christ can we find salvation.

But we don’t have to be afraid of the struggle or of our dependence on Jesus, because we have the Father’s assurance that Jesus is His beloved Son.  Jesus touches us, helps us, teaches us—but we have to listen to Him.

Jesus told Peter, James, and John not to tell anyone what they had seen until after His Resurrection, because it wasn’t going to be needed until then—and it wouldn’t make sense until then.

But we don’t have to keep it a secret.  Christ is risen from the dead, sins are forgiven, eternal life is waiting for us.  We can—and must—spread the word:  Jesus is the beloved Son of God, our Savior, the Light that transforms the world, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.  He is the Resurrection and the Life, to whom belongs all glory, honor, and worship, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and ever and to ages of ages.  Amen.

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