Bulletin 200 - October 21/November 3, 2002
October 21 / November 3, 2002
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
He(Abba Poemen) also said, 'There are three things which I am not able to do without: food, clothing and sleep; but I can restrict them to some extent.'
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father who is merciful.
Our Lord Jesus Christ asks us to love those who are difficult with us. Our Lord Jesus Christ asks us to be kind to those who are unkind. Our Lord Jesus Christ asks us to be charitable with those who want loans from us.
It is hard to be a Christian. The gate is narrow for those seeking life according to Christ. (MT.7:14) To come to know the expectations of Jesus Christ, we need to be familiar with His life and teachings. We need to be steeped in the lessons of the Holy Gospel.
The Holy Orthodox Church provides Scriptural instructions for each day of the year. The Holy Orthodox Church provides for religious services every day of the year and throughout the course of the day.
Serious Orthodox believers will familiarize themselves with the structure of services of the Holy Orthodox Church. Serious Orthodox believers will structure their lives to conform to the liturgical cycle of the Church.
The fasts of the Church and the daily saints being commemorated should become an integral part of each Orthodox home, each Orthodox life. Living the life of the Church is not simply for the priest, for the monastics or for the bishops. Living the Orthodox way of life is for all who have been baptized into Christ, for all who have "put on Christ."
The Church goes to great lengths to provide religious instruction and religious services for believers. Believers deny themselves the fullness of the Church, the fullness of the life in Christ when the life of the Church is limited to Sunday worship or less.
Being an Orthodox Christian is a totally voluntary act. Being a serious Orthodox Christian requires conscious commitment and effort. Being a serious Orthodox Christian introduces one to the fullness of the Church, to the essence of joy in the Church, the joy of Jesus Christ, the joy of the Resurrection, the joy of renewal and forgiveness.
Today and at each Divine Liturgy the words, teachings and life of Jesus Christ are proclaimed. Orthodox believers know of the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. Orthodox believers know of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, of His Transfiguration, His miracles, His teachings, His times of prayer and of His arrest, trial, crucifixion and Resurrection.
Centuries predated Jesus Christ taking on human flesh. Centuries predated Jesus Christ being crucified, buried and Resurrected. Centuries predated the commissioning of the Holy Apostles to go forth to all nations to baptize and to teach in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.(Mt.28:19-20).
To understand the teachings of Jesus Christ, we must invest time and effort. We must think serious about Jesus Christ. We must study His words and His life. We must
Becoming an Orthodox Christian is a very serious step. A person's identity is changed forever when he or she becomes an Orthodox Christian. This step, at the time it is taken, is a time of great joy.
The joy of becoming an Orthodox Christian is renewed and reaffirmed each time the believer partakes of the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We draw near to the Holy Chalice in the fear of God and with faith. We draw near to the Holy Chalice mindful of the present Gospel message and of each Gospel message.
Coming to the Holy Chalice in the fullness of faith is coming to Jesus Christ, is uniting with Jesus Christ. Coming to the Holy Chalice is an opening of the self to Jesus Christ, is an entry into Christ and Christ entering into the person.
At each Divine Liturgy believers witness the Holy Spirit at work. At each Divine Liturgy believers have the opportunity for the unity with Christ made available only through the partaking of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
The Divine Liturgy is special. Serious believers know of the special place of the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Orthodox Church. God is at work in the Divine Liturgy. God is present in the Divine Liturgy.
Each time we hear the present Gospel message, each time we hear each Gospel message, as Orthodox Christians we are expected to take the message to heart, to incorporate it into our lives and to be better as a result.
Pray today and each day to be more attentive to the Lord Jesus Christ, to His teachings, His life, His suffering and His love. Pray today and each day to be faithful to the baptismal commitment, to the decision to be a Serbian Orthodox Christian.