Bulletin 219 - March 3/March 16, 2003
March 3/March 16, 2003
Sunday of Orthodoxy
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him,
"Follow Me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found
Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets,
wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come
out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him,
and said to him, "Behold , an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." Nathanael said to Him,
"How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were
under the fig tree, I saw you."
Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of
Israel!" Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to to you, 'I saw you under the
fig tree' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." And He said to him,
"Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of
God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
Jesus Christ sent out the invitation to Philip: "Follow Me." Each baptized Christian responded to Christ's invitation to follow Him. The invitation from Christ is ever-renewed.
Each moment of our lives we decide to follow Christ or not to follow Him. We are responsible for the choices we make. We reap the consequences of the choices we make.
While we have the ability to think and to choose, time exists to say "yes" to Christ. We never know when we will run out of time. We never know when even the slightest decision not to follow Christ will bring us peril.
Great Lent is a call from the Church to return to Christ. Great Lent is the journey of the Church to Pascha. Great Lent provides the daily structure to help us in making sound decisions "For Christ."
Living the serious Orthodox Christian life is not an outmoded way of life. Living the serious Orthodox Christian life is not something left over from times past or from an another country, having no place in this modern world of America.
The Orthodox Christian life is ever contemporary as Jesus Christ is ever the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb.13:8) We learn about Christ in the Orthodox Church. We experience Christ in the Orthodox Church. We professed and continue to profess our belief in Christ in the Orthodox Church.
We are a Trinitarian Church. We recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed at holy Baptism. We reaffirm our belief in the Holy Trinity every time we sign ourselves with the Cross.
Today the Holy Orthodox Church reaffirms the unity of Orthodoxy around the world. Today the Holy Orthodox Church makes great processions with holy icons. Today the Holy Orthodox renounces heresy.
Orthodox Christians require courage to be true to Christ. Orthodox Christians draw strength from Christ when they are true to Christ.
Men, women and children suffer today and have suffered through the centuries, remaining true to Christ. Their sacrifice does not go unrecognized.
The Orthodox Church always remembers the martyrs in the holy prayers. The Orthodox Church has roots in the blood of martyrs witnessing for Christ.
One need only to read of Daniel, of the three youths in the fiery furnace, of Joseph and Abraham to learn of the importance of being faithful to God. One need only to read the statement of the archdeacon and protomartyr Stephen before he was stoned to death to know of the conviction he had for Christ.
Present day Christians due well to read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews to refresh their minds of those who stayed faithful to God in the most difficult of circumstances.
In America, we live in a land of plenty. In America we have been spared many hardships. We have many, many reasons to give thanks to God.
During this time of Great Lent, we do well to give thanks to God. We do well to share our abundant blessings with people less fortunate. We do well to admit our sins and come to Holy Confession and Communion.
We are a Serbian Orthodox Church. To be true to St. Sava, we need to live the Christian life throughout the year. To honor the sacrifice of St. Lazarus and those who died in Kosovo, we need to stand for Christ in all that we think and do.
Great Lent is the time to assess the way we live our Christian lives. The Sunday of Orthodoxy stands at the beginning of Great Lent, an open door for us to return to the path to God's Kingdom.
We prostrate in Great Lent, falling down before Christ, to rise with Christ. We prostrate in Great Lent to acknowledge our own sinfulness. We prostrate in Great Lent that we may rise better than when we fall down.
In America, the dollar has become an object of worship to many people. In America, materialism and greed have risen to new heights. Great Lent stands as a stark contrast to greed and materialism. Great Lents asserts prayer, fasting and alsmgiving as essentials of the Christian life.
Today and each day we choose "for" or "against" Christ. Today and each day, we determine by our choices whether we draw closer to Christ and the way of Christ or whether we depart further away.
While there is time, let us make good use of the time. Let us heed the Psalm and number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Ps.90:12)