Joyous Feast to all who hold as Patron or who bear the name Matthew!
In today's Gospel reading (Luke 15:1-10), the Lord is being chastised yet once again by His critics, the Pharisees, who are accusing Him of "eating with sinners."
Goodness! I do that every day, and most often I eat alone....
But our Lord does not yet hold these ruthless men in contempt. Rather, Jesus is still attempting to teach. It's a wonderful thing to observe. We sing in the Divine Liturgy from Psalm 103 "the Lord is compassionate and merciful, long-suffering, and of great goodness." When we think of His long-suffering, do we often consider how long it has been that He has allowed us the time to struggle with our sins, to attempt to bring them into submission by way of the things He has already taught us? How many times does He allow us, in His compassion for us, to turn from our sin and return to Him?
This is the essence of the parables the Lord offers in this reading. The lost sheep being carried by the Good Shepherd is a central image in the Christian faith. In Vespers, we sing, "The prophet David was a father of the Lord through you, O Virgin. He foretold in songs the One Who works wonders in you. 'At Your right hand stood the Queen, Your mother, the Mediatrix of Life, since God was freely born of her without a father.' He wanted to renew His fallen image made corrupt from passions, so He took the lost sheep upon His shoulder, and brought it to His Father, joining to the heavenly powers, Christ, Who has great and rich mercy has saved the world, O Theotokos!" (Theotokion, Tone 4)
The "one lost" sheep is us - humanity, and Jesus leaves the 99 (the heavenly powers) to reclaim, to save, to show His divine love for us! Saint Gregory teaches that the 100 is a "perfect number", ten groups of ten. Saint Luke records in this gospel that when the Shepherd has found this one lost sheep, "He lays it on His shoulders, rejoicing!" The Lord's teaching continues, showing us the true essence of His message. "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." For there is only One in heaven Who needs no repentance, and it is He who leads the rejoicing!
Heaven rejoices when we "finally get it"! Within the Advent Fast, may we be led in that direction. I am certainly lost, but I trust that the Shepherd is looking for me, and I know from His own words that if I can find my way to repent, to turn around from the direction that has separated me from Him and His love, He will find me and will rejoice!
Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!
The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.
We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!
Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM
We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors. See our Parish web page: