Beware of false idols
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object worshiped as though it were a god. Idolatry can also involve objects, persons, entertainment, even self. Anything that replaces the centrality of God in our life can be a form of idolatry. Job, music, money, sex, popularity, success, all can become a form of idolatry. Even nationalism can take on the form of idolatry.
It is a troubling time, when so many have given themselves over to the worship of rock stars, financial success, new cars, clothes, new trends, and even political parties. How many ministers have the American flag placed centrally in their “worship centers”, as though God were an American and salvation was linked to patriotism.
How many ministers spend more time preaching a nationalistic form of Christianity, while forgetting that Christ transcends cultures and nations. At the very time we need Christ the most, we allow ourselves to be distracted by entertainment, jobs, money, and even politics. We are bowing down, as a people, before false idols.
The centrality of Christ, and our personal relationship with Him, must be guarded against any intrusion of false idols. We, personally, must examine our life, making sure nothing has become an idol for us. Like the people of Israel in ancient times, turned back to God, repenting of their worship of a false idol, so too, must we put down our golden calves.
Love in Christ,
Sunday February 4, 2018 / January 22, 2018
Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Tone two.
New Martyrs and Confessors of Russian Church(movable holiday on the Sunday closest to January 25th).
Remembrance of all the departed who suffered in the years of persecution for faith in Christ.
Apostle Timothy of the Seventy (ca. 96).
Monk-martyr Anastasius the Persian (628).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Zhabyn (1623).
New Hieromartyrs John, Nicholas, Jacob, Peter, John, John, John and Euthymius priest (1938).
Martyr Anastasius the Deacon of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
Martyrs Manuel, George, Peter, Leontius, bishops; Sionius, Gabriel, John, Leontus, Parodus, presbyters; and 377 companions in Bulgaria (814).
St. Joseph Samakus the Sanctified of Crete (1511) (Greek).
St. Brithwald of Wilton (1045) (Celtic & British).
St. Wendreda, virgin of March.
The Scripture Readings
He Is Risen
16 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Glorify God in Body and Spirit
12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to hisfather, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”