Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Most Difficult
click on photo to enlarge
Whom Do We See When We Look
into the Face of Another?

Our world is polarized in ways not seen in many generations. This polarization is bought closer to home because we now live in a nation that is far more cosmopolitan than in the past. Even small towns across our country are now home to people from Africa, India, Pakistan, Mexico and China, to name but a few. We have communities of Sikhs with their colorful turbans, and Muslim women wearing their hijab, living among us. Our children attend schools with students who are members of religions that are relatively new to American shores, and the racial makeup of our country is changing.

This is certainly not the first wave of immigrants coming to make a new life for themselves on American shores. Past generations of Italians, Germans, Norwegians, Irish and Welsh, made American their home, and in doing so infused a wonderful blend of diversity, culture, food, and religion into society that greatly enhanced our nation, and contributed to making America the great nation that she is today.

That we sometimes resisted the influx of peoples from foreign shores can not be denied, and discrimination suffered by these "foreigners" is a disgraceful part of our common history. Now that we are witnessing increased conflict in the Middle East, and attacks on our troops coming from within the ranks of supposed allies, we are tempted to look toward many of the new immigrants with suspicion, or even fear. As Christians we must make sure the present strife in our world does not become the vehicle for the virus of hate to enter our hearts.

We can not let our revulsion of Islamic violence in the Middle East become the corner stone for internment camps in the United States. The mass expulsion of Japanese Americans from our farming communities, towns and cities on the West Coast, into such internment camps, must never be repeated again.

Nowhere in our Christian Scriptures does it suggest we must avenge our God against anyone who would insult the Holy Trinity. Nowhere does it say that anyone who has defiled our Bible, or insulted the Holy Name of Jesus, should be murdered. Nowhere in our Bible are we, as Christians, given a directive to mass in our streets with anger, and murder innocent people for any perceived insult to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. That peoples of another faith are told by their religious leaders that they must do such things, in no way can be seen as a directive for our behavior.

The most difficult commandment Christ gave to His disciples was surely the one that we must love our enemies. If we translate that directive into the simple task of being nice to the crabby old man next door, we will have missed the point. Jesus said, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44)." Easy? No. Possible? Yes! "And Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27)."

Whom do we see when we look into the face of another? It is Christ! It is either Christ glorified, or Christ crucified. That we have all been created in the image and likeness of God, means that we are all His children, and therefore brothers and sisters to one another. That some of our brothers and sisters have chosen to be our enemies does in no way lessen the truth that we are all the children of Eve, charged by Christ to love each other. If we be of Christ, we must follow His commandments.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday February 5, 2014 / January 23, 2014
33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Hieromartyr Clement, bishop of Ancyra, and Martyr Agathangelus (296).
New Hieromartyr Seraphim, Virgin-martyrs Evdokia and Ecaterine. Virgin-martyr Militsa (1938).
Venerable Gennadius of Kostroma, monk (1565).
Synaxis of All Saints of Kostroma.
Translation of the relics (1786) of St. Theoctistus, archbishop of Novgorod (1310).
Venerable Mausimas the Syrian, monk (4th c.).
Venerable Salamanes the Silent of the Euphrates, monk (ca. 400).
St. Paulinus the Merciful, bishop of Nola (431).
Commemoration of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681).
St. Eusebius, recluse of Mt. Coryphe near Antioch (5th c.) (Greek).
Venerable Dionysius of Olympus and Mt. Athos (1541) (Greek).

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

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, our fine line of teas, and make Monastery Jams, all sold on line, and in our gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, tend bee hives, and raise free range chickens for our eggs. With all we do to support ourselves, receiving also offerings from our diocese and parishes, we still depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.

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

The Scripture Readings for the Day

1 Peter 4:1-11

4 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Serving for God’s Glory

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Mark 12:28-37

The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
But after that no one dared question Him.

Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord?

35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”
And the common people heard Him gladly.

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