Tuesday, August 21, 2018 UTC

JUNE 23 & 24: 5TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST & BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

nativity-of-st-john-forerunner JUNE 23: TYPIKA – 4:00 PM (SN); JUNE 24: TYPIKA – 10:00 AM.

The Gospel Reading for this Sunday is from Matthew 8:28 – 9:1, Luke 1: 5-25, 57-68 & 76-80. In the reading Mt 8:28-9:1, Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men & cast the demons into the Pigs. In this reading Jesus is now in His public ministry and encountered humans who are “demon-possessed”, because the demons took control of their faculties and tormented and twisted their lives out of control. But when Jesus came to their area, He brought deliverance for them from the powers of darkness. During the confrontation, the demons begged Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs that was nearby. These powerful evil spirits are in a panic, afraid of Christ, worried their days are coming to an end, knowing that a judgment is appointed for them. The news quickly spread to the town about what happened, but the amazing thing is that when they saw Jesus they pleaded with Him to leave their region because of their fear for themselves, for this was no ordinary prophet in their midst, but one who casts out evil. This Gospel record is one in which though Christ leaves when asked, He is always willing to help those who receive and asks for them to spread “the Good News.”

The 2nd Gospel account from Luke 1:5-25, 57-68 & 76-80 recounts the foretelling of the Birth of John the Baptist, the Birth of John the Baptist and Zechariah’s prophesy that St. John would be strong in spirit and live in the wilderness before appearing to Israel.

 

This Sunday we also celebrate the Birth of St. John the Baptist. This feast falls around the summer solstice (June 24th), and is known as the “summer Christmas.” On the eve of the feast, great bonfires were once lighted as a symbol of “the burning and brilliant” light, St. John, who pointed out Christ in this world of darkness.  John’s birth was also the result of a miracle. A priest, Zechariah and his childless wife, Elizabeth, had no children and both were advanced in years. Childlessness was a terrible thing for a Jew since it meant one’s name would not be carried on in life. But God intervened allowing the childless Elizabeth to bear a son.