Posted on August 18, 2019

“You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart.”
— St. Padre Pio


Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Post-feast of the Dormition.

Posted on August 18, 2019

(Matthew 17:14-23)

Того часу, коли ж прийшли до народу, тоді приступив до Ісуса один чоловік і, припавши йому до ніг, каже: “Господи, змилуйся над моїм сином, бо він причинний і тяжко нездужає: часто кидається в огонь, часто й у воду. Я був привів його до твоїх учнів, та вони не могли його зцілити.” “Роде невірний та розбещений, – відповів Ісус, – доки мені з вами бути? Приведіть мені його сюди!” Ісус погрозив йому, і біс вийшов з хлопця; тож видужав юнак тієї ж миті. Тоді підійшли учні до Ісуса насамоті й спитали: “Чому не могли ми його вигнати?” Ісус сказав їм: “Через вашу малу віру; бо істинно кажу вам: Коли матимете віру, як зерно гірчиці, то скажете оцій горі: Перенесися звідси туди – і вона перенесеться; і нічого не буде для вас неможливого. А щодо цього роду бісів, то його виганяють лише молитвою і постом.” Як вони зібралися в Галилеї, Ісус мовив до них: “Син чоловічий має бути виданий у руки людям.”

At that time, a man approached Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”

BulletinAug 17-24


August 6; The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted on August 6, 2019

John Chrysostom Sermon of the Transfiguration

1. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, There are some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Thus, inasmuch as He had discoursed much of dangers and death, and of His own passion, and of the slaughter of the disciples, and had laid on them those severe injunctions; and these were in the present life and at hand, but the good things in hope and expectation:—for example, “They save their life who lose it;” “He is coming in the glory of His Father;” “He renders His rewards: “—He willing to assure their very sight, and to show what kind of glory that is wherewith He is to come, so far as it was possible for them to learn it; even in their present life He shows and reveals this; that they should not grieve any more, either over their own death, or over that of their Lord, and especially Peter in His sorrow.

And see what He doth. Having discoursed of hell,1 and of the kingdom (for as well by saying, “He that findeth his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose it for my sake, shall find it; “2 as by saying, “He shall reward every man according to his works,”3 He had manifested both of these): having, I say, spoken of both, the kingdom indeed He shows in the vision, but hell not yet.

Why so? Because had they been another kind of people, of a grosser sort, this too would have been necessary; but since they are approved and considerate, He leads them on the gentler way. But not therefore only doth He make this disclosure, but because to Himself also it was far more suitable.

Not however that He passes over this subject either, but in some places He almost brings even before our eyes the very realities of hell; as when He introduces the picture of Lazarus, and mentions him that exacted the hundred pence, and him that was clad in the filthy garments, and others not a few.

2. “And after six days He taketh with Him Peter and James and John.

Now another says, “after eight,”5 not contradicting this writer, but most fully agreeing with him. For the one expressed both the very day on which He spake, and that on which He led them up; but the other, the days between them only.

But mark thou, I pray thee, the severe goodness of Matthew, not concealing those who were preferred to himself. This John also often doth, recording the peculiar praises of Peter with great sincerity. For the choir of these holy men was everywhere pure from envy and vainglory.

Having taken therefore the leaders, “He bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was6 white as the light. And there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.7

Wherefore doth He take with Him these only? Because these were superior to the rest. And Peter indeed showed his superiority by exceedingly loving Him; but John by being exceedingly loved of Him; and James again by his answer which he answered with his brother, saying, “We are able to drink the cup;8 nor yet by his answer only, but also by his works; both by the rest of them, and by fulfilling, what he said. For so earnest was he, and grievous to the Jews, that Herod himself supposed that he had bestowed herein a very great favor on the Jews, I mean in slaying him.

But wherefore doth He not lead them up straightway? To spare the other disciples any feeling of human weakness: for which cause He omits also the names of them that are to go up. And this, because the rest would have desired exceedingly to have followed, being to see a pattern of that glory; and would have been pained, as overlooked. For though it was somewhat in a corporeal way that He made the disclosure, yet nevertheless the thing had much in it to be desired.

Wherefore then doth He at all foretell it? That they might be readier to seize the high meaning, by His foretelling it; and being filled with the more vehement desire in that that round of days, might so be present with their mind quite awake and full of care.

3. But wherefore doth He also bring forward Moses and Elias? One might mention many reasons. And first of all this: because the multitudes said He was, some Elias, some Jeremias, some one of the old prophets, He brings the leaders of His choir, that they might see the difference even hereby between the servants and the Lord; and that Peter was rightly commended for confessing Him Son of God.

But besides that, one may mention another reason also: that because men were continually accusing Him of transgressing the law, and accounting Him to be a blasphemer, as appropriating to Himself a glory which belonged not to Him, even the Father’s, and were saying, “This Man is not of God, because He keepeth not the Sabbath day;”9 and again, “For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God:”10 that both the charges might be shown to spring from envy, and He be proved not liable to either; and that neither is His conduct a transgression of the law, nor His calling Himself equal to the Father an appropriation of glory not His own; He brings forward them who had shone out in each of these respects: Moses, because he gave the law, and the Jews might infer that he would not have overlooked its being trampled on, as they supposed, nor have shown respect to the transgressor of it, and the enemy of its founder: Elias too for his part was jealous for the glory of God, and were any man an adversary of God, and calling himself God, making himself equal to the Father, while he was not what he said, and had no right to do so; he was not the person to stand by, and hearken unto him.

And one may mention another reason also, with those which have been spoken of. Of what kind then is it? To inform them that He hath power both of death and life, is ruler both above and beneath. For this cause He brings forward both him that had died, and him that never yet suffered this.

But the fifth motive, (for it is a fifth, besides those that have been mentioned), even the evangelist himself hath revealed. Now what was this? To show the glory of the cross, and to console Peter and the others in their dread of the passion, and to raise up their minds. Since having come, they by no means held their peace, but “spake,” it is said, “of the glory11 which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem;12 “ that is, of the passion, and the cross; for so they call it always.

And not thus only did He cheer them, but also by the excellency itself of the men, being such as He was especially requiring from themselves. I mean, that having said, “If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross, and follow me;” them that had died ten thousand times for God’s decrees, and the people entrusted to them, these persons He sets before them. Because each of these, having lost his life, found it. For each of them both spake boldly unto tyrants, the one to the Egyptian, the other to Ahab; and in behalf of heartless and disobedient men; and by the very persons who were saved by them, they were brought into extreme danger; and each of them wishing to withdraw men from idolatry; and each being unlearned; for the one was of a “slow tongue,”13 and dull of speech, and the other for his part also somewhat of the rudest in his bearing: and of voluntary poverty both were very strict observers; for neither had Moses made any gain, nor had Elias aught more than his sheepskin; and this under the old law, and when they had not received so great a gift of miracles. For what if Moses clave a sea? yet Peter walked on the water, and was able to remove mountains, and used to work cures of all manner of bodily diseases, and to drive away savage demons, and by the shadow of his body to work those wonderful and great prodigies; and changed the whole world. And if Elias too raised a dead man, yet these raised ten thousand; and this before the spirit was as yet vouchsafed to them. He brings them forward accordingly for this cause also. For He would have them emulate their winning ways toward the people, and their presence of mind and inflexibility; and that they should be meek like Moses, and jealous for God like Elias, and full of tender care, as they were. For the one endured a famine of three years for the Jewish people; and the other said, “If thou wilt forgive them their sin, forgive; else blot me too out of the book, which thou hast written.”14 Now of all this He was reminding them by the vision.

For He brought those in glory too, not that these should stay where they were, but that they might even surpass their limitary lines. For example, when they said, “Should we command fire to come down from heaven,” and made mention of Elias as having done so, He saith, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of;”15 training them to forbearance by the superiority in their gift.

And let none suppose us to condemn Elias as imperfect; we say not this; for indeed he was exceedingly perfect, but in his own times, when the mind of men was in some degree childish, and they needed this kind of schooling. Since Moses too was in this respect perfect; nevertheless these have more required of them than he. For “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no ease enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”16 For not into Egypt did they enter, but into the whole world, worse disposed than the Egyptians; neither were they to speak with Pharaoh, but to fight hand to hand with the devil, the very prince of wickedness. Yea, and their appointed struggle was, both to bind him, and to spoil all his goods; and this they did cleaving not the sea, but an abyss of ungodliness, through the rod of Jesse,—an abyss having waves far more grievous. See at any rate how many things there were to put the men in fear; death, poverty, dishonor, their innumerable sufferings; and at these things they trembled more than the Jews of old at that sea. But nevertheless against all these things He persuaded them boldly to venture, and to pass as along dry ground with all security.

To train them therefore for all this, He brought forward those who shone forth under the old law.

4. What then saith the ardent Peter? “It is good for us to be here.”17 For because he had heard that Christ was to go to Jerusalem and to suffer, being in fear still and trembling for Him, even after His reproof, he durst not indeed approach and say the same thing again, “Be it far from thee;18 but from that fear obscurely intimates the same again in other words. That is, when he saw a mountain, and so great retirement and solitude, his thought was, “He hath great security here, even from the place; and not only from the place, but also from His going away no more unto Jerusalem.” For he would have Him be there continually: wherefore also he speaks of “tabernacles.” For “if this may be,” saith he, “we shall not go up to Jerusalem; and if we go not up, He will not die, for there He said the scribes would set upon Him.”

But thus indeed he durst not speak; but desiring however to order things so, he said undoubtingly, “It is good for us to be here,” where Moses also is present, and Elias; Elias who brought down fire on the mountain, and Moses who entered into the thick darkness, and talked with God; and no one will even know where we are.”

Seest thou the ardent lover of Christ? For look not now at this, that the manner of his exhortation was not well weighed, but see how ardent he was, how burning his affection to Christ. For in proof that not so much out of fear for himself he said these things, hear what he saith, when Christ was declaring beforehand His future death, and the assault upon Him: “I will lay down my life for Thy sake.19 Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee.20

And see how even in the very midst of the actual dangers he counselled amiss21 for himself. We know that when so great a multitude encompassed them, so far from flying, he even drew the sword, and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. To such a degree did he disregard his own interest, and fear for his Master. Then because he had spoken as affirming a fact, he checks himself, and thinking, what if he should be again reproved, he saith, “If Thou wilt, let us make22 here three tabernacles, one for Thee and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

What sayest thou, O Peter? didst thou not a little while since distinguish Him from the servants? Art thou again numbering Him with the servants? Seest thou how exceedingly imperfect they were before the crucifixion? For although the Father had revealed it to him, yet he did not always retain the revelation, but was troubled by his alarm; not this only, which I have mentioned, but another also, arising from that sight. In fact, the other evangelists, to declare this, and to indicate that the confusion of his mind, with which he spake these things, arose from that alarm, said as follows; mark, “He wist not what to say, for they were sore afraid;”23 but Luke after his saying, “Let us make three tabernacles,” added, “not knowing what he said.”24 Then to show that he was holden with great fear, both he and the rest, he saith, “They were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake they saw His glory;”25 meaning by deep sleep here, the deep stupor engendered in them by that vision. For as eyes are darkened by an excessive splendor, so at that time also did they feel. For it was not, I suppose, night, but day; and the exceeding greatness of the light weighed down the infirmity of their eyes.

5. What then? He Himself speaks nothing, nor Moses, nor Elias, but He that is greater than all, and more worthy of belief, the Father, uttereth a voice out of the cloud.

Wherefore out of the cloud? Thus doth God ever appear. “For a cloud and darkness are round about Him;”26 and, “He sitteth on a light cloud;”27 and again, “Who maketh clouds His chariot;”28 and, “A cloud received Him out of their sight;”29 and, “As the Son of Man coming in the clouds.”30

In order then that they might believe that the voice proceeds from God, it comes from thence.

And the cloud was bright. For “while he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”

For as, when He threatens, He shows a dark cloud;—as on Mount Sinai; for “Moses,” it is said, “entered into the cloud, and into the thick darkness; and as a vapor, so went up the smoke;”32 and the prophet said, when speaking of His threatening, “Dark water in clouds of the air;”33 —so here, because it was His desire not to alarm, but to teach, it is a bright cloud.

And whereas Peter had said “Let us make three tabernacles,” He showed a tabernacle not made with hands. Wherefore in that case it was smoke, and vapor of a furnace; but in this, light unspeakable and a voice.

Then, to signify that not merely concerning some one of the three was it spoken, but; concerning Christ only; when the voice was uttered, they were taken away. For by no means, had it been spoken merely concerning any one of them, would this man have remained alone, the two being severed from Him.

Why then did not the cloud likewise receive Christ alone, but all of them together? If it had received Christ alone, He would have been thought to have Himself uttered the voice. Wherefore also the evangelist, making sure this same point, saith, that the voice was from the cloud, that is, from God.

And what saith the voice? “This is my beloved Son.” Now if He is beloved, fear not thou, O Peter. For thou oughtest indeed to know His power already, and to be fully assured touching His resurrection; but since; thou knowest not, at least from the voice of the Father take courage. For if God be mighty, as surely He is mighty, very evidently the Son is so likewise. Be not afraid then of those fearful things.

But if as yet thou receive it not, consider at least that other fact, that He is both a Son, and is beloved. For “This,” it is said, “is My beloved Son.” Now if He is beloved, fear not. For no one gives up one whom he loves. Be not thou therefore confounded; though thou lovest Him beyond measure, thou lovest Him not as much as He that begat Him.

“In whom I am well pleased.” For not because He begat Him only, doth He love Him, but because He is also equal to Him in all respects, and of one mind with Him. So that the charm of love is twofold, or rather even threefold, because He is the Son, because He is beloved, because in Him He is well pleased.

But what means, “In whom I am well pleased ?” As though He had said,” In whom I am refreshed, in whom I take delight;” because He is in all respects perfectly equal with Himself, and there is but one will in Him and in the Father, and though He continue a Son, He is in all respects one with the Father.

“Hear ye Him.” So that although He choose to be crucified, you are not to oppose Him.

6. “And when they heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.”

How was it that, when they heard these words, they were dismayed? And yet before this also a like voice was uttered at Jordan, and a multitude was present, and no one felt anything of the kind; and afterwards again, when also they said, “It thundered, …. yet neither at that time did they experience anything like this. How then did they fall down in the mount? Because there was solitude, and height. and great quietness, and a transfiguration full of awe, and a pure light, and a cloud stretched out; all which things put them in great alarm. And the amazement came thick on every side, and they fell down both in fear at once and in adoration.

But that the fear abiding so long might not drive out their recollection, presently He puts an end to their alarm, and is seen Himself alone, and commands them to tell no man this, until He is risen from the dead.

For “as they came down from the mount, He charged them to tell the vision to no man, until He were risen from the dead.”35 For the greater the things spoken of Him, the harder to be received by the generality at that time; and the offense also from the cross was the more increased thereby.

Therefore He bids them hold their peace; and not merely so, but He again reminds them of the passion, and all but tells them also the cause, for which indeed He requires them to keep silence. For He did not, you see, command them never to tell any man, but “until He were risen from the dead.” And saying nothing of the painful part, He expresses the good only.

What then? Would they not afterwards be offended? By no means. For the point required was the time before the crucifixion. Since afterwards they both had the spirit vouchsafed them, and the voice that proceeded from the miracles pleading with them, and whatsoever they said was thenceforth easy to be received, the course of events proclaiming His might more clearly than a trumpet, and no offense of that sort interrupting36 what they were about.

7. Nothing then is more blessed than the apostles, and especially the three, who even in the cloud were counted worthy to be under the same roof with the Lord. But if we will, we also shall behold Christ, not as they then on the mount, but in far greater brightness. For not thus shall He come hereafter. For whereas then, to spare His disciples, He discovered so much only of His brightness as they were able to bear; hereafter He shall come in the very glory of the Father, not with Moses and Elias only, but with the infinite host of the angels, with the archangels, with the cherubim, with those infinite tribes, not having a cloud over His head, but even heaven itself being folded up. For as it is with the judges; when they judge publicly, the attendants drawing back the curtains show them to all; even so then likewise all men shall see Him sitting, and all the human race shall stand by, and He will make answers to them by Himself; and to some He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father; for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; “37 to others,” Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things.38 And again passing an opposite sentence, to some He will answer, “Depart into the everlasting fire, that is prepared for the devil and his angels,”39 and to others, “O thou wicked and slothful servants.”40 And some He will “cut asunder,” and “deliver to the tormentors;” but others He will command to “be bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness? And after the axe the furnace will follow; and all out of the net, that is east away, will fall therein. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun; “41 or rather more than the sun. But so much is said, not because their light is to be so much and no more, but since we know no other star brighter than this, He chose by the known example to set forth the future brightness of the saints.

Since on the mount too, when He says, “He did shine as the sun,” for the same cause did He so speak. For that the comparison did not come up to His light, the apostles showed by falling down. For had the brightness not been unalloyed, but comparable to the sun; they would not have fallen, but would easily have borne it.

The righteous therefore will shine as the sun, and more than the sun in that time; but the sinners shall suffer all extremities. Then will there be no need of records, proofs, witnesses. For He who judges is Himself all, both witness, and proof, and judge. For He knows all things exactly; “For all things are naked and opened unto His eyes.”42

No man will there appear rich or poor, mighty or weak, wise or unwise, bond or free; but these masks will be dashed in pieces, and the inquiry will be into their works only. For if in our courts, when any one is tried for usurpation, or murder, whatever he may be, whether governor, or consul, or what you will, all these dignities fleet away, and he that is convicted suffers the utmost penalty; much more will it be so there.

8. Therefore that this may not be so, let us lay aside our filthy garments, let us put on the armor of light, and the glory of God will wrap us around. For what is even grievous in the injunctions? or what is there not easy? Hear, for instance, the prophet speaking, and then thou shalt know the easiness thereof. “Neither though thou bow as a collar thy neck, and strew beneath thee sackcloth and ashes, not even so shalt thou call a fast acceptable; but loose every bond of iniquity, unloose the twisted knots of oppressive bargains.”43

See a prophet’s wisdom, how stating first whatever was irksome, and removing it, he exhorts them to obtain salvation by the duties that are easy; signifying, that God needs not toils, but obedience.

Then implying that virtue is easy, but vice grievous and galling, he makes it out by the bare names; “For,” saith he, “vice is a bond,” and “a twisted knot,” but virtue is a disengagement and release from all these.

“Tear in sunder every unjust compact;” thus calling men’s bills about the interest due to them, and the sums they have lent.

“Set at liberty them that are bruised;’ them that are afflicted. For such a being is the debtor; when he sees his creditor, his mind is broken, and he fears him more than a wild beast.

“Bring in the poor that are cast out to thy house; if thou seest one naked, clothe him, and them that belong to thy seed thou shalt not overlook.”44

Now in our late discourse which we made unto you when declaring the rewards, we showed the wealth arising from these acts; but now let us see if any of the injunctions be grievous, and transcending our nature. Nay, nothing of the kind shall we discover, but quite the contrary; that while these courses are very easy, those of vice are full of labor. For what is more vexatious than to be lending, and taking thought about usuries and bargains, and demanding sureties, and fearing and trembling about securities, about the principal, about the writings, about the interest, about the bondsmen ?

For such is the nature of worldly things; yea, nothing is so unsound and suspicious as that which is accounted security, and contrived for that purpose; but to show mercy is easy, and delivers from all anxiety.

Let us not then traffic in other men’s calamities, nor make a trade of our benevolence. And I know indeed that many hear these words with displeasure; but what is the profit of silence? For though I should hold my peace, and give no trouble by my words, I could not by this silence deliver you from your punishment; rather it has altogether the opposite result; the penalty is enhanced, and not to you only, but to me also, doth such a silence procure punishment. What then signify our gracious words, when in our works they help us not, but rather do harm? What is the good of delighting men in word, while we vex them in deed, bringing pleasure to the ears, and punishment to the soul? Wherefore I must needs make you sorry here, that we may not suffer punishment there.

9. For indeed a dreadful disease, beloved, dreadful and needing much attendance, hath fallen on the church. Those, namely, who are enjoined not even by honest labors to lay up treasures, but to open their houses to the needy, make a profit of other men’s poverty, devising a specious robbery, a plausible covetousness.

For tell me not of the laws that are without; since even the publican fulfills the law that is without, but nevertheless is punished: which will be the case with us also, unless we refrain from oppressing the poor, and from using their need and necessity as an occasion for shameless trafficking.

For to this intent thou hast wealth, to relieve poverty, not to make a gain of poverty; but thou with show of relief makest the calamity greater, and sellest benevolence for money. Sell it, I forbid thee not, but for a heavenly kingdom. Receive not a small price for so good a deed, thy monthly one in the hundred,45 but that immortal life. Why art thou beggarly, and poor, and mean, selling thy great things for a little, even for goods that perish. when it should be for an everlasting kingdom? Why dost thou leave God, and get human gains? Why dost thou pass by the wealthy one, and trouble him that hath not? and leaving the sure paymaster make thy bargain with the unthankful? The other longs to repay, but this even grudges in the act of repaying. This hardly repays a hundredth part, but the other “an hundredfold and eternal life.” This with insults and revilings, but the other with praises and auspicious words. This stirs up envy against thee, but the other even weaves for thee crowns. This hardly here, but the other both there and here.

Surely then is it not the utmost senselessness, not so much as to know how to gain? How many have lost their very principal for the interest’s sake? How many have fallen into perils for usurious gains. How many have involved both themselves and others in extreme poverty through their unspeakable covetousness !

For tell me not this, that he is pleased to receive, and is thankful for the loan. Why, this is a result of thy cruelty. Since Abraham too,46 contriving how his plan might take with the barbarians, did himself give up his wife to them; not however willingly, but through fear of Pharaoh. So also the poor man, because thou countest him not even worth so. much money, is actually compelled to be thankful for cruelty.

And it seems to me as though, shouldest thou deliver him from dangers, thou wouldest exact of him a payment for this deliverance. “Away,” saith he; “let it not be.” What sayest thou? Delivering him from the greater evil, thou art unwilling to exact money, and for the lesser dost thou display so much inhumanity?

Seest thou not how great a punishment is appointed for the deed? hearest thou not that even in the old law this is forbidden?47 But what is the plea of the many? “When I have received the interest, I give to the poor;” one tells me. Speak reverently, O man; God desires not such sacrifices. Deal not subtilly with the law. Better not give to a poor man, than give from that source; for the money that hath been collected by honest labors, thou often makest to become unlawful because of that wicked increase; as if one should compel a fair womb to give birth to scorpions.

And why do I speak of God’s law? Do not even ye call it “filth”? But if ye, the gainers, give your voice so, consider what suffrage God will pass upon you.

And if thou wilt ask the Gentile lawgivers too, thou wilt be told that even by them this thing is deemed a proof of the most utter shamelessness. Those, for example, who are in offices of honor, and belong to the great council, which they call the senate, may not legally disgrace themselves with such gains; there being a law among them which prohibits the same.

How then is it not a horrible thing, if thou ascribe not even so much honor to the polity of Heaven, as the legislators to the council of the Romans; but Heaven is to obtain less than earth, and thou art not ashamed even of the very folly of the thing? For what could be more foolish than this, unless one without! land, rain, or plough, were to insist upon sowing? Tares therefore, to be committed to the fire, do they reap, who have devised this evil husbandry.

Why, are there not many honest trades? in the fields, the flocks, the herds, the breeding of cattle, in handicrafts, in care of property? Why rave and be frantic, cultivating thorns for no good? What if the fruits of the earth are subject to mischance; hail, and blight, and excessive rain? yet not to such an extent as are money dealings. For in whatsoever cases of that sort occur, the damage of course concerns the produce, but the principal remains, I mean, the land. But herein many often have suffered shipwreck in their principal; and before the loss too they are in continual dejection. For never cloth the money-lender enjoy his possessions, nor find pleasure in them; but when the interest is brought, he rejoices not that he hath received gain, but is grieved that the interest hath not yet come up to the principal. And before this evil offspring is brought forth complete, he compels it also to bring forth, making the interest principal, and forcing it to bring forth its untimely and abortive brood of vipers. For of this nature are the gains of usury; more than those wild creatures do they devour and tear the souls of the wretched. This “is the bond of iniquity:” this “the twisted knot of oppressive bargains.”

Yea, “I give,” he seems to say, “not for thee to receive, but that thou mayest repay more.” And whereas God commands not even to receive what is given (for “give,” saith He, “to them from whom ye look not to receive”),52 thou requirest even more than is given, and what thou gavest not, this as a debt, thou constrainest the receiver to pay.

And thou indeed supposest thy substance to be increased hereby, but instead of substance thou art kindling the unquenchable fire.

That this therefore may not be, let us cut out the evil womb of usurious gains, let us deaden these lawless travailings, let us dry up this place of pernicious teeming, and let us pursue the true and great gains only. “But what are these?” Hear Paul saying “Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Therefore in this wealth alone let us be rich, that we may both here enjoy security, and attain unto the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, and world without end. Amen.


Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.

Posted on August 4, 2019

Євангеліє: (Мт 14,14-22): У той час, вийшовши, Ісус побачив силу народу і змилосердився над ними та вигоїв їхніх недужих. Якже настав вечір, підійшли до нього його учні й кажуть: “Пусте це місце та й час минув уже. Відпусти людей, нехай ідуть по селах та куплять собі поживи.” А Ісус сказав їм: “Не треба їм відходити: дайте ви їм їсти.” Вони ж мовлять до нього: “Ми маємо тут тільки п’ять хлібів і дві рибі.” Тоді він каже: “Принесіть мені їх сюди.” І, звелівши народові посідати на траві, взяв п’ять хлібів і дві риби, підвів очі до неба, поблагословив і розламав ті хліби, і дав учням, а учні – людям. Всі їли до наситу й назбирали куснів, що зосталися, дванадцять кошів повних. Тих же, що їли, було яких п’ять тисяч чоловіків, окрім жінок та дітей. І зараз же спонукав учнів увійти до човна й переплисти на той бік раніше від нього, тим часом як він відпускав народ.

(Mt 14:14-22)
At that time, when Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.

Bulletin Aug 3 -10


Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.

Posted on July 27, 2019

Gospel (Matthew 9:27-35): And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David,* have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land. As they were going out,* a demoniac who could not speak was brought to him, and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.

Євангеліє: (Матвея 9:27-35). І як Ісус відходив звідти, слідом за ним пустилися два сліпці й кричали: “Помилуй нас, сину Давидів!” І коли він увійшов до хати, сліпці приступили до нього, а він спитав їх: “Чи віруєте, що я можу це зробити?” – “Так, Господи!” – кажуть йому ті. Тоді він доторкнувся до їхніх очей, мовивши: “Нехай вам станеться за вашою вірою!” І відкрились їхні очі. Ісус же суворо наказав їм: “Глядіть, щоб ніхто не знав про це.” Та ті, вийшовши, розголосили про нього чутку по всій країні. А як вони виходили, приведено до нього німого, що був біснуватий. Коли ж він вигнав біса, німий почав говорити, і люди дивувалися, кажучи: “Ніколи щось таке не об’являлося в Ізраїлі!” Фарисеї ж говорили: “Він виганяє бісів князем бісівським!” Ісус обходив усі міста і села, навчаючи в їхніх синагогах, проповідуючи Євангелію царства та вигоюючи всяку хворобу й недугу.

Bulletin July 27 -Aug 3

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
— St. Augustine


Posted on July 13, 2019

Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Most Holy Virgin Mary who, to inspire me with the fullest confidence, hast been willing to take the sweet name of Mother of Perpetual Help, I. N. N. (say your name) acknowledge that my sins render me unworthy to be admitted among the number of thy privileged children. Nevertheless, desirous of enjoying thy merciful favor, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly prostrate before thee, I consecrate to thee my understanding, that I may always think of thee; I consecrate to thee my heart in order that, after God, I may love thee above all things.

O my Sovereign Lady, deign to receive me among the number of thy favored children, take me under thy protection, help me in all my spiritual and temporal wants, but especially at the hour of my death.

O Mother of Perpetual Help, I know that thou lovest me more than I can love myself, I entrust all my interests to thy care: dispose of me, and all that belongs to me, according to thy good pleasure.

O Mother, bless me, and by thy powerful intercession support my weakness, so that having been faithful in serving thee during this life, I may praise thee, love thee and thank thee eternally in the next. Amen.

This past Sunday we heard “Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help (or Icon of our Lady of Perpetual Help)”.

These icons, and the others throughout the year, are commemorated in a special way to remind us of the miracles and wonders worked through the Holy Images as they reveal the Power, Love, Mercy and Hope of our Holy Lady and Mother of God herself, and of her Beloved Son, revealed in the icons.
How blessed are the churches and parishes named after one of the Holy Icons! So it was last Sunday, July 7, with the community of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lackawanna, NY, as you celebrated your Praznyk and renewed your devotion and commitment personally, and as a parish family, to the Most Holy Theotokos, our Heavenly Queen and Mother in the holy icon of Perpetual Help.
Prior to 2018 there was no official Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in our Byzantine Rite. (The Roman Church has June 27 as their Feast Day). It is true, that for us in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, parishes with the name, “Our Lady of Perpetual Help,” generally celebrated their “Praznyk” on October 1 (n.s.), or October 14 (o.s.), the Feast of the Holy Protection.
However, beginning in July of 2018 that practice has been changed. Last June, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, officially promulgated the new feast of our church as “The Feast of our Mother of
Perpetual Help.” Patriarch Sviatoslav proclaimed the first Sunday of every July to be the Feast Day of our Mother of Perpetual Help. Last year the first Sunday of July was July 1st, and this year July 7, 2019 was the Feast Day….. “Happy Feast Day, OLPH!”
On this special Feast Day, and always, we are invited to study and “read” what is “written” in and on the icon. As we face the holy image, we see the Archangel Michael to the left, and Archangel Gabriel to the right. Michael holds in his veiled hands the spear and the sponge; Gabriel holds the Cross and nails,

also with veiled hands. Jesus looking away from His Mother at these instruments of His passion, is contemplating His future suffering and death. The ‘dangling shoe’ shows how, in His fear of what He sees, He runs to His Mother for safety and protective comfort and loses His shoe in His haste.
The icon, while indeed reminding us of the Passion and Death of our Lord, also tells us of the Victory of the Resurrection. Notice that the angels hold those terrible instruments in a triumphant manner as they present the Holy Things only with veiled hands. The spear, the sponge on the reed, the nails and the cross are now signs of the Victory of our Lord and God over Death. “Through the Cross, Joy has come to the world.”
Our gaze next falls on the grasp of Jesus to His Mother’s thumb, showing safety and comfort in her hands and on her lap. She points to her Son as she gazes out at us. She is at once revealing her Son, and calling all of us who look at this icon, to Him. Mary, as Theotokos, God-bearer, in iconography has a star or stars painted upon her, one on each shoulder and her forehead. The stars remind us of the truth of our Faith that Mary, as Mother of God, is a virgin before, during and after the birth of her Divine Son.
One last observation is to notice that there are crowns upon the heads of Mary and Jesus. Crowns such as this are a Latin addition. In the eastern icon tradition, crowns are never placed on the heads, but if an icon is to have a ‘coronation’ in the Byzantine tradition, the entire icon, except for face and hands receives a metal covering called “ryza”, usually made of gold or silver and engraved with the image. The coronation and placing of the crowns upon our icon was performed by Pope Pius IX in 1867. Jesus is King of Kings and Mary is Queen of all.
The original icon is ‘written’ on hard wood and is approximately 16” by 20” and was already old when it got to Rome. This image, known in the East as “Theotokos of the Passion”, was brought from a Greek monastery in Crete and had been written sometime in the 13th century. (It has been scientifically analyzed over the years and also has undergone restoration, and in some cases overpainting). The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help came to Rome, perhaps even stolen, by a merchant who had visited that monastery. Upon his deathbed, he said the Holy Mother had directed that the icon be placed in a certain church in Rome, which was St. Matthew. It remained there, known as the “Madonna of St. Matthew”, for over 300 years and was the object of veneration and pilgrimage by thousands and thousands of worshippers. Many, many miracles, healings and answered prayers have been attributed to pleas heard before this holy icon. Around 1812 the church of St. Matthew was destroyed by Napoleon’s forces and the icon was quietly kept in a small church under the care of the Augustinian Fathers. Eventually a new church was to be built on the spot of the destroyed St. Matthew’s.
The new church was called St. Alphonsus Ligouri and was being built by the Redemptorist Fathers, Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Through the efforts of Pope Pius IX, who truly fell in love with the image, the icon was given to the Redemptorist Fathers to care for, to place in
the new church, and also with the command of the Holy Father to “make her known throughout the world.
The icon is still in the church of St. Alphonsus, and venerated by thousands upon thousands of pilgrims annually. The Redemptorist Fathers also commissioned several artists to paint copies of the original icon. Some 200 artists then painted various renditions or artistic interpretations. No doubt this is why we see so many variations of the Icon of our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The Redemptorist order is, and has been, very active in Ukraine. (We presently have 8 bishops who belong to that order). Of course the early Redemptorist missionaries would have brought the icon to Ukraine where it has become beloved as any other icon of our Holy Mother. As she has done for the last 700-800 years, the Mother of Perpetual Help still continues to show us her Son Jesus as she shows us the way and calls us all to Him. I hope we will forever look upon this icon in a new and completely different and holy way!
This is only a short history and explanation of the icon. There is much more to be learned for those who wish to delve into it. May we all continue to “read” what is “written” on the Holy Icon. Hopefully, as we become aware of the treasure that is the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we will realize that we are under her never ending protection and help. Just as she was there to comfort and hold her Divine Son, so let us all be aware that she is always there to comfort and hold us! We hear her voice calling, just as we heard our own Mothers call us to home and safety. We run to her and climb up on her lap and hold her hand and are protected from all evil! Let this day be a renewal in our love and devotion to our Most Holy Mother and to her Son Jesus Christ, our Lord!
“Dear Holy Mother, obtain for us the forgiveness of our sins, love for Jesus your Son, final perseverance and the grace to come to you at all times!” Most Holy Mother of Perpetual Help, be our help and protection as you show us the way to your Son! Most Holy Mother of God, save us! Sermon Feast Day.July 7. Fr. Raymond Palko.


Sunday of the Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils. Fifth Sunday After Pentecost.

Posted on July 13, 2019

Gospel: (John 17:1-13)

At the time the Jesus, looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.

(Ів 17,1-13) В той час Ісус, підвівши очі свої до неба, проказав: «Отче, прийшла година! Прослав свого Сина, щоб Син твій тебе прославив, згідно з владою, що її ти дав йому над усяким тілом: дарувати життя вічне тим, яких ти передав йому. А вічне життя у тому, щоб вони спізнали тебе, єдиного, істинного Бога, і тобою посланого – Ісуса Христа. Я тебе на землі прославив, виконавши те діло, яке ти дав мені до виконання. Тепер же прослав мене, Отче, у себе – славою тією, що її я мав у тебе перед тим, як постав світ! Я об’явив твоє ім’я людям, яких ти від світу передав мені. Вони були твої, ти ж передав мені їх, і зберегли вони слово твоє. Нині збагнули вони, що все, тобою дане мені – від тебе; слова бо, тобою мені дані, я їм дав, і сприйняли вони їх, і справді збагнули, що від тебе я вийшов, і увірували, що ти мене послав. Молю ж за них: не за світ молю, лише за тих, яких ти передав мені, бо вони – твої. І все моє – твоє, твоє ж – моє, і в них я прославився. Я вже більш не у світі, а вони у світі, і я до тебе йду. Отче Святий! Заради імени твого бережи їх, тих, що їх ти мені передав, щоб були одно, як ми! Бувши з ними у світі, я беріг їх у твоє ім’я; тих, яких ти передав мені, я їх стеріг, і ніхто з них не пропав, лише син загибелі, щоб збулося Писання. Тепер же іду до тебе, і кажу те, у світі бувши, щоб вони радощів моїх мали у собі вщерть.

July 13-20


4th Sunday after Pentecost; All Saints of Rus’-Ukraine.

Posted on July 11, 2019

Troparion, Tone 4: O you, who glorified Christ:* princes and bishops,* monastics and martyrs,* and steadfast confessors of Christian Ukraine throughout all times,*pray Christ God to look with favour on our people* and to grant them the grace to persevere in the faith* that the souls of prayerful faithful* who revere your sacred memory* may be saved.

Євангеліє: (Мт 5,1-16) (Усіх святих українського народу):

У той час Ісус зійшов на гору. І коли він сів, підійшли до нього його учні; а він, відкривши уста, почав навчати їх: “Блаженні вбогі духом, бо їхнє Царство Небесне. Блаженні тихі, бо вони успадкують землю. Блаженні засмучені, бо будуть утішені. Блаженні голодні та спраглі справедливости, бо вони наситяться. Блаженні милосердні, бо вони зазнають милосердя. Блаженні чисті серцем, бо вони побачать Бога. Блаженні миротворці, бо вони синами Божими назвуться. Блаженні переслідувані за правду, бо їхнє Царство Небесне. Блаженні ви, коли вас будуть зневажати, гонити та виговорювати всяке лихо на вас, обмовляючи мене ради. Радійте й веселіться, бо нагорода ваша велика на небі; так бо переслідували пророків, які були перед вами. Ви – сіль землі. Коли ж сіль звітріє, чим її солоною зробити? Ні на що не придатна більше, хіба – викинути її геть, щоб топтали люди. Ви – світло світу. Не може сховатись місто, що лежить на верху гори. І не запалюють світла та й не ставлять його під посудиною, лише на свічник, і воно світить усім у хаті. Так нехай світить перед людьми ваше світло, щоб вони, бачивши ваші добрі вчинки, прославляли вашого Отця, що на небі.

Gospel: (Matthew 5:1-16) (Saints):

At that time Jesus went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, forthey will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Bulletin July 6 -13


Posted on July 2, 2019

Наше парафіяльне свято Матері Божої Неустанної Помочі будемо св’яткувати в першу неділю Липня. Цього року буде це буде 7 липня. Ми як парафія будемо св’яткувати це св’ято божественнoю Літургією в 10:00 годині ранку в неділю, і мати пікнік після Літургій . Запрошуємо всіх парафіян і гостей на наш празник.

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Next Sunday we will be celebrating our parish feast day OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP on the first Sunday of July 7. All parishioners and guests are welcome to gathering after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday July 7, 2019 by the church for a family picnic. Come join us in this celebration. Parishioners are obligated to attend major parish functions such as the Praznyk


Third Sunday After Pentecost

Posted on July 2, 2019

Seek First His Kingdom And His Righteousness.

Bulletin June 29 -July 6