It is a very serious question by a very serious young man, and it demands a very serious answer. Our Lord does not disappoint him in this regard. He actually gave an answer in three steps, because our Christian life is gradually acquired; we struggle for virtue, but we do not obtain it from the very moment we leave the baptismal font.
There is a man who is paralyzed, and he has asked his friends to help him. He has four that will take him on his bed, and want to bring him to Christ. Because of the press (the crowd of people), he couldn’t get to Jesus.What is this press, brothers and sisters?
I hope that when you’re thinking about what you’re thankful for on this day it’s not different than any other day, because despite the fact that you are just a pitiful weak creature, God has called you to be a son and a daughter, and that you have a deep heart and that God is going to fill that heart with Himself. You will become all light, all fire, and all good. We should thank God for that every day.
There are four kinds of men described in this parable, and, three of those kinds perished. All of humanity fits into one of these categories, and the majority will perish. This is true in our age, and has been true in every age.
Brothers and sisters this is the last Presanctified Liturgy for the year. We won’t have another one until Great Lent begins again if God grants us life next year. Today we commemorate the woman who anointed the Lord, preparing Him for His burial, and also Judas who betrayed the Lord.
What can we learn from this short, little story, just a few lines? We can certainly see that one should give thanks to God, but more fundamentally, the inner meaning is that this leper had eyes to see, and ears to hear, and saw the God-man, and acted upon what he learned and what he knew.
The first dogma we must understand about knowing God is that He is transcendently above and invisible to all His creation, except when He wills to make Himself known. Christianity is completely a revealed religion. It is the process of God revealing Himself to the human heart. Only God can give us knowledge about Himself. Everything we can say about Him is because of His revelation of Himself to us, and whatever we say about Him cannot describe Him, because he is unknowable. He can only be known by experience, which He initiates. Orthodox Christianity is the practice of continually and increasingly experiencing God.
Brothers and sisters, today is the Procession of the Cross which we celebrate on the first of August, and also the holy Maccabean martyrs with their teacher Eleazar and their mother Solomonia. St. Paul has two famous phrases that are in one of the epistles we read today—a very misunderstood phrase. Let’s talk about what it really means.
Great Lent has once again come to an end, and once again we are entering Great and Holy Week, following the triumphal feast of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday. Fr. Seraphim Holland from the St. Nicholas Church in McKinney, Texas answers some basic on Holy Week and Palm Sunday.
Brothers and sisters, I beg you to cultivate this feeling of sorrow in your heart, sorrow for your own sins, sorrow for the situation of those in the world. Not out of judgment on them, but out of deep sorrow that there is so much pain, that there is so much aimlessness and uselessness in the world, that people you love are having troubles and you don't know how to help them.
Imagine what he felt. He was in Hades, and he heard the voice of God, all the way in Hades, and He brought him back in an instant, in a flash. He knew the power of God, and those around saw that power, as Jesus, with a loud voice said, "Lazarus, come forth." And the same voice calls us -- the same voice calls us to come forth. The same voice says, " I am the resurrection. If you believe in Me you will have eternal life." We must believe. We must understand. I tell you. We must also live according to the way Christ is, and then you will understand what it means to be a Christian.
Christianity is very simple. We complicate it because we want to complicate it. Because then we sort of have a smoke screen around us. It’s hard to be brutally honest with ourselves. Christianity is brutal honesty with ourselves and with others.
Here is what I want to share with you from my heart. When the wise men had finished worshipping the Lord Jesus, Being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way (Mt. 2:12). This is very significant. Every time I read this, I am filled with great joy. There is another way, brothers and sisters.
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried" (Luke 16:22)Why into Abraham's bosom?Comment on the different way in which the rich man and Lazarus ended their days. There is a great significance in these terse words!
There is no other sacred hymn which compares with this monumental work, which St Andrew wrote for his personal meditations. Nothing else has its extensive typology and mystical explanations of the scripture, from both the Old and New Testaments. One can almost consider this hymn to be a “survey of the Old and New Testament”. Its other distinguishing features are a spirit of mournful humility, hope in God, and complex and beautiful Trinitarian Doxologies and hymns to the Theotokos in each Ode.
We cannot but scratch the surface of what this parable means in the Christian life, but it is here primarily because one cannot celebrate a feast without being morally prepared. This parable tells us sins to avoid, attitudes to avoid. It tells us to wake up! It tells us to be ready. We commemorate the Holy Forefathers today, because they indeed were part of the preparation for Christ. Without them, there would have been no God-man, Jesus Christ, because He was born of a woman, who was of their lineage, and, if this is not exactly so in a physical sense, their prophesies and piety prepared the way for the coming of Christ. That was part of God’s plan.
What happened to the man who had the demons taken out of him, and the demon went around deserts and rocky places, and desolate areas, and the found no place to dwell? What did the demon do? He got seven other demons worse than himself, and he went back to the man. They found his soul was all swept and garnished inside, but since the man had not lived a virtuous life since his deliverance from the one demon, and the demons were able to make their abode in him, and the last state of the man is worse than the first!
Imagine what he felt. He was in Hades, and he heard the voice of God, all the way in Hades, and He brought him back in an instant, in a flash. He knew the power of God, and those around saw that power, as Jesus, with a loud voice said, "Lazarus, come forth." And the same voice calls us -- the same voice calls us to come forth. The same voice says, " I am the resurrection. If you believe in Me you will have eternal life." We must believe. We must understand.