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Sunday, June 10, 2018

     “As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.” (Mt 4: 18-22)

     The Apostles’ Fast is a good time to contemplate what we mean, when we profess our faith in a Church that is, among other things, “apostolic.” In the broadest sense, the word “apostolic” means, “having a mission.” More specifically, it mean...

Friday, June 8, 2018

     “Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’” (Mt 9: 14-17)

     The “Bridegroom” of the Church, Jesus Christ, was “taken away,” – and yet in nowise abandoned us, – when He ascended into heaven, in or...

Friday, June 16, 2017

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into new wineskins, and so both are preserved.’” (Mt 9: 14-17)

As we complete the first week of the Apostles Fast, I’m thinking about those early times, when the Apostles themselves did not fast. They were still “new” to Chri...

Friday, March 3, 2017

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” (Lk 4: 1-4)

Jesus was, indeed, “hungry.” He did, indeed, “need” something to eat. He also “could” provide bread for Himself in the wilderness, because this was within His power. Nonetheless, He rejects the devil’s enticing suggestion, to turn a stone to bread. Why?

Because it’s the devil’s suggestion. And Christ is showing us that our God-given, physical needs, as well as our God-given powers, are not to be addre...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hear, O heaven, and hearken, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, saying, I have begotten and reared up children, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know me, and the people has not regarded me… Your fasting, and rest from work, your new moons also, and your feasts my soul hates: you have become loathsome to me; I will no more pardon your sins. When you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away my eyes from you: and though you make many supplications, I will not hearken to you; for your hands are full of blood. Wash you, be clean; remove your iniquities from your souls before my eyes; cease from your iniquities; learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, deliver him that is suffering wrong, plead for the orphan, and...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show people (τοῖς ἀνθρώποις) that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear as fasting to people (τοῖς ἀνθρώποις), but to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6: 16-21)

Fasting is good for me, no doubt about it. It is good for...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing…Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples,‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2: 12-13, 17)

This passage strikes me as painfully relevant to us today. It is one of our Church’s readings for this Wednesday of Cheesefare-Week, on which we on the Byzantine liturgical calendar have Lenten services with the reading of the Lente...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

 

And one of the crowd answered him, ‘Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.’ And he answered them, ‘O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.’ And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, ‘How long has he had this?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘...

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Then they said to him, ‘John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.’ Jesus said to them, ‘You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.’ He also told them a parable: ‘No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old…” (Lk 5: 33-36)

 

The Lord’s disciples are new to the whole business of spiritual life. He has chosen them from all walks of life, like that of a fisherman and of a tax-collector. So at this point they are toddlers, enjoying their first steps with Him, Who is constan...

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