Holy Martyr Conon (249-251); Tone 1
There are many good reasons. The first reason is excellent: God commands us to forgive. It is not an option. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions.” (Mk. 11:25-26). “Peter came up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Mt 18:21)
Secondly, forgiveness heals. Un-forgiveness robs us of true joy and peace. It also can cause physical and mental problems, such as depression, despair, bad dreams, unrefreshing sleep, and difficulties in prayer. Forgiveness restores true freedom, peace and joy. Continue reading
As we begin the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise. God commanded Adam to fast (Gen. 2:16), but he did not obey. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and lost the life of blessedness, knowledge of God, and communion with Him, for which they were created. Both they and their descendants became heirs of death and corruption.
Let us consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and recall our fallen state. Today Continue reading
St. Josaphat’s Bulletin
Feb. 26th to Mar. 4th
Holy Father Porphyrius, Bishop of Gaza, Tone 8
The parable of the Prodigal Son is a story about God’s redemptive grace and mercy. It is a story of His unconditional love and forgiveness. It is about God seeking sinners. In Luke 15, Jesus tells about the youngest son coming to his father to ask for his inheritance ahead of time. The youngest son would only receive one-third of the father’s inheritance in accord to the Old Testament laws in Deuteronomy 21:17. He then took the inheritance and ran away to spend it all on having a good time. He had plenty of “friends” to help him spend it but quickly ran out of his inheritance funds. Then he was reduced to working in a pig pen and the pigs ate better than he. For a Jew, to tend to pigs was the height of humiliation since they were deemed unclean according to the Old Testament dietary laws. He thought of his father’s servants who were at least fed well and had shelter at night. The young son had reached the end of his rope and came back home. He was accepted with open arms by his father. The older son was outraged; he was angry that his father had allowed his brother to return and even more disturbing was the gift of a robe, a ring, and a pair of sandals and a huge feast, in his honor, with the choicest of the fatted calves.
Key Questions to Consider for Prodigal Son Parable
Why would Jesus tell this parable with the religious leaders and the Jewish crowd there? What would their reaction have been? What would the Jewish leaders have done to the son when he came back home? Why did Jesus feel the need to tell this parable to the Jewish leaders? Continue reading
The Sunday after the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. This parable of God’s forgiveness calls us to come to ourselves” as did the prodigal son, to see ourselves as being “in a far country” far from the Father’s house, and to make the journey of return to God. We are given every assurance by the Master that our heavenly Father will receive us with joy and gladness. We must only “arise and go,” confessing our self-inflicted and sinful separation from that “home” where we truly belong (Luke 15:11-24).
After the Polyeleos at Matins, we first hear the Lenten hymn “By the Waters of Babylon.” It will be sung for the next two Sundays before Lent begins, and it serves to reinforce the theme of exile in today’s Gospel.