Sunday Services: Orthros-8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy-10:00 a.m. Sunday School after Distribution of Holy Communion. Holy Day Services As announced in weekly bulletins.
Ushers: Michael Fowler & Constantine Zouboukos
Epistle Reader: Erynn Sturgon
Prosphoro: Father Andrew
Orthros starts at 9:00 am
Liturgy Starts at 10:00 am.
Coffee Hour: Join us if you can featuring fresh brewed coffee and packaged treat items.
Sunday School classes will resume in September. We do ask that our young people continue to join us for Liturgy on Sundays.
Please Note: If you cannot join us the Liturgy will be recorded "live and in color" and available for viewing on our facebook page, see links below. If you cannot attend and still want to light a candle, or make an offering. Please use any of the links below. Our Facebook page click on the link below:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/269685419794311/ or go to our church web page
www.holytrinitysaintjohnjackson.org and click on the link
We are grateful to those who have contributed and continue to contribute their donations through the mail or by the two secure on-line options both of which can be found on our web page. The light a candle say a prayer link below or the Donate Button on the bottom of the home page https://holy-trinity-st-john-the-theologian-greek-orthodox-church-jac.square.site
The offering tray will be on the candle stand as you enter the nave - you may leave your offerings as you enter the Church proper.
Our July Birthday Celebrations: John Polles-July 3rd, Gayland Cox-July 4th, Christo Burnham-July 5th, McKenna Fowler-July 7th, Presbytera Bonnie-July 8th, Nickolas Fowler-July 12th, Stamati Polles-July 13th, William Moxey-July 15th, Stephanos Manganfakis-July 15th, Jerry Kountouris-July 21st, Malissa Zouboukos-July 26th, Gebre Menfes Kidus-July 26th, Janet Ingram Grillis-July 28th, Emma Papadimitriou-July 28th, Alexis Ann Kountouris-July 29th, Michael Fowler-July 30th
August Birthday Celebrations: Sophia Efstratiou – August 4th Ellen Hontzas – August 9th Kimberly Thompson-August 10th Dianna Psaris-August 14th Lydia Laird-August 20th Pete Zouboukos-August 22nd , Lana Sturgon-August 29th Please let us know of any errors or omissions.
Our Holy Trinity-St. John the Theologian Prayer List:
"Remember Lord, those whom each of us calls prayerfully to mind" Russell Thomas (Elizabeth Thomas Petersen"s father), Sophia Cox, Chuck Odom, Nicholas & Dianna Psaris, John Botes, Christ Castanis, Chris Grillis, Lambryne Angelo, Malissa and Pat Zouboukos have asked that we pray for their friend Bill Hardin and their friend and neighbor Bill Spence, Paula Fowler, Victoria Lepsa (Cristina Nica's mother in Romania), Tatianna Koufopoulos Quick of Phoenix Arizona, please keep Costa Glennis's daughter Wanda Parker in your prayers, Maria Costas, Dot Pavlou,Charlie Privett (Chris Valsamakis' friend from Aberdeen MS).
Because of the many diseases that occur in the month of August, the custom prevailed of old in Constantinople to carry the precious Wood of the Cross in procession throughout the city for its sanctification and its deliverance from illnesses. It was brought forth from the imperial treasury on the last day of July and placed upon the Holy Table of the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom; and beginning today, until the Dormition of the Theotokos, it was carried in procession throughout the city and was set forth for veneration before the people.
The names of the Holy Maccabees are Abim, Anthony, Guria, Eleazar, Eusebona, Achim, and Marcellus. They were Jews by race and exact keepers of the Laws of the Fathers. They lived during the reign of Antiochus, who was surnamed Epiphanes ("Illustrious"), the King of Syria and an implacable enemy of the Jews. Having subjugated their whole nation and done many evil things to them, not sparing to assail the most sacred matters of their Faith, he constrained them, among other things, to partake of swine's flesh, which was forbidden by the Law. Then these pious youths, on being apprehended together with their mother and their teacher, were constrained to set at nought the Law, and were subjected to unspeakable tortures: wrackings, the breaking of their bones, the flaying of their flesh, fire, dismemberment, and such things as only a tyrant's mind and a bestial soul is able to contrive. But when they had endured all things courageously and showed in deed that the mind is sovereign over the passions and is able to conquer them if it so desires, they gloriously ended their lives in torments, surrendering their life for the sake of the observance of the divine Law. The first to die was their teacher Eleazar, then all the brethren in the order of their age. As for their wondrous mother Solomone, "filled with a courageous spirit, and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly wrath" (II Macc. 7:21), she was present at her children's triumph over the tyrant, strengthening them in their struggle for the sake of their Faith, and enduring stout-heartedly their sufferings for the sake of their hope in the Lord. After her last and youngest son had been perfected in martyrdom, when she was about to be seized to be put to death, she cast herself into the fire that they might not touch her, and was thus deemed worthy of a blessed end together with her sons, in the year 168 before Christ.
After the First Martyr had been stoned to death (see Dec. 27), Gamaliel, his teacher, encouraged certain of the Christians to go by night and take up the Saint's body and bury it in his field, which was at a distance of some twenty miles from Jerusalem and was called by his name, "Kaphar-gamala," that is, "the field of Gamala," where Gamaliel himself was later buried. About the year 427, a certain pious man called Lucian, who was the parish priest of a church near to that field, received from God a revelation in a dream concerning the place where the First Martyr was buried. He immediately made this known to John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Thus, coming to the place indicated, and digging there, they found a box with the word "Stephen" in Aramaic letters. On opening it, they took these most sacred relics and transferred them to Jerusalem with great honor and in the company of a very great multitude of the faithful.
Our Lord had spoken to His disciples many times not only concerning His Passion, Cross, and Death, but also concerning the coming persecutions and afflictions that they themselves would endure. Since all these evils were near at hand, but the enjoyment of good things which they hoped to receive in their stead was yet to come, our Savior desired to give them full assurance, evidently and openly, concerning that glory which is prepared for those who endure to the end. Therefore, fulfilling that which He had promised shortly before, that "there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom" (Matt. 16:28), He took His three foremost disciples and ascended Mount Tabor, where He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. Suddenly, together with this dread and marvelous effulgence of light, there appeared those pinnacles of the Prophets, Moses and Elias, who spoke with the Lord Jesus concerning His saving Passion which was about to take place. Standing before Him as reverent servants, they showed that He is the Lord of both the living and the dead, for Moses came forth from Hades, having died many centuries before, and Elias, as it were from heaven, whither he had been taken up while yet alive. After a little while a radiant cloud overshadowed them and out of the cloud they heard that same voice which had been heard at the Jordan at the Baptism of Christ, testifying to the Divinity of Jesus and saying: "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17: 5).
Such are the marvels, truly worthy of God, celebrated in this present feast, which is an image and prefiguring of the future state of the righteous, whose splendor the Lord spoke of, saying: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" (Matt. 13:43). It is because of this that the Kontakion of this Feast is said daily (when there is not a great feast) in the Service of the Typica in perpetual commemoration of the glory that will be the lot of the Saints. According to tradition, the Lord's Transfiguration came to pass forty days before His Crucifixion; this is why the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Cross.
Hymn of Pentecost:
O blessed are You, O Christ our God. Who by sending down the Holy Spirit upon them, made the fishermen wise, and through them illumined the world. And unto You the universe was ever drawn. All glory to You O Lord.
Hymn of St. John the Theologian
O Apostle, beloved of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a defenseless people. He that allowed thee to recline in His breast, receiveth thee bowing in intersession. Implore Him, O Theologian, do dispel the persistent cloud of the heathen, and ask for us His peace and great mercy.
Sixth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Luke 24:36-53
At that time, Jesus, having risen from the dead, stood in the midst of his disciples and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high."
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Prokeimenon. Plagal First Tone. Psalm 11.7,1.
You, O Lord, shall keep us and preserve us.
Verse: Save me, O Lord, for the godly man has failed.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 12:6-14.
Brethren, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
6th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 9:1-8
At that time, getting into a boat Jesus crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say 'Rise and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" he then said to the paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Every miracle, both those past and present, is a testimony of the truth of God, the truth that is God, in that it points us directly to the Kingdom of Heaven, to the restoration of the human race. Every miracle reminds us of God’s defeat of sin and death on the cross, His triumphant resurrection from the dead, His harrowing of Hades, His glorious ascension, and His victorious and final Second Coming when all that Christ has assumed, will restore all those who have joined the new race of Adam in Christ and we will see a new heaven and a new earth in which Christ will be all in all. Miracles are a sign of the “eschaton,” the reality of the Kingdom of God after the Second Coming of Christ.
The healing of the paralytic alludes to all of these works and promises of God on our behalf, where those who are being saved will be gathered up to join the ranks of heaven in Christ God’s near presence, where “sighing and sorrow shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11).
A greater miracle is at work here in today’s Gospel: We read that when Jesus saw the faith of those who had brought the paralytic to him, He instantly healed the man of his paralysis? No! He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” This was not what some were expecting; Chris’s words must have come as quite a shock.
These men didn’t pull up in a car, an easy drive from the city on modern roads, and carry their friend the last hundred feet to lay him before Jesus. These men must have carried their friend a great distance. Why? Because they had faith that Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, could heal their friend of his condition. They would not have undertaken such an exhausting enterprise as to carry a grown man so many miles on foot without possessing great faith. And Jesus first says to the man not, “take up your bed and walk,” but “your sins are forgiven you.”
Christ clearly teaches us here the priority of our eternal souls over our decaying bodies. Our souls are eternal. Sin, having entered the world and separated us from Him who is Life itself, means that our bodies wear out “like a garment” (Job 13). It wasn’t meant to be so: in Christ, we’ll be given resurrected bodies at His Second Coming. And so here we see yet another sign of the eschaton to come.
Christ addresses the ultimate need of the paralytic. Yes, he needs his legs, but more importantly, he needs to be cleansed, purified, forgiven. More important than the healing of his legs is the healing of his soul, of his becoming an adopted son of the living God, a co-heir with Christ. Everything else pales in comparison.
By forgiving the sins of the man, Christ clearly declares Himself to be God for, as the scribes rightly understood, “who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mk. 2:7; Lk. 5:21) Exactly! Their sinful hearts could not comprehend that the God who lovingly spoke creation into being through His Word (His Logos), would Himself enter into human nature to restore that nature, to restore a path to the Kingdom for His beloved sons and daughters, the pinnacle of His creation, with whom He so dearly desires communion.
The Scribes instantly charge blasphemy. Then Christ, to deepen the faith of all those assembled and silence the actual blasphemers, does two things that reveal Himself to be God: first, He tells them what they are thinking, saying, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, Arise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…” and then and only then, does Christ say to the man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” The man arose and departed to his house. Both of these miracles, the revelation of the inner thoughts of others and the healing of the paralysis prove that Christ is God.
What a joy! Can you feel it? Can you see it on the faces of this man and his friends? Their load has been taken from them. They walk home together, rejoicing, glorifying God. But the greatest joy is that this son of Adam has been forgiven, reconciled to God.
Before our baptism and the possibility of the renewal of that baptism through confession, we too are paralyzed by sin. Even in the life of an Orthodox Christian who has become part of the new creation, a beloved child of the eschaton, this world and all its confusion and hedonism may take hold of the unwary soul and paralyze it was addictions and habitual sins.
Those beset by any passions, repeated sins that paralyze our souls from progressing in our deification, our journey further up and further in the Kingdom of God and communion with the only Lover of mankind, here the words of our Lord, “Arise, take up your bed, and go unto your house.” With the Lord, there is forgiveness, there is new life, there is renewal. Fittingly, the title given to this story in the Orthodox Scriptures is “the Paralytic Restored.”
Christ God will restore us to if we come before His presence with faith, with the hope of restoration, of growth, of renewal in Him who is Life itself, the Great Physician of our souls. He alone is God, the only One who can forgive our sins, renew our baptism, and help us to progress in our participation in His life. Call on Him in time of need, entrust yourself to His grace and mercy. His grace is sufficient and His strength is perfected in weakness.