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Listen Now. We will now be together with the each day studying of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.

Forgiveness Sunday

Jesus stated “For 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. “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:14-21 (Gospel of Forgiveness Sunday)

 

Good morning Prayer Team!

Today’s is forgiveness Sunday.  In many church buildings tonight, there will likely be a Forgiveness Vespers Service.  At the conclusion of this service, it’s customary for the trustworthy to ask forgiveness from each other, as we start the Great Lent.  I have no idea lots of the individuals who learn these reflections daily.  I’m grateful for the half you play on this ministry.  And I’m positive over the course of the previous yr, I’ve in all probability offended somebody via one thing I’ve written, or from not returning an e-mail (I attempt to return most of them, however generally I fall behind and some go unanswered).  On this Sunday of Forgiveness, I wish to ask forgiveness from all those that learn these reflections for something I’ve stated or written that has induced any offense previously yr.  Please forgive me.

As the journey of Lent is about to begin, we learn within the Gospel three items of nice recommendation for tips on how to get probably the most out of the journey, in addition to how to remove one thing constructive that can final lengthy after Lent is over.  The first issues forgiveness.  When there we sin towards each other, we put up a wall between ourselves.  That wall is perhaps a wall of anger, disappointment, guilt, unhappiness and estrangement.  When we sin towards different individuals, we’re additionally sinning towards God.  There are occasions when our sin doesn’t have an effect on different individuals however we’re nonetheless sinning towards God.  And then partitions of estrangement go up between us and Him, not due to Him however due to us.  Jesus reminds us in immediately’s Gospel lesson that forgiveness is the best way by which these partitions come down, be they partitions between us and Him, or between us and each other.  How we forgive each other certainly have an effect on how God forgives us.  We can’t anticipate the partitions between us and God to come back down if we’re unable to take down the partitions that separate us from each other.  They go collectively.  Remove the partitions of estrangement from each other, and we take away the partitions between us and God.  Leave the partitions of estrangement between each other, and God gained’t take the partitions that separate us from Him away.  Jesus advised us that the 2 biggest commandments are intertwined—love God and love our neighbor.  We can’t love God and hate our neighbor.  Likewise we will’t anticipate the forgiveness of God if we can not forgive our neighbor.

The second piece of recommendation issues fasting.  Fasting, as now we have mentioned, entails disciplining ourselves and what we eat, in an effort to self-discipline ourselves in what we expect and how we act.  Fasting just isn’t imagined to be performed for some type of present.  Rather, our option to quick and tips on how to quick ought to stay between us and God.  There isn’t any have to promote or boast how we select to quick.  Just like there isn’t any want for the one who’s strict fasting to guage the one who isn’t.  Fasting is a personal matter between us and God.  One different useful piece of data as we quick in a non-Orthodox world.  If, throughout Lent, we’re invited to somebody’s house who just isn’t fasting, both as a result of they don’t seem to be Orthodox or will not be maintaining the quick, it’s acceptable to eat what’s placed on the desk in entrance of you, even when it’s not fasting meals.  (Hint: don’t received for seconds!)  Just eat the meals and don’t make a giant deal out of your fasting. 

The third piece of recommendation issues fortunes.  Most of us spend an excellent portion of our lives incomes cash both to stay within the current or to place away for future retirement.  Most of us have hopes (at the least) to retire in some unspecified time in the future.  Many of us contribute to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) and we maintain our breath because the inventory market ebbs and flows, inserting our retirement outlook within the volatility of the market.  Sadly, fortunes are simply misplaced.  Christ tells us that we not solely to put up treasure on earth “where most and rust consume” (Matthew 6:19) and the place investments don’t all the time pan out.  Rather we’re to put up treasure in heaven, the place God’s mercies will not be unpredictable and risky.  As we put cash into IRA’s, we must also be placing them into “ERA’s” (Eternal Retirement Accounts).  Because regardless of how a lot is in our earthly portfolio, we will’t take that cash with us once we die.  When our everlasting retirement account is crammed with love of God manifested in love of our neighbor, then we will stay up for an eternity of happiness. 

Jesus concludes immediately’s passage by telling us that “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matthew 6:21)  Where we put our time, our effort and our cash, this says lots in regards to the disposition of our hearts.  When we put our time, our effort and our cash into acts of religion and charity, it says lots in regards to the disposition of our hearts.  When we put little into this stuff, that’s says lots to.  As we’re about to start the Great and Holy Lent, take a while to evaluate your religion, fasting and non secular fortune.  Put Christ on the heart these subsequent forty days, in order that once we come to the Feast of the Resurrection, He is firmly established (or re-established) as the middle, path, goal and hope of your life.

O information to knowledge, supplier of prudence, disciplinarian of fools, and defender of the poor, fortify and self-discipline my coronary heart, O Master; You, give me a phrase, O Word of the Father. For behold, I can’t hinder my lips from crying to You: O merciful Lord, have mercy on me who’ve fallen. (Kontakion, Sunday of Forgiveness, Trans. by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)

Forgive each other.  Prepare to start the quick.  Commit to working in your everlasting retirement account this Lent!

 

+Fr. Stavros

         

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With Roger Hunt offering immediately’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.

These readings are below copyright and is utilized by permission. All rights reserved. These works might not be additional reproduced, in print or on different web sites or in another type, with out the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the usA. and utilized by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

 

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