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

Food won’t commend us to God. We are not any worse off if we don’t eat, and no higher off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours in some way grow to be a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you, a person of information, at desk in an idol’s temple, may he not be inspired, if his conscience is weak, to eat meals supplied to idols?  And so by your information this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning in opposition to your brethren and wounding their conscience when it’s weak, you sin in opposition to Christ. Therefore, if meals is a reason behind my brother’s falling, I’ll by no means eat meat, lest I trigger my brother to fall. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship within the Lord? If to others I’m not an apostle, at the least I’m to you; for you’re the seal of my apostleship within the Lord.  I Corinthians Eight:Eight-9:2 (Epistle from Sunday of Last Judgment)


Good morning Prayer Team!

This Sunday is “affectionately” (or dreadfully) often called Meat-Fare Sunday.  Everyone within the Orthodox world will get caught up within the “sad” actuality that that is the final day to eat meat for eight weeks, till we attain the feast of the Resurrection.  This provides credence to the concept Lent is a interval of deprivation, quite than a interval of non secular development.  There are individuals who will deprive themselves of meals but received’t go to any further providers, or go to confession, or learn the Bible, pray, or obtain Communion.  They will hold dangerous habits simply as they do now.  And they are going to miss the entire level of Great Lent.  The level of Lent isn’t to deprive oneself of something but to develop nearer to Christ.  The objective of the fasting is to realize management over one thing we like—sure sorts of meals—and to then attempt to acquire management over different issues we love to do—like get offended, maintain grudges, drive like maniacs, and many others. 

Saint Paul factors out within the Epistle lesson of this Sunday that “Food will not commend us to God.  We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.  Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (I Corinthians Eight:Eight-9)  Being “faster” will not be what’s going to get us into the Kingdom of heaven.  Anyone with any type of willpower can keep away from sure sorts of meals for a time period.  Don’t get me flawed, fasting is a crucial non secular self-discipline, but it isn’t the one non secular self-discipline.  The “stumbling block” comes after we make Lent and Orthodox Christianity all about fasting, all about guidelines, and we overlook crucial rule, which is to like each other.  Jesus stated “By THIS all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:35)  We won’t be recognized by our fasting, but by our love. 

Saint Paul is fast to level this out when he writes “Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.” (Eight:12) Fasting purifies us as people.  However, we’ve got an obligation to not solely fear about ourselves but to take care of our brother.  The Gospel lesson of this Sunday, which might be mentioned the following reflection, will speak about concrete methods to point out love to at least one one other—feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothes the bare, and visiting the sick.  This Epistle lesson warns that a part of loving our brother is making a aware effort to not damage our brother, particularly wounding his conscience.  We don’t need to be planting seeds of doubt within the minds of our brethren.  We shouldn’t create extreme anxiousness for our brethren. 

We are supposed to like our neighbor.  We should not alleged to wound our neighbor.  And we’re not supposed to steer our neighbor into sin, or as St. Paul writes to “cause my brother to fall.” (Eight:13) When we do issues that make our brother fall, we’re committing a sin as effectively.  For occasion, if I encourage my brother to steal from a retailer (even when I’m not stealing myself), it is a sin, in opposition to each him and in opposition to Christ.  Legally, he might be committing the crime of theft, but morally, I might be as complicit on this crime as he’s, for encouraging him to fall.  Therefore, we’re to not solely love our neighbor, but we’re to encourage our neighbor to do what is true, and we’ve got an obligation to our neighbor to construct him up and encourage him by modeling Christ-like conduct and Christ-like love. 

In Matthew 15:10-11, we learn “And Jesus called the people to Him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’”  As we start our season of fasting this coming week, you will need to watch what we’re placing into our mouths.  Fasting is an efficient non secular self-discipline.  But fasting will not be about solely what we’re consuming or not consuming, but what’s coming out of our mouths.  As we watch what we put into our mouths, we’ve got to observe what comes out of them as effectively.  This is much more essential. 

Let us first cleanse ourselves, O brethren, by the queen of virtues, for behold, she is right here, offering us with a wealth of blessings!  She suppresses our swelling passions, and reconciles offenders with the Master.  Therefore, allow us to welcome her with a cheerful fireside, crying out to Christ our God, “You who rose from the lifeless, hold us uncondemned as we glorify You, the one sinless One.  (Doxastikon from Matins, Sunday of the Last Judgement, Trans. by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)

Watch what you eat.  More importantly, watch what you say and what you do!


+Fr. Stavros


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