Sunday Morning Orthros/Matins 8:15am, Divine Liturgy 9:30am; Saturday Great Vespers 5:00pm (October thru May); Weekday Services (see Online Calendar, Sunday Bulletin & Monthly Newsletter); Confession (by appointment).
This Martyr was from Greece. Being of great bodily stature and strength, he was an illustrious soldier in the Roman legions who had won many victories, and was known for his prudence and sobriety of mind. When it was learned that he gave grain to the poor from the imperial stores, and was moreover a Christian, Hadrian the Governor of Phoenicia sent Hypatius, a tribune, and Theodulus, a soldier, to arrest him. Saint Leontius converted them on the way to Tripolis in Phoenicia, where Hypatius and Theodulus were tormented and beheaded by Hadrian for their confession of Christ. Then Hadrian with many flatteries and many torments strove to turn Leontius from Christ. All his attempts failing, he had Leontius put to such tortures that he died in the midst of them, under Vespasian in the year 73.
Second Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back, for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Prokeimenon. 1st Mode. Psalm 32.22,1.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 2:10-16.
Brethren, glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
2nd Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 4:18-23
At that time, as Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left their boat and their father, and followed him. And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
How to Love God More than Family (6-11-2017)
How much are we to love our family? What does God say about the love we should have for our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters? As we know from the Scriptures, we are to love and respect them. However, the love is always expressed in the context of our relationship with God Himself. In today’s Gospel reading from the Sunday of All Saints (Matthew 10:32-33,37-38; 19:27-30) Jesus warns us today that our love for our family members should not exceed our love for God. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me;
His language is even stronger in the omitted verses of 34-36
34“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
What does He mean by that? Quite simply, Jesus directs us to love Him/God more than anyone else.
If others (even our own family) don’t express same love/priority for God, then that may cause conflict and division between us and them. Thus, we need to learn how to use the sword that Christ mentions.
First, the Apostle Paul explains what the sword symbolizes and means in Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Sword of Christ is the Truth about who He is as God and the truth about how to follow Him as Lord.
A sword has a sharp blade for cutting. You must learn how to cut out the unnecessary and sinful parts of your life. In today’s Epistle reading (11:33 – 12:2), it says we must “Lay aside every weight and sin.” (v.12:1). Sin is spiritual cancer. Unless it is eradicated or removed, it will continue to grow. Unchecked, it will take over and destroy essential aspects of our soul/psyche.
Second, regarding wielding a very sharp sword, consider this: A surgeon is not someone, who just comes off the street, picks up a scalpel at the front desk of the hospital and begins operating. Rather, a surgeon is highly educated and trained, with many years of study and practice.
You too, fathers and mothers, must be highly educated and trained in the ways of God before you can deftly wield the sword of Truth. Would a surgeon graduate from medical school, pass his/her boards and receive his license if he attended class once a month and when she did, came half way through or near the end of class? Rarely opened their books and studied at home? Decided to do something else, when it was time to watch/help the attending surgeon?
No way! If we want to be good fathers and mothers, we first must be good Christians, lovers and followers of Christ.
How can we learn/become Christians when we rarely/irregularly attend His school—the Church? When we come late to the class He teaches—the Divine Liturgy? When we rarely open His textbook—the Bible?
Think of what message/example you give your children when you say or practice “We don’t need to go to Church. We don’t need to be on time. We don’t need to pray. Why? Because we have something more important to do.”
When we do these things, are we not denying Christ? (Mt. 10:32) Are we worthy of Him? (Mt. 10:37) To go to liturgy on time every week, to participate in the ministries of the parish, to bring our children to youth activities; all these require sacrifice, which means taking up your Cross for Christ. For Jesus also said today, 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. (Mt. 10:38). However, we are also taking up our cross for our spouse and our kids. Learning and growing in your relationship with Christ requires sacrifice.
Thirdly, once we learn how to use the sword, we can correctly begin to eliminate self-serving habits from our life. Think of the powerful transformative example you set by being truthful and not lying, by giving instead of taking (esp. that which is not yours), by respecting through kind and complimentary words and not denigrating or humiliating through physical and verbal abuse.
Learning how and what to cut out is very important. A surgeon must know what is cancerous and what is good tissue. We cannot cut indiscriminately like many fundamentalists do, taking out good things with the bad. This discernment helps us prioritize what is most important for our life. In addition, it helps us prioritize what is most important for our family. How often do we let one family member’s obligations/preferences/priorities interfere with every other family members’ relationship with Christ? “I cannot pray or read the bible because my spouse doesn’t pray. We only come to church when our whole family can come. Sorry, can’t be there, our kids have a practice or a game today. I would give more to support the ministries of the church but my spouse doesn’t want to.” Who is more important here—Christ or our spouse, children, parents?
Fourthly and finally, we must overcome our fear of losing our family when we love Christ more than them. Fathers and mothers, our love will be more pure and more full for our children , when we love Christ first before them and more than them. In turn, the love our kids have for us and each other will also be more full because they will see our example and learn from it. Instead of just saying, “I love you!”, we will be saying to them, “I love you in Christ,” (not instead of Christ = Augustine).
As we close today, remember that at times our love for Christ can cause conflict and division within relationships including families. However, one Church Father said, “God brings disunity to relationships to break an evil unity.” If this is the case, the division is necessary for the salvation of all persons in that family. In extreme examples, if we actually lose a relationship with a parent, with a child, with a spouse or with a sibling because of the sword of Christ, St. Cyril of Alexandria says that God and His Saints become our family. Jesus also promised in today’s Gospel, 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for My name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.
What a comforting message to remember on this day—the Sunday of All Saints. Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
June 18, 2017 2nd SUNDAY OF MATTHEW
TODAY’S EVENTS: Father’s Day;Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4pm.
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Prosfora: anonymous
Fellowship: Kostas & Naomi Tsantir Head Usher: Joe Weiser
Monday 06-19 FAST OF THE APOSTLES continues (through June 29th)
Tuesday 06-20 Parish Council meeting 6:30PM
Sunday 06-25 ORTHROS (8:15am) &DIVINELITURGY- 3rd SUNDAY OF MATTHEW 9:30AM
Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4:00PM
Greek Dance Practice 6:30PM
Sympathies: to Fr. Theodore Filandrinos at the passing of his wife Presvytera Ione on June 12. Her visitation will be this Tuesday June 20, 5-7pm, with Trisagion Prayers 6:30pm, at Washburn-McReavy Chapel in Edina. Funeral will be 11am Wednesday at St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church. Pres. Ione was always faithful in her calling to serve the Church as the wife of a priest. May her memory be eternal!
Happy Father’s Day: to all the fathers, grandfathers, godfathers and father-figures in our lives. Thanks!
Don’t Forget to Fast: We are currently in the Fast of the Apostles, which runs from Monday after All Saints Sunday (June 11) to Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul (June 29). No meat or dairy is allowed but fish can be eaten on any day except Wednesdays and Fridays during this Fast. Remember to pray too!
Think About It: Not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted counts. William Bruce Cameron
On Vacation: Father Rick will be away June 20 - 29. For pastoral emergencies, call St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church. For other urgent issues, call the church office or a parish council member.
Mural Icons (Corrected)- Thank you to all for designating memorials of departed loved ones and making additional significant personal contributions: Resurrection Icon - Presvytera Miriam Paraschou in memory of Fr. Parry; Crucifixion Icon - Christ Kontenakos & family in memory of Antonia Kontenakos; Nativity Icon - Irene Loudas in memory of Basil Loudas; and Pentecost Icon - Mary Arvanitis in memory of Loucas Arvanitis, Nick and Frances Arvanitis, Michael Eric, and Aphrodite Arvanitis.
Prothesis Project- the masonry work for the new antiprothesis/skeuvophylakion project is complete. This is the first phase. After sealing and painting, the next is the installation of the new carved wood cabinets for both the original prosthesis in the north niche and the new antiprothesis in the south niche. Each will have a special carved panel, one of St. George and the other a Lamb with a Cross. Additional work includes marble tops and an icon in the south niche. This will be a beautiful addition to our sanctuary space and provide practical storage, display and preparation space for the worship services. Stay tuned!
Greek Festival: August 19-20. 2017; save the dates! Advance Sale tickets will be sold in the social hall on Sundays after liturgy, ticket price is $10 for $12 of food & beverages. Yard signs are also available in the social hall. If you are interested in serving on the Clean-up Committee or any other, please contact Jon Kennedy, Phyllis Kapetanakis or Alexis Bighley.
Patristic Wisdom: We are commanded to have only one enemy, the devil. With him never be reconciled! But with a brother or sister, never be at enmity in your heart. St. John Chrysostom (+407)
Middle Eastern Festival: July 14-16 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. For details, see flyer in social hall or visit www.mideastfest.com.
St. George Date Night: Saturday, July 15, 6-9pm. The couples group of St. George, formerly known as Hearth & Hearts, is planning a progressive dining and fellowship experience for couples and singles--all are welcome! We hope to come up with a new name then too! Approximate schedule: 6:00pm Lake Monster Brewing Company, 6:30pm Urban Growler - plan on dinner here, 8:00pm Burning Brothers Brewing. For more info, please contact Peter Hofrenning or Presbytera Jane email@example.com.
St. Mardarije of Libertyville Glorification: pan-orthodox celebration July 14-16 in Libertyville IL His relics have been found incorrupt and the diocese is having a pan-orthodox celebration at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral and St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery. See flyer in social hall or visit www.stsavamonastery.org
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: Our soul is of simple construction. That is why it cannot at one and the same time love God and something else like money, food and drink. The soul is simple and indivisible. How can the Holy Spirit be active in our soul when we are occupied with worldly, vain pursuits. St. John of Kronstadt (+1907)
Stewardship 2017: Our theme is You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World: As the Father Has Sent Me, So I Send You (John 20:21). We have received 110 pledge cards for 2017 with a total of $168,791 and an average of $1,534. Be sure to increase your pledge, even if only a few dollars. This reflects spiritual growth and overcomes stagnation. We encourage everyone to give a minimum of 2% pledge of gross yearly income to become a self-sustaining community. This is far less than the biblical ideal of tithing, giving 10%.
Church Fathers Speak: Strive to enter the shrine within you and you will see the shrine of heaven, for the one is the same as the other and a single entrance permits you to contemplate both. The ladder leading to that kingdom is hidden within you, that is, within your soul: cleanse yourself from sin and there you will find the steps by which to ascend. St. Nikeforos the Hesychast (13th cent.)
Need Counseling? Fr. Rick is always available by appointment for pastoral counseling. He will soon become a Licensed Associate in Marriage & Family Therapy (LAMFT). To complete his doctoral internship, Father needs a certain number of hours counseling individuals, couples and families. His program allows pastoral counseling to count towards those hours. Fr. Rick has nearly 22 years of parish priest experience as well as doctoral training in MFT. Help him to help you. All counseling is strictly confidential. Fr. Rick is also a certified Seminar Director for the Prepare-Enrich program (www.prepare-enrich.com), the premier pre-marital and marital counseling assessment tool in the world. This enables him to train others to become facilitators, certified to use Prepare-Enrich as a tool in counseling with couples.
Welcome Visitors Thank you for joining with us in prayer and fellowship. The worship of the Orthodox Church is deeply rooted in and very similar to that of the early Christian Church. Unique sensory stimuli and mystery are elements that go back even to the liturgy of the Jewish temple. Everything in an Orthodox Christian church communicates the majestic presence of God the Holy Trinity with His Saints. It is literally heaven on earth. It is a sad consequence of the divisions in Christianity that we cannot extend a general invitation to receive Holy Communion. Visitors are invited to receive the blessed bread (antithoron) at the conclusion of the liturgy. We pray and work for the reconciliation and unity of all Christians. If you are interested in learning more about Orthodoxy, please contact Fr. Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are proud of our Greek heritage but one does not have to be of Greek descent, nor speak Greek to be a Greek Orthodox Christian.
Note to Orthodox about Holy Communion: Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is one of the most Holy experiences for a Christian in order to be granted the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. We are never worthy to partake of Divine Nature. Yet, it is essential that we prepare ourselves for this sacred Communion by constant prayer, reading the Scriptures, regular fasting and periodic Confession. At a minimum, we should fast all morning before Communion, arrive at the beginning of Liturgy, and come for Confession at least once a year. In addition, we should not have separated ourselves from the Church through serious sin. Otherwise, please refrain from Communion to avoid “judgment…not discerning the Lord’s body” (1Cor. 11:29). Contact Fr. Rick for pastoral guidance.