Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to Paradise, our ascension to the Kingdom
of heaven, our adoption as God's sons, our freedom to call God our Father, our becoming
partakers of the grace of Christ, being called children of the light, sharing in eternal
glory, and in this world and the world to come. Even while we wait for the full enjoyment
of the good things in store for us, by the Holy Spirit we are able to rejoice through
faith in the promise of the graces to come. If the promise itself is so glorious, what
must its fullfillment be like?
On the Holy Spirit.
St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, New York, 1980, p. 59.
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology in Libertyville
· Being serious about prayer and fasting.
· Honoring the fasts of the Church.
· Being a serious Orthodox Christian.
Recent Schedule of Parish Priest
· Visited home of seriously ill parishioner daily. Read Akathist at the home.
From the Desert Fathers
Abba Sarmatas said: 'I prefer a sinful man who knows he has sinned and repents
to a man who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous.'
The Twelfth Snnday after Pentecost 2006
Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may
have eternal life? So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good?" No one is good but One,
that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." He said to Him,
"Which ones?" Jesus said, "You shall not murder" "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall
not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "Honor your father and your mother," and ,
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to Him, "All these things I
have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect,
go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come,
follow Me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great
possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for
a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel
to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When His
disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus
looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are
With God all things are possible. It is for each to person to believe the words of
Jesus and to incorporate them into his or her personal life. Each person determines
whether he or she desires eternal life. Each person determines whether he or she lives
in ways pleasing to God.
Earthly life comes to a conclusion at some point. A recent newspaper article stated
the world's oldest person had died at 116 years of age. The Psalmist states the average
life expectancy is 70-80 years. Labor and sorrow are associated with living to eighty
years of age (Psalm 90:10).
Each day of life is a gift from God. Each day of life comes only once. A person either
chooses to use the time of life wisely or squanders the time in foolish pursuits.
The best investment a person can make is in the Kingdom of God. What a person does with
his or her talents from God, what a person does with his or her personal resources, what
a person does with his or her time determines if the person's goal is the Kingdom of God.
All goals pale in comparison to the Kingdom of God. All goals pale in comparison to
eternal life. No love compares with the love of Christ. No sacrifice compares with the
Sacrifice of Christ.
Believers need to reason regarding the Kingdom of God. Believers need to determine if
they are prepared for the journey to the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus Christ said:
"Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who
find it." (Mt.7:13)
In the present Gospel, the person had done much in complying with the Commandments.
Jesus required more than the man had done. Jesus required the man sell all that he had and
Many people are baptized as Orthodox Christians. It would be interesting to do a
sociological study on the paths taken by the newly baptized. It would be interesting
to attempt to study the differences between individuals growing to maturity in Christ
and individuals having gone astray from the Church.
Individuals seem to establish boundaries beyond which they will not go in following
Christ. What goes into the establishing of boundaries? What goes into following Christ
freely, willingly, completely?
Why is it that some individuals are serious about Jesus Christ from a very young
age and others do not get seriously interested in Christ until much later in life?
Material possessions can be an impediment to eternal life. Insecurities can cause a
person to put more belief into earthly possessions than in the message of the Holy Gospel.
Material possessions are not the only barrier to following Christ. Individuals must
truly believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Individuals must truly believe
Jesus Christ is as the Gospel describes Him.
Following Jesus Christ involves the Cross of Christ. Following Jesus Christ necessitates
adhering to the words of Jesus when He said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Mt.16:24)
The person in the present Gospel could not part with his possessions. Believers benefit
when seeing the shallowness of thinking that places material possessions over eternal life.
To follow Christ is to put trust in Christ. To follow Christ is to be faithful to promises
made. To follow Christ is to have a firm and specific interest in Christ and the way of Christ.
Baptized Orthodox Christians have a responsibility to follow Christ, to grow in Christ.
While certain fundamental material goods are necessary to meet basic human needs, believers
need to give complete credence to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ said: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness."
(Mt.6:33) Believers must keep their vision clear.
Believers must keep their bodies under control and their time under control.
It is easy to go astray from the path to the Kingdom. It is easy to be sidetracked.
In love for Christ, in appreciation to Christ, in faithfulness to Christ, believers
should be resolute in seeking the Kingdom of God. A careful personal assessment will cause
believers to see the paucity of their personal efforts in seeking first the Kingdom of God.
May the present Gospel serve as impetus for many of this generation to seek first
the Kingdom of God.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
August 21 / September 3, 2006
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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