Always and especially during Lent we should diligently read and listen to the Word of God,
Holy Scriptures, and pray to God both at home and in the Church with others, in this time of
adversity for our people. Fasting was not established by man but by God, Who through the
prophet Moses called it a “perpetual statute”
Christ consecrated it by fasting Himself for forty days and ordered all His
faithful ones to fast. Fasting was practiced by the apostles, by all the faithful of that
time, and subsequently for all these 2000 years.
The Voice of Saint Stephen
Lackawanna, New York, Vol. 24 No. 2 .March-April 2000, p. 1.
Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville, Illinois
The joy of worshipping God.
The benefit of worshipping God regularly during Great Lent.
The joy of Holy Confession and Holy Communion.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
March 23 - Went to Morgantown, W.Va. for printing purposes.
March 24 - Went to Diocesan Center in Mars, Pennsylvania and to St. Demetrios Serbian
Orthodox Church and St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio.
March 25 - Went to Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church in Steubenville, Ohio.
March 27 - Pomen for +Rudy Gotch at funeral home.
March 28 - Blessed one business.
The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent
Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them;
and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve
aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: “Behold,
we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief
priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to
the Gentiles: and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him.
And the third day He will rise again.” Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him,
“Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left
in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you
able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am
baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will
indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will
be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but
it is for those for whom it is prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to
be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and
said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall
not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your
servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even
the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a
ransom for many.”
St. Mary of Egypt
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house,
and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew
that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of
fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His
feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His
feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited
Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would
know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said,
“Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five
hundred denari, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay,
he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And he said to him,
“You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see
this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed
My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss,
this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint
My head with oil, but this woman anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say
to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much, But to whom little
is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who
even forgives sins” Then He said to the woman, ”Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
The last of week of Great Lent has arrived. Great and Holy Week will soon be here.
The remaining days of Great Lent provide the final opportunities for believers to
conclude Great Lent in better condition than at the outset.
Each year on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent, the Church sets forth St. Mary of Egypt
as an example of repentance. The Gospel of St. Luke
speaks clearly about the forgiveness of sin. Repentance brings forgiveness from Christ.
Repentance includes the sinner forgiving others. In the Lord’s Prayer seeking God’s
forgiveness is always equated with the forgiving of others. The Lord Jesus Christ said:
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
Love is fundamental to the Christian life.
(I Cor. 16:14)
Believers have a responsibility to weigh all their personal actions and measure them
against the Christian standard of love.
The joy of Christ is attained only when Christ’s commandments are followed.
St. John’s First Epistle states; “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because
we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
(I Jn. 3:22)
Obedience to the way of Christ is of utmost importance. St. Diadochus of Photiki said:
“It is well known that obedience is the chief among initiatory virtues, for first it
replaces presumption and then it engenders humility within us.” 1
Serious believers look to the Holy Gospel for guidance. Serious believers seek to
be nourished by the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles,
and the saints and martyrs of God’s Holy Church.
Great Lent is the time to focus on the condition of the soul. Seeking to purify
the soul is of primary concern during the Lenten journey. Repentance of sin is necessary.
Firm rejection of sinful practices is necessary. Love of God is necessary.
With Great Lent drawing to a close, the Crucifixion of Christ prominent in Holy Week
looms on the horizon. Thinking extensively of the love and humility of Christ does much
for the believer desiring to repent and to begin anew in Christ.
The present Gospel of St. Mark
provides the eloquent lesson on humility and service in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Believers do well to embrace as their own the example of Christ as humble and servant.
Believers recognizing and repenting of personal sins will not be arrogant.
Elevating the self in pride over others has no place in the Christian life. Believers
recognizing their personal sins have enough work to do remaining faithful to Christ.
Making use of each remaining day of Great Lent is of paramount importance.
Let us heed the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: “Now is the accepted time; behold,
now is the day of salvation.”
(2 Cor. 6:2)
The Philokalia. Vol.I.
Translated and Edited by G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, Kallistos Ware.
Faber and Faber, London and Boston, 1979, p. 265.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
March 19 / April 1, 2012
Fifth Sunday of Great Lent.
St. Mary of Egypt
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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