SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

April at St. John's.................

Mar 30, 2022
April at St. John's.................

The Great Journey to Pascha began on February 6 with the Sunday of Zacchaeus and his fervent desire to see Christ which should encourage us to do the same; and continued with The Publican and the Pharisee with a test of Humility. The Prodigal Son taught us a lesson in reconciliation; the Last Judgment encouraged us to be prepared to face our reward; and on March 6, the Sunday of Forgiveness we faced the fact that God reminds us “If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

 

On the first Sunday of Great Lent, March 14, we travelled through the Sunday of Orthodoxy and the raising up of the Icons. We heard on March 20 about St. Gregory Palamas and his method of prayer for the Hesychast monks that allowed them to participate in God’s love. On Sunday, March 27, we bowed down before the Cross of Christ and sang “Behold! Through the Cross joy has come into all the world.” During the week, we received Holy Communion at the Presanctified Liturgy and prostrated during the Prayer of St. Ephraim.

 

Our journey now continues as we learn to “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” from St. John Climacus, author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent, who outlined the steps essential for attaining communion with God.  On April 10, we will hear of the life of St. Mary of Egypt who, having recognized her sinfulness, sought to bring about an essential change in her life. The following Saturday, April 16, we will commemorate the miracle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when He raised His righteous friend Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave four days. On the Saturday before Holy Week, in triumph and joy the Church bears witness to the power of Christ over death and exalts Him as King before entering the most solemn week of the year. On Palm Sunday, April 17, we will distribute willows and palms as a reminder of Jesus who rode into Jerusalem after raising up Lazarus from death.

 

On Monday of Holy Week, we remember the barren fig tree which Christ curses and causes to be dried up. (Matt. 21:18-43) This is a warning to those in every generation of what will befall anyone who fails to listen to His message. On Tuesday we will be reminded of Christ’s parable of the ten virgins and of the talents. "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But He replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13) During the week, Silently and sorrowfully, we will hear of the betrayal, judging and passion of the Son of God and cry as He whispers, “It is finished.”

 

Then on April 24, Holy Pascha, The Feast of Feasts and the Triumph of Triumphs, we will worship Our Christ Jesus and celebrate His Resurrection crying aloud, “Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!” We sing, with joy, “The angels in heaven O Christ our Saviour sing of Thy resurrection. Do Thou graciously enable us on earth to glorify Thee with a pure heart.” Our weeks of preparation in prayer and fasting should hopefully bring us to meet the Risen Lord in church and to light our candles and sing: “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life.”

 

How fortunate we are to have the chance to experience this spiritual and poignant season. And so we pray: “We, unworthy recipients of Thy benefits and gifts, as unprofitable servants dare to turn to Thee, O Master, bringing Thee thanks, and glorifying and hymning Thee, the Benefactor and Creator: Glory to Thee, O most bountiful God.”


 

Congratulations to Father Maryan who celebrated his 32nd year in the priesthood on April 1. May God bless you and grant you Many Years!

 

Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating their birthday in April. David Baron, April 5; Milena Mejia, April 13; Valentina Szestawicka on April 16; Michael Chaykivsky on April 22, and Helen Margitich on April 23. May God grant them all Many Years!

 

Helen Baron sends thanks to all who continue to support our Food Pantry. The need for many of our neighbors exist throughout the year and your help is greatly appreciated.

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