The temptation of living only for the moment
Medical science has proven that teenagers often act without forethought for the consequences of reckless behavior because their brains have not yet fully developed. They are not simply being defiant of the rules of driving, or taking chances with dangerous behavior, but have an inability to process the consequences of their actions. In other words, they don’t recognize the possible finality of their behavior, and for many of them, even death does not seem final.
When we focus only on the here and now, we are in reality acting like those teenagers. The inner sense of the importance of preparing for eternity, is shut down, and we don’t even think of the spiritual consequences of our short term focus. We treat eternity as though it were a myth, and place all our energies on getting what we think we need in the now.
The universal temptation of our time is to be living only for the present moment. We want to enjoy ourselves now, relax and be comfortable now, have it all now. Our focus is, consequently, on a tiny slice of eternity. By focusing on such a narrow moment in time, we forget the importance of preparing for eternity.
By placing all our time and energy on the acquisition of things, and on being comfortable and fulfilled in this life, we forget the importance of spiritual preparation for what will be eternity. This life was not gifted to us by God, for pleasure and the acquisition of things, but as a time for us to draw ourselves closer to the Creator God Who loves us, and desires that we commune with Him for all eternity. Like the high school students who are preparing for their life by studying in school, this life is, for us, a time of preparation.
With love in Christ,
Photo: A panoramic view of my study.
Sunday September 17, 2017 / September 4, 2017
15th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone six.
Synaxis of New Martyrs and Confessors of Kazakhstan (movable holiday on the Sunday after September 3rd).
Hieromartyr Babylas, bishop of Antioch, with Martyrs Urban, Prilidian, and Epolonius, and their mother Christodula (251).
Holy Prophet and God-seer Moses (1531 B.C.).
Uncovering of the relics (1911) of St. Ioasaph, bishop of Belgorod (1754).
Uncovering of the relics (1989) of St. Metrophanes, bishop of Voronezh (1703).
Synaxis of All Saints of Voronezh.
Hieromartyr Parthenius, abbot of Kiziltis Monastery in Crimea (1867).
New Hieromartyrs Paul, John, Nicholas, Nicholas, John, Nicholas, Alexander, Peter and Michael priests, Hieromartyr Stephen, Martyrs Basil, Peter, Stephen and Alexander (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Gregory (Lebedev) Bishop of Shliserburg and Sergius (Druzhinin) Bishop of Narva (1937).
Virgin-Martyr Helen (1942).
Martyr Hermione, daughter of Apostle Philip the Deacon (117).
Martyr Babylas of Nicomedia, and with him 84 children (4th c.).
Martyrs Theodore, Mianus (Ammianus), Julian, Kion (Oceanus), and Centurionus of Nicomedia (305-311).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “The Unburnt Bush” (1680).
St. Joachim, patriarch of Alexandria.
Venerable Petronius of Egypt (346), disciple of St. Pachomius the Great.
Martyr Charitina of Amisus (Greek).
Martyrs Thathuil and Bebaia of Edessa (2nd c.) (Greek).
Martyr Jerusalem of Berroia (Greek).
Martyrs Theotimus and Theodulus the executioners (Greek).
St. Symeon, abbot and wonderworker of Garesja (1777).
St. Anthimus the Blind, new ascetic of Cephalonia (1782).
New Hieromartyr Peter, metropolitan of Dabro-Bosnia (1941).
Translation of the relics of St. Birinus, bishop of Dorchester-on-Thames and enlighterer of Wessex.
Translation of the relics St. Cuthberg, bishop of Lindisfarne.
The Scripture Readings
He Is Risen
24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
2 Corinthians 4:6-15
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Cast Down but Unconquered
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is thefirst and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord?
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They said to Him, “The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?
45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.