This Sacrament was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ as a spiritual means for healing
the ills of the body as well as a means for healing spiritual diseases of the soul.
While the Sacrament of Repentance heals the spiritual and moral failings (or disease),
it can also in an intermediate way promote the healing of bodily sickness. It is expressly
for such who are in need of both spiritual and physical succor that this beneficient gift
in the Sacrament of Holy Unction with Oil was granted to the Church by her Lord.
(The Holy Orthodox Church
Reprinted 1993 by St. Nectarios Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, p. 62.)
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology in Libertyville
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
February 15 - Blessed one home.
February 16 - Blessed one home.
February 17 - Blessed one home.
February 18 - Served Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia.
February 18 - Blessed one residence.
From the Desert Fathers
Abba Pambo said, 'If you have a heart, you can be saved.'
Sunday of the Prodigal Son - 2006
Then He said: A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father,
"Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood.
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country,
and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all,
there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.
Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country,
and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach
with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself,
he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare,
and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called
your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." And he arose and came to his father.
But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and
fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against
heaven and in your sight, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father
said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand
and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be
merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'
And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field. And as he came and drew near
to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what
these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received
him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.' But he was angry and would not
go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his
father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment
at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots,
you killed the fatted calf with him.' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me,
and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your
brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'"
The Gospel account of the Prodigal Son is a lesson in the renewing power of God.
When we turn to God in faith, when we return to God after having squandered and polluted
our Christian life, we find a loving and kind God willing to take us back.
When have reached the end of our patience, when we have reached the end of our resources,
we find a loving and forgiving God ready to take us in. When we do not know where to turn,
when we do not know where to go, a loving and forgiving God is ready to take us in.
When we are hungry for nourishment of soul, when we are thirsty to drink of the fountain
of life, a nourishing and good God is ready to provide for our needs. When our sins are
uncovered and our weaknesses are apparent, a good and loving God is prepared to provide
the necessary shelter.
When we are sick, when we are tired, when we feel homeless, a healing and caring God
provides hope and direction and a haven from the storms of life. God is ever-present,
God is ever ready to receive the sinner ready to return. God is ready to cleanse the
tarnished baptismal garment we have blackened over time. God is ready to wash away our sins.
God is ready to cleanse our souls.
"A broken and contrite heart, God will not despise." (Ps. 50.51:17)
The prodigal son returned to his father and was received with joy and celebration. Our Lord
Jesus Christ said: "...joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over
ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Lk. 15:7)
At Holy Baptism and Christmation believers embrace and receive the treasure of the
Christian life. When exiting the Baptismal fount, believers go into the world and
intentionally and unintentionally sin against God.
At each fraction of time, decisions are made drawing believers closer to God or further
from God. At each fraction of time, decisions are made which are pleasing to God and
consistent with the ways of God or they are the opposite.
Not all believers returning to God are observed having the dramatic return of the Prodigal
Son. The Holy Scriptures indicate every return to God by a believer is pleasing to God.
Today is a day closer to the beginning of Great Lent. Today is a day closer to Holy
Week and to Pascha. Today is a day closer to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Each day arrives only once as a precious gift from God. Believers choose the way each
day will be used. Will each day be an investment in the Kingdom of God? Will each remaining
day of our lives be lived to the glory of God?
Will we treat each day as a gift from God and demonstrate our appreciation to God in
return? Will we live the remaining days of our lives as returning Prodigal Sons or Daughters
or will we squander our Christian lives in idle and vain pursuits?
St. Isaac the Syrian said: "This life has been given to you for repentance:
do not waste it in vain pursuits."
The approach of Great Lent is an exciting time. It is a time of readiness. This is a time
to clear our minds and prepare our bodies. This is a time to think about the journey ahead
and the necessary tasks that remain in preparation.
Orthodox Christians are expected to greet Great Lent with the seriousness of the time.
Orthodox Christians are expected to value the condition of their souls and to care for
The value of the soul is readily apparent in these words of the Lord Jesus Christ:
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul" (Mt. 16:26)
The love of God is apparent in the actions of the father greeting his returning son in
the present Gospel. The joy of God is apparent in the return of the sinner as symbolized by
the celebration of the father in the present Gospel.
Return to God while there is time. Seek the forgiveness of God while there is time.
Partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ while there is time. Experience the
weightlifting from the heart granted by Holy Confession while there is time.
Let us care for our lives in a way that we like the Mother of God can say:"My soul
magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Lk. 1:46-47).
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
February 6 / February 19, 2006
Sunday of the Prodigal Son.
St. Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople.
St. Boucolus Bishop of Smyrna.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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