Weekly Bulletin

St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Orthodox Church
9000 FM 242, The Woodlands, TX
www.stcyril.us    (281) 298-3232

January 13,2019

Sunday after Theophany

Martyrs Hermylus & Stratonicus of Belgrade (+315)

St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (4thcent.) 

NEW SERVICES ADDEDVespers Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

HOUSE BLESSING SEASON HAS BEGUN! See Fr. Benedict to schedule this blessed event!

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING will be Sunday, January 27, following coffee hour. At this meeting we will hear the treasurer’s report for 2018, adopt a budget for 2019, and hear a report on where things stand with our mission at our new location, and what we are planning for the future.

WEDNESDAY INQUIRER’S CLASS 5:30 PM– We are beginning a new round of classes for those interested in the Orthodox faith, meeting at 5:30 on Wednesday evenings, followed by Vespers at 7:00 p.m. Anyone interested may attend.

PLEASE CONSIDER A SPECIAL DONATION to help cover the expenses for construction in the hall kitchen.  DONATE BUTTON on bottom of page.

The Holy Trinity

+ The divine Word, when He became man, said, “My Father is working even now, and I am working” (John 5:17). The Father approves this work, the Son carries it out, and the Holy Spirit essentially completes both the Father’s approval of it and the Son’s execution of it, in order that the God in Trinity might be “through all things and in all things” (Ephesians 4:6), contemplated as the whole reality proportionately in each individual creature as it is deemed worthy by grace, and in the universe altogether, just as the soul naturally indwells both the whole of the body and each individual part without diminishing itself.                                                                           – St. Maximus the Confessor (7thcent.)

What can be impossible to Him?

+ If God Himself has become human flesh and soul without ceasing to be God; if He has done that which would be impossible for us to do, then, after this, what can be impossible to Him? What is more infinite than this wonder? Thus has our God indeed shown and shows His omnipotence. . . What unbelieving person will, after this, doubt the possibility of the transformation, for instance, of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ during the Divine Liturgy? This is but an ordinary act of the God of wonders, after the fact of His having created flesh for Himself from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.                                                                                                                                     – St. John of Kronstadt

By His own Blood

+ Vain in every respect are those who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the body, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this flesh (our body) isn’t saved, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His Blood, nor is the Cup of the Eucharist the Communion of His Blood, nor the Bread which we break the Communion of His Body. For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and from whatever else makes up human substance – which the Word of God was actually made. By His own Blood He redeemed us.

– St. Irenaeus of Lyons (+150)

St. Theophan the Recluse on the Theophany

      In celebrating Theophany, let us be transferred in thought to the very location of the event and let us mentally attend to what happened there. There is Betharaba. You see St. John on the shore in garments made of camel skin, with a leather belt tied about his loins. An innumerable multitude of people from Jerusalem, Judea and all the country of the Jordan surround Him. The baptism of the Savior has just finished and the eyes of all are turned to the Son of Man coming up out of the water. They see nothing else. But sharpen the eye of your mind with faith, and following after John and passing by what is seen by all, direct your attentive vision to what is not seen by all – to the open heaven, the dove descending, and the audible voice: This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased! Direct your gaze and do not take your attention from this wondrous sight. Who will give our words the power to worthily hymn the glory of God who has appeared in the Jordan in three Persons!

      Together with lost Paradise, the heavens were sealed shut by God’s justice. But as a strong barrier does not hold back a great pressure of water, so the fortress of righteousness finally broke from the fire of God’s love – and behold, the heavens were opened!We also open all the powers of our nature and insatiably we shall receive the revealed God and take delight in Him. We satisfy all our feelings, all our thoughts and desires.

      We are buried under darkness; but here is abundant light! We are wounded by the joyless separation – both from heaven and from ourselves; but here is the all-enlivening reconciliation. We are weakened by infirmity, but here is the inexhaustible source of every power.

      So then – just as after the long darkness of night every creature hungers for light and with eagerness strives to catch the first rays of the rising sun, so we, directing the eye of our mind to the Theophany, enlightened by faith, eagerly receive the joyous rays of the divine dispensation of our salvation, released by the merciful word of God the Father – and let us take delight in them!

      As the creation compressed by the cold of winter eagerly meets spring which breaks the bonds of cold and receives once again the ordered rejuvenation, likewise we also, with a heart enlivened by the hope of salvation, receive the reconciliation shining in the baptized Lord. Let us take delight in Him!

      As during the heat of summer the thirsty earth drinks with every pore the rain falling from heaven, so we also with every desire of the soul receive each power ready to be poured out on us from the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, and let us delight in them!

      But why do we invite ourselves to this? For are we not already led to the entire dispensation of salvation? Therefore, should we not all be enlightened, reconciled, and enlivened? O that this would someday be true! At one time, referring to John the Baptist, the Lord spoke to the Jews with reproach: “He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.” Every year, in His Church, the Lord directs upon us the light of His Theophany at the Jordan with John. Does He not say to us through this: Here is the burning and shining light! See to you that you are willing to rejoice in his light for more than only a little while!

      See then that you walk circumspectly. Do not the deceptive shouts of the enemies of our salvation sometimes seductively strike our ear? False wisdom proclaims: Come to me, I have light. Yet it has no light, but only a phantom of light. The world says: Come to me, I will give you peace. Yet it has no peace, but only a fantasy of peace. The prince of this world promises freedom, life, and power, yet he has only a fantasy of these.

      Hasten to acquire the habit of distinguishing all this and in the light of the Theophany do not be deceived by what is merely called light, and peace, and power, but is not; rather, strive towards Him who is the way, the truth, and life, righteousness, and sanctification, and deliverance. He who has tasted of the gifts for the sake of which the Church rejoices, that one truly rejoices. But whoever has not tasted, first taste, and then you will truly rejoice.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift . . . for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.

– Ephesians 4:7, 12