On Sunday August 15, 2021, we Orthodox Christians will celebrate the Great Feast of the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Most Holy Mother of God. From August 1-14th, we have observed the Dormition Fast which precedes this Great Feastday dedicated to the Virgin Mary, through whom the mystery of the Incarnation took place.
On this Sunday, we hear in the Gospel Lesson about the two blind men who came to Jesus to be healed. But before they were healed, Jesus wanted to know about their faith. He deliberately called for their personal response of faith. It was through the action of God’s grace and the power of their faith that the blind men received their sight. Faith, their faith brought light to their eyes. God is light, and to those who have entered into union with Him, He imparts of His own brightness to the extent that they have been purified.
The Gospel lesson for the 6th Sunday of Matthew 9:1-8, recounts the healing of a paralytic whose friends brought him to Jesus on a bed. You see Jesus was at home in Capernaum and had gathered a large crowd around him. Unable to squeeze into the home, the four friends cut a section of the roof off in order to lower the paralytic to the feet of Jesus, bed and all. Startled by their perseverance, Jesus immediately turned His attention to the sick man, forgiving his sins and healing him.
We are in the season of summer with its warm temperatures, humidity, and thunderstorms. It is also a time for outings, picnics, family gatherings and most of all relaxation and “down time” from the hectic pace of life.
On this Sunday we read the Gospel from St. Matthew 8:5-13 concerning Jesus’s encounter with the centurion as he entered Capernaum. Jesus Christ, was not only the bearer and messenger of God’s mighty Word, but the very Word of God incarnate, having the power to command the waves, cast out demons, raise the dead and heal the sick.
When Our Lord began His ministry He proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to all, “Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33) God’s Kingdom, my dear brothers and sisters, is an eternal fact, there is no doubt about that, for He is the creator and sustainer of all things, the King of Creation, ruling over all things.
We have already celebrated the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and are now in the Afterglow of this great Feast of Pentecost. In today’s Gospel we hear the call of Jesus to those who would follow Him, fisherman, at first instructing them to take up their nets and follow Him, becoming fishers of men. You see Jesus needed helpers and went out to find them. He chose ordinary people like us to respond with their whole hearts, making them extraordinary by His grace, in order to accomplish His purposes.
The Sunday following the Great Feast of Pentecost is dedicated to All Saints. This Sunday usually coincides with the beginning of the summer when people are beginning to allow for some relaxation and personal time whether with family on vacations or just enjoying a slower pace in their lives. This season with its regular responsibilities affords the faithful to enhance their spiritual lives with increased reading, prayer and contemplation.
Greetings on the glorious Feast of Pentecost, one of the major Feast days of our Holy Orthodox Church. On this day we celebrate the day when the Glorified Christ poured out the Holy Spirit upon His followers. We remember when John the Baptist prophesied, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is so much greater than I am… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).