Epistle: Galatians 4:4-7
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
Schedule of Services:
-Saturday, December 31st, Great Vespers at 4pm.
-Sunday, January 1st, Divine Liturgy at 10am. Hours begin at 9:40am.
-Friday, January 6th, Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Theophany with the Blessing of the Waters at 10am.
-Saturday, January 7th, Great Vespers at 4pm.
-Sunday, January 8th, Divine Liturgy at 10am. Hours begin at 9:40am.
-Thank you to those who brought some cookies to share after Divine Liturgy today. Merry Christmas!
-A coffee hour sign-up sheet for 2023 has been posted on the freezer. Please consider hosting one.
-We have received an invitation to the clergy and faithful of our diocese to attend the 50th anniversary of the ordination as priest of his Eminence Archbishop Michael. The service will be at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Paramus, NJ on Feb. 4th. at 9:30 a.m. The buffet luncheon is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at the Brownstone in Paterson. The luncheon donation is $50. Deadline for reservations is Jan. 20. All information and reservation forms are on the bulletin board in the vestibule.
-The next Council meeting will be held on Jan. 8, after coffee hour.
-The Annual Parish meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22nd. The snow date is scheduled for Jan. 29th.
-Please don't forget the needy! Shop Rite gift cards and non perishable staples are greatly needed and appreciated.
Living: Paul, Melissa, Helen, John, Darlette, Steven, Janet, Teresa, Irina, Alla, Ira, Victor, the Reader Christopher; the suffering people and innocent victims of the Ukrainian/Russian war; the suffering people of Yemen, Syria, and Palestine.
Words for the Day:
The return of the magi “by another way” home suggests a spiritual interpretation: As they were advised to take another way, so are we. Our home country is the paradise from which we have fallen. We are forbidden to return to it. When we come to know Jesus, we can return along the way by which he returned. We left our parade by our pride and disobedience, by overvaluing visible things, by succumbing to the tasting of forbidden fruit. We now can return only by weeping and obedience, rejecting visible things, and by curbing our bodily appetites. So let us, like the magi, return to our home country by another way than the way we left it. Our evil inclination led us away from the joys of paradise. Our turning around in repentance summons us to return by another way.
Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies 10.7
On the 8th day of the feast of the Nativity, which also happens to be the first day of the civil new year, the Church celebrates the Lord’s circumcision and His receiving the name Jesus, which means Savior. This day is also the anniversary of the death of St. Basil the Great, whose memory is part of the liturgical feast. According to the Church’s liturgy, the Lord underwent circumcision in order to fulfill the Law of Moses, which no one was able to fulfill before […] In performing everything exactly according to the Law, the Lord shows that He has come to be a servant, and to identify Himself completely with His sinful creatures. This is God’s divine humility, His exceedingly great lovingkindness and compassion, His ineffable and unspeakable humiliation and condescension to us who are lost. For He not only is found “in the likeness of men,” but He empties Himself of His divine glory, and takes on the “form of a slave” (Phil. 2:7-8), He submits to the high priest’s knife, enduring the sign of complete submission to God, the act which expresses the total helplessness and weakness of unholy creatures before their Holy Creator. Words cannot convey the condescension of the Lord in His willingness to be circumcised. It is an act of self-emptying humiliation which is wholly ineffable […] Because of His total righteousness, ritualistic and moral, physical and spiritual, legal and ethical, Jesus the Messiah liberates His people from everything that belongs to this world and opens to them the life of the coming age of God’s kingdom. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.” (Gal. 5:6)
Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Winter Pascha, pgs. 136-138
Next Week’s Readings:
Epistle: 2 Timothy 4:5-8. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,“Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”