Moving toward Pentecost

Today, May 6, in the Byzantine Church following the Gregorian calendar, it is the feast of half-Pentecost (half of the Pascal Time). Now is the time to think about what gift of the Holy Spirit you are going to ask for (there are 7).

Let’s attend to the Gospel text of today (John 7: 14-30):

verse: 14: We were already in the middle of the week of the feast when Jesus went up to the Temple; and there he was teaching.

verse 15: The Jews were astonished and said, “How is he educated without studying?”

verse 16: Jesus answered them, ” My teaching is not from me, but from Him who sent me.

verse 17: Does anyone want to do the will of God, he will know if this teaching comes from God, or if I speak on my own initiative.”

Troparion
In the midst of the feast, bless my soul thirsty from the waters of piety, / for, O Savior, You have claimed to all: / He who is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. // Source of our life, O Christ God, glory to you.

Kondakion
In the midst of the feast required by law, / Creator and master of all things, / You said to those who stood by you: / Come and tap the water of immortality. / Therefore we stand before you and say with faith: / Grant us your compassion, O Christ God, // For You are the source of our life.

Sunday of the man born blind

For if you change from inhumanity to alms giving, you have stretched forth the hand that was withered. If you withdraw from theaters and go to the church, you have cured the lame foot. If you draw back your eyes from a harlot, and a beauty not your own, you have opened them when they were blind. If instead of satanical songs, you have learned spiritual psalms, being dumb, you have spoken. These are the greatest miracles, these the wonderful signs…

– St. John Chrysostom – 4th Century

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Pascha Liturgy, 2020, Julian Calendar

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” (Paschal Troparion-hymn)

The Light Has Come!
Christ is Risen!
Christos Anesti!
Christus resurrexit!
Al-Masseh Qam!
Christos Voskrese!

Pascha

“Christ is risen! Indeed, he is risen”

It has become a habit of the “wise of this world,” – those who claim to discern reality as it truly is – to say that modern man can no longer believe in miracles. Science has invalidated “miracles,” and while the Resurrection is a very nice thing, it is only a spiritual subjective experience. But today I say: ‘Says who?”

Today St. Paul says, “Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? (1 Corinthians 1:20)” Even when we say that the resurrection is a spiritual subjective experience, we do this because we say that “God is the ground of all being,” as St. Paul preached to the Athenians, “‘In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)” If so, can he not give life that defies our earthly wisdom? Indeed, Jesus said to the Sadducees who denied resurrection, “As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?

He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled” (Mark 12:26-27). Did not St. Paul warn us, “if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

What the resurrection of Jesus has taught us is that we enter the fullness of life through the gates of death, just as he did in the cross and resurrection, for “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit,” (John 12:24) and again, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35). The only difference is that Christ is risen, because “But God raised [Jesus] up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it … nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption” (Acts 2:24.27). Because of our sins, we must go through the corruption of death to attain life. The “wise of this world” say this is a childish belief, how can this happen, but again St. Paul writes, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Nor, my brothers and sisters, is this other-worldly escapism: the resurrection can and should transform the way we live in the world today.

Easter Sunday Liturgy 2020

On Easter Sunday, the Divine Liturgy will be live streamed at 10:00 a.m. in English and in Ukrainian.

It will be on the parish Facebook page (stmichaelnewhaven) AND it will later be posted here on this website http://stmichaelukrainian.org

Easter bread (Pascha) 2020

UNWLA branch 108 will be taking orders for Ukrainian Easter bread (pascha). They will be available for pick up on April 4 and 5; there will only be a limited amount available so pre-order your paska now. To place an order call or text Anna at 203-506-1818 or e-mail ans51@sbcglobal.net

108 Biдділ Cоюз Українок буде пекти паски на продаж 4 і 5 Квітня. Прошу замоляти паски в Гані 203-506-1818   

Peace!

Ascension Thursday 2019

Thursday, 5/30, Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ it is a holy day

The Divine Liturgy will be offered:

9:00 a.m. +Vira Walnycky requested by Ksenia Kuzmycz (in Ukrainian)
7:00 p.m. For the people of the parish (in English)

St. Augustine of Hippo, one the Doctors of the Church, preached:

On this day therefore, that is, the fortieth after His Resurrection, the Lord ascended into heaven.  We have not seen, but we believe. They who beheld Him proclaimed what they saw, and they have filled the whole earth:

There are no speeches nor languages where their voices are not heard.  Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world (Ps. xviii. 4, 5).

And so they have reached even unto us, and awakened us from sleep. And lo! this death is celebrated throughout the world.

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Sunday of the Man Born Blind

Hand of Jesus touching a blind man’s eye. Detail of “Two blind men cured.” Mosaic (6th century)

The story of the Man Born Blind is the third Sunday Gospel in Pascha about the mystery of baptism. This gospel is very clear, “Jesus spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his the blind man’s) eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. (John 9:6-7)” The clay represents the anointing we receive at baptism, making us “Anointed Ones,” (Christs, or Christians) and the washing represents the washing in the water of baptism.

The blind man can then see, he is “enlightened,” the name the Church gives to baptism. Two observations: to be truly enlightened, we need humility. We need to know that only God can give us the vision we need. To do that, we cannot rely on our own “opinions,” we must hear his Word in the gospel, we must worship him with his people, we must be attentive to the voice of his shepherds in the teaching of the Church. If we believe only in ourselves, we risk condemnation, as Jesus told the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains” (John 9:41). True knowledge comes only from the Holy Spirit, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things” (1 John 2:20).

The second observation is that in these three weeks, our Lord calls to baptism the most unlikely people: a friendless man lying lame by a pool, a shameless woman with serial husbands, and a blind man about whom the disciples ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). Jesus responds, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him (John 9:3), thus separating the wrath of God from the judgment of sin. God truly hates evil, which brings death and failure, but he loves the sinner with infinite divine love. If we suffer because of our sins, it is because that is the “wages” of sin (Romans 6:23). We see in these three Sundays that God is merciful and wishes the salvation of all. He calls us all to enlightenment in baptism, so that we can live in the Holy Spirit and profess with the formerly blind man, now enlightened, “I do believe, Lord!” (John 9:38).