For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God
through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request
a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling
block and to the Greeks foolishness. But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (I Cor. 1:21-24)
Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville
· The Cross of Christ
· The cross of each person
· The love of God shown by the Cross of Christ
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
March 4 - Attended Vespers in Aliquippa.
March 5 - Went to Diocesan Center, Mars.
March 9-10 - Attended Diocesan Assembly in Boston.
From the Desert Fathers
Abba Paphnutius, the disciple of Abba Macarius, said, 'I asked my Father to say a word to me,
and he replied, "Do no evil to anyone, and do not judge anyone. Observe this and you will be
Third Sunday of Great Lent
Veneration of the Holy Cross
Mark 8:34-38, 9:1
And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them,
"Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My
sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he shall
gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his
soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and
sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory
of His Father with the holy angels'. And He said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, that
there will be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have
seen the kingdom of God come with power.
The Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, the soul of each believer and the life of each believer
are interconnected. Individuals seeking eternal life, individuals seeking the kingdom of God,
cannot separate their lives from the Cross of Christ. Individuals cannot separate their souls
from the Cross of Christ.
Choices are required throughout the day. Each decision affects the soul. Each decision
sets a direction. Each decision affects the personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Personal crosses are hard to bear. For each person, his or her cross looms large.
Some years ago, a priest gave a memorable sermon at a Lenten Vespers. The sermon included
a reference to a room where one could see the size of his or her personal cross and also
the sizes of the crosses of others.
Sometimes when seeing our personal crosses, we forget others have crosses equal in size
or larger. Let each of us deal with the cross we have as Christ dealt with His Cross.
When Christ asks believers to take up his or her cross and follow Him, He does so having
set an example. Jesus said: O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;
nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Mt. 26:39)
Christ went to the Cross. Christ made the Cross a symbol of victory. The Cross preceded
the Resurrection. Without Christ's death on the Cross, there would be no resurrection.
For believers, without the crosses in our lives, there is no new life in Christ.
For believers, without dying to the life in sin, there is no new life in Christ.
Without following the narrow way, without making the difficult choices true to Christ,
there is no continued life in Christ. (Mt. 7:14)
Our personal crosses can cause limited vision. We may not see the glory of God in the
present and may not remember the glory of God in the past. We may not see the hope of God
provides for the future.
Let us draw strength from the strong in faith...from Noah...from Abraham...from
Joseph...from Moses...from Gideon and from David and the prophets
Believers would not share in the Precious Body and Blood of Christ had Christ not gone
to the Cross. Believers would not know of the life-giving power of the Cross, had Jesus not
died upon the Cross.
The Cross revealed the divinity of Christ. Christ shines through the lives of believers
who relinquish lives of sin for the life in Christ. St. Paul said, "I have been crucified
with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now
live in flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Theology can be complex. Understanding God and the Church can become complicated.
The human mind will not fully comprehend the far reaching nature of God and all dimensions
of the Church.
Perspective is necessary. Despair, despondency and confusion are not to prevail.
We must always keep in mind the relationship of God and each individual.
We must always keep in mind each person can draw near to God in prayer. Each believer
can approach the Holy Chalice. Each person can repent. Each person can be still and
experience God (Ps. 46:10)
The Cross of Christ stands in the middle of the road leading to the celebration of the
Resurrection. Each person must deal with his or her cross to experience the new life in Christ.
Flight out of fear or avoidance will not save the believer. Picking up the cross and
following Christ is the only choice for the salvation of the soul. Following Christ is an
exercise in faith.
The believer does not know where he or she will go with Christ. The believer does not
know what he or she will experience in the Name of Christ.The believer is confident knowing
that to follow Christ is always the best course for the salvation of the soul
Following Christ enables the believer to be nourished by Christ. Following Christ enables
the believer to be strengthened and protected by Christ. Following Christ provides the believer
with a set of directions for use in daily life.
Hope and joy are identified with following Christ. The Holy Apostle Paul told the
Thessalonians: "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in
the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" (I Thess. 2:20)
Empowerment comes from Christ. The First Epistle of St. John states:
"He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (I Jn. 4:4)
Believers picking up their crosses and following Christ die to this world
and live in Christ. Put hesitancy behind and follow Christ to His Kingdom.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
February 26 / March 11, 2007
Third Sunday of Great Lent.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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