Just whose country is it anyhow?
As we Christians find ourselves more and more marginalized in our society, as increasing numbers of people are declaring themselves “none” on questionnaires, we must face the reality that we’ve, essentially, become a minority in a country that was traditionally identified as a Christian nation.
As Orthodox Christians we look to the Holy Virgin as the archetype of beauty, and the image of the perfect woman, whereas this present Western culture idolizes half naked women with painted faces, and the morals of a harlot. The media bombards us with an onslaught of trash, and our politicians are often no different than the senators of ancient pagan societies. Furthermore, the sin of usury is hurting our society more than we think, as our society has become more and more money mad, and our consumer capitalism has been made into yet another idol.
Many of us see the battle front as on the political side, and have committed ourselves to fighting for a return to the standards of the past. If we can just get honest Christians back in the saddle, all will be saved. Yet if we be honest, the signs abound that we have lost the battle.
Perhaps the answer is to be found in a sort of “circle the wagons” approach, where we build stronger parishes, and create safe havens for ourselves, and our children. Rather than continue the losing battle to return our nation to her Christian past, we build, like the early Christians, a nurturing place of spiritual support, and preserve what has always been within the walls of our churches and monasteries.
Like Saint Benedict, who built his monastery as a place of refuge and safety, preserving Christianity during a dark period in the history of the West, we create a place where the best of our Christian values and spiritual strength grow deeper and stronger. This holy place not only becomes our fortress against the sickness and perversion of a culture gone mad, but becomes the sought after place for others, when they’ve finally reached the end of their endurance.
As the corrupt society around us disintegrates into the cesspool of atheism and sensual abandon, our churches offer the safety and security of a God protected place of sanctuary, where we can be fortified as warriors battling the darkness of a world that has lost its way. And when the time comes, others will see what we have, and join us in the Ship that is the Church, and travel with us into that safe harbor, which is the Kingdom of God.
With love in Christ,
Thursday July 13, 2017 / June 30, 2017
6th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Synaxis of the Holy, Glorious and All-praised Twelve Apostles: Peter, Andrew, James and John the sons of Zebedee, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Jude the brother of James, Simon the Zealot, Matthias.
New Hieromartyr Timothy priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Theogenes (1939).
New Hieromartyr Milan Popovic of Rmanj, Serbia (1940s).
Martyr Joh (1944).
Venerable Peter the Prince of Ordinsk, Rostov (1290).
Glorification (1918) of St. Sophronius, bishop of Irkutsk (1771).
“Balikin” (1711) and “Gorbanevsk” (1786) Icons of the Mother of God.
St. Andrew, prince of Bogoliubsk (1174).
New Martyr Michael (Paknanas) the Gardener, of Athens (1770) (Greek).
Translation of the relics of the Great-martyr Stephen-Urosh III of Dechani, Serbia (1338).
St. Gelasius of Rimef (Transylvania) (14th c.).
Martyr Peter of Synope (Greek).
Martyr Meleton (Greek).
Martyr Basilides the Soldier at Alexandria (202).
Holy Queen Dinar (10th c.) (Georgia).
St. Stephen of Omsk (1876).
St. Martial, bishop of Lomoges (3rd c.).
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Avoid Worldly Wisdom
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you areChrist’s, and Christ is God’s.
The Parable of the Tares Explained
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!