Holy Ascension of Christ
September 1, 2022
Sermon from Fr. Nicholas
Sermon for August 28th, 2022
11th Sunday After Pentecost
The Dormition of the Theotokos
Gospel: Matt. 18:23-35 (§77) ; Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28 (§54)
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, our salvation is dependent upon our forgiving others. If we do not forgive those who have offended us, we lose our salvation. This was so important a teaching that Christ even included it when He taught His disciples how to pray. For two millennia, those who call themselves Christians have been asking God daily to “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. Forgiveness is one of the most vital ideas that Christ teaches us and He does so in a parable in today’s first Gospel reading.
The Lord tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who begins to take account of his servants. One is brought to him who owed ten thousand talents and when he could not pay, the king ordered that he and all he had, including his wife and children, should be sold to pay for the debt. But the servant fell down at the king’s feet and begged him, “Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”
Two things we should notice here. First, the Fathers tell us that ten thousand talents is an astronomical debt. What servant couldpossibly pay a sum that large? Secondly, we need to think about the servant’s words, “Lord, have patience with me and I will pay thee all.” They should remind us of ourselves entreating God with the words “Lord, have mercy” and struggling to live so that in some small way we may approach a life in Christ.
Upon hearing the words of his servant, the king is moved with compassion and forgives him his debt.
But that same servant goes out and finds a fellow servant who owes him money, a hundred denarii. He grabs him by the throat and says, “Pay me what you owe me”. But his fellow servant falls down at his feet and begs. “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” But he does not, and casts his fellow servant into prison until the debt is paid.
St. John Chrysostom writes, “[The servant] did not even respect the very words through which he had himself been saved. With these words he himself had been freed from a debt of ten thousand talents! He did not even recognize the harbor by means of which he had escaped shipwreck. Even the gesture of supplication did not remind him of his master’s kindness. Casting all these out of his mind in his greed, cruelty and rancor, he was more brutal than any wild beast in seizing his fellow servant by the throat. What are you doing, O my beloved? Do you not see that you are making such a demand upon yourself? You are deceiving yourself. You are thrusting a sword into yourself! You are revoking both the sentence and the gift. But he considered none of this, nor did he remember his own case, nor did he yield at all.”
The parable continues with other fellow servants seeing what had been done and reporting this to the king. The king is wroth, brings the servant before him and says, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” The king then delivers him to tormentors until he pay all his debt.
There is one key element in what Christ teaches that, perhaps, we need to pay the most attention to, and that is that we will also suffer torments if we do not forgive our debtors from our hearts. When Christ says this it emphasizes that our forgiveness must be true forgiveness, from the heart, and not just a forgiveness from the lips. We need to struggle to mean it because if we do not – if we keep the resentment in our hearts - the torment will not only be in the next life but in this one, as well.
If this is a difficult teaching we should be encouraged by what lies ahead. We remember that in another part of the Gospel Christ talks about the servant who buries his master’s talent instead of increasing the amount. He is judged harshly for this. We must take heart, brothers and sisters, for today we learn that our Lord forgives not just the one buried talent, but ten thousand as long as we also forgive. God is love and our forgiveness born of love is what unites us with our Lord.
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Amen.
From the Parish Council
Here are some updates from our recent Parish Council meeting.
- New trees for the side of the church have been approved, we have a plan, and when the trees are available, we will plant them. Our goal is to plant them this fall!
- The broken window in the garage will be replaced soon!
- The Iconostasis Committee will be mapping out the design this September to finalize measurements and place orders for new icons!
- Thank you to our treasurer for his ongoing efforts and congratulations on the new baby!
- We are investigating options for WiFi and internet service at church and new phone service that will cover both the elevator and provide a dedicated number for leaving messages and calling our church.
Thank you to all who are dedicating time, effort, and prayers for our church and community. Glory to God for all things!
If you are interested in helping with projects and chores (large or small), please reach out to our church warden, Sasha Soubotin (firstname.lastname@example.org), or our head sisters, Christina Roller (email@example.com), Vicky Selznick (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Stephanie Rindell (email@example.com).
Use Tithe.ly to create a monthly donation or a one time gift!
Our Parish Picnic will be on Sunday, September 18th after Divine Liturgy in Ellison Park at our usual Sycamore Shelter. Click on the picture above for directions to the shelter.
Stay tuned for more details from our Sisterhood.
Come join us for fun and fellowship. All are welcome!
From the Feast of Dormition
September 4 - Holy Martyr Agathonicus
September 11 - Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Fasting)
September 18 - Prophet Zacharias & Righteous Elizabeth
September 21 - Nativity of the Theotokos*
September 25 - Apodosis of the Nativity of the Theotokos
September 27 - Exaltation of the Precious Cross (Fasting)*
*Liturgy will start at 6:00am on these Days.
Please note the following service schedule:
- Vigil is served at 6:30pm each Saturday and before each Feast.
- Hours and Divine Liturgy are served at 9:00am unless otherwise noted.
- Each Friday at 6:30pm, Father Nicholas will serve Vespers.
Following Vespers each Friday, Fr. Nicholas will offer a Catechism Class.