Meditation by the Very Rev. Dr. David M. Petras
Ephesians 2:4-10; Luke 16:19-31
In today’s epistle, St. Paul tells us of the inexpressible mercy of God: “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)” The rich man in the gospel, however, does not share in this rich mercy. He is blind and deaf to the needs of his neighbor, and so he died and was buried in Hades. The gospel is quite matter of fact about this and Abraham simply tells him, “My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. (Luke 16:25)” This fulfills the prophecy of Jesus, “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours … Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. (Luke 6:20.24)” Even Jesus’ mother prophesizes, “The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.(Luke 1:53)” Then the rich man in Hades begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to his brothers, “‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them … If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ (Luke 16:28.30) So we come to the point of this parable. Jesus indeed raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44), but the elders of the people did not believe and decided instead that Jesus must die. God is indeed infinite in his mercy, but we must be ready to hear his voice and open ourselves to faith in him. If we close our eyes and ears and hearts, we shut God out. The lesson of last week’s gospel, the parable of the sower, still reverberates in our ears, “hear the word, and embrace it with a generous and good heart … whoever has ears to hear ought to hear. (Luke 8:15.8)” We have not only Moses and the Prophets, but Jesus, the Son of God and his apostles and the apostolic faith. If we hear the gospel and act upon it, we will have immeasurable spiritual riches.
Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond.
Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city, state, country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned, men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Meditation by Very Rev. Dr. David Petras
On this Sunday, we also remember the Nicea II Council in 787, which defined that we can make images (icons) of our Lord and the saints, and venerate them. This council was held in the midst of the iconoclastic (the “image breaking”) controversy, the first phase from 726-787, and the second phase from 814-842. It draws attention to how important images are for us. I know of few homes that do not have a picture, today usually a photograph but sometimes a portrait or drawing, of those we love. If we love Christ first with our whole heart and mind and soul, the image helps us to focus that love. We know these images are only paper or wood and ink or paint, but through the eyes of our body they make the person present in spirit. Yet some people hate images. There is a danger of idolatry, and the council did dialogue with those people who had that fear of idol-worship, and so defined clearly how images are to be venerated: “For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not, however, the veritable worship which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented.” This is the Christian faith. We cannot make images of the divine nature, but the mystery of the incarnation, in which the Word of God became truly a human being, the two natures united in one person, allows us to make images of Jesus, who was like us in every way except sin. This leads us to a deeper mystery, that we are created in the image of God, and that “all of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)” And the glory and the wisdom of the Lord is his emptying, his love, his cross and his resurrection.
More on the subject can be found here.
Meditation by the Very Rev. Dr. David M. Petras
Today our Lord explains by way of a parable how we are to accept the word of God in our hearts. The seed is the word of God, and three types of people fail to receive the word: those on the path, eaten by the birds; those on rocky soil; and those among thorns. The story seems complicated, but it is actually quite simple: the people who fail to hear the gospel are those who cannot put Christ first. They put the devil, the evil one, first, and he takes the good news from their hearts; they put themselves first, and fall away at the first hint of personal hardship; they put their possessions and status first, and leave no room for Christ. It is of this third group that we sing in every Liturgy, “Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now set aside all earthly cares (quoting here Luke 8:14), that we may receive (in Communion) the King of all.” We can hear the good news and let it take root in us if we put Christ first in our lives, “with a generous and good heart (Luke 8:15).” This commitment must be absolute and uncompromising. Therefore, St. Paul gives us the example, “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world – a new creation. (Galatians 6:14-15)”
“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary, we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary, we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God.”
Pope Saint John Paul II
Make plans for some delicious pierogies in November: call to place your order soon!
Call your order in by November 8th.
Andrey Sheptytsky Council will meet in the church hall on Monday, November 7th at 7:00 p.m.
All men of the parish are invited to attend.
The world-renowned Kyiv Chamber Choir will perform on Wednesday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter Claver Church (47 Pleasant Street, West Hartford).
Tickets available online: www.ticketweb.com or call Platinum Concerts International at 844-466-2557.
Concert information: www.platinumconcerts.com.
This is a rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s great choirs here in Connecticut performing some hidden treasures from 1,000 years of Ukrainian sacred and folk music. Mykola Hobdych conducts the Choir.
“The Kyiv Chamber Choir has only 21 singers, but what singers
they are – big marvelously focused voices. They sung wonderfully clean
unisons and the basses have low E’s to die for.”
(The Washington Post)
Sestrichi will have Corporate Communion on Sunday, October 16, at the 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy, with a meeting to follow in the church hall.
The New England Regional Council of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America will be presenting the film, “Music of Survival” on Sunday, October 16th at Noon in the Church Hall. Admission for youths is free; $10.00 for adults which includes a small, tasty lunch. The film is in Ukrainian but the presentation is easily understood.
This film documents the famous Bandurist Chorus.