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 Saint, who was a contemporary of the Apostles, had Antioch as his homeland, where he was guided to the Faith of Christ by Peter, the Chief of the Apostles. Later, he came to Sicily, where he brought many to the Faith, and was finally put to death by the pagans.
Fifth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Luke 24:13-35
At that time, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Prokeimenon. 4th Mode. Psalm 103.24,1.
O Lord, how manifold are your works. You have made all things in wisdom.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 10:1-10.
BRETHREN, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.
5th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 8:28-34; 9:1
At that time, when Jesus came to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one would pass that way. And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
Don’t Rest on Your Laurels (7-2-2017)
Nearly everyone has heard of the popular idiom, “Don’t rest on (one’s) laurels” – which means to not rely on one’s past achievements, and instead continue to work on maintaining or advancing one’s status or reputation. Perhaps everyone knows that ‘laurels’ refers to a wreath of laurel, which was conferred as a mark of honor in ancient times upon poets, heroes, victors in competition or battle. Interestingly although laurel is specifically an aromatic evergreen tree, it also called ‘bay’ or ‘sweet bay’ and when Greeks think of a laurel wreath, they picture it made from bay leaf or bay branches called ‘vaion’ or ‘vaia’ in Greek. But probably few know the origin of the laurel wreath. The leaves come from Laurus Nobilis tree. That’s where ‘Nobel Laurete’ and ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ come from. The ancient Greeks associated Apollo, one of their mythological gods, with laurel, because he was in love with the nymph Daphne. When he approached her, she turned into a laurel tree. Apollo embraced the tree, declared it sacred, cut off one of its branches, made it into a wreath and put it on his head. From the sixth century BC, the ancient Greeks held the Pythian games in Delphi every four years. The games honored Apollo and thus, laurel wreaths were given to the victors of the various contests.
What does all this have to do with Jesus Christ and being a Christian? In today’s Gospel reading from the Fourth Sunday of Matthew 8:5-13, we hear about Jesus’ encounter with the centurion in Capernaum (v.5). A centurion was a Roman army commander in charge of 100 soldiers. He tells Jesus about his paralyzed servant (v.6) and Jesus says, “I will come and heal him” (v.7). The centurion answers, Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed (v.8). Jesus was very impressed with the centurion’s words, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! (v.10).
Jesus is being critical of the Jews and to emphasize the point, He adds, 12But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (v.12). He is also comparing the Gentiles, represented by the centurion, with the Jews. Why is Christ so critical of the Jews? Because the people of Israel, like all their generations before them, were resting on their laurels. In other words, they were God’s chosen people. He gave them the Law through Moses. He dramatically freed from slavery in Egypt. He helped them conquer kingdoms. Yet, each and every time God did something great for the Jews, they took Him for granted, they forgot about Him, and they eventually forsook Him, turning away from Him and bringing calamity, suffering and destruction upon themselves. They rested on their laurels—the great things God had done for them, the great gifts He had given to them.
This lesson is not just for the ancient Israelites, but it is for us Orthodox Christians of today. Because of our baptism in Christ, we have been crowned as victors with Him over sin and death. Our baptismal garment and the cross we wear our symbols of this victory. Even husbands and wives are literally crowned in the Orthodox marriage service to symbolize in part this victory. Referring to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans (6:3-11), we learn that baptism puts to death the old, sinful human nature, and sets us free from sin. Christ’s Resurrection bestows (put’s on) the new life, human nature. Like we sing in the baptismal hymn, “All those who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia!”
But we cannot rest on our laurel crown because our baptism is a past achievement.Baptism is no guarantee or warranty of anything. Baptism is not magic. It’s like having two dresses/suits/outfits in the closet; each day you can choose which one to put on. You can put on Christ, or you can put on something else—an idol, a passion, a sin..
Jews are an image of the baptized. The centurion, however, is an image of the unbaptized. He was a pagan/gentile. Thus, we know through his example that faith in Christ is possible without baptism. In fact it is a requirement, a pre-requisite for baptism. Non-Christians can go to heaven (like the thief on Cross), while those of us who call ourselves Christians, who have been baptized, may not go to heaven. Instead, because we rested on our laurels, and did not put forth a consistent daily effort to pray, worship, fast, given alms to the poor, and so on, we may go to hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Because we Orthodox Christians practice infant baptism, we are not only responsible for ourselves but for our children and godchildren. During the baptism, parents and godparents believe and implicitly promise to raise the baptized child to believe in Christ and practice that faith daily. We do this primarily by the example of our own life. This is why I, following the example of Fr. William Chiganos, underling this great responsibility by asking the godparents to repeat that promise out loud.
As we conclude today, let us remember and imitate the example of the centurion. Instead of resting on our laurel wreath of Christian victory, let us follow his faith, humility, love and obedience to Christ each and every day. No, we are not worthy of any gifts Christ bestows upon us. But we trust in His word and promises. Thus let us believe and be healed of our paralyzing infirmities that prevent us from coming to church, from receiving communion, from confessing our sins, from doing the right thing, from acting unselfishly. May God one day marvel at our faith too. Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
July 9, 2017 5th Sunday of Matthew
TODAY’S EVENTS: Summer Church Camp Reflections; Acolyte Training 12pm; Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4pm; Greek Dance Practice 6:30pm.
Memorial: Metropolitan Iakovos (40 days) Prosfora: anonymous
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Fellowship: Lisa & Misael Jordan Family
Head Usher: Alexis Bighley
Wednesday 07-12 Festival Baking – volunteers needed 9:30AM
Saturday 07-15 Prison Ministry Reunion brunch 10:00AM
CouplesDate Night in St. Paul 6:00PM
Sunday 07-16 ORTHROS (8:15am) &DIVINELITURGY- SUNDAY OF HOLY FATHERS 9:30AM
Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4:00PM
Greek Dance Practice 6:30PM
Monday 07-17 Parish Council meeting 6:30PM
A Child is Born! Michael-Paul Ioannis to Dean Natto and Joanna Tzenis on June 15, 2017. Congratulations!
Festival Baking: help make delicious Greek sweets! Next baking day is Wednesday, July 12 at 9:30am. For future dates, please contact Nanette Gomez or the office.
Great Week! This year’s Summer Church Camp for youth at Camp Wapogasset in Amery WI was enjoyed by all especially the kids from our parish. The theme was “Faithful Still.” Thanks to youth minister Nathaniel Kostick and Adam Fuller for serving on the staff. Spread the word and bring your friends next year!
Think About It: : The Lord sometimes takes us into troubled waters. Not to drown us—but to cleanse us.
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 through July 23. 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.
Middle Eastern Festival: July 14-16 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. www.mideastfest.com.
St. George Date Night: this Saturday, July 15, 6-9pm. The couples group of St. George, formerly known as Hearth & Hearts, are 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.
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 beautiful addition to our sanctuary space and provide practical storage, display and preparation space for the worship services. Stay tuned!
Patristic Wisdom: Man is created from prayer just as he is created to speak and to think. But especially for prayer; for the Lord God put man into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15). And where will you find the garden of Eden if not in your heart? Tito Colliander (+1989)
Roselawn Cemetery Lots: available to parishioners at a 15% discount off 2017 list prices. Discounted prices are: Monument Lot (2 graves) $5,865.00; Flat Lot A (2 graves) $3,485.00; Flat Lot B (1 grave-limited availability) $2,040.00. For more info or to purchase a lot, please contact the church office.
Stewardship 2017: 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 113 pledge cards for 2017 with a total of $169,562 and an average of $1,500. 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, far less than the biblical ideal of tithing or 10%.
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: Do not fall into despair because of our stumblings. I do not mean that you should not feel pain because of them, but that you should not consider them incurable. For it is better to be wounded than to be dead. There is indeed a healer: He who on the cross asked for mercy on those who were crucifying Him, who pardoned murderers as He hung on the cross. St. Isaac of Syria (+700)
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 over 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 program facilitators.
Lexington Parkway Improvements- starting early July, concrete and brick crosswalks will be replaced with blacktop along with new pedestrian accessible curbs at intersections. Watch for lane shifts and closures.
Church Fathers Speak: The Lord understood that the virtue of the soul is shaped by our outward behavior. He therefore took a towel and showed us how to walk the road of humility (cf. John 13:4). The soul indeed is molded by the doings of the body. St. John Climacus (+606)
Let Us Commit Ourselves and one Another: We cannot neglect the task of practical preparation to enhance our liturgical participation. Commitment to God and His family (the Church) requires advance planning and sacrifice. It behooves all of us to take seriously our Orthodox Christian Faith by participating the Sunday Divine Liturgy and weekday Lenten services. Let us commit ourselves and one another and our life to Christ our God!
Rise and Shine! Orthros is the sunrise service in the Orthodox Church but probably one of the most neglected. Every individual and family should make an effort to participate periodically. At least, plan to arrive at the beginning of Divine Liturgy. Like Vespers, Orthros has many profound hymns about Jesus' Resurrection and the Saints or Feast of the Day along with petitions, prayers and readings. Orthros begins Sunday morning 8:15am.
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.