Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

First Sunday of Advent – December 1, 2019

Isaiah 2: 1-5 Romans 13: 11-14 Matthew 24: 37-44

 

Events can occur in our lives, as well as in our world, that are greatly upsetting. For any one of us it can be something like a catastrophic illness, an unexpected death, or even the simple demands of everyday life. In our world, it can be a natural disaster or man-made terror and war.

 

Yet, no matter what tragedy or difficulty we might encounter, for people of faith, those who believe in God and in Jesus Christ, there is one constant, an anchor, a solid foundation, on which we rest. Put in another way, through all of the challenges of simply being alive, there is a common and constant strength that we possess. It is the trust and the hope that we profess in God, and in the love of God for us. As a result, the purpose of the creation of which we are a part, and the purpose of our lives, accompanied by the love of God that they reflect, will be accomplished. It will be achieved. It will be fulfilled.

 

This is the vision and the hope which the Season of Advent proclaims. This is the vision and the hope that is found in the beautiful words of Isaiah the prophet that we heard today. This is the vision and the hope that encourages us as we begin again the annual cycle of reflections and celebrations that are a part of our preparation for the recalling of the coming of God into the world in the person of Jesus Christ at Christmas.

 

We are to hear the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that was read today not as something which brings on fear. Certainly, it is not a threat It is a simple counsel given to us that advise us and give us encouragement. We are to be alert, attentive, to everything around us. In ways that might be totally unexpected, the presence of God is revealed.

 

We are to live, as St. Paul tells us, not just for the moment, but also with the view of what will be. The love of God and the purpose of God will be accomplished. It will be fulfilled. We are to live so as to be part of this. Even in the darkest moments of our lives and of our own human history, the light of God, the light of Christ can and will break forth. It is firm faith and trust in this that motivates us as believers in Jesus Christ.

 

Of the many gifts that we might present to others at this time of the year, let it be the faith and trust in God that we can share. Let it be the faith and trust in God that, most of all, we are to celebrate.

 

In the belief and the practice we proclaim, even as simply as by our presence her today, what is to guide us in the choices we make and in the lives we live is the faith, the hope, the trust that this Season recalls. It is the faith, the hope, the trust in the presence with us, then, now, and in he future of our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Second Sunday of Advent – December 8, 2019

Isaiah 11: 1-10 Romans 15: 4-9 Matthew 3: 1-12

 

When we came into this church building today, it may have been evident how stark it is in contrast to what is experienced nearly everywhere else. Here it is simple and plain. There are no decorations other than the Advent Wreath and the Giving Tree. Other places we go might have elaborate lighting, decorations and incessant Christmas music.

 

Such a sharp contrast is also found in the words God speaks to us in the Scriptures we heard today. We have heard the calming, pastoral tones in the words of Isaiah, the prophet. There is the hope of the restoration which will come when the Lord will be with the people. The obvious enemies of nature will lie peacefully with one another. The effect of sin which brought disorder, hatred, and murder into the world will be eliminated when sin is eliminated. This passage carries with it many of the hopeful and happy elements which are part of the Advent and Christmas celebration.

 

In contrast, however, we heard the strong and demanding voice of the Baptizer. He calls to repentance, to a change of heart, to a baptism signifying a commitment to a new way of life. John is not afraid to call the leaders, who may have fulfilled the law and had been perfect in their Jewish practice, vipers, snakes, despicable characters, who needed more than others the experience of conversion.

 

Although the contrast in the tone is evident, there is a connection between these messages. In Isaiah, the vision, hope and possibility of what faithful belief in God can bring about is not just a wish or a thought. It is active, lived out and reflected in our lives and in our world. And it is the call of John the Baptizer that reminds us that change, reform, repentance is necessary for all of us, no matter one’s status, if this vision and hope of Isaiah is to happen.

 

The coming of the Lord, the accomplishment of the beautifully poetical image of Isaiah, takes place only after hard work by all of us, all of the Church, in recognizing the need in all of us for constant and continuous change, reform and growth. None of us can rest on our laurels. All of us must work, must examine ourselves and change what needs to be changed. We are to work so as to convince all who are around us that a better world is possible if the effort is made.

 

Having heard the words of John the Baptizer today, and the hoping for the vision of Isaiah, we can ask ourselves some questions. How are we to be like John and prepare the way for the Lord in our lives and in our world? How are we to make straight the paths of our lives for ourselves and for others? How do we bring to a more complete experience, in all aspects of our lives, the message of the Seasons of Advent and Christmas: the coming among us, the living with us, the full presence with us in Jesus Christ, of our good and gracious God?

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

First Sunday of Advent – December 1, 2019

Isaiah 2: 1-5 Romans 13: 11-14 Matthew 24: 37-44

 

Events can occur in our lives, as well as in our world, that are greatly upsetting. For any one of us it can be something like a catastrophic illness, an unexpected death, or even the simple demands of everyday life. In our world, it can be a natural disaster or man-made terror and war.

 

Yet, no matter what tragedy or difficulty we might encounter, for people of faith, those who believe in God and in Jesus Christ, there is one constant, an anchor, a solid foundation, on which we rest. Put in another way, through all of the challenges of simply being alive, there is a common and constant strength that we possess. It is the trust and the hope that we profess in God, and in the love of God for us. As a result, the purpose of the creation of which we are a part, and the purpose of our lives, accompanied by the love of God that they reflect, will be accomplished. It will be achieved. It will be fulfilled.

 

This is the vision and the hope which the Season of Advent proclaims. This is the vision and the hope that is found in the beautiful words of Isaiah the prophet that we heard today. This is the vision and the hope that encourages us as we begin again the annual cycle of reflections and celebrations that are a part of our preparation for the recalling of the coming of God into the world in the person of Jesus Christ at Christmas.

 

We are to hear the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that was read today not as something which brings on fear. Certainly, it is not a threat It is a simple counsel given to us that advise us and give us encouragement. We are to be alert, attentive, to everything around us. In ways that might be totally unexpected, the presence of God is revealed.

 

We are to live, as St. Paul tells us, not just for the moment, but also with the view of what will be. The love of God and the purpose of God will be accomplished. It will be fulfilled. We are to live so as to be part of this. Even in the darkest moments of our lives and of our own human history, the light of God, the light of Christ can and will break forth. It is firm faith ad trust in this that motivates us as believers in Jesus Christ.

 

Of the many gifts that we might present to others at this time of the year, let it be the faith and trust in God that we can share. Let it be the faith and trust in God that, most of all, we are to celebrate.

 

In the belief and the practice we proclaim, even as simply as by our presence her today, what is to guide us in the choices we make and in the lives we live is the faith, the hope, the trust that this Season recalls. It is the faith, the hope, the trust in the presence with us, then, now, and in he future of our good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Thirty-Third Sunday of the Year – November 17, 2019

Malachi 3:19-20 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 Luke 21:5-19

 

The framework of Saint Luke’s Gospel which we have been following through the last months has, as its destination, Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the focus and center of the followers of Jesus as devout Hews. It was the Temple, located in Jerusalem, that was the central symbol of their distinct faith in God. Having now reached this important destination, Jesus tells his listeners that all of this, Jerusalem and the Temple, will pass away, not a stone will be left on another. This statement could be nothing but shocking to all of them.

 

What we need to keep in mind, as believers, as we hear this, is that the message that Is being conveyed by Jesus, is a message of hope, not fear. No matter what might be experienced, no matter how often it might appear that it is evil which succeeds, no matter what adversity seems to have the upper hand in life, do not give up, do not lose faith.

 

God does not meddle in our history God invites us God came into our history in the person of Jesus Christ to tell us that we have been created in love. Indeed, we are loved. But we also can choose. With the ability and the potential we have been given we can choose to make real, in our lives, what we are to be, a reflections of our Maker. We are to be reflections of the goodness and love of God who gave us existence. Christ also came to tell us that the freedom we have to choose how to act is the way that the purpose of God in creation can be accomplished. All of us are a part of this. All of us can accomplish this.

 

What Jesus’s words to us today tell us is that faith in God and lives lived in terms of this faith and trust will ultimately triumph. Perhaps this will not be in ways that the world and society measure victory, but in ways that Jesus tries, again and again, to remind us. The key to success in life, being that person each of us is created to be, comes by faith and trust in the teachings of Jesus. This is not always easy. It is not free of stress and anxiety. It is not free of misunderstanding or rejection by others. But if we remain true to his words and teaching, our ultimate experience will be victory, triumph, success. We will come to a true realization of what is valuable, what is important, what has true worth.

 

Saint Paul tells the followers of Jesus of his time, and tells us as well, that the approach to daily living involves doing what we can in caring for others as well as for ourselves. This maybe simple or even routine, but this is what is needed to be a good person, one who truly reflects the goodness of God. This is to be done despite ridicule, at times, or even the rejection of being said to be foolish. Living in this way will bring true peace of mind and heart.

 

As persons of faith and trust in God, it is no longer the Temple, but the Body of Christ that we are, which is to be the visible sign and symbol revealing God. Remember that in our world today it is in and through us that is found an experience of the presence of our good and gracious God

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Thirty-Second Sunday of the Year – November 10, 2019

Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 2 Thessalonians, 2:16; 3:5 Luke 20:27-38

 

In the cycle of nature we experience here in the upper part of the northern hemisphere, fall arrives and the spring and summer flowers wither and fade. The leaves on the trees first show color and then are replaced by absence and thus stand bare. These are familiar reminders of death and dying.

 

Our faith, however, declares something different. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, assumed all the aspects of human nature. This action reached its culmination in accepting death on the cross. Rather than an end, however, his death was the gateway to theResurrection, It was the conquest of human death by the rising to new and unending life. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to our faith.

 

As we may lament the disappearance of flowers and leaves on the trees, we definitely look forward to their restoration next Spring. So it is in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate in faith. We do not need to consider the Resurrection only in terms of some future time, but also in terms of the present and how faith in the Resurrection affects us now. In whatever way we might experience a certain sense of dying such as in pain or suffering or illness or even old age, we can do so with a confidence and with a hope that is based on faith in the Resurrection. Indeed, the faith we profess tells us that in whatever way we experience death, it is not an end but an opportunity for transformation.

 

God speaking to us today in the Scriptures focuses on the meaning of Resurrection. The seven brothers are asked to do a simple things: eat pork. But to do so would go against their tradition and law. Thus they endure torture, punishment and ridicule from those who would eventually kill them. They did this because they know and believe that they will be restored to life. This would not happen in some magical way, in a return to life they had known, but in a deeper and richer sense of what life is, a restoration to life in union with the very Creator of life.

 

Jesus points out that the petty concerns of the Sadducees are really meaningless. They are the skeptics, the secularists of their day in Jewish society. They are not concerned with the real understanding of life that Jesus offered to those who believed in him and his message. Jesus seeks for us to understand that the petty concerns of this life have little meaning in comparison to the life and hope that is realized in the Resurrection.

 

We need to keep things in perspective. What we are to do now is to live our lives in ways that proclaim the Resurrection with the same confidence that we have that flowers will grow and the life of trees will be restored. We are to show the transformation in our lives that faith in the Resurrection reveals even now the constant presence with us of our good and gracious God.