SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

February News at St. John's.......

Jan 21, 2021
February News at St. John's.......

The journey toward Lent and Pascha will soon start, and the opening move is on Zacchaeus Sunday, February 14. Our first lesson is taught to us by Zacchaeus who expressed an ardent desire to be with Jesus and is an example for our own behavior. Since Zacchaeus was short in stature, he had to climb a tree to see over the crowd that surrounded Jesus.  Christ saw him in the tree and rewarded his efforts by joining him in his home. Zacchaeus was so thrilled that Christ would single him out for this visit, that he repented of his sinful ways and returned four times as much as he had stolen and gave the remainder of his possessions to the poor.  He truly repented. 

 

Next, on February 21, the publican teaches us to humbly face our sins and honestly repent. The Pharisee was a very religious man. But he boasted about his accomplishments. “ 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:11-14)

 

Then the Prodigal Son tells us that God will truly forgive a sincere repentant sinner. God will willingly and lovingly accept us if we return home to Him. The prodigal son left his father and home with his inheritance and squandered it with loose living. He became destitute and his thoughts were of returning to his father and their home. He hoped that he could become a servant in his father’s house. His father’s joy was so overwhelming when he saw him that he ran to meet his beloved son and embraced him and clothed him and celebrated his return. “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

 

The Great Fast is a time of repentance, which literally means a “change of mind” or attitude. Repentance is not simply sorrow for sins but a firm determination to turn away from sin to a new life of righteousness in Jesus Christ. Repentance means a radical reevaluation of our whole life, of all our ideas, and judgments.

 

The beautiful Lenten services provide us with the opportunity to develop our spiritual nature and a privilege to become better acquainted with our God. It is an opportunity for us to draw closer to Him and to be a follower of His. Join us for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and hear the lovely and haunting Hymn of the Entrance. “Now the powers of heaven do serve invisibly with us. Lo, the King of Glory enters. Lo, the mystical sacrifice is upborne, fulfilled. Let us draw near in faith and love, and become communicants of life eternal. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia”.


 

Happy Birthday to all those celebrating their birthday in February. Stacey Baron Anderson on February 2; Jeffrey Rahnefeld on February 8; Christopher Kary, February 10; Alissa Pecoraro, February 11, Chris Finno on February 14, and Evgenia Kozienko Jimenez on February 26. We wish all of you a very Happy Birthday and may God grant you all Many Years!

 

Helen Baron would like to thank everyone who helped with the supplies for Christmas. The need is urgent throughout the year and especially at this time when many families have lost jobs and income, food supplies will be sorely needed. Please help with groceries or financially, and let’s fill the basket in the vestibule. Thank you! And thank you Helen for your efforts in this matter.

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April 17 Tomorrow is dedicated to St. Mary of Egypt.....

April 18 - Saint Mary of Egypt -  A repentant harlot, Mary tells us, that no amount of sin and wickedness can keep a person from God if he truly repents. St. Mary recognized her sinfulness and sought to bring about an essential change in her life. She ran from her sinfulness and devoted...