Bulletin for 22 May 2022 – Sunday of the Man Born Blind

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PASCHA

SUNDAY OF THE MAN BORN BLIND

Fresco-Man-Born-Blind

Christ Healing the Blind Man: Fresco c. 1080, Sant’Angelo in Formis, Capua

Yet again we can savor the beauty of the Liturgy putting before us the Gospel of the Man born blind. Like last week there is a real dialogue that is reported, this time it is between the man who was cured and the Pharisees.

This Gospel is read by the Latin Church prior to Pascha. In fact it is read in what were the days of interrogation of the catechumens. They would learn that Christ is the Light and they would seek illumination from the Teacher of Mankind. This symbol of enlightenment is not lost on us. For we celebrate Him as the ‘Joyful Light’ (PHOS HILARION – perhaps the oldest of all Christian Hymns which we always sing at Vespers.

The atmosphere of light surrounds us in the glorious resurrection and we even sing to the Theotokos: “Shine in splendor for the Glory (Light) of the Lord is Risen upon You.” Hence she dances and is glad in the Resurrection of her Son.

The focus in a sense is personal to this man. His life is changed after seeing the light of day and also the Light of the World. What is enlightening (pun intended) is his argument with the educated Pharisees who in the end despise him and show their contempt for Christ. As St John says in his Prologue; “He came unto his own and his own received him not.” They preferred darkness to the Light which is Christ.

We are also told a theological lesson as to why this man was born blind. It is not his fault or his parents’ fault. Rather, it was that the power of God be made manifest. Light guides us. So let us think of the words of St John and walk in the Light which is Christ. He the One that grants newness of Life.

News of the Week:

A lot has transpired over the past week and a lot will happen over this coming week. Hence note that the calendar covers two Sundays. There will be no bulletin next week.

Firstly, tree work will begin in the parking lot on Monday.

My own health: Some of you have learned that I was diagnosed with cancer on Wednesday. I am happy to tell you that it was spotted very very early and it is not a particularly aggressive cancer. It also responds very well to chemotherapy. This indicates that radiation will most likely not be necessary. I will have another visit with an oncologist to discuss treatment plans on June 2nd.

Meanwhile, I am taking the advice of a doctor and taking a break. This is my first break since Covid (March 2020). I will depart for Hawaii on Monday and return on Tuesday June 1st at 7.07am. Please do not call unless there is a real problem. Sunshine and waves are a good treatment to refresh me before chemotherapy. If you have an emergency please text me and I will contact Fr James who will be happy to help if you have a life and death emergency. Please, also spare Fr James who is retired, and if you can please wait until I return.

Also, next Sunday kindly pray for the faithful in Hilo, HI, as the Finger of God is working among them to help establish an outreach or a mission of our Eparchy.

During my absence Fr James will celebrate Divine Liturgy on Thursday May 26 (Ascension Thursday) at 5.30pm. I have asked him not to celebrate a Vesperal Liturgy as his rubrics are different to those of our Church. I am also grateful that he will celebrate Divine Liturgy on Sunday May 29 at the usual time of 9.30am.

I will pick things up on Wednesday June 1st when I return. We will have a Divine Liturgy at 5.30pm. that day.

Thursday June 2nd I will see the oncologist. Thank you for your prayers!

Friday June 3rd I will fly to Portland, Oregon for a Greek Wedding and I will celebrate Divine Liturgy on Saturday June 4th returning to Sacramento at 8.30pm.

Sunday June 5th is Pentecost. I will celebrate Divine Liturgy at 9.30am. However, after that I will be in Phoenix for Clergy Formation days. I will return Saturday June 11th at 8.00pm.

During my absence to Phoenix Fr Francis Murin will be visiting his in-laws. He will celebrate Divine Liturgy on June 8th. This is his wedding anniversary.

As I print this letter he has not informed me of other Liturgies he may wish to celebrate. In order to keep you informed he will have the email list and can invite you himself. He has keys to the Church and is most welcome among us.

The JUBILEE: I hope that I will have the RSVPs returned for June 18 celebrations. I will consider it all in the light of my oncologist visit since I may be a little under the weather at that point! I hope to proceed, even though our celebration will be modest. I am hoping to capitalize on the visit of Fr Francis and do it while he is among us.

  • Tithes and Donations. Last Sunday’s collection amounted to $.
  • Sunday Hospitality: please sign up and cover hospitality.
  • Safe Environment: I thank those who have complied with renewed training so as to continue to work as volunteers in the parish.
  • Prayer requests. Please pray for peace in the world. Many Ukrainian friends have reached out and asked for prayers. Please also remember Iosif Grecu the father of Ingrid Stewart who was recently laid to rest. In addition please pray for Peter Haines and Martina recently deceased.  Fr. Michael, Fr. Marcus, Fr. Chris, Fr. Randall, Fr. Michal, Fr. Patrik, 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, Fr. Christopher.
  • Liturgical schedule 

May 22 Sunday

8:30 a.m. Confessions.  

9:30 AM Divine Liturgy

Sunday of the Man Born Blind

Festal Tone

May 26 Thur

5:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy

Ascension of our Lord

Festal Tone

May 29 Sunday

8:30 a.m. Confessions

9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Sunday of the Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Council

Festal Tone

Jun 1 Weds

5:30 p.m.   Divine Liturgy

Jun 5 Sunday

8:30 a.m. Confessions

9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Pentecost

Festal Tone

 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.

Posted in Bulletin | Leave a comment

Blindness Provides an Opportunity

On the Fifth Sunday after Pascha, the Church reads the story of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind, from the Gospel of John (chapter 9, verses 1-38).  In his homily, below, Fr James Graham suggests that this story teaches us how to get beyond asking “Whose fault is it?” to asking “What does God want me to do?”

BLINDNESS PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GOD’S POWER

Homily for the Fifth Sunday after Pascha

Acts of the Apostles 16:16-34…………….John 9:1-38

As I thought about today’s Gospel story about the man born blind, two things struck me.  Two things common to just about every parish, so two things that relate directly to us.

The first thing is our need or wish to find someone to blame when we have trouble or a problem.  At the very beginning of this Gospel passage, when Jesus’ disciples first see the blind man, they ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  They assume that someone must be to blame for his disability.

In a similar way, when a parish gets into a difficulty, such as a financial crisis or a leaking roof or a malfunctioning air conditioner or disagreement with a priest’s opinions, we are quick to try to blame someone or something.  If the problem involves a financial shortfall, we can expect to hear that our expenses are too high and “they” should cut the fat out of the budget, that “I am giving as generously as I can—the problem is other people who don’t give,” that Father doesn’t visit people and make them come to church.

The second thing that struck me is Jesus’ answer to the question of “whose fault is it?”  He says, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  It’s a surprising answer.  It’s meant to shock the disciples into overcoming their own blindness—the blindness of assuming that someone must be to blame—and into seeing the situation in a new way.

Jesus tells us, basically, that the man’s blindness provides an opportunity to show people God’s power.  In this case, Jesus cures his blindness and the man comes to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  It seems that the man’s parents also understand how Jesus could cure their son’s blindness.  And at least some of the Pharisees are willing to consider that the healing might come from God.  When Jesus opens the blind man’s eyes, He also seeks to open the eyes of many people so that they can see God at work in their lives.

Troubles or problems or disputes in a community are not something new; they have been with us since the beginning of the parish, so it’s like being born blind.  And they can also be a way of showing us the power of God a work in our lives.

This is true because the problems in a parish aren’t just about money or problems with the building or disagreements with a priest.  Our problems concern our faith, our attitudes, our determination.  For example, we have money—we have jobs and houses and cars and food on our tables and children in school and vacations and trips around the country or overseas.  We have iPhones, iPads, iPods—if Apple made shoes, we’d have iPeds!  We have so many things; so why is our church struggling?

Maybe it’s because we don’t see that God gives us our money and our skills and our talents to use for God’s purposes, not just our own needs and wants.  People don’t want to talk about money in church, but maybe that’s because we don’t want to give more of our money to do God’s work.

Jesus says, “We have to do the works of the One who sent Me while it is day.”  We can’t cure blindness, but we can support our church.  We need it to shine God’s light into our lives and into the world around us.  This is our chance to go beyond asking “Whose fault?’ to asking “What can we do?  What does God want us to do?”

If we respond to our parish’s problems generously according to the means God has given us, we will be making the works of God visible through us, to the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and ever and to ages of ages.  Amen.

Posted in Bulletin | Leave a comment

If You Want the Church to Grow, Evangelize

On the Fourth Sunday after Pascha we read the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the well from the Gospel of John and the story of the beginnings of the Church of Antioch from the Acts of the Apostles.  In his homily, below, Fr James Graham uses these stories to show people the way to grow their parishes.

IF YOU WANT THE CHURCH TO GROW, EVANGELIZE

Homily for the Fourth Sunday after Pascha

Acts of the Apostles 11:19-30…………….John 4:5-42

In every local church—in every parish—people ask again and again, “How can we grow our church?  How can we attract new people?”

Of course, the answer usually is that “Father should do it.”

But if people look at the history of their parish, and if we look at today’s Gospel story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well, and if we look at today’s story of the beginnings of the Church of Antioch from the Acts of the Apostles, we see something different.

In any parish I have ever served, the growth has mostly come about through people telling friends or co-workers or family members about the church and inviting them to come join us.  Maybe two or three have come because I met them and invited them, but most new people have come because of people who are already part of the church.

In today’s Gospel story, it is not the disciples of Jesus who bring the Samaritan woman and her friends and acquaintances from the town to Jesus.  And it is not Jesus who goes after them.  The woman meets Jesus when His friends have gone into town looking for the nearest McDonald’s or Burger King.  He asks for a drink of water and she begins talking with Him.  She’s so impressed with what He says that she goes into town and tells the people to come and listen to Him.  They do come, because of her invitation, but they stay because of Jesus’ words. B88E930D-CA58-428F-B6C0-41E6E3735F98

In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that the believers in Jesus fled from Jerusalem because of the strong persecution that started when Stephen was killed by a mob.  They scattered all over Judea and Samaria, except the Twelve Apostles, who stayed in Jerusalem.  So it wasn’t the clergy who spread out and told people about Jesus; it was the rest of the believers.  And they soon went even farther, into Phoenicia (Lebanon), Cyprus, and Antioch (in Syria).  At first, it was just Jewish believers preaching to other Jews, but at Antioch, some Greek believers began to preach to other non-Jews.  And “a great number who believed turned to the Lord.”  When the Church leaders in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to organize the believers into a church.

So the pattern is the same in the modern world as it was in the ancient world:  people who believe in Jesus tell other people about Jesus, and they come to the church, where the apostles and clergy teach them, celebrate the services and the Holy Mysteries, and lead the community.

In our own parish, and in most Byzantine Catholic parishes, the people have come together and asked the leadership of the Church to send them priests to lead the community of believers, to teach and preach and celebrate the services and the Holy Mysteries.  But the people bring themselves and they bring other people.  This is the secret of church growth and development.

You, the people, have your job and the priest has his job.  If you want your church to grow and to continue, be evangelizers.  Reach out, share the Good News, invite people to come to the church.  The Lord is here among us—in the Divine Liturgy, in the Holy Eucharist, in the proclamation of the Gospel, in baptisms and wedding and anointing the sick, in blessing homes and cars, in the preaching and teaching, and in the faces and voices and hands of all the people here, the believers, the saints—welcoming everyone in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and ever and to ages of ages.  Amen.

Posted in Bulletin | Leave a comment