This Sunday, the first Sunday of Great Lent is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy, or the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This Sunday is an impressive reminder of the centrality of Christ in the Orthodox Church. It is a spiritual feast during which we Orthodox Christians reaffirm our confession of faith in Jesus Christ and His saving work. It is the day in which we lift up Christ in praise and glorification.
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).
This Sunday we hear the words of the Gospel of the Last Judgement from the Evangelist Matthew 25:31-36. This Sunday is also known as Meatfare Sunday because it is the last day before the Feast of Feasts, on which the eating of meat is allowed. Next week is Cheesefare Sunday, when in addition to refraining from meat, we begin our fasting, according to the Church, from dairy products etc, thus ushering us into the more stricter discipline of Great and Holy Lent.
On this the last Sunday and day of the month of February 2021, we again hear the Gospel of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). This gospel lesson is about a son who runs away from his home and his father, squalors away his inheritance and eventually down and out from high living returns home to his welcoming father.
With this Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, we Orthodox Christians begin the Lenten Triodion which is the ten-week period of Pre Lent and Great Lenten days ending on the Saturday of Holy Week. Thus, this book the Triodion prescribes the order for the four Pre-Lenten Sundays, the six weeks of Great Lent (40) and Holy Week.
Mitchell Orrin, 72, of Folsom, PA passed away on February 15, 2021. He was born September 19, 1948 in Philadelphia, PA to Leo and Jean Orrin. He graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1967 and attended Villanova University. Mitch married Diane Fisher at Our Lady of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia on May 1, 1988. They have two sons, Christopher and Michael, a dog, Charlie, and a cat, Lacey.
Today we read the Gospel from the 17th Sunday of Matthew Chapter 15: verses 21-28, concerning the woman of Canaan who approached Jesus as he came to the region of Tyre and Sidon. She had not been brought up by pious Jewish parents to practice the customs of the Jews and to believe in the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She was a Gentile of Canaanite stock, who were old enemies of the Jews.
Today we hear the Gospel for the 34th Sunday After Pentecost which is taken from Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the Talents. The reason for the Readings to now switch to Matthew instead of Luke as we have been hearing for so many weeks, is because Pascha is late this year. We also celebrate today, January 30, 2021, the Holy Feast of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom – the great Doctors of the Church, who played a pivotal role as influential bishops of the early Church in the shaping and development of Christian theology.
The gospel for this Sunday is prescribed for the 14th Sunday of Luke chapter 18:35-43, which tells of the blind beggar Bartimaeus, who laying by the road near Jericho hears a commotion of people as they were passing bye. Bartimaeus asks what is happening to which the people say, Jesus of Nazareth is passing bye. He then cries out, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me!”, after which the people tell him to be quiet. He then cries out even louder: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”