the amount of times we say yes to God in comparison to the amount of times we say no to God.
· Our understanding of the love of God.
· Our degree of daily appreciation for the love of God.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
· Went to Diocesan Center on December 24.
· Went to funeral of Anne Prica in Steubenville, Ohio.
· Served Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission, Fairmon on December 22.
· Visited hospitalized parishion on December 22 in Morgantown, Mon General Hospital.
· Visited Orthodox Christian in Brownsville Hospital on Decemeber 21 and 23rd.
On 23rd attended staff meeting regarding the patient.
From the Desert fathers
Abba Alonius said, 'If a man does not say in his heart,
in the world there is only myself and God, he will not gain peace.'
Twenty-Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 2003
Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant
at supper time to say to those where invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they
all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of
ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused. And another said, 'I have bought
five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' Still another
said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So that servant came and reported
these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant,
'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor and the maimed
and the lame and the blind.' And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and
still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges,
and compel them to come in, that my house may filled. For I say to you that none of those men
who were invited shall taste my supper.'"
Each day we move closer with certainty to the celebration of the Feast of the
Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We move forward with great anticipation knowing
in our hearts the birth of Christ changed the world forever.
When Jesus Christ took on human flesh and dwelt among humans on earth, He lifted
humanity to a new level. He established hope for succeeding generations.
Christ's birth was long anticipated. We know of the anticipation from the Old Testament
readings used in preparation for the Feast of the Nativity. The Holy Prophets spoke of the
coming of Christ centuries before.
Just as Jesus' birth was long anticipated, His Second Coming has long been anticipated.
Each day is a day of readiness. We are to ready ourselves for the Feast of the Nativity.
We are to ready ourselves for the Second Coming.
Being attentive and responsive to God is part of daily preparation for the celebration
of Christ's Nativity and for the Second Coming of Christ. Being attentive to the Epistle
and Gospel readings for each day are acts of Christian preparation.
Today's Gospel message speaks of the great supper that was being held by the master.
Today's Gospel message speaks of the preoccupations of the individuals who were invited
to the great supper.
It would be interesting to be with each professed believer for a day or a week and do a
time study on each one to determine the amount of time given to God and the amount of time
given to other pursuits.
The average church attendance for most active Orthodox believers in America is Sunday
morning Divine Liturgy. Weekday attendance is minimal for the overwhelming majority of
professed Orthodox Christians.
Orthodox worship is spaced throughout the twenty-four hour day. Orthodox worship is
spaced throughout the week and the year. Why is it that so few Orthodox Christians choose
to be active worshippers during weekday services?
Throughout the United States there are large numbers of retired Orthodox Christians.
There are large numbers of Orthodox Christians with considerable amounts of free time.
A good study could be made on the number of them that actually attended weekday Church
services more than once per year.
Certainly balance and moderation are needed in life. Certainly individuals need to devote
time to earning an income and caring for self and family.
When God gives us life, when God gives us a long life, can we not give God more than one
hour and fifteen minutes per week in worship in appreciation?
When Christ offers His unconditional love, when Christ offers His Precious Body and Blood
in the Holy Divine Liturgy, can we not make ourselves available on major feast days during the
It is common in well-managed businesses for time studies to be conducted to see how time
and resources are expended. The Holy Orthodox Church is not a business and is never intended
to become a business.
The Holy Orthodox Church can benefit from carefully reviewing the attendance practices
of Orthodox Christians. These practices can be studied systematically to reveal answers
about the depth of faith among believers as evidenced by worship practices.
There are certain expectations when one enters into the joy of Orthodox Christianity.
Among those expectations is faithfulness to the liturgical life of the Church. If we choose
to become Orthodox, we choose to live a full liturgical life. We choose participate in the
festal life of the Church.
Every parish priest is exceedingly joyful when on a weekday Divine Liturgy for a major
feast such as the Transfiguration of the Lord or Holy Ascension, he finds a full church.
In each Serbian Orthodox Church, the priest is thoroughly joyful when the Divine Liturgy
is well-attended on St. Sava or St. Lazarus, or Divine Liturgies for other Serbian saints.
It is the rare parish church that is full on major feasts during the week unless it is the
Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and even then it is not always the case.
Working individuals have discretionary choices to make in the use of their vacation time.
Taking time to attend the Divine Liturgy on major weekday feasts is a wise use of vacation of
The Holy Orthodox Church regularly offers weekday divine services on major feasts and
other occasions. A small number of individuals say "yes" to the invitation. A much larger
amount of people decide to be occuppied in other ways.
The Holy Orthodox Church exists to celebrate the life of Christ, to proclaim the good
news of Christ. The Holy Orthodox Church exists for the salvation of souls.
Do we go through life giving God one hour and fifteen minutes per week in church attendance
and in comparison perhaps twice that amount watching a football game or baseball game?
It would interesting to compare the amount of time spent in each house watching television
per week and the amount of time spent in church attendance.
The price of eternal life was Jesus Christ upon the Cross. What is the value we place on
our souls? How much effort are we willing to invest coming to Christ to save our souls?
The Nativity Fast is a time of preparation. This is a time of preparation for the Second
Coming of Christ. What percent of each individual believer's life is actually spent in
focusing on the Nativity of Christ and the condition of the soul?
Gifts are associated with the Nativity of Christ. When we think of gifts at this and
other times of the year, let us keep in mind the words of the Holy Apostle Paul. The Holy
Apostle Paul told the Romans: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom.6:23).
Let us use this time of the Nativity Fast and the remaining time of our lives wisely.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Twenty-Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
Sunday of the Holy Forefathers.
December 15/December 28, 2003
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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