“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit upon Him, and kill Him; and after three days He will rise.”
Dear follower of Christ,
As we enter the fifth week of Lent, our Lord in this Sunday’s Gospel tell us that He knows by going to Jerusalem He is going to His own suffering and death. The life of a Christian is following Jesus to Golgotha, to suffer and die like Him. But the two brothers James and John did not understand yet what it means to be a Christian, they asked for position of power in Christ’s Kingdom. Then Jesus answered them: “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” What our Lord is telling them, are you willing to follow me to the Cross, to die with me?
This Sunday we celebrate the life of repentance of St. Mary of Egypt. Unlike the two brothers, Mary lived a life of following her physical desires and passions from an early age. But through the Grace of God, she was brought to realize that physical sexual desires will not satisfy our inner desire for something greater than this earthly life. After it was revealed to her that she can not enter the church because of her sins, she was led to the desert to repent from her sins for 47 years. Fr. Philip LeMasters writes: “Today we remember St. Mary of Egypt, who had lived a grossly immoral life, but then gave herself up in repentance for decades in the desert, where she became a remarkably holy saint. Instead of continuing to gratify her addiction to sexual pleasure, she died to self by rejecting everything that was a hindrance to the healing of her soul through incredibly rigorous repentance for the rest of her long life. She knew that such disciplines did not somehow put God in her debt, but were ways of opening herself to receive the gracious healing of the Lord, which we never deserve. St. Mary of Egypt was not like James and John in trying to use the Savior to get what she wanted. Instead, she freely obeyed a divine command to turn away from fulfilling her obsessive desires by uniting herself to the One Who offered His life as a ransom to free us all from slavery to sin and death. Our Lord’s disciples ultimately found victory over their passions in different ways, for they had to learn that greatness in the Kingdom comes through selfless service to the point of suffering and death, not by yearning after what the world calls power and success.”
This Sunday at 7 PM we will have a zoom get together with Dr. Gregory Abdallah to understand Holy Week. Please, join us. Meeting ID 9567220617, passcode 123.
Next week Services: Monday: Great Compline, Wednesday: Presanctified, Friday: Canon of St. Lazarus, Saturday: St. Lazarus Saturday.
All families with Sunday school children age are encouraged to attend the Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday. Come dressed up to take pictures.
Palm Sunday please register to attend the Liturgy. We will have a special procession with Palms at 1 PM.
APOLYTIKION OF ST. MARY OF EGYPT: “Through thee, the divine likeness was securely preserved, O mother Mary; for thou didst carry the cross and follow Christ. By example and precept thou didst teach us to ignore the body, because it is perishable, and to attend to the concerns of the undying soul. Therefore, doth thy soul rejoice with the angels.”
I would like to remind everyone that during Lent we prepare for Pascha by going to confession.
In the crucified Christ,
~Pastor’s Message of April 18, 2021~