Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

The theme of baptism continues in this Sunday’s Gospel, re-affirming that Pascha is a feast of resurrection and of baptism, being born into eternal life. The center of Jesus’ conversation with this unnamed woman (the Church later gave her the name Photine, the “enlightened woman”) is about water. They met at Jacob’s well, a place of great tradition, a sign and a promise of God’s love and mercy for his people. Jacob’s well provided the riches of water to a desert place, the sign that God would always provide for and bless his people. However, the encounter with the woman reveals something more: Jesus is the Messiah to come, he is greater than the Patriarch Jacob. The water of Jacob’s well is only for this world, Jesus would give “the water that would become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This clearly refers to our baptisms, as it comes immediately after the comparison of Jesus with John the Baptist, and the baptisms done by Jesus’ disciples

We renew our baptism every time we receive Communion, and they are for life, for eternal life, from God, the giver of life. A couple of observations: as for Nathaniel, Jesus signs his ministry with intimate knowledge of the people he meets. He sees Nathaniel under the fig tree, and he tells the woman about her five husbands. In both cases, they become his disciple because of his knowledge of him. This is a theme of John’s Gospel, the shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know him. Second, it should be to our wonder that Jesus always comes to the most underprivileged. To whom does he reveal the mystery of eternal life in baptism: to the paralytic who had no friends, to the woman who had led a shameful life, and came to the well at noon who no one else would be there, and to the blind man suspected of sin because of his blindness. And the disciples marvel that Jesus speaks to a woman! Not just any woman, but a heretical, decadent Samaritan woman! Are we humble enough to accept Jesus as our Messiah?

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras
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Parish announcements this week

Christ is risen!

This week vigil light is offered to God’s glory by Lydia Koziupa in memory of all the deceased of Latyk and Koziupa families.

The Sestrechi meeting will be held today after the 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy. The meeting will be held in the church hall Classroom 1.

The Panachyda service at the gravesites will take place on Saturday, June 8, at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints Cemetery and June 9 at 12:30 p.m. at St. Lawrence Cemetery. For Panachyda service at other cemeteries please call the rectory (203) 865-0388.

Next Sunday, May 26, Maksym Zastawsky, Tristan Samuel Horbaty Young and Iaroslav Nakonechnyi will receive for the first time Holy Communion. God’s Blessings be upon the children and their families!

We have for sale frozen Pyrohy (Varenyky). You can buy Pyrohy after each Divine Liturgy or during the week if you call the rectory.

Helping the poor – a work of charity: The Director of the St. Vincent DePaul Homeless Shelter in Waterbury wrote to us requesting assistance in collecting bath soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste, deodorant, Q-tips, men’s underwear, for the ministry to the homeless. We will have this collection for the poor through Pentecost (June 9). These items can be put in the basket at the entrance of the church in the marked box. Paul Zalonski (of our parish) will drive the donations to the Homeless Shelter in Waterbury.

Olga Iastrubchak will be offering private dance classes for children ages 3-18. Classes will be held on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. the St Michael’s church hall. For more information please contact Olga at (203) 400-4467 or email olgaiastrubchak@gmail.com

STAMFORD CHARITIES APPEAL

In the church vestibule are arranged the forms for the Diocesan Charitable Fund. The forms are designed for each family of our parish. Attached to the form is an envelope into which you can place your contribution. The form along with your contribution, we ask you enclose in the envelope and place it in the collection basket during church services. Please make check payable to the Byzantine Rite Eparchy of Stamford. DO NOT MAIL THIS FORM TO THE CHANCERY OFFICE. We sincerely ask all parishioners to make generous contributions.

The world-renowned Kyiv Chamber Choir returns to perform a Hartford concert at 7:30 p.m. on TOMORROW at St. John`s Episcopal Church, 679 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT. Tickets are available at Ukrainian National Home (860-296-5702) or online at www.universe.com or you may call Platinum Concerts International, toll-free, at 1-877-232-9835 and at the door. For concert information, go to www.platinumconcerts.com This is a are opportunity to hear one of the world’s great choirs share ‘hidden treasures, from 1,000 years of Ukrainian sacred and folk music.

Divine Liturgy for the coming week

Christ is risen!

Sunday, 5/19, Sunday of the Samaritan Women
9:00 a.m. +David Schwartz requested by Barbara Schwartz

Moleben to the Mother of God
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish

Epistle: Acts of the Apostles 11:19-26; 29-30
Gospel: John 4:5-42, Tone 4

Monday, 5/20, The Holy Martyr Thaleleus
9:00 a.m. God’s blessing and health for Andrue and Brandon requested by Donna Czabala Aponte

Tuesday, 5/21, The Holy Great Rulers Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles
9:00 a.m. No intention for the Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, 5/22, The Holy Martyr Basiliscus
9:00 a.m. No intention for the Divine Liturgy

Thursday, 5/23, The Holy Bishop Confessor Michael
9:00 a.m. No intention for the Divine Liturgy

Friday, 5/24, Our Venerable Father Simeon
9:00 a.m. No intention for the Divine Liturgy

Saturday, 5/25, Third finding of the head of Saint John the Baptist, Glorious Prophet
9:00 a.m.  No intention for the Divine Liturgy

Sunday, 5/26, Sunday of the Man Born Blind
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish
Moleben to the Mother of God

Epistle: Acts of the Apostles 16:16-34
Gospel: John 9:1-38, Tone 5 

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The Field Afar: The life story of Vincent Capodanno

Not to be missed! The Field Afar: The life story of Vincent Capodanno, a Catholic Priest who received the Medal of Honor for his valor as a chaplain to the Marine Corps during some of the most harrowing battles of the Vietnam war and whose Cause for Canonization is currently open in Rome.

Showing as part of the New Haven International Film Festival on Thursday, May 16 – 8:35 PM at Gateway Community College, 20 Church Street, New Haven.

Tickets: https://filmfreeway.com/NewHavenFilmFestival/tickets

Myrrh Bearing Women

SEEKING THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD
(Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers)

“The godly women hastened to You with myrrh, O Christ. The one whom they had sought with tears, as a dead man, they worshipped as the living God! And they proclaimed the mystical pascha to Your disciples.” (Paschal Canon, Troparion of Ode 7)

The women hastened to the Tomb that Sunday morning, looking for “a dead man.” But the One they found, the One revealed to them, was “the living God.” Hence the “mystical pascha” (i.e., “passover” or “transition”) that they proclaimed to the disciples was not only the Lord’s transition from death to life, but their own, the women’s, transition from merely-human dedication to “a dead man” to faith in “the living God.” Because their beloved Teacher was “more” than they had recognized. In His resurrection, Jesus Christ exceeded all their expectations.

Today let me not approach “the living God,” my risen Lord, as if He were “a dead man”; as one to whom I may pay my respects in some external way, but whose life-giving Presence in my world I don’t quite recognize, for all practical purposes. Let me embrace wholeheartedly the Great Fact that He is, indeed, risen, and is there for me, and alive to me, beyond my expectations. “Let God arise,” I say this morning with the Myrrh-Bearing Women, “and His enemies be scattered” from my heart. Today let me start anew, and embrace, once again, the new life in my ever-living, ever life-bringing Lord, by re-connecting with Him, rather than “seek the living among the dead,” – among the merely-human opinions and expectations that come from my own head or from God-less voices in my world. O Christ, our mystical Pascha, help us transition once again today, from the tombs of self-isolation and self-reliance, according to our oft-suffocating expectations of ourselves and others, to the freedom of communion with You, a Lord beyond all our expectations.

Meditation by Sr. Vassa

Mother’s Day Divine Liturgy

As a reminder, there is only one (1) Divine Liturgy today, May 12, Mother’s Day at 9:00 a.m.

Following the Divine Liturgy there is the annual Mother’s Day Breakfast in the church hall sponsored by the Parish and the Knights of Columbus.

Blessings upon all Mothers. May the Holy Theotokos bless us.

Good Church Music Starts with Kids

Music is essential to life. Sacred music –that which is lived and performed in the Liturgy– is crucial important and integral to the worship of God. Yes, we live the text and the notes.

If you love music, if you love listening to music, if you love sharing the experience of listening to music with others, can you support church musicians –our church chanters, for both Divine Liturgies (in English and Ukrainian).

The “normal” parish does not spend enough time thinking about the sacred music program never mind spending money on it. (AND St. Michael’s is not the object of these moments.) Even a financially strapped parish could put $50.00 per week away for sacred music. More important to money is the understanding of pastor and laity have regarding the music and give personal, informed and reasonable interest to it and the people involved. The worship of God is paramount; the lifting of our soul is desired and beautiful and healing.

Read Orthodox Christian Benedict Sheehan’s blog post “Good Church Music Starts with Kids” which is spot-on and parishes, especially Catholic parishes, need to attend to what he Benedict proposes.

Benedict Sheehan regularly posts at The Music Stand –visit him there.

The Holy Beloved Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

On May 8, we celebrate one of the two feasts of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John, the brother of James. The other is on September 26, the day of his falling asleep. The fourth Gospel is attributed to John, and we can truly call it a “theo-logical,” for it witnesses most clearly to the mystery of the Incarnation, of the Word of God taking flesh in the womb of the Holy Theotokos for our salvation. It is the most sublime Gospel, and it gave John the title “Theologian.” The Byzantine Church gives this gospel a certain priority, and it is read in the most joyful and glorious time of the year, from Pascha to Pentecost. This Gospel is the very essence of the apostolic witness, through which we come to faith in Christ, as indeed John foretold, when the risen Jesus says to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed,” (John 20:29) because we have all heard of the divinity of the Lord through the witness of the apostles.

Some try to discredit Christian faith by pointing out that John’s Gospel was the last to be written, that the first Gospel, Mark, does not mention the divinity of Jesus, and that faith in the Incarnation is then a later Christian development. They do this by trying to fit the Gospels into a linear line, from the earliest to the latest, and it is easy to fall for this. However, the development of the Gospels in not linear, but they arise from different communities, and each has a vision of Christ. Indeed, does not St. Mathew’s Gospel proclaim the truth of the Trinity, where the risen Jesus proclaims, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

And – yes – there are many other witnesses to Jesus’ divinity in the epistles and apostolic writings. The letter to the Hebrews says, “[Jesus] is the refulgence of [the Father’s] glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word” (Hebrews 1:3). Rejoice, therefore, in this holy season in the glory of the risen Christ so beautifully proclaimed by John. It is John who tells us, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7). It is John who tells us, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). In every Liturgy we accept this apostolic witness when the deacon invites us, “Let us love one another, so that with one mind we may profess.”

The Holy, Just, and Long-suffering Job

The Prophet Job’s feast on the Byzantine calendar is May 6 and the Latin Church’s calendar on May 10.

Job is the archetype of the just man. According to the re­ligious and ethical thought of his time, which viewed material prosperity as evidence of an upright life, Job was expected to be wealthy, and yet he was afflicted with suffering. Modern scholars point out that Job was not a historical person, but an ‘epic character.’ While this is no doubt the case of the Job of the first of the Wisdom books, the author probably based his work on the Job of ancient tradition, who was believed to have lived during the patriarchal age on the borders of Arabia and Edom.

The Book of Job is cast in dialogue form between Job and three friends who come to commiserate with him over his misfortunes. They insist that his condition is a punishment from God for his sins, but Job maintains that he is innocent. Near despair, he demands a hearing from God, and this he is granted. God speaks from a thunderstorm to expose as futile all the solutions of Job and his friends since God cannot be judged and his ways are inscrutable.

The Church uses the book of Job during Holy Week, where Job’s suffering innocence serves as a prophetic re­flection of the innocent suffering of Christ.

Meditation by the New Skete Communities
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The Myrrh-bearers —Third Sunday of Pascha

This Sunday presents us with the proclamation of the resurrection according to St. Mark.

We are first confronted with the death of our Lord. Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilate to reclaim the body. Pilate wonders that he died so quickly, while Joseph entombs his body with great care and love. As Christians we must confront the reality that Jesus died as a sign of his love. His glory was the Cross, making the Christian faith unique – love is found in sacrifice, life is found in death, power is found in service. And St. Paul’s words are read on Good Friday: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.’” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19). Believing in the Resurrection, we are confronted with the Christian paradox that the world cannot understand.

The women go to the tomb on the third day, but Jesus is not there. The young man announces to them: “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6). The women are told to announce the resurrection, but they fail to do so, “They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). This too is a challenge to our faith. Where do we seek the Christ? Can we today complete the mission the women were entrusted with, can we proclaim the resurrection? Do we understand the gospel and commit ourselves to the Lord, “who trampled upon death by death.”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

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