Many of those who receive the mystical baptism, in ignorance of the commandments of the Law,
mix the bad leaven of the old life with the new life. Even after crossing the water they
bring along the Egyptian army, which still lives with them in their doings.
(The Life of Moses
Paulist Press, New York, 1978, p. 84
Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville
· The waters of baptism.
· The honor given St. John the Baptist.
· Theophany and new life in Christ.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
January 14 - went to funeral home to pay respects to family of +Theodore Zets.
January 15 - Meeting with Serbian Orthodox priest.
January 17 - Went to Fairmont West Virginia General Hospital to visit patient.
January 18-19 - Went to Morgantown, West Virginia for printing materials in preparation
for home blessings.
January 20 - Served Divine Liturgy in Fairmont, West Virginia. Blessed Monongahela River.
Blessed one home. Family Slava celebration.
From the Desert Fathers
An old man said, "Even as a tree cannot bear fruit if it be often transplanted,
no more can a monk that is often removing from one place to another."
Sunday after Theophany, 2006
Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving
Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun
and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon
those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus
began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
John the Baptist was in prison. The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul were in prison.
The Lord Jesus Christ was executed between two criminals. Jesus experienced the death
penalty of that era.
Imprisonment is a theme in the Last Judgment. The Lord Jesus Christ said to those who
would be cursed: "I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me,
sick and in prison and you did not visit Me." (Mt. 25:31-46)
Christians do well to think about their attitudes toward prisoners. Christians do well to
think about the way released prisoners should be treated if coming to a local parish church.
Parish churches located near prisons with sufficient resources do well to think
about ways to minister to area imprisoned. Prison ministry is not for everyone.
Prison ministry is not a romantic venture involving inmates ready to "saved."
The overwhelming majority of inmates in adult institutions do not have long and
healthy relationships with a local church.
Some individuals in prison can benefit from prison ministry. Some individuals in prison
will attempt to take advantage of individuals coming to the prison with good intentions.
Soberness is necessary in dealing with the imprisoned. Ojectivity is necessary. The staffs
of correctional institutions are paid professionals trained to manage the prison population.
Changes can occur in prisoners. Christ can make a difference in the life a prisoner.
Jesus' message: "With God all things are possible" (Mt. 91:26)
does not only apply to individuals on the outside of the prison walls and fences.
Churches have a part in crime prevention. Churches have a part in crime control and
reduction. Churches can play a part helping men and women being released from incarceration.
The Lord Jesus Christ in the present Gospel said: "Repent for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand." Christ's message is applicable to prisoners and non-prisoners.
Repentance applies to every man, woman and child capable of sinning and capable of wanting
to stop sinning. The church walls do provide a certain structure to the space set aside for God.
Each person coming through the door of the church, former prisoner or someone
with no criminal record still has good reason to repent and seek the kingdom of God.
The so called "Good Thief" turned to Jesus on the Cross and said: "Lord, remember me when
You come into Your kingdom." (Lk. 23:42). Jesus replied to the criminal:
"Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Individuals in jails and prisons, even those having long sentences, even life sentences,
have the opportunity to repent. They have the opportunity to have new lives in Christ.
Individuals on the outside who have never committed a crime and who never went to jail
and who never will go to jail still have reason to repent and seek the kingdom of God.
God gives each of us talents and resources. God gives each of us gifts. Each person
baptized and Chrismated has an obligation, a commitment to honor Christ and live faithfully
in ways pleasing to Christ.
Orthodox Christians are considered honorable people. That honor is maintained only if
faithfulness to Christ is maintained. That honor is maintained only if faithfulness to the
baptismal commitment is maintained.
An inmate in a cell block serious about Christ can turn his or her life around. St. Moses
the Ethiopian went from robber to saint. The Holy Apostle Paul went from persecutor of
Christians to being a foremost apostle.
Lukewarm Christians are not looked upon with favor. In Revelation we read the message
to the Laodiceans: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you
were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit
you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:15-16)
At baptism we are dedicated completely to the Christian way of life. We are not partially
dedicated. We are completely dedicated. Our full bodies are immersed. Our full bodies are
anointed. We profess a complete faith when we recite the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed.
The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Christ's message
is as timely today as it was centuries. Let us take His message to heart and repent.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
January 8 / January 21, 2007
Sunday after Theophany
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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