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Sunday, July 14, 2019

           

           As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion answered him, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table wit...

Friday, July 12, 2019

           

         “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (Ps 18/19: 4, Communion-Verse on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul)

        Today, when our Older-Calendar churches celebrate the great feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, we refer this Psalm-verse to the “voice” and “words” of the Holy Apostles, the fallible but faith-inspired human beings, who famously endured certain ups and downs, on their cross-carrying journeys. While they themselves were limited, and did not physically travel “into all the earth,” nor “to the ends of the world,” their unified “voice” and salvific “words” have continuously spread, passed on from generation to generation “to the ends of the world,” by way...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    “This is now the second letter that I have written to you, beloved, and in both of them I have aroused your sincere mind by way of reminder; that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.’ … But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any...

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

    “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the

grace given to me by God…” (Rom 15: 13-15)

     On this fourth week of the Apostles’ Fast, as we approach the great feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (this upcoming Friday, for NC-people, and on July 12, for OC-people), I’d like to take pause and reflect on St. Paul’s admonishing-yet-encouraging pastoral “style.” The great Apostle to the Gentiles does admonish his people, writing “more boldly” to them...

Friday, May 4, 2018

     “While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can any one forbid water for baptising these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10: 44-48a)

     Right after St. Peter preached about Jesus Christ in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, “the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word,” – “even on the Gentiles” who were not yet baptised. So, one might ask, did they even “need” to be baptised, if hearing the Good News t...

Thursday, May 3, 2018

     “And Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10: 34-35)

     This St. Peter says in the house of one Cornelius, a Gentile, and a centurion of the “Italian Cohort” in the Roman army, to whom Peter is sent to preach, and whom Peter ends up baptizing, with all of Cornelius’s household in Caesarea. The mission to Cornelius is a surprise to St. Peter at this point, because Peter had not yet stepped outside his “comfort zone,” based on the Jewish tradition of his upbringing, which perceived Gentiles as a source of ritual impurity.

     Please see all of this Chapter 10 of Acts, for the full story of the Gentile, Cornelius, and of St. Peter’...

Friday, January 26, 2018

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει) of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge (διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως) of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (ἐπιθυμίᾳ), and become partakers (κοινωνοὶ) of the divine nature.” (2 Pet 1: 2-4)

The “knowledge“ of God brings grace, peace and divine power into my life, St. Peter reminds me here. We have been given to “know“ Him in the coming to us, as one of us, of His Son, the God-Man Jesus Christ. He partook of our human nature, that we might, if we choose t...

Monday, January 22, 2018

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Pet 2: 21-25)

St. Peter reminds me that I have a choice this Monday morning, between “straying like (a) sheep,” or “following in His steps.” The latter option is simpler, really, even if it isn’t always easier. It means not fighting pointless...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“…And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon (Peter), ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be a...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law—though not being myself under the law—that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law—not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ—that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in it (ἵνα συγκοινωνὸς αὐτοῦ γένωμαι, become its communicant).” (1 Cor 9: 20-23)

Today, as those of us on the Older Calendar celebrate the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, I’d like to ask myself, once again, what it means to be a Church that is “apostolic”; more specifically, I...

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