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Weekly Sunday Bulletin – 12th Sunday of Matthew

Beheading of St. John the BaptistAugust 23, 2015

The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

Apolytikion of Beheading of the Forerunner in the Second Tone

Parish Council on duty:

John Ioannou, Jr. , Demetri Rapanos, John  Argiropoulos, Anna Merkel, Kathy Ziegler, Mark Zaden

Matthew 26:26-56

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church

Adult Bible Study-Gospel Of Matthew

Matthew 26:26-56

Sampson Kasapakis

Text:

Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new[b] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

The Prayer in the Garden

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless[d] I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

Notes:

  • We will be discovering the true meanings of some of the verses by looking at the original Greek. When we do this we can understand the text better because the original language has beauty that gets covered by translations.
  • Within this text we will discuss the fact that we have sin within our lives, the power of prayer and watchfulness so that we do not fall to temptation and sin, and the foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Weekly Challenge: Christ is Risen! Let us continue to remember Pascha and the power of God conquering the devil and sin so that when we pray to Him we can pray as Jesus did and say “Thy will be done.”

Matthew 26:14-16; 20-25

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 58th – 4/26/2014

Fr. John Codis

26:14-16; 20-25

The Traitor’s Bargain and Love’s last appeal

 

The Traitor’s Bargain

We can pinpoint three real reasons why Judas betrayed Jesus:

  1. It may have been of avarice
  2. It may have been because of bitter hatred
  3. It may be that Judas never intended Christ to die.

It’s not Jesus who can changed by us, be we who need to changed by Christ.

“Rabbi , is it I?” (Matt 26:25)

There is no question that Judas went about his deceitful business with complete secrecy. He had to conceal his plans from his fellow disciples but could not conceal them from Christ.

Christ knows always what we have in our hearts and minds no matter how hard we try to hide or forget.

The only weapon that Christ will ever use is the weapon of love’s appeal.

When Christ seeks to stop us from sinning he does two things:

  1. He confronts us with our sin.
  2. He confronts us with Himself.

“He sees a man to become aware of the horror of the thing he is about to do, and of the love which yearns to stop him doing it.”

“Our hearts revolt against the son or daughter who cold-bloodedly breaks a parent’s heart – which is what Judas did to Jesus – and the tragedy is that this is what we ourselves so often do.”

 

 

 

Matthew 24:1-31

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 52 – 2/22/2015

Fr. John Codis

24:1-31

The Vision of Things to Come

This chapter shows us the things that Jesus said about the future and give us the vision of the things to come. This chapter comes after the pronouncement of Judgment when Jesus speaks to the scribes and Pharisees.

The Siege of Jerusalem

Christ is speaking about the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. This is what Jesus foresaw; these are the things he forewarned. We must never forget that not only men but nations need the wisdom of Christ. Christ laid down the laws by which alone a nation can prosper, and by disregard of which it can do no other than miserably perish.

The Day of the Lord

God has not abandoned the world and we must not be discouraged at the crescendo of evil within the world. Destruction is a prelude to recreation.

We cannot take the pictures in their details word for word. They are only symbolic and which use the only pictures which the minds of men could conceive.

The basic meaning is this, whatever the world is like, God has not abandoned it.

The Persecution to Come

Christ is brutally honest. He never promised his disciples an easy way; he promised them death and suffering and persecution. The real church will always be persecuted so long as it exists in a world which is not Christian.

Christ offers us the following:

  1. A New Loyalty
  2. A New standard
  3. A New Example
  4. A New Conscience

Matthew 22:1-15

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 49 – 2/1/2015

Fr. John Codis

22:1-14

Who Enters into the Kingdom

Joy and Judgment

The Jews ages ago were invited by God to be his chosen people. Yet when God’s Son, Christ, came into the world, and they were invited to follow him they disrespectfully refused.

  1. Invitation of God is joyous.
  2. Distractions are not necessarily bad.
  3. A sense of loss
  4. Invitation of Grace.

This resulted in God going out to the highways and byways, to the sinners and Gentiles, inviting all by His grace to the Wedding Feast.

The repeated sending out of servants shows Gods great desire to have His people with him in the Kingdom.

We are too often contemptuously refusing Gods call. He always takes a back seat to our lives. Sometimes not out of our own desire, but out of our own neglect. It is the grace of Christ, which allows us His invitation, and we must not make our lives so busy, being preoccupied with things that are seen but to refocus us on things that are unseen.

The Scrutiny of the King

“The door is open to all people, but when they come they must bring a life which seeks to fit the love which has been given to them. Grace is not only a gift, it is a grave responsibility.”

The door is not open for a sinner to come in and remain a sinner, but for the sinner to come and become a saint.

Garment of Mind – Expectation

Garment of Heart – Humble Penitence

Garment of Soul – Faith and Reverence

We need to enter God’s house, His Church, with a preparedness which we lack at times. A little prayer, a little thought, and a little self-examination would go a long way, then worship would be worship indeed!

Matthew 21:18-46

Adult Christian Education

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

Matthew 21:18-46

January 25, 2015

  

Israel: The Withered Fig Tree

Christ saw not only a fig tree, but the people of Israel and their Temple. Like the fig tree whose leaves promised food, the outward pomp and glory of the Temple promised spiritual fruit to all the world. But just as the fig tree’s leaves hid its fruitlessness, so the outward glory of the Temple hid the spiritual fruitfulness of the Jews.

Jewish Leaders Question Jesus- An intense, yet brief exchange.

The leaders were furious that He cleansed the Temple and wanted to put Jesus on the spot. They posed the question, by what authority is He performing the cleansing?

Counter – Question by Jesus- the Baptizer and his baptism- Is it from Heaven or man?

We do not know- Jesus refuses to answer their questions.

Sinners Believers

Jesus continues to respond to their question by asking for their opinion.

A man and two children- which did his bidding- the first they claim.

Jesus strong response- “The tax collectors and prostitutes are going before you into the kingdom of God.

Leaders Mistrust God’s Messengers – Parable of the Vineyard

The landowners- the harvest and the mistreatment of those doing the bidding of the owner.

It is reminiscent of God’s response to Israel sending Prophet after Prophet to His stiff- necked people with no response.

The disrespect of the son- who was seen as the heir- they wanted his inheritance.

The Result

The Chief priests and elders listening were horrified at this conclusion, for they knew only too well that they had been cast in the part of the rebellious farmers.The Kingdom of God would therefore be taken from them and be given to a nation producing the fruits of it.

Matthew 20:17-28

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 46 – 1/11/2015

Fr. John Codis

20:17-28

Towards the Cross, The False and the True Ambition,

The Lordship of the Cross

 

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

Christ, although he knew of his passion and suffering to come gave a confident assertion of the Resurrection. There is life after death, after the suffering and false ambitions we place on ourselves. The ambition should be the Christian life in whatever cup that has been given to us; a cup that either has us in a short or long routine of suffering.

Towards the Cross

Christ knew that he had a terrible passion to live through. He was to be betrayed, condemned to death, mocked, scourged, and crucified.

Even through all this, Christ still gave a certainty that there was glory at the end. This glory is the Resurrection of the Son of Man.

We all struggle through life but there is the great crown which has been created for us that is, if we are willing to realize the revelation of the Resurrection

The False and the True Ambition

The disciples show us their worldly ambition. How often do we concentrate on our worldly success? Our ambition is not focused on the cross. The cross is the road to our ultimate life in Christ; that is if we are willing to accept it.

We have the invincible faith and unshakeable loyalty of the disciples. That invincible faith is an optimism when all things seem to be conspiring against us, of the Kingdom and through the atmosphere of our inescapable cross we will reach it.

We all have a cup which has been given to us to drink. We have a Christian life to live by, whether it be in a moment’s notice or over a lifetime of struggle, this cup is our cross, to simply drink the cup means to follow Christ wherever he may lead.

The Lordship of the Cross

“The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many” Matt 20:28. St. Athanasius of Alexandria said, “The Son of God became man, that we might become god.”

Matthew 20:1-20

Adult Christian Education Program

St. Demetrios Church

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Gospel of Matthew 20:1-20

Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos

 

The First and the Last-Parable of the Workers in the field.

Our Lord illustrates here the principle of the last being first and the first last by telling another parable, for the Kingdom of the heavens is such that it overthrows all the standards of the age. In chapter 19:27 Peter showed that he was very concerned that he be adequately rewarded for his labor, and was worried that God might unjustly overlook his sacrifice and work. Christ did perceive the question lurking in the background and saw a dangerous attitude in it. In the Kingdom, God’s response to men was still the one of grace, not one of works. God would give to each more than he deserved. Thank God for His mercy and love for us…

The story: a housemaster (landowner) went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He promised the money of the time, denarius for pay. It started in the third hour (9am) which was the normal time for people to find work. Then on to the sixth and ninth hour which is 12 Noon and 3pm. Then on to the eleventh hour which is 5pm. In the late hour of the day he found some men standing idly and asked them why they did not have work and their response was no one asked us to work.

Review the discussion of the landlord with the workers… Realistic expectations and knowing what we sign on for in each encounter with God’s creation.

Warning presented to the disciples and to us in this biblical stop.

A warning to the disciples which was you have received much from Me and the Church in the early days but this does not mean that others will not come along and receive the message and possibly become greater guardians of the faith. Faith is not something that each of us owns rather it is something that gains its power when we give it away. There is no such thing as a favorite nation’s clause.

Infinite compassion of God. It wasn’t that the laborers were lazy it was they were not offered work to do from the start as others where in the beginning of the reading.

By this parable Christ reveals the unworthy and grasping nature of such complaints. The righteous were offered the Kingdom, just like the rest. What harm is it to them if God grants the Kingdom also to the righteous who repent. We own nothing. We just gratefully should receive God’s blessings.

This is the third time that Jesus warned his disciples that he was on the way to the Cross.

Matthew 19:10-22

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 43 – 12/21/2014

Fr. John Codis

19:10-22

The realization of the Ideal, Jesus’ Welcome for the Children, The Great Refusal

Only the Christian can accept the Christian ethic

Christ speaks about celibacy as a gift from God, just as marriage between a man and woman is also a gift from God.

“The holiness of virginity not as a rejection of marriage, but as a special calling for those to whom it has been given.”

Christ acknowledges not everyone can make room in his heart for this word of teaching, and that most men will find it difficult, to not marry. In the world, it is easier to regard marriage simply as a contract one can make or break at will. But those to whom it has been given by God to become His disciples are not of the world. They belong to the Kingdom and can, through God, do the apparently impossible.

Christ Welcomes Children

Although the disciples rebuke the mothers and their children, Christ instead allowed the children to approach him and said let these children be the example to all of you; they are the ones who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Great Refusal

We are to be wholly open to all the things Christ asks of us, even it if makes us uncomfortable in our minds. This feeling of discomfort can only be cured by picking up our cross and following Christ.

If we truly wish to become disciples of God, then we must not be like the young man and feel sorrow for when we must give up the lap of luxury. We must rejoice that God has a higher calling for us, a calling to perfection which we are made for.