Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, June 8, 2014

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 2014

PENTECOST SUNDAY:
THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


FIRST ANTIPHON:

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.

REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.

Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the universe.

REFRAIN

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

REFRAIN

SECOND ANTIPHON:

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

REFRAIN: Gracious Comforter, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!

May He send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion!

REFRAIN

May He remember all your offerings, and fulfill all your plans.

REFRAIN

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.  Only-begotten Son and Immortal Word of God...

THIRD ANTIPHON:

In Your strength the King rejoices, O Lord, and exults greatly in Your salvation.

PENTECOST TROPARION - TONE EIGHT:

Blessed are You, O Christ our God; You have revealed the fishermen as most wise, by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit; through them You drew the world into Your net.  O Lover of Mankind, Glory to You!

You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request from his lips.

PENTECOST TROPARION

For You meet him with goodly blessing; You set a crown of fine gold upon his head.

PENTECOST TROPARION

Introit of the Little Entrance:
Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength!  We will sing and praise Your power!

PENTECOST TROPARION

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

PENTECOST KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT:

When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, He divided the nations; but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity.  Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-holy Spirit!

INSTEAD OF “HOLY GOD…”:

As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.  Alleluia!

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET...”:

Rejoice, O Queen! Glory of mothers and virgins! No mouth, however sweet or fluent, is eloquent enough to praise you worthily! Every mind is overawed by your childbearing. Therefore with one voice we glorify you!

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 8th Tone:       

Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth; and their words to the ends of the universe.

Pentecost Sunday: Acts 2: 1-11

In those days, when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.  Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Alleluia Verses:

By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made; and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth.  The Lord looked down from heaven, and saw all the sons of men.

GOSPEL READING

Pentecost Sunday: John 7: 37-52; 8: 12    

At that time, on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Christ.”  But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?  Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”  So there was a division among the people because of Him.  Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.  Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”  The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”  Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?  But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”  Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”  They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee?  Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for May 26/June 8 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Apostle Carpus

Carpus was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was a follower and companion of the Apostle Paul, by whom he was appointed Bishop of Varna in Thrace. He also preached the Gospel on Crete, where he received St. Dionysius the Areopagite in his home. St. Dionysius testifies that Carpus was a man with an exceptionally pure mind, meekness and innocence; that the Lord Jesus, with His angels, appeared to him in a vision; and that he never began the Divine Liturgy without first receiving a heavenly vision. Enduring many assaults for the name of Christ, he finally suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Jews and was slain. His soul took up habitation in the Kingdom of God, there to delight eternally, gazing upon the Lord in glory.

The Holy Apostle Alphaeus

Alphaeus was the father of two apostles from among the Twelve: James the son of Alphaeus, and Matthew the Evangelist. He ended his earthly life peacefully.

The Venerable John of Psychaita

At an early age, he withdrew from the world to the Lavra of Psychaita in Constantinople. There he lived a life of asceticism for many years for the sake of the love of Christ. Because of his veneration of icons, he endured banishment in the eighth century.

The New Martyr Alexander of Thessalonica

This martyr of Christ was born in Thessalonica at the time of the great tyranny of the Turks over this city. As a young man he was deceived by the Turks and became a Moslem. In the beginning he did not have any pangs of conscience over such an act, and he went on pilgrimage with other Moslems and became a dervish. But, living as a dervish in Thessalonica, he began to repent bitterly. During his repentance, the thought came to him that he could in no way wash away the horrible sin of apostasy from Christ except through his own blood. Therefore, when he repented and decided in favor of martyrdom, he declared himself a Christian before the Turks. The Turks cast him into prison and subjected him to various tortures, but Alexander only cried out: “I was born a Christian, and I want to die a Christian.” Finally the Turks condemned him to death, over which the repentant Alexander greatly rejoiced, recognizing from this condemnation that his sins were forgiven and that God accepted his sacrifice. Alexander was beheaded in Smyrna in the year 1794, and was glorified in both the heavenly and the earthly Church.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Apostles

The holy apostles, a small company,
Illumined the world with heavenly light.

On the wings of the Spirit they covered the world,
So that they could give these same wings to the world.

To palaces, huts, and mountains they went;
They sweated on the roads and crossed the seas.

For them, each day meant a new battle and new suffering.

Wrestling with the world, they battled without moaning.

Each day was different, but their thoughts were the same:

Their thoughts were on Christ and their vision on Christ.

What sort of day it would be, was all the same—
To spend the night either in a palace or a prison—

They cared only to uphold Christ in themselves,
And with Him to quickly cover the earth.

Whatever dinner or supper they ate, was all the same;
They cared only that the Faith would shine throughout the world.

Honors or blows: to them it was all the same;
They cared only that Christ would reign over the world.

Winged angels hovered over them,
And rejoiced in them as in their own brothers.

Holy apostles, sons of God,
Pillars of the Church on the foundation of Christ—

Even now they labor and build up the Church,
Although as suns they shine in heaven.


REFLECTION

We should not desire the death of a sinner but his repentance. Nothing so grieves the Lord, Who suffered on the Cross for sinners, than when we pray to Him for the death of a sinner, thereby to remove the sinner from our path. It happened that the Apostle Carpus lost his patience and began to pray that God would send down death upon two sinful men: one a pagan and the other an apostate from the Faith. Then the Lord Christ Himself appeared to Carpus and said: “Strike me; I am prepared to be crucified again for the salvation of mankind.” St. Carpus related this event to St. Dionysius the Areopagite, who wrote it down as a lesson to all in the Church that prayers are needed for sinners to be saved and not for them to be destroyed, for the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the grace of God the Holy Spirit in the Mystery of Holy Communion:

1. How grace gives life to the bread and wine;

2. How it changes them into the Body and Blood of Christ.

HOMILY on the grace of God

My grace is sufficient for thee (II Corinthians 12:9).

The Lord did not even spare His apostles from temptations. That is why He gave them grace! When Satan himself began to malign the Apostle Paul, Paul prayed to God that Satan would depart from him. To this the Lord replied: My grace is sufficient for thee! That is, if you need to withstand Satan, My grace is sufficient for your endurance. If you need to struggle against Satan, again My grace is sufficient for you. If you wish to defeat Satan, again My grace is sufficient for you. Grace is an all-inclusive weapon. Grace is stronger than all opposition, than all assaults, than all the powers of darkness. Grace is invincible and victorious. Brethren, that is why we should pray to the Lord to give us His All-powerful grace. Grace is God within us. Grace is the Kingdom of God within us. When the grace of God is within us, then day is within our souls. And day signifies light, knowledge and fearlessness. Brethren, here on earth we cannot implore a greater good from God than the grace of God. If we were to receive the entire universe as a gift, that gift would be less than the grace of God. O Most-abundant Lord, the inexhaustible source of omnipotent grace, sprinkle our hardened hearts with Thy grace, that we might weep before Thy most-great goodness and our horrendous ingratitude. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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