Father Rodney Torbic

January 1 / 14, 2018

The Circumcision of the Lord Jesus Christ

Luke 2:20-21, 40-52

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (KJV)

St. Basil the Great

Luke 6:17-23

And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (KJV)

The Sunday before the Theophany

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (KJV)

The value of the Gospel of St. Mark is immeasurable. The first sentence of the Gospel establishes the beginning point and opens the way for the rest of the account about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Gospel of St. Mark is an authoritative account recognized by the Church and preserved by the Church. The Gospel of St. Mark is understood within the context of the Church.

The Gospel of St. Mark is proclaimed in the Church and is read in the entirety during Holy Week. Believers benefit from periodically listening to and reading the entire Gospel of St. Mark.

There is no adequate substitute for being familiar with the content of the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. Christians enrich and nourish their lives when reading the Gospels.

Reading the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John are a very efficient way of learning about the Lord Jesus Christ. There are very many books written about the Gospels.

Certainly there is merit to reading good books about the Gospels. Reading books about the Gospels is not a substitute for actually reading the Gospels. The words of the Holy Prophets have lasting value.

In the account of Lazarus and the rich man, we get a glimpse of the value of the prophets in these words: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” (Lk 16:31)

Believers make choices about what they listen to and what they read. The prophets have relevancy for today. The Gospel of St. Mark has relevancy for today. St. John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ.

The prophets and the Gospel of St. Mark enable believers to prepare for the glorious Second Coming of Christ. Believers determine whether to heed the messages of the prophets and whether to heed the words of the Holy Gospel.

Life becomes perilous for those ignoring the prophets and the Holy Gospel. Life is put in perspective and is enriched for believers immersing themselves in the messages of the prophets and the Holy Gospel.

The appetite of the soul is best addressed by the nourishment of the Holy Gospel. The mind is best fed by the teachings of the Holy Gospel. The heart is best warmed by the words of Christ in the Holy Gospel.

The Prophets raise consciousness about the condition of today’s society. The deterioration of morals and ethics in the society can be catastrophic. Change for the better is necessary. Fervent believers can make a difference.

January 1 / 14, 2018.
No. 10. The Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
St. Basil the Great.
The Sunday before the Theophany.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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