Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Second Sunday of Easter – April 11, 2021

Acts 4: 32-35 – 1 John 5: 1-6 – John 20: 19-31

 

Most of us have heard over the years, sometimes to our regret, that actions have consequences. It is exactly this idea that we can consider today as we are gathered to celebrate the Eucharist.

 

Last week we recalled the Resurrection of the Lord and renewed our commitment in Faith by the renewal of our Baptismal Promises. That was the action. Today we reflect on the consequences. The life of the early Christian community was briefly described for us in what we heard from the Acts of the Apostles. That community was united in life and in its activities through by the faith they shared in Jesus Christ. The community was convinced that it could succeed and be victorious over any obstacle because of their faith in the Risen Lord. This community, however, lived in the manner it did. Not because it had a direct experience of Jesus Christ, they had not seen but they believed.

 

The portrayal of the early Christian community is one that is genuinely idealistic. It is not unlike that certain idealism that we might have when we consider what might have been or what might be. All the idealism which we may have in life is tempered by reality. Sometimes that reality is harsh; other times it is bitter; sometimes it is defeating; other times that reality can almost eliminate all idealism.

 

Likewise is this true about the Christian community that developed in the Church. In the history of the Church over the centuries the hope of that idealism was quickly dashed Petty arguments arose as did self-serving heresies. Individuals, in different ways, sought their own benefits, rather than that of the community. All too often persons used the church to pursue their own purposes rather than that of being the experience of the person of Jesus Christ. Such has been, and is, the history of the Church, this community to which we belong.

 

Our celebration of Easter is a reminder to us year after year that idealism cannot be defeated. It must be renewed. The hope of the Resurrection cannot be dimmed. It must be strengthened. It is as if each Easter we return to that joy of Thomas when he exclaimed with amazement “My Lord and my God!”

 

Easter calls us to renew the idealism of our own faith a renewed idealism that, perhaps, is especially needed. It is a renewed idealism that expresses in both word and action the depth of faith in a good and gracious god

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Easter – 2021

Acts 10: 3-4a, 37-43 – Colossians 3: 1-4 – Mark 16: 1-7

 

Perhaps more than at any other time in any of our lives can we have a very deep appreciation of what the feast of Easter celebrates than this year. Las year we were not even able to come together here in the church on this day. Gatherings of any sort were restricted, limited or even did not happen as they had in the past. Even this year there are still limitations and modifications in place.

 

But we know that we look forward with hope, with great anticipation and expectation. To when we can gather together freely, when masks on our faces will be rolled back and removed, like the stone from the tomb. What we anticipate is the restoration , once again, of daily living as we knew it. What we look forward to is the restoration and thee hope that Easter celebrates.

 

It is so much easier this year, I believe, to envision the joy of the followers of Jesus when they experienced his presence with them on the evening of the Resurrection. They had witnessed him being betrayed, condemned and executed. What next could they expect? It made sense that they locked the doors where they were out of fear. Then, into their midst he came. He was alive. He was restored. He was not a spirit or a ghost. He was not an illusion. He was a real person who could be touched, who would eat. He had overcome the frightful experience of death. He was alive and wished them “Peace.”

 

The restoration we look forward to when this pandemic is contained and we can and we can return to the world that we had known, at least in some fashion, is limited in comparison to what was achieved by the Resurrection. It was a restoration of life itself It was a genuine reconciliation between God and mankind. It was a removal of anything and anyone that could cause us to fear, to be afraid. This is what make “Peace” not just a greeting, but a reality achieved by the Resurrection.

 

Our experience of the pandemic has been painful, both individually and throughout the world. But we are confident that it can be overcome and defeated, also individually and throughout the world. It is this confidence in these circumstances that teaches us so effectively why we, as Christians, as believers in the Resurrection we celebrate today, are people of hope, of optimism and of peace as we proclaim “Alleluia” over and over again: praise to out good and gracious God.

St Mel Parish

HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE

Holy Thursday, April 1

6:00 PM Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

 

Good Friday, April 2
Day of Fast and Abstinence

12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
2:00 PM Solemn Liturgy of the Passion of Our Lord

 

Holy Saturday, April 3

3:00 PM Blessing of Food
8:30 PM Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

There will be no Confessions on Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – March 28, 2021

Isaiah 50: 4-7 – Philipians 2: 6-11 – Mark 14: 1 – 15:47

 

Today we begin the hoist of weeks in the weeks in the yearly calendar of the life of the Church. We do so by hearing an account of the betrayal, condemnation and death of Jesus. I have frequently mention that the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross is the story of the totality of God’s love for mankind, of God’s love for all of us. I encourage you to keep this in mind as we listen to this account by Saint Mark today.

 

Even though Saint Marks telling of this event is briefer by comparison to the other Gospels, we can have a sense of what message he is attempting to convey. In Saint Mark’s narration he focuses on various persons who were part of this tragic event. He tells of the actions, statements, reactions of different individuals: the envy of the priests as it was perceived by Pontius Pilate, Pilate himself as weak and shallow, the assistance of Simon from Cyrene who was apparently known by some of Mar’s listeners, the others who were crucifer with Jesus and taunt him, and, most importantly the centurion , the non-Jew, who makes a profound statement of faith.

 

Mark appears to suggest that we might identify with one or the other of these individuals. From that standpoint we can appreciate the actions of Christ as they are extended to us. Further, we can consider how we might respond individually as we are a part of this drama.

 

As tragic as this story of the passion and death of Jesus is, it is, over all, the story of the depth of God’s love for us. It is a call made to us to join our human experience as well as our faith to the acknowledgment of the centurion: “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

 

It is the meaning and the impact of our faith in our lives that leads us to reaffirm what we believe. In the renewal of the promises made at our Baptism next week It is faith that is expressed in response to this account of the totality of the love of out good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Fifth Sunday of Lent – March 21, 2021

Jeremiah 31: 31-34 – Hebrew 5: 7-9 – John 12: 20-31

 

The theme during the Season of Lent this year has emphasized the friendship that our God seeks with mankind, seeks with us. This union with God has been signified by the covenants or agreements between God and humanity. These covenants, described in the Scriptures, relied on external signs: a rainbow in the case of Noah, innumerable descendants and land in the case of Abraham, the Commandments or Law given on Sinai in the case of Moses. A new covenant between God ad mankind was described by the prophet, Jeremiah. This new covenant would depend on the interior disposition of a person. No longer was what was on the outside sufficient, what was in the interior of the individual was even more important. In the words of Jeremiah, the relationship will be written on our hearts. It will effect the whole of us, not superficially, but to the very depths of who we are.

 

A relationship between God and ourselves is a very real possibility because Christ Jesus, when he was in the flesh. When he was one of us he was willing to accept the call of the loving Father to give of himself totally in his death on the cross. So much does God love us that Christ was crucified so that we might be reconciled with God..

 

Acknowledging the depth of God’s love that is realized by commitment Christ and reflecting that acknowledgment in our manner of living makes us like the seed that is planted in the ground. What is on the surface of us must die, must be removed, so that the potential to grow and to blossom, to bear fruit is happens.

 

As it was with Jesus, so it is with us: a demanding task that is not easily accomplished. If, in our lives, God is to be honored and praised by how we reflect God in the choices we make, then we must be totally committed . It cannot be halfway. There cannot be half measures. We must contemplate the example of Christ giving himself totally for us all.

 

What enables us and encourages us to do this is the awareness that the cross was not the end. His crucifixion did not end the mission of Christ. It was his dying on the cross that led to the Resurrection. The Cross made the Resurrection possible. Just as planting the seed makes the flower possible.

 

God, in the covenants which were made in the past, as well as in the covenant that is written on our hearts through our baptism, continues to seek a loving relationship with each of us. We have focused during this Season of Lent on a consideration of the depth of God’s love for us as demonstrated in the covenants made by God with mankind. As we prepare, in the weeks to come, to renew our Baptismal covenant, may we do so with renewed commitment to and trust in our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Fourth Sunday of Lent – March 15, 2021

2 Chronicles 35: 14-16, 19-23 – Ephesians 2: 4-10 – John 3: 14-21

 

During the Season of Lent this year, God’s communication to us through the Scriptures has focused our attention on the covenants or agreements made between God and mankind. We were told a few weeks ago about Noah and the rainbow as a sign of the covenant to begin creation anew. With Abraham, the covenant promise of God was of a people who would be the descendants of Abraham and who would occupy a land given to the. The covenant between God and Moses, sealed with the Commandments, established a people chosen to be in a particular relationship with God.

 

The meditation offered to us today suggests that we realize in all these instances, it is God who acts towards us. It is God who reaches out to us, calling us, urging us in this relationship. It is almost as if God pleads with us to respond to God’s generous and loving offer.

 

Saint Paul, for example, is quite blunt in his remarks. He reminds the Christians at Ephesus, and us, that it was God who first took the initiative. It was God’s favor, God’s grace, God’s love that gives life. It was God who sought to establish the covenants with Noah, Abraham and Moses. It is God’s actions that invites us now to enter into a relationship.

 

The account that we heard today from the Book of Chronicles emphasize the same idea of God acing on behalf o the Chosen People. Left to themselves, they had abandoned their relationship with God. By themselves, they could not restore this relationship. They had failed God and were suffering the consequences. But God again takes the initiative, doing it God’s way. The Israelites are restored. God’s purpose, Go’s plan, is accomplished through the actions of a pagan emperor. God’s people are restored through a way that God decides.

 

In the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, a similar understanding is found. God acts s because God so loves the world. Time and again God has reached out and has said “I want to be with you.” We are to choose life with God. We are to live in union with God. See now, ”we are told by God, the Beloved Son is “lifted up,” gives up his life in proof of that love.

 

God is also taking the imitative with us. God seeks to enter into our lives, to enter into the very fibre of our being. God’s life is shared with us the Christ, through the Church, through the Sacraments. As Jesus spoke with Nicodemus, so the Lord seeks to speak with each of us, telling us: “See what I have done, see my love for you, can you not love me in return?”

 

Hear the Lord speaking to us today: “I have loved you and given you life. I have loved you so much that my Beloved Son has come among you and died the excruciating death on the cross.” This is the totality of the effort God has made. So it is for us to respond with lives of faith and commitment to such a good and gracious God.