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:. Constantine Zouboukos & Lambros Papademetriou
Epistle Reader: Stephanos Mangafakis
Prosphoro: Ellen Hontzas
Orthros starts at 8:45 am
Please Note - Our guidelines for "worshiping in person"
Please join us on Sundays for the celebration of the Orthros 8:45 am (for those who may feel uncomfortable in a "group setting" the hour between 9 and 10 may be a good time to come to church, light a candle, pray, or leave your offfering) and Divine Liturgy 10 am as we are now "open" following the guidelines of our Metropolis and of our State of Mississippi.See the guideline details below. If you cannot join us the Liturgy will be streamed "live and in color", (streaming at 10:00 am). If you cannot attend and still want to light a candle, or make an offering and watch. Please use any of the links below
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or go to
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
There will be limited access to the church proper - the door by the Church offices will be unlocked please use this one, please note that one or both of the double doors to the Church proper will remain open, so please enter quietly. We ask that when you enter or leave please wash your hands in the appropriate rest rooms or use the hand sanitizer provided by the door as you enter the Church proper. A limited number of disposable masks will be available.
Per the guidelines - all persons are asked to wear a mask or face covering in church.
The offering tray will be on the bench as you enter the nave - you may leave your offerings as you enter the Church proper.
You may proceed to the back of the church to light a candle - for now we ask that you refrain from kissing icons, priest's hand, etc. Bowing is another way to show our reverence to icons etc. etc.
Pews have been marked with a green cross so that the proper social distancing of 6 feet between people. There are 40 seats marked so there is plenty of room that allows for social distancing. Members of the same family may sit together.
Distribution of Holy Communion - row by row and stand six feet apart in line. You may remove your mask to receive Holy Communion - allow the servers to hold the Communion cloth under your chin. But please refrain from "touching the cloth" to your lips. Please understand that our Metropolis guidelines have insisted that all priests and their adult servers that help with the distribution of Holy Communion wear face masks while doing so.
Antidoron will not be offered after Holy Communion but will be available when you leave Church and will be offered in plastic zip lock baggies. As we leave the Church please follow the directions of the ushers so that we leave in an orderly fashion and still observe the six feet rule of social distancing.
Since we are asked to avoid "gatherings" of people we ask that you avoid, at least for the time being, "the temptation" to socialize as you enter or leave the Church proper and building.
We of course will continue to live stream We hope that this will unite us as we pray, will calm our souls and bring us closer to Christ. Stay well. Thoughts and prayers for all of you
Our January Birthday List: Elaina Valsamakis Baggett-January 1st, Bennet Hutson-January 3rd, Michael Kountouris-January 4th, Halie Nicholette Cora-January 4th, Thomas Sturgon-January 13th, Brayden Quinn-January 13th, Christopher Broome-January 17th, Steve Efstratiou-January 26th,. PLEASE LET FATHER ANDREW KNOW OF ANY ADDITIONS OR CORRECTIONS
Our Holy Trinity-St. John the Theologian Prayer List:
"Remember Lord, those whom each of us calls prayerfully to mind" Chuck Odom, Nicholas & Dianna Psaris, John Botes, Christ Castanis, George V. Pinchuk, Chris Grillis, Lambryne Angelo, Callie McDole, 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, Alexa Zouboukos, Dot Pavlou, Jean Hare has asked that we pray for her nephew Scot Smith, Presvitera Bonnie Koufopoulos, Sherry Wheat (Theo Mavridoglou's friend's spouse), Charlie Privett (Chris Valsamkis' friend from Aberdeen MS). Please remember to pray for our Doctors, Nurses, and all those on the frontlines during these times and for all those who may be suffering or in hardships during this pandemic.
Saint Anthony, the Father of monks, was born in Egypt in 251 of pious parents who departed this life while he was yet young. On hearing the words of the Gospel: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21), he immediately put it into action. Distributing to the poor all he had, and fleeing from all the turmoil of the world, he departed to the desert. The manifold temptations he endured continually for the span of twenty years are incredible. His ascetic struggles by day and by night, whereby he mortified the uprisings of the passions and attained to the height of dispassion, surpass the bounds of nature; and the report of his deeds of virtue drew such a multitude to follow him that the desert was transformed into a city, while he became, so to speak, the governor, lawgiver, and master-trainer of all the citizens of this newly-formed city.
The cities of the world also enjoyed the fruit of his virtue. When the Christians were being persecuted and put to death under Maximinus in 312, he hastened to their aid and consolation. When the Church was troubled by the Arians, he went with zeal to Alexandria in 335 and struggled against them in behalf of Orthodoxy. During this time, by the grace of his words, he also turned many unbelievers to Christ.
Saint Anthony began his ascetic life outside his village of Coma in Upper Egypt, studying the ways of the ascetics and holy men there, and perfecting himself in the virtues of each until he surpassed them all. Desiring to increase his labors, he departed into the desert, and finding an abandoned fortress in the mountain, he made his dwelling in it, training himself in extreme fasting, unceasing prayer, and fierce conflicts with the demons. Here he remained, as mentioned above, about twenty years. Saint Athanasius the Great, who knew him personally and wrote his life, says that he came forth from that fortress "initiated in the mysteries and filled with the Spirit of God." Afterwards, because of the press of the faithful, who deprived him of his solitude, he was enlightened by God to journey with certain Bedouins, until he came to a mountain in the desert near the Red Sea, where he passed the remaining part of his life.
Saint Athanasius says of him that "his countenance had a great and wonderful grace. This gift also he had from the Saviour. For if he were present in a great company of monks, and any one who did not know him previously wished to see him, immediately coming forward he passed by the rest, and hurried to Anthony, as though attracted by his appearance. Yet neither in height nor breadth was he conspicuous above others, but in the serenity of his manner and the purity of his soul." So Passing his life, and becoming an example of virtue and a rule for monastics, he reposed on January 17 in the year 356, having lived altogether some 105 years.
In the half-century after the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 325, if there was one man whom the Arians feared and hated more intensely than any other, as being able to lay bare the whole error of their teaching, and to marshal, even from exile or hiding, the beleaguered forces of the Orthodox, it was Saint Athanasios the Great. This blazing lamp of Orthodoxy, which imperial power and heretics' plots could not quench when he shone upon the lampstand, nor find when he was hid by the people and monks of Egypt, was born in Alexandria about the year 296. He received an excellent training in Greek letters and especially in the sacred Scriptures, of which he shows an exceptional knowledge in his writings. Even as a young man he had a remarkable depth of theological understanding; he was only about twenty years old when he wrote his treatise "On the Incarnation." Saint Alexander, the Archbishop of Alexandria, brought him up in piety, ordained him his deacon, and after deposing Arius for his blasphemy against the Divinity of the Son of God, took Athanasios to the First Council in Nicea in 325. Saint Athanasios was to spend the remainder of his life laboring in defense of this Holy Council. In 326, before his death, Alexander appointed Athanasios his successor.
In 325, Arius had been condemned by the Council of Nicea; yet through his hypocritical confession of Orthodox belief, Saint Constantine the Great was persuaded by Arius's supporters that he should be received back into the communion of the Church. But Athanasios, knowing well the perverseness of his mind, and the disease of heresy lurking in his heart, refused communion with Arius. The heresiarch's followers then began framing false charges against Athanasios. Finally Saint Constantine the Great, misled by grave charges of the Saint's misconduct (which were completely false), had him exiled to Tiberius (Treves) in Gaul in 336. When Saint Constantine was succeeded by his three sons Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius, in 337, Saint Athanasios returned to Alexandria in triumph. But his enemies found an ally in Constantius, Emperor of the East, and he spent a second exile in Rome. It was ended when Constans prevailed with threats upon his brother Constantius to restore Athanasios (see also Nov. 6). For ten years Saint Athanasios strengthened Orthodoxy throughout Egypt, visiting the whole country and encouraging all: clergy, monastics, and lay folk, being loved by all as a father. After Constans's death in 350, Constantius became sole Emperor, and Athanasios was again in danger. On the evening of February 8, 356, General Syrianus with more than five thousand soldiers surrounded the church in which Athanasios was serving, and broke open the doors. Athanasios's clergy begged him to leave, but the good shepherd commanded that all the flock should withdraw first; and only when he was assured of their safety, he also, protected by divine grace, passed through the midst of the soldiers and disappeared into the deserts of Egypt, where for some six years he eluded the soldiers and spies sent after him.
When Julian the Apostate succeeded Constantius in 361, Athanasios returned again, but only for a few months. Because Athanasios had converted many pagans, and the priests of the idols in Egypt wrote to Julian that if Athanasios remained, idolatry would perish in Egypt, the heathen Emperor ordered not Athanasios's exile, but his death. Athanasios took a ship up the Nile. When he learned that his imperial pursuers were following him, he had his men turn back, and as his boat passed that of his pursuers, they asked him if he had seen Athanasios. "He is not far," he answered. After returning to Alexandria for a while, he fled again to the Thebaid until Julian's death in 363. Saint Athanasios suffered his fifth and last exile under Valens in 365, which only lasted four months because Valens, fearing a sedition among the Egyptians for their beloved Archbishop, revoked his edict in February, 366.
The great Athanasios passed the remaining seven years of his life in peace. Of his fifty-seven years as Patriarch, he had spent some seventeen in exiles. Shining from the height of his throne like a radiant evening star, and enlightening the Orthodox with the brilliance of his words for yet a little while, this much-suffering champion inclined toward the sunset of his life, and in the year 373 took his rest from his lengthy sufferings, but not before another luminary of the truth -- Basil the Great -- had risen in the East, being consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. Besides all of his other achievements, Saint Athanasios wrote the life of Saint Anthony the Great, with whom he spent time in his youth; ordained Saint Frumentius first Bishop of Ethiopia; and in his Paschal Encyclical for the year 367 set forth the books of the Old and New Testaments accepted by the Church as canonical. Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his "Oration On the Great Athanasios", said that he was "Angelic in appearance, more angelic in mind; ... rebuking with the tenderness of a father, praising with the dignity of a ruler ... Everything was harmonious, as an air upon a single lyre, and in the same key; his life, his teaching, his struggles, his dangers, his return, and his conduct after his return ... he treated so mildly and gently those who had injured him, that even they themselves, if I may say so, did not find his restoration distasteful."
Saint Cyril was also from Alexandria, born about the year 376. He was the nephew of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who also instructed the Saint in his youth. Having first spent much time with the monks in Nitria, he later became the successor to his uncle's throne in 412. In 429, when Cyril heard tidings of the teachings of the new Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, he began attempting through private letters to bring Nestorius to renounce his heretical teaching about the Incarnation. When the heresiarch did not repent, Saint Cyril, together with Pope Celestine of Rome, led the Orthodox opposition to his error. Saint Cyril presided over the Third Ecumenical Council of the 200 Holy Fathers in the year 431, who gathered in Ephesus under Saint Theodosius the Younger. At this Council, by his most wise words, he put to shame and convicted the impious doctrine of Nestorius, who, although he was in town, refused to appear before Cyril. Saint Cyril, besides overthrowing the error of Nestorius, has left to the Church full commentaries on the Gospels of Luke and John. Having shepherded the Church of Christ for thirty-two years, he reposed in 444.
Saint Macarius the Great was from the Thebaid of Egypt, a disciple, as some say, of Saint Anthony the Great. He was born about 331 and struggled in asceticism in the desert at Scete. Although young, he was called "the child elder" because of his great wisdom and austere manner of life. He was ordained presbyter and reposed in 391, at the age of sixty. There are fifty homilies ascribed to him.
It is said of Saint Macarius that he became as a God upon earth, for even as God protects the whole world, so did he cover the faults he saw as if he did not see them. Once he came back to his cell to find a thief taking his things and loading them on a camel. Macarius' non-possessiveness was so great that he helped the thief load the camel. When the camel refused to rise, Macarius returned to his cell and brought a small hoe, said that the camel wanted the hoe also, loaded it on, and kicked the camel telling it to get up. The camel obeyed Macarius' command, but soon lay down again, and would not move until everything had been returned to Macarius. His contemporary, Saint Macarius of Alexandria, was so called because he came from Alexandria and was therefore of that Greek-speaking colony; while Saint Macarius the Great is also called "of Egypt," that is, he belonged to the ancient race native to Egypt, the Copts.
The great teacher and invincible defender of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, Saint Mark, was the offspring and scion of the imperial city, Constantinople. Reared by most pious parents, and instructed in secular and spiritual wisdom, he became preeminent in both. Saint Mark lived as an ascetic on the Prince's Islands and later in the monastery of Saint George Magana in Constantinople. He passed through all the degrees of the priesthood, and was finally advanced to the dignity of Archbishop and the lofty throne of the Metropolis of Ephesus. At the insistence of Emperor John Paleologos, the Saint was sent to the council of the Latins in Florence, to unite the churches that had been divided for so many years. He astounded the papal teachers with the divine wisdom of his words, and was the only one who did not sign the blasphemous decree of that false council. Because of this, the Holy Church of Christ has ever honored this great man as a benefactor, teacher, sole defender, and invincible champion of the Apostolic Confession. He reposed in 1443.
This Saint, who was from Melitene in Armenia, was the son of pious parents named Paul and Dionysia. He was born about 377. Since his mother had been barren, he was named Euthymius-which means "good cheer" or "joy"-for this is what his parents experienced at his birth. He studied under Eutroius, the Bishop of Melitene, by whom he was ordained and entrusted with the care of the monasteries of Melitene. Then, after he had come to Palestine about the year 406, he became the leader of a multitude of monks. Through him, a great tribe of Arabs was turned to piety, when he healed the ailing son of their leader Aspebetos. Aspebetos was baptized with all his people; he took the Christian name of Peter, and was later consecrated Bishop for his tribe, being called "Bishop of the Tents." Saint Euthymius also fought against the Nestorians, Eutychians, and Manichaeans. When Eudocia, the widow of Saint Theodosius the Younger, had made her dwelling in Palestine, and had fallen into the heresy of the Monophysites which was championed in Palestine by a certain Theodosius, she sent envoys to Saint Symeon the Stylite in Syria (see Sept. 1), asking him his opinion of Eutyches and the Council of Chalcedon which had condemned him; Saint Symeon, praising the holiness and Orthodoxy of Saint Euthymius near whom she dwelt, sent her to him to be delivered from her error (the holy Empress Eudocia is commemorated Aug. 13). He became the divine oracle of the Church, or rather, "the vessel of divine utterance," as a certain historian writes. He was the instructor and elder of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified. Having lived for ninety-six years, he reposed in 473, on January 20.
The divine Maximus, who was from Constantinople, sprang from an illustrious family. He was a lover of wisdom and an eminent theologian. At first, he was the chief private secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. When the Monothelite heresy became predominant in the royal court, out of hatred for this error the Saint departed for the Monastery at Chrysopolis (Scutari), of which he later became the abbot. When Constans tried to constrain him either to accept the Monothelite teaching, or to stop speaking and writing against it - neither of which the Saint accepted to do - his tongue was uprooted and his right hand was cut off, and he was sent into exile where he reposed in 662. At the time only he and his few disciples were Orthodox in the East (See also August 13).
The Apostle Timothy, who was from Lystra of Lycaonia, was born of a Greek (that is, pagan) father and a Jewish mother. His mother's name was Eunice, and his grandmother's name was Lois (II Tim. 1:5). He became the disciple of the Apostle Paul when the latter first preached there, and he followed St. Paul during the whole period of the Apostle's preaching. Afterwards, Timothy was consecrated by him as first Bishop of the church in Ephesus. Under the supervision of John the Evangelist, who governed all the churches in Asia, he completed his life as a martyr in the year 97. He was stoned to death by the heathens, because, as some surmise, he opposed the festival held in honor of Artemis (Diana). The Apostle Paul's First and Second Epistles to Timothy were written to him.
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.
Tenth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 21:1-14
At that time, being raised from the dead, Jesus revealed himself to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Prokeimenon. Grave Tone. Psalm 115.15,12.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Verse: What shall I render to the Lord for all that he has given me?
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 13:17-21.
Brethren, obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
12th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 17:12-19
At that time, as Jesus entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus's feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus: "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him: "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."
If you need a plan for improving part of your life, numerous programs are available. In a quick internet search I found a ten step plan for career change, a five step plan for creating personal mission statements, a six step plan for organizing yourself and a ten step plan for better postdoctoral training. Of course, the most famous and original step plan is the Twelve Steps of Alcoholic?s Anonymous that became the basis for twelve steps for Christian living and all other sorts of twelve step programs. So, whatever you need to change or improve, there is a plan for you. Today?s gospel reading, the 12 Sunday of Luke 17:11-19 gives us a plan for healing. I will call it ?The Ten Steps for Healing the Ten Lepers.?
Now because we have ten steps, and it might be difficult to remember them, I will enumerate all ten now, then I will elaborate on them and then I will quickly review them. The Ten Steps for Healing are: 1) Approach Jesus, 2) Call out to Jesus, 3) Listen to Jesus, 4) Obey Jesus, 5) Go to the Priest/Church, 6) Glorify/Praise God, 7) Bow Down to Jesus, 8) Thank Jesus, 9) Go on Your Way, 10) Remember Your Faith. Let us understand that leprosy was a skin condition of varying degrees, the worst being the loss of fingers and toes. Leprosy rendered persons ritually unclean and unfit to worship God (Leviticus 13:3) and therefore lepers were isolated from the rest of the people. When we go through the ten steps, some of us will think of being cured of physical ailments. All of us should have in mind the spiritual illnesses we currently suffer from. Now, let us examine the Ten Steps for Healing in more depth.
1. Approach Jesus- In verse 12, Jesus enters a certain village and meets ten lepers. By this time in His ministry Jesus was well known for His charismatic teaching and miraculous healings. Thus, the lepers, even though they stood far off, probably positioned themselves so that Jesus would run into them. Just like Jairus (Mk.5:22;Lk.8:41), the Centurion (Mt.8:5), and others, we need to approach and draw near to Jesus so we can increase the likelihood that He will run into us. At the same time, we must be humbly aware of our current lack of health, including despair, resentment and jealousy, and how it separates/isolates us from God and each other.
2. Call Out to Jesus- In verse 13, the lepers lift up their voices and say, ?Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!? This is a cry of prayer very similar to the Publican (Lk.18:38), the Canaanite woman (Mt.15:22), and the Two Blind Men (Mk.10:47). The first step is a reaching out of the body. This second step is a reaching out of the heart and giving a voice to its desire. In the Prayer before the Great Entrance, it says, ?O God, who art good and ready to hear.? If we call out to God from the depth of our heart, He hears us and He will comfort us. Yet, we must make the effort to inform God that we are ready for Him to act in our life.
3. Listen to Jesus- Again, by the time, Jesus was a well-known teacher and the lepers most-likely were waiting anxiously to hear His words of wisdom in answer to their call. Indeed, for good communication to take place both parties must be willing to speak and to listen. Once we cry out in prayer, we must open our ears to listen to the healing words of Christ. If we are always talking, even in prayer to God, it will be difficult to hear what He is trying to tell us. Let us be silent in order to listen and to avoid having a one-way monologue with God.
4. Go to the Priest/Church- Jesus? response to the lepers is ?Go, show yourselves to the priests? (v.14). This is in accordance with the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 13&14) which prescribed how one was to becoming ritually clean from leprosy. More importantly, it underlines the necessity for sacrament and community in healing. In other words, we need to experience the concrete reality of God?s healing grace in liturgical forms and symbols. It is essential for us to know that it?s not just me and God but it is God working on me through other people, especially the priest?the one ordained by God?s grace to minister to me. The Church is the only place you can go to receive the Sacrament/Mystery of Holy Confession, Holy Unction and Holy Communion and the priest is the only one who can administer them to you. This communal experience helps to overcome the isolation and alienation that were mentioned in the first step. St. Euthymios said, "Look to yourselves, and preserve your souls and bodies in purity. Do not fail to attend the church services, and keep the traditions and rules of our community.
5. Obey Jesus- How did the lepers respond to Jesus? command? Did they question Him? Did they ignore Him? They obeyed Him for it says, ?As they went, they were cleansed? (v.14). The monastic fathers repeatedly lift up the virtue of obedience because it cuts off our self-will which is an expression of pride. St Euthymius, who?s memory we keep today, said, "Whoever desires to lead the monastic life should not follow his own will. He should be obedient and humble, and be mindful of the hour of death. He should fear the judgment and eternal fire, and seek the heavenly Kingdom." "Obedience is a great virtue. The Lord loves obedience more than sacrifice, but disobedience leads to death." Pride, of course, is thinking that we know best for ourselves, better than anyone else, including Jesus. Pride is the illness Adam and Eve suffered from that led them to disobey the life-sustaining command of God and brought alienation between themselves and their Creator. Our Holy Orthodox Christian Tradition, including the Scriptures, has numerous precepts and statutes that are equivalent to a doctor?s instructions for getting well. We must be obedient and follow them to be healed.
6. Praise/Glorify God- ?One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned and with a loud voice glorified God? (v.15). Giving credit where it is due is an important aspect of our healing. The scriptures repeatedly affirm that we should give credit to God in an explicit manner when He acts in a powerful and miraculous way. This is one of our characteristics in God?s design?to glorify and praise Him. That?s the way we are made or in other words, that?s what we are made for. To not give glory and praise to God is to act contrary to our own nature. This outward acknowledgment is also important in sharing the Good News about God. How can others learn about Jesus? powerful love, care and help if we do not share it with them? It would be like finding a cure for a cancer but keeping it to ourself and preventing others from having it. We would not think of such a thing. We must evangelize and share the cure that Christ Himself provides.
7. Bow Down to Christ- Some may think that praising and glorifying God is enough to give credit to the Author of healing. However, the one leper also ?fell down on his face at Jesus? feet? (v.16). This gesture expresses a complete humility and submission. It says that Jesus is Lord and Master of my life. He is ?numero uno?, the number one person in my life. When we allow other persons or other things to supplant Jesus from the top slot of our life, then we start to have problems. God?s love for us is infinite and wise. No other person cares for us and our well-being as much as Jesus. Any object, thing, habit, or job is not even capable of love?so why even let them be on top in the first place. God is the physician and healer of our souls and bodies. That?s why we chant at the Small Entrance, ?Come let us bow down to Christ and worship Him, the Son of God.?
8. Give Thanks to Christ- The one leper gives thanks to Jesus (v.16) and Jesus notes the absence of the other nine (v.17-18). Both of these highlight the importance of being thankful. We write thank you notes for the gifts we receive on our birthday and at Christmas. It is common courtesy and a way to show our genuine appreciation. More importantly, it helps us avoid taking the gifts, and the generosity behind them, for granted. When we give thanks, we take the view that the cup is half-full and this attitude helps us to see the many other blessings of God in our life. We chant Psalm 92:1 in the first verse of the First Antiphon of a weekday liturgy, ?It is good to give thanks to the Lord and sing praises to Your name, O Most High One.? It is good in the sight of God and it is good, meaning healing, for us.
9. Go Your Way- Jesus says to the one leper, ?Arise, go your way? (v.19) and in these words says, ?Move on with your life.? Healing implies change, movement and progress. Anyone knows that illness can stop us in our tracks. Even with a common cold, what seemed routine and easy becomes difficult. Tasks are not easy to complete when we do not feel well. It is much more difficult to see the signs of and diagnose spiritual illness because it is inherently self-blinding. Yet, one tell-tale sign is a sense of stagnation, the lack of growth and feeling stifled. Any of these should warn us and motivate us to get a check-up. Once healed we are ready to move forward, not returning to our former state, no matter how familiar and comfortable it may be. At the end of the Liturgy, before the Prayer behind the Amvon, we pray ?Let us go forth in peace, let us pray to the Lord.?
10. Remember Your Faith- Today?s passage closes with Jesus saying to the leper, ?Your faith has made you well? (v.19). His words, which He says to many others, are a stamp or a seal upon the whole experience of healing. This is why, this is how it happened, remember that! Faith is belief?not just a propositional belief that God exists but especially a deep trust in the One God that truly exists. Again, believing is part of how God made us. So when we believe in Christ, we are fulfilling the image of God within us. 36He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.? (John 3:36). We taste everlasting life on earth when we exercise our faith and experience God?s healing. St. Euthymios said, ?If someone tries to do something good in the place where he lives but fails to complete it, he should not think that he will accomplish it elsewhere. It is not the place that produces success, but faith and a firm will. A tree which is often transplanted does not bear fruit
In conclusion, you may have noticed that the first five steps: 1) Approach Jesus, 2) Call out to Jesus, 3) Listen to Jesus, 4) Obey Jesus, 5) Go to the priest/Church, occur before the actual healing of the lepers. The last five steps, 6) Glorify/praise God, 7) Bow Down before Jesus, 8) Thank Jesus, 9) Go on your way, 10) Remember your Faith, occur after the healing. However, healing is not complete without all the steps. The other nine lepers were healed physically, but were they healed spiritually? Our body and soul are intimately connected and intertwined so what affects one will affect the other and vice versa. The health of our body counts for nothing if our soul is diseased with sinful passion and desire. Eventually, our soul?s illnesses will catch up with us and our body. Ultimately, no matter how virtuous and healthy our soul is, our body will slowly break down, decay and die. However, a pure, holy and repentant heart will ensure that our soul lives eternally in peace and communion with God.
You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed upon you in the past, and still bestows for the salvation of your soul. You must no let forgetfulness of evil or laziness make you grow unmindful of these many and great blessings, and so pass the rest of your life uselessly and ungratefully. For this kind of continual recollection, pricking the heart like a spur, moves it constantly to confession and humility, to thanksgiving with a contrite soul, and to all forms of sincere effort, repaying God through its virtue and holiness. St. Mark the Ascetic