Saturday, May 27th, 5;30pm, Great Vespers with Confessions following.
Sunday, May 28th, 8:30am, Matins; 9:30am, Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Commemoration of the 1st Ecumenical Council.
My Holy Land Thoughts…
1. Having read from the Bible my whole life and heard about the places in the Holy Land that became famous for their divine epiphanies (Jericho, Jerusalem, the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulcher, the Jordan River, Capernaum, Nazareth, Cana, Mt. Nebo, Gethsemane, “the King’s Highway,” etc.), it was truly a gift to be able to see them with my own eyes. It confirms that God truly acts within the course of human history. Our God is not a God Who stands apart from His creation and “observes” it from afar, as some mistakenly opine. No, our God is one Who, on account of His immeasurable love, breaks through the boundary of His Divinity in order to make Himself wholly present in the activity of human life. And not only, simply, in the personal sense, but in the larger sense of history itself. This is why He, in the book of Revelation, calls Himself “the Alpha and the Omega,” the One Who is at the beginning, middle, and end of history.
2. For this reason, believing pilgrims have traveled from all over the globe to witness the antiquity and beauty of these holy places. The number of people from all over the world and the hundreds of languages we heard witness to the 21st century that God continues to work His salvation in NO less the same way as He did 3000 years ago. I was particularly touched by the devotion of “all the tribes of the earth” in the Holy Sepulcher who were waiting in a long line, for hours on end, in order to enter into and venerate the spot on Calvary where Christ was crucified and His empty tomb.
3. However, like St. Gregory of Nyssa, I am still of the opinion that unlike other religions which remain essentially tied to their holy places, (the Dome of the Rock, etc.), Christianity, in contrast, is “tied to nowhere” on account of the Eucharist, which is the greatest epiphany that God makes to our world. Meaning, simply, that there is nowhere else besides the Eucharist where we come as close to God as we do. This is an essential feature of our faith that differentiates it from all others. The Jews, as faithful and believing as they are, remain “tied down” to the Temple Mount (Wailing Wall) as the focus of their religion. But for Christians, Christ having ascended into Heaven has made Himself everywhere through the Eucharist. Thus, in truth, the holy altar from which we receive the gift of eternal life in the Body and Blood of our Lord is not in any way “less than” any of the so-called “holy places” in Jerusalem.
4. Likewise, this great mixing of peoples in Jerusalem helps us to be thankful for our own personal, religious, and cultural identities, especially in a time where we are pressured to surrender these gifts to the postmodern monster of a strictly “homogenized” secularity. In other words, our families, our homes, our countries, and the times we live in are all a gift from God never to be taken for granted. Thus, we must not be unaware that despite the many benefits of “globalization,” (the sharing of medicine, technology, etc.), there is, nevertheless, a very present danger of being swept up and blended into a forced modern social uniformity that eliminates such things as family life and history, local culture, and most especially, religious faith. Indeed, it is not difficult to detect among these global elites a smugness that disdains and sneers at all that belongs to the “provincialism of little people” such as Orthodox believers, each living in their homes and villages all over the world. Therefore, as we stay on guard from this kind of negative, conformist globalism, we remember how one of our saints once said, “People in hell are the ones tormented by the thought: ‘Why didn’t you love your time, and why didn’t you love your place!?'”
5. Thank you, Fr. Andrew Harrison, for organizing this trip! Thank you, Archbishop Daniel, for being our spiritual shepherd. Glory to God for all things!
Congratulations and Many Years
to Genet and the Pamphilis Family on the grand opening of:
Genetti Bistro (pictured above!)
12240 South Harlem
Palos Heights, IL 60463
Stop in for some delicious treats and support our St. Luke Family!
ST. LUKE LAMB ROAST – POTLUCK DINNER: Next Sunday, June 4th, our parish will honor both our Mothers & Fathers with a traditional LAMB ROAST dinner in the downstairs parish hall. Bring a side dish!
YOCAMA SUMMER MISSION TRIP!: July 21 to July 28 Mission trip to Navajo Nation New Mexico. Work on construction and the food pantry and food distribution. Ages 16 and up with parents. Check out YOCAMA.com
JUNIOR OLYMPICS 2023! Congratulations to all of our parish youth who participated in the 2023 Orthodox Jr. Olympics. More info to follow on medals, winners, etc.
ST. LUKE STRATEGIC PLAN: Our St. Luke Strategic Plan report is ready to be viewed and the tally sheets for our Action Items are now available. If you have NOT filled out a tally sheet please take the time to do so. EXPANDING ELIJAH’S CHARIOT MINISTRY: It has come to the attention of the parish council that there are some families and elderly in our Church who are no longer able to drive to Church on a regular basis because of high gas prices. We are looking, therefore, to expand our Elijah’s Chariot Ministry so that it will include the gift of gas cards for those who need help. (Please consider donating?) Also, if you would like to help us drive our elderly to Church for services please let Tammy Tsiones know. Click here to sign up: DRIVERS FOR ELIJAH’S CHARIOT SIGN UP.
THE FEAST OF HOLY PENTECOST: Our St. Luke parish community will celebrate the Feast of Holy Pentecost, which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church 50 days after the resurrection.
LUBA’S KITCHEN ANNOUNCEMENTS: The signup for weekly coffee hour hosts can be found on the whiteboard in the kitchen. Please sign up!
MAY MONTHLY CHARITY: Our Monthly Charity is for IOCC. Please be generous!