There are four essential elements without which, or any one of them, there is no meaningful
church life. The essential four are: Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship (Friendship),
Participation in the Holy Sacraments and Prayers. These essential four are not any
theological proposition, opinion or sermon. On the contrary, these four are clearly marked
in the Holy Scriptures as essence of the New Way, Christ Way in the first congregation
of Christ's church in Jerusalem. It is recorded in the book of the Acts of the
Holy Apostles, 2:42.
(Sermons and Speeches
Raska skola, Belgrade, 1999, p. 139)
· The days remaining in Great Lent.
· The discipline required for Great Lent.
· The results of the lenten effort.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
March 11 - Attended Triumph of Orthodoxy Vespers at St. John the Divine Orthodox Church
March 12 - Attended Triumph of Orthodoxy Doxology service at Greek Orthodox Church,
March 16 - Blessed one home.
March 17 - Attended Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts and talk by Father Thomas Hopko at
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, New Salem.
March 18 - Attended Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. NIKOLAI Mission Church,
March 18 - Visited family at home for Holy Confession.
From the Desert Fathers
He (Isidore the Priest) also said, 'When I was younger and remained in my cell I set
no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.'
The Second Sunday of Great Lent 2006
Mark 2:1-12 John 10:9-16
And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them,
not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him bringing
a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of
the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let
down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the
paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." And some of the scribes were sitting there
and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can
forgive sins but God alone?" But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that
they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these
things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven
you,' or to say 'Arise, take up your bed and walk?' But that you may know that the Son
of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"---He said to the paralytic, "I say to you,
arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." Immediately he arose, took up the bed,
and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God,
saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find
pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come
that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd,
one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and
the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling
and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am
known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life
for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring,
and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Great Lent is a journey to the Kingdom of God. Great Lent is set aside specifically for
the care of the soul. Great Lent is time given to God. Great Lent is time for repentance,
for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
The minds we have from God are to be used for the glory of God. The hands and feet,
the strength and endurance we have from God are to be used for the glory of God.
Great Lent enables serious believers to examine their souls. Great Lent enables believes
to discover their sinfulnes and to repent. Great Lent enables believers who have departed
from the road to the Kingdom of God to redirect their their lives and return to the narrow
path (Mt. 7:14)
Thinking about God has a proper place in Great Lent. Thinking about Jesus Christ upon
the Cross has a proper place in Great Lent. Thinking about the love of God is proper for
God has a place in the forefront of the mind. God has a place at the forefront of the
heart. God and the soul cannot be separated.
The life we have is given by God. The way we choose to live that life directly affects
our relationship with God.The appreciation we have for God is reflected in the time we give
to God, the glory we give to God and the effort we give to learning about God.
How can we not want to learn more about God when our very lives came from God and our
every breath is dependent upon God? How can we not want to be thankful to God when every
heartbeat is dependent on God? Every word, every thought occurs only by God giving us life
to think and to speak.
Great Lent is a specifically designated period. Each day is finite in time. Each earthly
life has a certain beginning and ending. The way individuals use time given by God determines
whether eternal life and the salvation of their souls will be the ultimate results.
Time can slip past rapidly if sufficient attention and time management is not employed.
Individuals do well studying the way time is used each day. The time of life is not repeated.
The critical question is whether individuals invest the time of each day in the Kingdom of God.
Time invested in the Kingdom of God involves investing energy, resources and thought in
the Kingdom of God. Prayer does not occur without effort. Prayer does not occur without thought.
Almsgiving represents a giving from the heart. Almsgiving represents a giving of the self.
Christ gave Himself upon the Cross. Believers give of themselves when they devote their time,
talent and resources to the glory of God.
Giving to the Church need not be limited to financial contributions. Giving to the Church
can be in the form of increased attendance at church services. Giving to the Church can be
increased prayer at home and in the Church for the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned,
the handicapped and the blind.
Renewed life in Christ requires acknowledgement of personal sinfulness and the dependency
on God. Renewed life in Christ requires the recognition of the Crucifixion and the resultant
Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 46:10 states: "Be still and know that I am God." Great Lent is a time to be still
and learn about God. It is a time to separate from the corruption and clutter of daily life.
Wasting time is an inappropriate use of time. Wasting time is a form of ungratefulness
The present Gospel message about the healed paralytic reflects the degree to which
individuals of faith will go to be healed by Jesus Christ. Unless we are willing to exert
ourselves in ways of faith, how can we expect to have healthy souls.
Jesus Christ suffered on the Cross. Can we rightly call ourselves Orthodox Christians
without exerting ourselves in ways of faith? Living the Orthodox Christian life is not about
minimalism. Living the Orthodox Christian life is not about determining what is the minimum
amount of effort required or contributions required to be part of the Body of Christ.
Living the Orthdox Christ life is unity with Christ and all that is required to maintain
that unity throughout life. The Church has order and expectations for the Orthodox Christian
life. Individuals seeking the Kingdom of God abide by the order and expectations in Christ's
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
March 6 / March 19, 2006
The Second Sunday of Great Lent.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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