Wednesday, December 13, 2017 UTC

MAR 11 & 12: 2ND SUNDAY OF THE GREAT FAST – ST. GREGORY PALAMAS (DAY LIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS)

 MAR 11: CONFESSION – 2:00-2:45 PM, GREAT VESPERS: 3:00 PM; MAR 12 – MATINS: 7:00 AM, DIVINE LITURGY: 10:00 AM, SPANISH LITURGY: 1:00 PM.

The Gospel Reading for this Sunday is Mark 2: 1-12, Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man. The man on the mat was not able to walk. He had come to Jesus to be healed because he was certain that Jesus could heal him. But Jesus saw a need much greater than his paralyzed legs. He saw the man’s sinful heart. Because the men fully trusted Jesus, Jesus gave this man the greatest gift; it was the forgiveness of his sins. And when Jesus forgave the man’s sins, he became a part of God’s kingdom. It’s important to note that Jesus did not forgive the man because he and his friends had worked so hard to enter the home. No, this was just proof of the faith they had in Jesus. This crippled man knew that he was helpless to help himself. He put his trust in the only One who could heal him. Note the teachers did not understand what Jesus was saying because it was different than what they were used to and, therefore, accused him of blasphemy. Remember, Jesus taught that everything in the Kingdom of God was totally different than the way things were in the world. The main point: Only Jesus can forgive our sins.

On the second Sunday of the Great Fast the memory of St. Gregory Palamas, a bishop of Thessalonica who lived in the fourteenth century, is celebrated. He battled against the distortions of the Christian faith by teaching the importance the power of the Grace of God.  He also taught the importance of fasting and prayer, particularly the practice of reciting the Jesus Prayer according to the teachings of the hesychastic Fathers. Doing so prepares one to receive the grace-filled light of the Lord so that one can, therefore, partake of divine blessedness while still on this sinful earth.

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