Sunday after Theophany

christ-the-light-detailWhen we began the Feasts of Light on the second Sunday before Christmas, the first words of Scripture were: “When Christ our life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4). Today, the last words from Scripture for this feast are: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned. (Matthew 12:16)” St. Paul in his epistle writes about Jesus descending and ascending: “He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things (Ephesians 4:10)”

Christmas and Theophany, are called feasts of light. They celebrate the coming into the world of Light: Jesus our Lord. Being God, he descended to live among us (his birth, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke) and to take our sins upon his shoulders (baptism, the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke) to lift us into light and glory. It is the feast of beginnings, and a model for our lives, which on this earth are all just beginnings, in which we descend (living life and laying it down in death), and ascend (in love of God and neighbor to divine glory). This feast is our beginning, as we now turn to the fulfillment of Jesus’ glory in his crucifixion and resurrection into life and glory. The Gospel tells us to make a good beginning: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Divine Liturgy this week

GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST * SLAVA ISUSU XRYSTU!

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Sun., January 8, 2017      Sunday after Theophany
9:00 a.m.    + Mychajlo Kuchnij, requested by Jaroslaw Paluha
10:30 a.m.    PRO POPULO*ZA PARAFI|N

Epistle: Ephesians 4:7-13
Gospel: Matthew 8:11-21, Tone 1

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Mon.  January 9, 2017      Holy Martyr Polyeuctus
8:00 a.m.    no intention for the Liturgy

Tue. , January 10, 2017      Father Gregory, Venerable Dometian
8:00 a.m.    +Halyna Choma (40 days, Pan.), requested by the Family

Wed., January 11, 2017      Venerable Father Theodosius
8:00 a.m.    no intention for the Liturgy

Thu.  January 12, 2017      Holy Martyr Tatiana
8:00 a.m.    no intention for the Liturgy

Fri.,  January 13, 2017      Holy Martyrs Hermylus & Stratonicus
8:00 a.m.    no intention for the Liturgy

Sat., January 14, 2017      Our Venerable Fathers massacred in Sinai
8:00 a.m.    no intention for the Liturgy

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Sun., January 15, 2017      35th Sunday after Pentecost
ONLY ONE (1) Divine Liturgy today –in English and Ukrainian
10:30 a.m.    PRO POPULO*ZA PARAFI|N

Epistle: Colossians 3:12-16
Gospel: Luke 18:18-27, Tone 2

Divine Liturgy for Theophany Jan. 6

theophanyDivine Liturgy for Theophany of Our Lord, Friday, January 6
 
9:15 a.m. Great Compline
10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy with the Great Sanctification of Water; immediately following the Liturgy there will be an Anointing.
 
7:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy
Theophany is a Holy Day of Obligation.

Circumcision of the Lord

circumscion-of-the-lordToday, the Byzantine Church keeps two feasts: the Circumcision of the Lord, the 8th day since Christmas (new calendar) and Saint Basil (see the blog post below).

“I will keep my love for him always, with him my covenant will last” (Psalm 88:29)
Having taken the human nature in his birth, our Lord fulfills the covenant God made with his people by circumcision on the eighth day. The covenant between God and his people is therefore perfected by God himself becoming both God who initiates the covenant and man who submits to God’s will. This is confirmed in the second part of today’s Gospel: Jesus goes to the Temple to fulfill the will of the Father by his teaching. When Mary and Joseph find him, he fulfills the Law, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. (Luke 2:51)”

Jesus taught, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)” St. Paul teaches that he restored the spirit of the Law, “for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)”

For Christians, baptism replaces circumcision as the entry into the covenant. At baptism, we submit to the law of Christ: “Do you renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his angels and all his service, and all his pride?” “I do renounce him.” “Do you commit yourself to Christ?” “Yes, I commit myself to Him.”

By his death on the Cross, our Lord established a new covenant, and fulfills the will of the Father, “Not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42)” He tells us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven .. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The feast of Christmas and Circumcision celebrates the birth of the Lord according to the flesh and his birth among his people by circumcision. It foreshadows and sheds light on our birth according to the flesh and our rebirth in Christ in baptism.

Christ is born

nativityMeditation by Very Rev. Dr. David Petras

Christmas is a feast of unity. It is, first and foremost, unity between God and humanity. The Word of God takes the human nature so that the image and likeness of God in us might be restored. Walls are broken, and the first sticheron, the first words, of Christmas are, “Come, let us rejoice in the Lord; let us proclaim the present mystery by which the partition has been broken and the flaming sword withheld.” What God does vertically, he expects us to do horizontally, and so at his birth the poor (the shepherds) and the rich (the Magi) are called to adore. His own people (the shepherds, the Jews) and the outsiders (the Magi, the Gentiles) are called together. Just as God becomes one with us, we become one with God, and with each other, and the last words of Jesus to his disciples before his arrest are a prayer for the people, “the glory which you gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one: I in them, and you in me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23)” The result of this will be peace on earth, as proclaimed by the angels in heaven and foretold by the prophet Isaiah, “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall graze, together their young shall lie down; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the viper’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9, the Fourth Reading of the Vespers of Christmas)” This unity is needed in a world shaken by conflict, by hatred of the other, by racism. It is sad that Christians cannot be united among themselves.

Christ comes among His own

communionMeditation by Very Rev. Dr. David Petras

“Behold, Christ comes among his own. We are made his through grace and holy virtues. (Troparion, Ode 6, Canon of December 22)” “You wishes to bear the robe of a slave in order to snatch me from slavery to evil, O Word coeternal to the Father. (Troparion, Ode 3, Canon of December 23)

St. Gregory the Theologian begins his homily for the Feast of Lights by saying, “Christ is on earth, let us welcome him.” His loving-kindness is to turn us from sin to virtue, but only through the power of his grace. Sin is a spiritual death, in Jesus, the living God, who comes into physical life today, frees us from sin and makes us God-like. His coming into human nature is compared to slavery, and we must welcome him as slaves. This is really what we are saying when we receive Holy Communion, when we welcome Christ into our bodies, making them temples of the Spirit: “The servant (that is, the slave) of God receives the Holy Body and Precious Blood.” We become God’s own, but it must be according to his will. Do we not pray, “Thy will be done, (now) on earth as it is in heaven.” How do we receive Christmas, however, is it on our terms or on God’s terms. It is clear what motive is life-bearing, but this is not done to keep us in slavery, for in his last discourse in the Gospel of John, he calls us friends (John 15:15), and so we are able to sing, if we are willing, “I sing of your love: glory to your work of salvation.” (Troparion, Ode 3, Canon of December 23)

Christmas Divine Liturgy

nativityDivine Liturgy on Sunday, December 25th, Christmas Day
The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
 
There is only 1 Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day at 10:30 a.m., in English and Ukrainian.
 
At 9:30 a. m. there is a “God with Us” service.

Sunday before Christmas

holy-ancestorsMeditation by the Very Rev. Dr. David Petras

As we move toward Christmas, the Sunday before the great feast of the Lord’s Incarnation is day when we read the gospel giving us the genealogy of Jesus.

The Gospel this Sunday presents us with an abundance of names, all those who were the ancestors of Christ. By this we see that on this feast, the Son and Word of God becomes a part of the human family and a part of human history. In this Gospel Jesus is also given a name, the final verse tells us that the child will be known as Jesus – Savior. In verse 22, though, he is given the name “Immanuel,” “God with us.” This gives us the theological meaning of the feast, the incarnation signifies our deification. We all have names, but for the ancients, names had meanings, they did not simply give us an identification tag, but told us something of who we were. In that sense, we do not name ourselves, but we are given a name, we are all “called by name” by God, and so we enter into the ancestry of Jesus. The names are the forefathers of Jesus, but also the foremothers are mentioned: Tamar, who bore a son by trickery of Judah; Ruth, the grandmother of David, who left her people to follow Naomi; the unnamed wife of David, Bathsheba, who David married by arranging for the death of Uriah. We see, then, that even trough questionable and evil actions, as well as by faithfulness, Jesus becomes “the son given to us.” The greatest of the woman in his genealogy is, of course, Mary, his mother, who by her obedience cancelled the curse of Eve, and united God with humanity in her womb. Today, we celebrate the Son of Abraham, according to the Law, and the Son of David, the everlasting King, to whom even David bowed, and even the Son of exile, for we are all citizens of the spiritual, not the earthly, Jerusalem. Today we must be named as a follower of Christ.