Bulletin 189 - August 5/August 18, 2002
August 5, 2002 / August 18, 2002
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
*(Prologue From Ochrid. Vol. 111 Lazarica Press, Birmingham, England pp. 161-162.)
The same abba (Xoius) said, 'A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge.'
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, 'This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.' But Jesus said to them, 'They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.' And they said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish.' He said, 'Bring them here to Me.' Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
Jesus Christ feeds the hungry. He feeds the men, women and children seeking lasting nourishment. He feeds the souls of men, women and children serious about eternal life. He feeds the men, women and children desiring to receive the Body of Christ, to taste the Fountain of Immortality.
Centuries pass. Changes take place in styles of living. Generations of people come and go. The Holy Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews tells us"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." (Heb.13:8). We know from the Psalms the Lord endures forever. (Ps.9:7).
Every man, woman and child coming to Jesus Christ seeking food for the soul will be fed. Jesus does not disappoint people coming to Him in faith.
The present Gospel describes the large amount of people fed by Jesus Christ from five loaves of bread and two fish. The Holy Chalice of Christ has and continues to feed generation after generation of Orthodox believers in all parts of the world.
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven. He is expected to return to judge the living and the dead. There is no miracle so great that Jesus cannot do it if He chose. There is no work so great that Jesus cannot do it if He chose. All things are possible with God. (Mt. 19:26)
Jesus was born of a virgin. He was baptized in the Jordan. Jesus was transfigured on Mt. Tabor. He called Lazarus forth from the tomb. Jesus' coming was foretold by prophets centuries before the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce she was chosen from all women to bear the Christ Child.
At Pascha and Pentecost Vespers, Orthodox Christians intone the Prokeimenon: "Who is so great a God as our God! Thou art the God who does wonders." God is great and the need to appreciate His greatness is constant.
When Elijah stood on Mt.Carmel in the contest with the prophets of Baal, the people present saw the work of the Lord and exclaimed: "The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God." (I Kings. 18:39) The eyewitnesses of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal were convinced by the God of Elijah. It is this same Elijah who appeared with Moses at the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mt. 17:3) Lord, he is the God." (I Kings. 18:39) The eyewitnesses of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal were convinced by the God of Elijah. It is this same Elijah who appeared with Moses at the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mt.17:3)
Proto Stavrofor Radovan Milkovich did an editorial years ago published in the Path of Orthodoxy based upon the book by J.B.Philips entitled "A God Too Small."
As we grow and mature as Christians, we must constantly examine and re-examine our understanding of God. While God remains the same, our understanding of God requires improvement with time.
Our minds are too limited to fully comprehend all to be known of God and about God. We experience God in prayer, in contemplation, in each other, in daily living, in worship, through reading the Scriptures and in the Holy Sacraments.
The love coming from God is found on the Cross and through the Cross. The love coming from God is understood in the Divine taking on human flesh and dwelling among inhabitants of the earth. The love coming from God is illustrated in the healing recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
Jesus Christ taught His disciples and commissioned them to go forth, "…to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Jesus wanted His disciples to teach believers to observe all that Jesus commanded His disciples. (Mt. 28:19-20)
Each Orthodox believer is commissioned at Baptism to witness to Jesus Christ through the way he or she lives. If believers take their Baptism serious, they will live the Orthodox Christian life. Jesus Christ will be King and God in their lives. The way of Satan will be renounced and cast away.
The Holy Gospel preserved through the centuries to the present day instructs, inspires and serves as evidence for believers in Jesus Christ. Serious listeners of the Holy Gospel take the message to heart. Lives are changed by listening to the Holy Gospel.
May today's Gospel inspire, instruct and bring constructive changes, that we may grow more resolute in faith and increase in understanding and knowledge of God.