The Christian Family is a Christ Centered Family
Any good parent knows that he must love all his children equally. No favoritism should be displayed when raising children if we want them to know they are loved. Troubled children often get more attention from loving parents because mom and dad know this child is in greater need of parental support. One child might be brighter and more successful in school, but the good parent displays no praise at the expense of the child who is struggling with school work. The same goes for the child who excels in sports or music. The child who has less talent in these areas must not feel less valued or less loved. I’m not suggesting that the excelling child should not be praised for a job well done, but rather that the child who is struggling be encouraged, and that recognition be made where the child does do a good job.
A good grounding for any parent/child relationship begins with the family’s relationship with God. The old saying, “A family that prays together, stays together” is true. A well balanced family has deep roots in the life of the Church. The father that takes his role seriously as the head of his household, knows that he must be an example of all godliness and holiness for his children. They must see in him a man of prayer, and a man who loves and honors their mother.
When parents give witness to the love that God has for them, the children will in turn feel secure in the knowledge that they, too, are loved by God. The parents who love and support their children by giving them a strong spiritual basis for life will have given them the greatest gift of all, and all will have Christ as their king, their light, their life, and their crown.
Love in Christ,
Friday June 4, 2021 / May 22, 2021
Fifth Week of Pascha. Tone four.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Hieromartyr Basiliscus, bishop of Comana (308).
St. John-Vladimir, martyr and ruler of Serbia (1015).
Blessed James, youth of Borovichi (Novgorod) (1540).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1942).
Commemoration of the Second Ecumenical Council (381).
New Hieromartyr Zachariah of Prusa (1802) (Greek).
Righteous Melchisedec, king of Salem.
Martyrs Markella and Codratus (Greek).
Martyr Sophia the Healer (Greek).
New Monk-martyrs Paul and Demetrius of Tripoli near Kalavryta (1818) (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
The Jerusalem Council
6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the Lord who does all these things.’
18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works. 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
The Jerusalem Decree
22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.
23 They wrote this letter by them:
The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,
To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.
Continuing Ministry in Syria
30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. 33 And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.
34 However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?”
21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
The Shepherd Knows His Sheep
22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.