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This Sunday March 14, 2021 is Cheesefare Sunday, the Sunday of Forgiveness.  The gospel for this the last of the preparatory Sunday’s before Great Lent is from Matthew 6:14-21. Forgiveness is the central theme of this Sunday for let us recall the words of the Apostle Peter, “turn to God, so that He will forgive your sins!” (Acts 3:19).

The Apostle John taught Christians: “If we confess our sins to God, He will keep His promise and do what is right: He will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrongdoing”. (1 Jn. 1:9)

Many of the special hymns of this special Sunday seek to remind us, the faithful, of Adam’s experience of his separation from God and to lead each of us to true repentance. “Come, my wretched soul, and weep today over your acts. I weep for my loss, O Savior, and cry to You with faith: Forsake me not, O God of love, but call me back to you.” (Matins Hymn)

With tomorrow, we begin the Great and Holy Lent. It has been said, “let us begin the Fast as athletes begin a race.”  The race it refers to is the present life, our life, and the prize is the Kingdom of God.  As we know athletes begin a race not downcast but with exuberance and joy, eager in spirit; not with a gloomy but rather radiant faces, glowing with the hope of Pascha!  This is what is meant by St. Paul when he speaks to us: “You know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep”.  (Roman’s 13:11)

As our beloved St. Herman of Alaska said, “From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us love God above all things and do His will…”  Each and every hour and day, you see, is an opportunity for new life. Let us never forget that every hour is the hour of decision.  We have slept long enough, wake up and put on the newness of life with our Lord!

As is our custom, I ask each and everyone of you for your forgiveness for my shortcomings and sinfulness and entreat your most worthy prayers!

May Almighty God bless you, one and all, with a most rewarding Lenten season.

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