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From Saint Nicholas Church Bulletins
Reverend Vladimir S. Borichevsky
Joliet, Illinois

Gospel Lessons

Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew
Chapter XXII; 2-14

In Today’s Gospel Lesson Jesus Christ tells the parable of the King’s Marriage Feast. He says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain King who made a marriage feast. He sent out his servants to call those who had been invited to the wedding. But they would not come; each was doing something else. He then sent his servants a second time reminding them that an elaborate feast had been prepared for his guests. But the invited refused a second time. Some went so far as to kill the servants who brought the message. This angered the King and he sent out an army to punish the murderers, and to destroy their cities. He said “The wedding is ready, but they which are bidden are not worthy.” And so he sent his servants into the highways to invite whomever they might find. This was done and the feast had its guests. But when the King came in he saw that one man did not come wearing a wedding garment. When this man could not explain why he had come unprepared, he ordered that this man be bound and be thrown into prison. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The meaning of this parable is quite clear. The King is God, the Wedding Feast is the Kingdom of God, the servants are the prophets, the invited guests are the people of Israel, the guests who were found in the highways to replace those who refused to come are the Gentiles, and the man who did not have his wedding garment, is that man among us who is not prepared to meet His Maker. The lesson for us is that we must always be prepared to leave this life and to enter the Kingdom of God. We prepare ourselves by living according to the Laws of God on earth, so that we will not be strangers in God’s Kingdom where His Will alone rules. This means that to our Will must follow that of God. Let us always be prepared so that we will be among the chosen in the Kingdom of God.

September 15, 1946

Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew
Chapter XXII; 35-46

When Christ was asked which was the great commandment in the Law, He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself.”

Today’s Gospel lesson is self-explanatory. When all men fulfill these two commandments the Kingdom of Heaven will have come. For the love of God and the love of man are the basic moral laws of the universe. These two laws go together, and are inseparable for as St. John stated in his first epistle: “If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him that he who loveth God love his brother also.” (I John IV – 20)

September 22, 1946

Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew
Chapter XXV; 14-30

In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus Christ tells the “Parable of the Talents.” It is of the King who divided his wealth among his servants for safe-keeping before leaving on a long journey. He gave each servant a portion of his goods; one, two, or five talents to each according to his ability. When he returned from his journey he asked for an accounting of his goods. The servant who received five talents had increased his portion into ten talents. The servant who had been entrusted with two talents increased his holding into four talents. But the servant who was given one talent for safe-keeping had buried his portion because he feared punishment by his master if he lost the talent. The King rewarded the first two servants, but ordered the last one punished severely because he had failed completely. The least he could have done would have been to place his money on loan for an interest. Applying this parable to our own selves, it becomes a real reminder that our talents – abilities – are gifts given to us by God for safe-keeping. They are not our own, and rightly we cannot use them towards our own selfish ends, nor can we bury them by our indifference. We must apply these gifts of God’s Grace so that we will grow normally and spiritually in the eyes of God and godly people. When our time comes to give an accounting for these gifts, let us not be caught in the predicament of the third servant. Let us not go hurrying about doing our “own business” while the business of “Our Father in Heaven” is ignored. You are not your own, you were purchased at a great price, the Blood of the Only-Begotten Son of God – therefore, follow in His Path which leads into the Kingdom of Heaven.

September 29, 1946

Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew
Chapter XV; 21-28

In today’s Gospel Lesson we have an example of the manner in which man’s Faith in God is often put to the test. The Woman of Canaan – she was not of the house of Israel – followed Christ in His journey pleading that he have mercy on her daughter who “was grievously vexed with the devil.” But Christ did not answer her despite her continued pleading until His disciples in their annoyance pleaded with Him to send her away. Christ answered them saying, “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” When she continued in her pleading, He finally said to her, testing her faith, “It is not right to take children’s and to cast it to the dogs.” The woman of Canaan whose faith in God’s Mercy must have indeed been great did not despair even at this seeming insult and complete denial to her of any right to expect Christ’s aid. Her answer was one of complete Humility and Faith in God’s Goodness, and His Love for His Creatures. She said, “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered, “O woman, great is thy Faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” And her daughter was cured from that very hour. So in our time of need when our Faith in God is put to the test, let us not despair. Let us not despair even in the darkest moment when God’s aid seems to be farthest. Let us constantly pray in humility and love. God, whose Mercy and Love is great will always come to the aid of His Children.

October 6, 1946

Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke
Chapter V; 1-11

The story of the Miraculous Draft of Fish is told in today’s Gospel Lesson. After teaching the people gathered along the shore from Peter’s boat just off shore, Christ tells Peter to launch out into the deep – the best place for fishing is in shallow water near the shore – and to let down his nets. Peter fulfills the Master’s wish reminding Him that they had toiled all evening – the best time for fishing – with no success. When the nets were being brought up they were so full of fish that Peter called for help from another boat. The catch filled both boats so that they began to sink. Simon Peter, overwhelmed by this great miracle, fell at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me: for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Jesus answered saying “Fear not from henceforth Thou shalt catch men.”

Peter, a fisherman by trade, sees in the miracle the work of Jesus, a man Perfect and Pure, and at the same time he sees the great contrast of his own sinfulness. The resulting impact of this miracle on Peter, and John and James his companions, was so great that it became the turning point of their lives. The Gospel Lesson ends thus: “When they brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” From then on Peter, James and John followed Christ until His death. And after His Resurrection and Ascension, they continued to follow in His footsteps. Fulfilling Christ’s prophecy these three became fishers of men.

October 13, 1946

Love of Fellow Man
Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke
Chapter VI; 31-36

The short Gospel Lesson read on this Sunday contains a tremendous amount of ethical teaching. True, it is a repetition and elaboration of the Golden Rule, that simple law which is so difficult to fulfill, “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them.” It is easy to love one who returns your love – for sinners also love those who love them. To do good to those who do good to you is relatively simple, as it is to lend money to the person from whom you are certain to receive your investment with interest. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend hoping for nothing again; and ye shall be children of the Highest, for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the Evil.”

For in loving our enemies, and in helping and doing good to others without expecting reward is to follow in the WAY OF CHRIST. It was Christ who in great suffering on the Cross prayed for those who had crucified Him. In loving and doing good for our enemies does not mean that we condone the evil and sin which they commit. We are merciful to them inasmuch as they are the children of a Common Father, our Lord God Almighty, whose Mercy endureth to all generations.

October 20, 1946

Compassion
Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke
Chapter VII; 11-16

In dealing with the personality of Jesus Christ, we are apt to forget that He was human. In fact, He was Humanity at its perfection, as well as Divine, the Son of God. In today’s Gospel His Humanity, as well as His Divinity, is brought into a sharp focus in our mind’s eye. We are told that when Christ and His Disciples came to the gates of the City of Nain they beheld a funeral procession leaving the city. The only son of a widow was being carried to his last resting place. “And when the Lord saw her, HE HAD COMPASSION ON HER, and said unto her, ‘Weep not!’ And He came and touched the bier … And He said, ‘Yong man, I say unto Thee, Arise!’ And He delivered Him to his mother.”

The greatness of the miracle of resurrection is always the main theme of sermons on today’s Gospel Lesson. And it should be so, for it brings out clearly the Divinity of Christ Who performs this miracle. But what is usually forgotten is the simple phrase, “HE HAD COMPASSION ON HER.” It was Christ’s compassion that initiated this miracle. It was His great Love for Man, and His will to share the suffering and pain of Man, His Humanity that prompted Him to bring relief to the Widow of Nain. In our time of suffering and need, we lift our voices in prayer to Christ, the Lover of Man. We ask that He have compassion on us, as He had on the Widow of Nain. And Christ, the Lover of Man, Who died on the Cross for Mankind, will hear our prayer and HAVE COMPASSION ON US.

October 27, 1946

The Parable of the Sower
Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke
Chapter VIII; 5-15

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The Parable of the Sower is a perfect example of the method by which Christ taught His people. It tells vividly the manner in which various types of people accept the Truth of God, comparing it to the seed and the manner in which the various types of soil accept it. There is first of all the worldly type. He has thought about, considered and rejected all the various religious beliefs, and has come to the final conclusion that all Truth is relative – that it really does not matter what one believes. His heart and soul have become so hardened that the Truth is not even considered, so it is quickly carried away.

The second type is the superficial person. At a glance he seems to be a real person, but upon closer observation one sees that underneath the fine surface is a hard and cold heart. This type accepts the Truth quickly, but only for a moment. At first real test of his faith, he surrenders to despair. There is no depth to his soul. Quick to respond, he is quick to despond.

The third type is the capable person who is active in every field but the right one. He has great spiritual possibilities, but all his energy is expended in giving root to the useless material fruits of this world … which are meaningless without God. The Truth finds root in his heart and begins to grow, but it never gets to bear fruit. It is choked to death by the worldly interests which come first to him.

The last is the Good Christian type to which we should all aspire. He listens attentively to the Word of God. He takes it into his heart, soul and mind. It takes root and it soon bears fruit fifty or a hundred fold. This is the True Christian Type who follows Christ in his way through life. This should be you.

November 3, 1946

The Rich Man and Lazarus
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter XVI; 19-31

Lazarus, the beggar, starved and suffered at the gate of a certain rich man’s home, while the rich man within feasted and enjoyed life. When Lazarus died the Angels carried him into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man died and went to Hell. He lifted his eyes in his torment and saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. He prayed to Abraham to have mercy on him and to permit Lazarus to dip his finger in water and to cool his tongue. But Abraham said: “My child remember that thou received your blessings in your lifetime, and Lazarus had his misfortunes in his; and now he is being comforted here, while you are in anguish. Besides there is a great gulf set between you and us, so that those who want to go over from this side to you cannot, and they cannot cross from your side to us.”

The fixed gulf between Lazarus and the rich man is the work of selfishness and greed. By his disregard of the plight of Lazarus, the rich man’s social snobbishness lead him to moral and spiritual decay. What had been an artificial gulf based on material things became a real spiritual gulf which eventually separated these two creatures of God to all eternity. This need not mean that a man with wealth is automatically condemned to Hell, rather it means that a man, even a relatively poor man, who centers his life around material things will find that these retard his spiritual and moral growth so that when his time of reckoning comes he finds himself unprepared to meet His Maker. His punishment is eternal separation from the Love of God. This gulf is not easy to bridge. To do it one must begin now, while he still lives.

November 10, 1946

Jesus and the Man Possessed By Devils
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter VIII; 26-39

Jesus and His Disciples had reached the country of the Gadarenes, when a man possessed by devils met Him and he cried, “What do you want of me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you not to torture me!” In pity for the tormented man Jesus cast out the evil spirits, but on their request permitted them to enter a heard of swine. And these rushed down a steep cliff and were drowned in the sea. The man now healed sat fully clothed at the feet of Jesus, and he was again in his right mind.

The change wrought by Christ in this man, is the change that the Saviour had wrought in Mankind by His Coming. Mankind was in a state of madness roaming aimlessly – having no purpose or end in its existence – and destitute of clothing – God’s guiding Grace. Then Christ came into the world, and with the soothing and healing power of the Word of God and His Redeeming Sacrifice drove Evil out of the Soul of Mankind. The wild beast becomes again a Being of Reason and Faith. Mankind sits at the feet of the Saviour for through Him it has rediscovered the purpose and the end of its existence – the Glory of God. It is again fully clothed for upon Mankind has been bestowed the saving Grace of Christ’s Sacrifice. But today’s Gospel Lesson does not end with the cured man sitting at the feet of Jesus, nor following Jesus in His journey. Instead Christ tells him, “Go back to your home, and tell all what God has done for you.” Nor was Mankind’s salvation completed for the individual with the Resurrection. The Good News must first be spread throughout the World to all peoples. This is the purpose of the Church of Christ – to teach and to live, the Gospel of our Saviour to all peoples throughout the World.

November 17, 1946

The Fruits of Faith
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter VIII; 41-56

In today’s Gospel we are told of two miracles performed by Christ. The first was the curing of the woman who had an incurable hemorrhage for twelve years. With great Faith in Jesus she touched the hem of His garment and she was immediately cured. The second miracle was the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus. Her father pleaded with the Saviour to come to his home to help his sick child. While Christ spoke with the woman cured of the hemorrhage, a servant came to tell the father that his daughter had died. But Jesus said to him, “Fear not; only believe, and she shall be made whole.” At the home our Lord grasped her by the hand and said, “Maiden, Arise!” She rose up immediately to the amazement of her parents. Jesus ordered those present not to tell anyone what had happened.

These two miracles are bound with the golden thread of Faith; for in both cases it was the Faith of those concerned that made possible the miracle. The woman had so great a Faith in the power of our Lord to heal that she believed it was sufficient to touch the hem of His cloak to be cured. When she touched Jesus’ cloak He felt the power leave Him, and He asked who had touched Him. The woman came to Christ and told Him why she had touched Him and how she was cured. He said to her, “Thy Faith made Thee whole, go in peace.” The Faith of the Father was also great for He begged our Lord to come to the aid of his sick child. But when his servant brought the news that his daughter was dead, he feared all hope was gone. But Christ assured him, “Fear not; only believe, and she shall be made whole.” Both had Faith; both sought aid from Jesus; both were answered. In your need, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew VII, 7).

November 24, 1946

The Good Samaritan
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter X; 25-37

Three men came upon a man in distress – He had been set upon by robbers who had robbed and beaten him and then had left him to die at the side of the road. The first was a priest, and the second a Levite. Both of these men were well versed in the Law of God. But because they probably feared contamination which would have meant an elaborate ritual purification, they did not even bother to cross the road to aid a man in distress. They passed on the other side. The third man to come by was a Samaritan – they were despised by the Jews as imperfect in their worship of the One God. This man may not have known the Law of God as well as the others, but he knew of the Love of God, and the Love of Man – those two great commandments. He did not hesitate. He crossed the road. He bound the man’s wounds. He placed him on his beast of burden and took him to an inn. Here he paid for the man’s care and guaranteed payment of any additional expense.

Where was the dividing line in the action of the three men who saw a man lying by the side of the road in great distress? The first two men were well-versed in the Law of God, but they did not know how to put this Law into action – they were too engrossed studying it. Thus, they failed to recognize the man b the side of the road as their neighbor desperately in need of their helping hand. The Samaritan though not well-versed in the Law of God, knew that the man in distress needed his aid. He helped him and thus fulfilled the Law of God. For us the lesson of this parable is that no matter how much we know about the Law of God, it does not mean a thing unless we live according to this Law. It is not the knowing, rather it is the fulfilling by which we will be judged.

December 1, 1946

Rich Toward God
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter XII; 16-21

The Parable of the Rich Man whose lands brought forth a great yield is told in today’s Gospel Lesson. And he said to himself, “What am I going to do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” Then he said, “This is what I will do; I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and in them I will store all my grain and all my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have great wealth stored up for years to come, Now take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you. Then who will have all you have prepared?” That is the way with the man who lays up money for himself, and is not rich toward God.

An idle tool soon rusts, and becomes worthless. An idle soul withers and becomes worthless to itself, and to everyone. Man often takes God’s blessings to be the result of his own labor. Selfishly he forgets his duty to God, and to his fellow man. Instead he plans to live in ease for there is plenty for years to come. But what is all this wealth worth, if his soul is demanded that very night. All that he has prepared will be of no real value in his new state. Material wealth that is not redeemed into spiritual wealth is worthless. If Man’s end is in God, then he must strive ever to be rich toward God – even if it means being a beggar in the eyes of people.

December 8, 1946

The Spirit of the Law
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter XIII; 10-17

One Sabbath Day, as Christ was teaching in a synagogue, a woman who was bent double and could not straighten herself for she had a sickness caused by a spirit. Jesus saw her and in compassion he laid His hands upon her head and said, “You are freed from your sickness.” She instantly became well and stood erect – and she praised God. At this the leader of the synagogue said in anger to the people who had gathered around Jesus, “There are six days on which it is right to work. Come on them and be cured, but not on the Sabbath Day.” To this the Saviour answered, “You Hypocrites. Doesn’t every one of you untie his donkey or ox on the Sabbath, and lead him to the water trough. Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, have been released from Satan who has had her bound for eighteen years.” When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, and all the people were delighted at all the splendid things that he had done.

This Gospel Lesson like every event in Christ’s life has an important message to the Christian believer today. The leader of the synagogue is the typical To-The-Very-Letter believer. Instead of fulfilling the Spirit of the Law of the Sabbath, he was willing to see a fellow human being continue to suffer rather than to break the letter of the Law. In doing this he had broken the two great commandments, “Thou shalt Love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with thy entire mind: and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke X, 27). For Christ had also said concerning the Sabbath, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark II, 27-28).

December 15, 1946

A Parable of the Kingdom of Heaven
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter XIV; 16-24

Christ tells the Parable of the Banquet in the Kingdom of God in Today’s Gospel Lesson. A man once had a banquet, and invited many to it. When the hour of the dinner came, he sent his servant to announce to those who had been invited to “Come! For it is now ready!” But the guests all asked to be excused for various reasons. One said he had just bought a piece of land, and he had to look at it. Another said that he had purchased five oxen, and wanted to examine them. A third said that he had married, and could not come. All this the servant reported to his master. The master of the house became angry, and said to the servant, “Hurry out into the streets and squares of the city, and bring the poor, the maimed, the blind and the lame in here.” This was done, and there was still room for more guests. The master then sent out his servant to gather those on the roads and among the hedges in order that the house might be full. “For I tell you that none of those men who were invited shall have any of my dinner.”

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This lesson of the Gospel has a vital message for all today, as it always has had from the time when Christ first told this parable. To accept this message and to take it into our hearts is to live Eternally in Christ Jesus. To ignore or to reject this message is to die spiritually, never to see the Glory of God, our Father. We have all been invited by Christ to partake in the great joy and glory of the Kingdom of God. All that is required of us is a willingness to accept Christ, and all the duties and obligations that follow from this acceptance. It means to prepare ourselves now in this world for the time when we shall be called to attend the “Banquet” in the Kingdom of Heaven. Too often we have more time for other matters and are willing to put off the vital matter of our invitation to the Kingdom of God for another day … but we may not have another day. Let us not ignore this invitation given to us by Christ, the Son of God Himself.

December 22, 1946

Where are the Other Nine?
Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke
Chapter XVII; 12-19

On His way to Jerusalem, Christ passed through Samaria and Galilee. On entering a certain village He met ten lepers, and they stood at a distance saying in loud voices, “Jesus, Master take pity on us!” He said to them, “Go and show yourself to the priests.” And as they went they were cured. One of them, who was a Samaritan, came back and he praised God. He fell at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. Jesus said, “Were not all cured? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give thanks except this foreigner?”

Thus it is always. The percentage is about the same – one out of ten. We often turn to God in our prayers. We ask for aid and guidance. But how often do we return in our prayers and give thanks to God? Though our life, our health, our fortune and our everything is bestowed upon us by God in His gracious Goodness, yet, it is not often that we stop to give thanks. It is Man’s duty to ever Praise God, his Creator and Father, in song, in the work of his mind, in the work of his hands, as well as in his heart and spirit.

December 29, 1946

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