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Church Bulletin: February 24, 2013

posted Feb 25, 2013, 8:37 AM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
February 24, 2013- Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
This Week's Services and Events
Feb 25, Monday
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Father's Office Hours, 9:15AM-11:30AM
Feb 27, Wednesday
        + Akathist, 7PM
Feb 28, Thursday
        + OCF Compline followed by discussion, 7PM
Mar 1, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM
Mar 2, Saturday
        + Introduction to Orthodoxy class, 4PM
        + 9th Hour and Great Vespers, 6PM
Mar 3, Sunday, Sunday of the Prodigal Son
        + Matins, 8:30AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10AM, followed by coffee hour and Sunday School
Upcoming Events and Announcements
March-April Calendars Now Available-
        The calendars detailing the services and other events over the next two months (March and April) are now printed and available in the church narthex for you to pick up.
No Fasting This Week-
        We do not observe our weekly Wednesday and Friday fasting from meat, eggs, and dairy this week- in fact, in the ancient canons, the Church forbids it! This is so that we will be reminded that fasting does not earn us favor with God. It was trusting in the externals of the faith, fasting and tithing, without regard for an inward change of heart, that lead to the Pharisee in today's Gospel reading (Luke 18:10-14) being held up by Jesus as an example not to follow. Fasting can be very helpful, if we engage in it with humility. In such case, it can strengthen our faith, and help us draw closer to God. Fasting from food while maintaining a judgmental heart will not give a person any spiritual advantage. So, forsake the fast for this week (only), and use this reminder the Church gives us to focus on the importance of fasting from sin.
Shelter House Annual Used Book Sale-
          The Shelter House, our local homeless shelter, is once again holding their annual Used Book Sale, which serves as a fundraiser for them. The sale will be held at the Sycamore Mall on Saturday, March 2 (10:30AM-4:30PM) and Sunday, March 3 (Noon-4PM). To donate used books before the sale, you may drop them off at the Sycamore Mall (back side- look for a sign on the door) on February 17 or 24 from 10AM-3PM) or during the week at the Shelter House at 429 Southgate Ave.
Parish Directory Updates-
        Our last parish directory, containing members and friends names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses was printed in 2011. It is time for an updated directory. Over the next few weeks, Fr. Ignatius will be contacting you and confirming the information he has for you, so that we can produce an accurate and updated 2013 directory.
Video Documenting Orthodox Missionary Work in Northern Kenya-
        The Orthodox Christian Mission Center has released at 17 minute video documentary on the recent evangelization work taking place among the Turkana people of Northern Kenya. To watch this video, go to: http://youtu.be/VO9AbyshWmk
Lent Begins on March 18-
        We will mark the beginning of Lent with Forgiveness Vespers at 6PM on Sunday, March 17.This beautiful and solemn service sets our minds and our spirits in the proper context for beginning the Lenten journey. Let us always be quick to apologize and quick to forgive. The first week of Lent is filled with services. Alter your schedule and come to at least one or two of them. Here is our schedule.
Sunday, March 17- Forgiveness Vespers, 6PM
Monday, March 18- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Tuesday, March 19- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Wednesday, March 20- Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, 6PM
Thursday, March 21- Little Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Friday, March 22- Little Compline with Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos, 7PM
Lenten Pan-Orthodox Sunday Vespers-
        As has been the tradition for several years, we are invited to attend vespers at various Orthodox churches in Eastern Iowa on Sunday evenings during Lent and in turn, we will be hosting clergy and the faithful from these churches at St. Raphael. Each vespers service is followed by a fellowship meal provided for by the hosting church. The dates are: March 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21. Each vespers begins at 5:30PM. St. Raphael is hosting on March 31.    
House Blessing Season is Now, Three Weeks Left!-
        From now until the beginning of Lent (March 17), is the season during which Fr. Ignatius is available to come to your home to bless it. A sign -up sheet is posted in the narthex. Suggest a date and time and Fr. Ignatius will check his calendar and arrange the visit.
Why We Bless Our Homes at Theophany-
Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage-
        The combined ministries of Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage provide many opportunities, especially in the summer, to build housing, work with orpahns and otherwise improve the lives of the low-income residents of Baja California, Mexico. To learn more about this worthy Orthodox ministry, go to: www.projectmexico.org
You Can Now Donate to Church Through Paypal-
        If you use the online payment service Paypal, you can use it to donate to our church. On the church's website (www.straphaelorthodoxchurch.org) near the top right of the home page, you will notice two different links, one for our general fund and one for our building fund. Check or cash donations are still preferred from our members because Paypal charges a processing fee of $0.30 + 2.2% on every transaction.
Parish Constitution Revision Committee-
        Our current parish constitution was revised about 4 years ago. It has come to the attention of some parish council members that perhaps some more revisions need to be made. If you would like to serve on a small committee to help make suggested changes that will be presented to the parish for a vote, please see Fr. Ignatius. The time commitment for this committee should be no longer than two months.
Do You Have a Prayer Request?
       Please give it to Fr. Ignatius and he will distribute it by email to all those on the Prayer Chain. If you wish to join the Prayer Chain, please let Fr. Ignatius know.
Choir Leadership-
        During the weekend of March 2-3, Tania Van Dinter will lead the choir.    
Holy Bread-
       On Sunday, March 3, the holy bread will be provided by the Abuissa family.  Thank you in advance.  Anyone can sign up to bake the holy bread.  This is a wonderful way to serve the church and to have your family and friends prayed for during Liturgy.
Coffee Hour-
       On Sunday March 3, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
Church Cleaning-
       During the week of February 24-March 2, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be accomplished by the St. Raphael team.
Food for Thought
February 24, 2013
The Beginning of the Triodion

Father Pat's Pastoral Ponderings

In the second century, Irenaeus, the second bishop of Lyons, explicitly asked-with respect to the eternal Word-"for what purpose did he come down?" (Against the Heresies 2.14.7). And the answer, "that he might destroy sin, abolish death, and give life to man" (3.18.7).

Irenaeus explains, "God created man that he might live. If man, then, having lost life through the injury inflicted by the corrupting devil, did not recover life but was completely abandoned to death, God would have been defeated, and the wickedness of the serpent would have prevailed over God's intent. Inasmuch, however, as God is both invincible and gracious, He demonstrated His graciousness in correcting man and vindicating all men (as I mentioned before), by using the Second Man to 'bind the strong man and despoil his goods.' Thereby He destroyed death, restoring life to man, who had become subject to death. For Adam had become the property of the devil, and the devil held sway over him by maliciously deceiving him with a promise of immortality and thereby making him subject to death" (3.23.1).

As in the Epistle to the Hebrews, these enemies---sin, death, and the devil---are inseparable in the mind of Irenaeus. For him, consequently, the Incarnation and the Atonement are also inseparable. He writes, "the very hand that formed us in the beginning and shapes us in our mother's womb, came to seek us in these latter days, when we were lost, laying hold on his lost sheep and placing it on his shoulders and joyfully restoring it to the sheepfold of life" (5.15.2).

Closely following Genesis 3 and the theology of the Apostle Paul, Irenaeus declines to separate sin, death, and demonic servitude. However they may differ conceptually, these three enemies of man are organically joined and existentially identical. Sin is not just a moral failing; it is the introduction of corruption into man's entire being.

In making this point, Irenaeus had in mind to refute Marcion and the second century Gnostics, for whom evil pertained only to man's lower, material nature. No, responded the Bishop of Lyons, sin involves man's entire being, inasmuch as it places human existence in bondage to the devil and the corruption of death. Death does not happen just to man's body, but to man's entire being.

Apart from Christ, death is eternal. Apart from Christ, death is hopeless. Death is the supreme alienation from God, inasmuch as "the nether world does not bless You, / death cannot praise you, / and those who descend can never expect Your fidelity" (Isaiah 38:18; Cf. Psalms 6:6; Sirach 17:26.).

Irenaeus explains that "we are not all the sons of God: those only are so who believe in Him and do His will. And those who do not believe, and do not obey His will are sons and angels of the devil, because they do the works of the devil. . . . For as, among men, those sons who disobey their fathers, being disinherited, are still their sons in the course of nature, but by law are disinherited and do not become the heirs of their natural parents; so in the same way is it with God: those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons" (4.41.2-3).

Furthermore, according to Irenaeus, the Word's assumption of the flesh was required for our salvation because Adam's sin had been committed in the flesh. Sin in the flesh required salvation in the flesh. He explained, "So the Word was made flesh in order that sin, destroyed by means of that same flesh through which it had gained mastery and taken hold and lorded it, should no longer be in us," and "that so he might join battle on behalf of our forefathers and vanquish through Adam what had stricken us through Adam" (Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching 31).

Irenaeus here is clearly the heir to St. Paul, who had already contrasted Christ and Adam in Romans and First Corinthians.

Irenaeus, stresses the Resurrection much more explicitly than is obvious in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and this emphasis, in turn, colors his approach to the Incarnation. Thus, he writes of "our Lord's birth, which the Word of God underwent for our sake, to be made flesh, that He might reveal the resurrection of the flesh and take the lead of all in heaven." In this way, explains Irenaeus, Christ becomes "the first-born of the dead, the head and source of the life unto God" (39).
Fr. Patrick Reardon