Bulletin 203 - November 11/November 24, 2002
November 11/November 24, 2002 , 2002
Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost
He(Abba James) also said, "Just as a lamp lights up a dark room, so the fear of God, when it penetrates the heart of a man illuminates him, teaching him all the virtues and commandments of God."
There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us. Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment. Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'
We find our meaning and purpose in life in Jesus Christ. We find our hope in life in Jesus Christ. We find our direction in life in Jesus Christ. The meaning, purpose and direction of our lives may not always be clear to us.
If we look to Jesus Christ with conviction, with perseverance and determination, we will find the answers necessary for salvation. Centuries preceded Jesus Christ taking on human flesh. The world before Jesus Christ in the flesh had the benefit of Moses and the prophets from whom to learn.
God is and has always been present for those individuals and groups of people choosing to seek God and the way of God. In times of difficulty, in times of tragedy, in times of frustration, individuals or groups of people may give up on God.
God never gives up on people. God is ever-present. God seeks only a broken and contrite heart (Ps.50/51:17) The present Gospel message for the Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost asserts the value of the messages of Moses and the prophets.
It is good to ask ourselves how familiar we are with the life and words of Moses and the prophets. Moses and the prophets form major sections of the Old Testament Scriptures used with regularity in the Orthodox Church.
Are we familiar with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Nehemiah, Elijah and Daniel? When is the last time we cast our eyes upon the words of the Old Testament with concentration? When is the last time we cast our eyes upon the words of the New Testament with concentration?
Individuals who come to Church on a regular basis throughout the week during the course of a year hear the Old Testament Scriptures in the Holy Orthodox Church.
On the eves of feasts and during Great Lent, Old Testament readings give believers a historical perspective of the work of God. The present Gospel message,
We have two thousand years of history testifying to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have many centuries prior to Jesus Christ testifying to the existence and majesty of God. Do our lives reflect our belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do we live our lives with the expectation of Jesus Christ's Second Coming? Are sensitive with consistency to the presence of God in our lives?
The St. Herman Calendar published by the Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Platina, California states this is the Year 7510 since the Creation of the world.1
As the Nativity Fast approaches, it is a good time to ask if we devote sufficient time to listening to God? Do we devote sufficient time to thinking about the goodness of God? Do we devote sufficient time to learning about God at work in our lives?
None of us want to experience the suffering similar to the rich man in the present Gospel parable. Yet each of us is rich in the Orthodox Faith and we must ask if we share the riches of Jesus Christ with others we meet?
The best way to share Orthodox Christianity is to live Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christianity is for every minute of every day. The joy of Christ comes in living the life in Christ.
We come to know who we are and why we exist when we find our lives in Christ. In the birth of Christ, in the Transfiguration of Christ, in the teachings of Christ, in the miracles of Christ, in the Cross of Christ, in the Resurrection of Christ, in the Ascension of Christ, lasting meaning exists for each believer.
The Holy Orthodox Church enables us to come to terms with the meaning of Christ in our lives. We experience Christ in the Church. We experience the joy of Christ in the Church.
Time has not eroded the message of Christ. Time has not hidden the message of Christ. Christ is validated through time.
Let us heed the presence of Christ in our lives. Let us focus on the fundamental matters of importance for our lives. As the Nativity Fast approaches, time takes on greater importance.
The condition of our soul improves only when we attend to Jesus Christ in our lives. May God grant the Nativity Fast to be used for salvation of our souls.
1St.Herman Calendar 2002. Platina, California,
St.Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. November 11/November 24, 2002 .
St. Stefan of Decani.