The Sunday Before Christmas: 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.

The Nativity Fast Calendar 2019

The Advent/Nativity Fast journey has begun! See how this journey unfolds on a daily basis by walking this calendar to Christmas. Follow the Nativity calendar with your spouse  and children as daily an Advent discipline! 

Join the many of us who do this every year and prosper your soul in the effort. You won’t be the same. Begin today!!!

The attached Nativity Fast Calendar a beautiful thing to follow.

Pylypivka (Advent) message 2019

Pylypivka (Advent) Pastoral of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy of the USA to our clergy, hieromonks and brothers, religious sisters, seminarians and beloved faithful,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

We, the faithful experience the life of the Church by means of the unending cycle of the liturgical year. The liturgical year is not simply how we mark the passage of time in the church calendar year. The liturgical year tells the story of God’s life in the world, a story in which we are participants, not just spectators or listeners. It is a re-living of the life of Christ, His Most Holy Mother and the Saints. And liturgy is the means by which we tell, live, and experience the story. Through liturgy it becomes real to us and becomes part of our own lives.

It has been said that liturgy is humanity’s yearning for God, and that grace is God’s yearning for humanity. Liturgically, this story of holy yearning – God’s yearning for us and our yearning for God – begins at the point in the liturgical year that we find ourselves at the present moment: Pylypivka: the 40-day period of waiting and watching for the fulfillment of God’s promises, and the coming together of humanity and divinity in the Christ child, who, with his nativity, will bring new life and new hope into our world and our lives.

Philip’s Fast –Pylypivka

Today begins the Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka), the pre-Christmas fast – the day after the feast of Saint Philip, which was yesterday. The Byzantine Church identifies The Holy and All-Praiseworthy Apostle Philip as one who prepares us for the great time of the year: the Nativity/Theophany of Our Lord.

Saint Philip is known as having a deep knowledge of the Sacred Scripture, who had the capacity of discerning the meaning of the Old Testament prophecies in light of the coming of the Messiah. Key to this period of preparation is connected to the Apostle Philip because one of the things he is remembered for is the bringing of Nathaniel to Christ, and thereafter Nathaniel becomes an Apostle. Likewise, and critically, Philip brings us to Christ and we become apostles of Christ. He exposes our betrayals of faith and heals them. Thus, you can say that Philip leads all of us into greater communion with the Lord, THE only source of our salvation. Let is ask Saint Philip for the grace of conversion for Pylypivka.

Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka) begins

The Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka), the pre-Christmas fast, begins today. The Church begins the Fast the day after the feast of the Holy and All-Praiseworthy Apostle Philip. The Fast is a period of 40 days of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the Nativity/Theophany cycle of the liturgical (Church) year.

Historically, the Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka) was a period of strict fasting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday –days of strict fasting without meat, dairy products or oil (in Slavic countries).

Now the bishops have indicated that the Fast is lessened a bit also to include fasting, works of penance and doing charitable work. BUT today we observe the Fast on Wednesdays and Fridays by an abstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church teaches her faithful that “Penitential fasting practices, repentance and abstinence that aim to satisfy the sins committed and to achieve the highest level of perfection is the oldest tradition in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church” (CCEO: 882, § 1).

Advent message from the US Ukrainian Catholic Bishops

The Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the United States offer the following message for Advent (Pylypivka). It is signed, as you will note below, by all bishops. On the feast day of St. Philip Byzantine Christians begin their preparation for the Birth of Jesus. This 40-day preparation period is before the Christmas / Theophany season. the Philip fast begins at sundown on November 14th (when the Church begins a new day) and concludes at Christmas. History tells us that the fast was introduced to prepare us for a more worthy celebration of the great and holy day of the Birth of Jesus. The regulations for the fast were far more lenient than the Great Fast before Pascha. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are days of strict fasting without meat, dairy products or oil (in Slavic countries).  On Sundays fish was permitted. The Phillipian fast prepares us to receive the public ministry of Christ announced at Theophany.

What follows is a good message to begin our preparation for the Nativity of the Lord.