Thursday, December 12, 2013

Divided Loyalties

We only think we can be of Christ and of the World

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). One should always be mindful of where we place our priorities. Are we of Christ, or are we of the world? Do we serve God, or do we submit to this temporal world which shall one day come to an end?

Do you think you can divide your loyalties in this life, serving your spouse or boss during the week, while serving God only on weekends, or perhaps even just major holy days? Do you think of God only when in church or with religious people? When working at your job, do you think of God, or are you disconnected from your spiritual life because you've compartmentalized it? Jesus says this is impossible, because "No one can serve two masters".

The Apostle Paul taught in I Timothy 3:15, the Church is the pillar and ground of Truth, and it is to this Church that the Apostles entrusted the Faith, once and for all delivered to the saint as its guardian and protector (Jude v. 3). Thus, the Church's services, Liturgies, prayers and sacraments are all essential if we are to be authentic as people of faith.

"In accordance with the Apostolic faith delivered to us by tradition from the Fathers, I have delivered the tradition, without inventing anything extraneous to it. What I have learned, that I inscribed, comfortably with the Holy Scriptures (Saint Athanasios the Great)."

It is through this Tradition that we bind ourselves to Christ, serving only Him. All else must be secondary. When the Lord says "You cannot serve God and mammon," He is referring to things of a materialistic nature (mammon is the Aramaic word for "god of wealth"). He asks us all to declare whom we serve, God or mammon? And the way to determine who or what you love the most is to see where your loyalties lie. When you are faced with choices between God, and anything else, what will be your choice?

Do you choose to attend church on Sunday or do you chose to sleep in? Do you prioritize your life around your relationship with God, or do sporting events, vacations, family outings, entertainment, or friends take center stage? Does prayer, reading the bible, serving others, financially supporting the church and its mission, and giving alms serve as your central theme, or do you chose personal gain and pleasure as central to your life?

Are you more concerned about money, your popularity, or the home you own, or do these things take back seat to Jesus Christ? If God be your master, you will be able to honestly say that none of these worldly things are anywhere near as important to you as your relationship with Christ.

Christ said, "Be not therefore like them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him (Matthew 6:8)." If we serve only God as our master, all else that we need will be provided.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday December 12, 2013 / November 29, 2013
25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). Fish Allowed

Martyr Paramon and 370 Martyrs in Bithynia (250).
Martyr Philumenus of Ancyra, and with him Martyrs Valerian and Phaedrus (274).
Venerable Acacius of Mt. Latros, who is mentioned in The Ladder (6th c.).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1941).
Venerable Nectarius the Obedient of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
Hieromartyr Abibus, bishop of Nekressi in Georgia (6th c.) (Georgia).
Venerable Pitirim of Egypt (4th c.), disciple of Venerable Anthony the Great.
Hieromartyr Dionysius, bishop of Corinth (182).
St. Tiridates, king of Armenia (4th c.).
St. Saturninus, martyr and bishop of Toulouse ( 257) (Gaul).
St. Nicholas, archbishop of Thessalonica (Greek).
Hieromartyr John of Persia (Greek).
St. Urban of Macedonia, bishop (Greek).
St. Pancosmius, monk (Greek).
St. Radboud, bishop of Utrecht (917) (Neth.).
St. Brendan of Birr (571) (Celtic and British).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

The Scripture Readings for the Day

2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

Stand Fast

13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Pray for Us

3 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.
Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

Luke 20:9-18

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.”
And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”
17 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone’?

18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

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