Reflections on Palm Sunday (Philippians 4:4–9): Throughout history, people have journeyed to physical spots or destinations of spiritual significance to them. In pre-Christian times, pagan believers traveled to various cultic sites—for instance, the oracle at Delphi. Similarly, the Jewish people traveled to Jerusalem. This was the site of their temple, the privileged locus of the presence of their God. In establishing a covenant with the ancient Israelites, God commanded that they should come to Jerusalem three times a year to keep feast to Him.
The Lenten period is a time of focused preparation. Its clearest function is to prepare us for the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that Lent puts before us, in the form of church services, fasting discipline, prayers, and confession of sin, ultimately serves that purpose. That is because the suffering and death of the One who created and loves the world is not only the most significant event in all of history, it is also disturbing, puzzling, and awe-inspiring. Each year, we are called to look inward, and take action through our bodies, minds, and hearts.
We remember St Mary of Egypt on the 5th Sunday of Great and Holy Lent every year. When she was a young woman she ran away from a prosperous home to the city of Alexandria, where she lived a life of depravity and lasciviousness. One day she saw a group of young men, pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Cross.
She followed them on the boat, paying her fare with her usual custom, but when she joined them to go to church she was stopped, blocked, by a powerful force, greater than any she had ever known. In that state of paralysis and rejection she felt a profound realization of the depth of her sin.
Homily on the Sunday of the Paralytic
Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—one God. Amen.
I had been looking so forward to Lent this year. That may seem a bit odd: people often speak about looking forward to the Paschal season, but Lent, with the fasting & looking inward, maybe not so much. But this year I really was: I planned to travel over to New Skete more frequently, and I couldn't wait for my first Pre-sanctified service of the season!
On the fourth Sunday of Great Lent in the Malankara Syriac Church, the Church remembers the Syrophoenician/Canaanite Woman (Matthew 15.21-30).
Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory forever.
Barkemor (Bless me O Lord) Achen, Deacons and Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this fourth Sunday of our journey of the Great Lent and our journey to the Cross, the Church reminds us of a parent pleading to the Lord for her child.
Jesus comes to a land of Gentiles. What happens is that a Gentile woman (not of Jewish background) but a Syro-Phoenician or Canaanite woman comes to Jesus.
Delivered at the parish of the Sign of the Theotokos, Montreal, on 3/8/20
Reading: John 1: 43-51