And the corporate nature of salvation
There is a certain emptiness in trying to live the Christian life outside the life of the Church. This is because it is impossible to truly live as a Christian without the Church. The reading of the scriptures, and our commitment to prayer, are important foundations in the life of a Christian, but they are incomplete without the mystical and sacramental life that is found within the Church.
If we hope to grow spiritually, we will take advantage of the Mysteries that are found only within the Church. Without the Mystery of Penance, and the absolution of the Church, we have no hope of transformation and holiness, for without the corporate life of the Church, our sins keep us captive. Without the Mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood, received during the celebration of the Church’s Divine Liturgy, the healing of the soul remains undone, and salvation is next to impossible.
The center of the Church’s Eucharistic liturgy is to be found in the descent, the appearance, the divine presence of the resurrected Christ, and is central to every moment of the liturgy. As believers, the partaking of Communion is actually that moment when we are encountering the living person of the Lord who enters the congregation as “King of the universe borne invisibly over their spears by the angelic hosts.” This act is so central to the life of a Christian, as to make it the necessary component to being a Christian.
With love in Christ,
Photo: The haze from the forest fires of British Columbia.
Monday August 7, 2017 / July 25, 2017
10th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
The Dormition of the Righteous Anna, mother of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Holy Women Olympias (Olympiada) the Deaconess of Constantinople (409), and the Virgin Eupraxia of Tabenna (413).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Zheltovod and Unzha (1444).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1927).
St. Gregory (Kallidis), metropolitan of Thessalonica and Heraclea (1925).
New Hieromartyrs Vukosav Milanovic and Rodoljub Samardzic of Kulen Bakufa, Serbia (1941-1945).
New Hieromartyr Theodore Tonkovid, priest of Lovets (Pskov) (1942).
St. Iraida confessor (1967).
Commemoration of the Holy 165 Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553).
Martyrs Sanctus, Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Vivlia, Vetius, Epagathus, Ponticus, Alexander and others at Lyons (177) (Gaul).
Venerable Christopher, abbot of Solvychegodsk (Vologda) (1572).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, Nicholas (Johnson) and Peter (Remes).
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
The Risen Christ, Our Hope
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
The Fig Tree Withered
18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.
The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”