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Friday, April 17, 2020

    “He has no form nor comeliness; and we saw him, but he had no form nor beauty. But his form was ignoble, and inferior to that of the children of men; he was a man in suffering, and acquainted with the bearing of sickness, so that his face was turned away: he was dishonoured, and not esteemed. He bears our sins, and is pained for us: yet we accounted him to be in trouble, and in suffering, and in affliction. But he was wounded on account of our sins, and was bruised because of our iniquities: the chastisement/teaching of our peace (παιδεία εἰρήνης ἡμῶν) was upon him; and by his bruises we were healed. All we as sheep (ὡς πρόβατα) have gone astray; every one has gone astray in his way; and the Lord gave him up for our sins. And he, because of his affliction, opens not his mouth: he...

Thursday, March 19, 2020

   “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall arise to rule over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust, and his rest shall be honor (ἡ ἀνάπαυσις αὐτοῦ τιμή). And it shall be in that day, that the Lord shall again show his hand, to be zealous for the remnant that is left of the people, which shall be left by the Assyrians, and that from Egypt, and from the country of Babylon, and from Ethiopia, and from the Elamites, and from the rising of the sun, and out of Arabia. And he shall lift up a sign (σημεῖον) for the nations, and he shall gather the lost ones of Israel, and he shall gather the dispersed of Juda from the four corners of the earth.” (Is 11: 10-12, Septuagint-translation)

     As this third week of Lent leads us to the upcoming Sunday of the...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

   “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’” (Acts 9: 1-6)

     Now, this question takes Saul by surprise: Why do you persecute “me”? Because Saul’s “righteous” anger was directed not against this loving voice, belonging to...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any man wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life/soul (τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) will lose it; and whoever loses his life/soul for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life/soul? For what can a man give in return for his life/soul?’” (Mk 8: 34-37)

This doesn’t make much sense, this talk about “losing” my “life/soul” in order to “save” it, – does it? Well, it does, if I remember that our Lord distinguishes between two kinds of “life/soul”: 1. the kind we all have whether we want it or not, just by being born of our physical parents; and 2. The kind we can embrace “if we want to co...

Monday, April 18, 2016

 

Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.’ And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him...

Saturday, April 16, 2016

 

The Archangel was sent from Heaven to cry 'Rejoice!' to the Theotokos. And beholding You, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as these: Rejoice, you through whom joy shall shine forth…” (Akathist to the Theotokos, Ikos 1)

 

Joy indeed. So much joy shines forth on this Saturday, as we rejoice in the beauty of the Most-Holy Mother of God. And all this one week before Her Son enters Jerusalem, to begin His final journey of suffering and death, through which She accompanies Him, as a sword pierces Her soul (Lk 2: 35). It is not an earthly “happiness” we are celebrating today, as we sing about “joy,” but rather the light and lightness of the Cross.

 

Today I rejoice, in gratitude, in the light and strength of Her motherly love...

Friday, April 8, 2016

 

Before Your Cross we bow down, O Master, and Your holy Resurrection we glorify.” (Byzantine Hymn of the Cross, chanted on the 4th week of Lent)

 

In the very middle of Lent, throughout this fourth week, we bow down before the cross, which is placed in the center of the church, having been solemnly brought out of the altar during last Sunday’s vigil. Why now, in the middle of Lent? Because our Lord’s death on the Cross marks the very middle, the center, of Salvation History.

 

We entered into Lent with a commemoration of the “beginning,” of Adam’s banishment from paradise (on Forgiveness Sunday), which we “read” from the perspective, the light, of the central event of the Cross. And we “read” this central event, of our Lord’s crucifixion and death, in the light of the Resurrection. At the ver...

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