Becoming a home grown philanthropist
As any history buff knows, these times we are living in can sometimes seem like reruns. News reports are filled with stories of wars, disasters, dictators, attacks on the innocent, increased crime, and the ever present persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. Political unrest is ramped, and genocide is being perpetrated upon ethic groups in parts of Africa. American cities are crowded with homeless camps, and countless homeless families are nearing the numbers not seen since the Great Depression.
Times like ours call for us to become spiritually fit, so we can be beacons of light among those who have lost all hope. The challenges that face all of us are not for the faint of heart. The spiritually fit can triumph over anything, and we must continue trying to encourage this new generation of young people to be prepared for whatever challenges and hardships are coming our way. Those who have developed a strong faith must be willing to sharing their faith based strength with those who are on the edge.
A study of history can show us that we are not the only people who’ve faced these problems, and we will not be the last. What is missing, it seems to me, is the sense of community, of a people who are united to find solutions, and not simply war with each other. The present political climate in the United States, with it’s polarization of good people, can not lead to the solutions we need to turn things around. What is needed is for people of good faith to step forward and help those who have lost homes, jobs, and hope, and lift them, offering help in whatever way we can. Walling ourselves off from those who’ve fallen through the cracks will not make things better.
During times like these we must refocus our attention on the things that build up community. Rather than giving ourselves over to entertainment, or on-line friendships (which are not always bad), we can involve ourselves in active philanthropic activities, such as volunteering in soup kitchens, tutoring homeless kids, manning childcare centers that help parents have the freedom to find jobs. We can volunteer to be job counselors, or for meals-on-wheals. We can look in on the elderly lady living next door, or the young mother whose husband is in a far away country, serving in the military. We can volunteer to teach English as a second language to immigrant families, or drive seniors to doctor appointments. We can fill the gas tank of a struggling family at the next pump, or pay for the groceries for the single mother standing behind us in the checkout line.
When seeing someone on the bus that is looking lost in worry, we can offer to pray for them, or even invite them to church with us on Sunday. We can purchase a few extra hamburgers, with the intention of giving them to the homeless people asking for spare change at the entrance to the fast food store. We can offer to sit with a the sick relative, and let the caregiver have a few hours to get outside for some much needed leisure time. We an offer to take a neighbor out to lunch, who we know is going through some difficult times. We can purchase a fistful of McDonald’s booklets of coupons, and give them to anyone who asks for a handout. The coupons are not that expensive, the person gets several meals out of them, and when you’re desperate for a meal, it’s a real treat. As you hand the person a booklet, ask them to pray for you. This allows them to pay you back for your generosity by offering up their prayers for you, and thus preserving their dignity, sparing them the indignity of feeling like a beggar.
Whatever struggles we have on our plate will seem like nothing, once we’ve given ourselves over in service to others. Even when we are struggling to make ends meet, the power of giving can change our life for the better. By becoming philanthropic ourselves, and focusing on others in need, our own problems will seem less serious, and the world will be just a little bit better.
With love in Christ,
Sunday April 21, 2019 / April 8, 2019
The Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.
Great Lent. Fish Allowed
Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Herodion, Agabus, Asyncritus, Rufus, Phlegon, Hermes, and those with them (1st c.).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1933)
St. Niphont, bishop of Novgorod (1156).
Venerable Rufus the Obedient of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
Martyr Pausilippus of Heraclea in Thrace (117-138).
St. Celestine, pope of Rome (432).
New Martyr John Naukliros (“the Navigator”) in Thessaly (1699).
Monk-martyrs Josias and Joseph of Mt. Kharasam, Persia (341).
New Martyr John (Koulika) (1564).
St. Philaret of Seminara, Calabria (1070).
Spanish Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (792).
The Scripture Readings
The Triumphal Entry
21 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
15 But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”
And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read,
‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’?”
17 Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.
The Anointing at Bethany
12 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
The Plot to Kill Lazarus
9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!”
14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
Behold, your King is coming,
Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.