Sunday after Theophany
St. Nicholas Bulletin - January 24, 2021
God is Revealed! Бог се Јави! Dios se revela!
Repent,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is now!
Homily for the Sunday after Theophany from Fr. Anthony Hughes
I want to revisit this week’s Gospel reading so, let me read it. It isn’t long.

Matthew 4:12-17 (Sunday after Theophany)
At that time, Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

On the Sunday after the Feast of Theophany we read from St. Matthew’s Gospel about how the people “who sat in darkness have seen a great light,” specifically those who dwelt in the “land of Zebulon and Napthali the Galilee of the Gentiles.”

A more literal interpretation tells us that Jesus brought the Light of Love into the darkest corners of the world, into those places his own people did not believe the Light would shine, that is, to the Gentiles. If Jesus took on human nature itself, then the light shines in every human being and therefore in every land. That is what our theology teaches us.

Going a little deeper we know that our responsibility as followers of Christ is to take the light we have “received” into the dark places in our families, communities, and society. The Gospel has social implications we ignore far too often. Jesus says that we will be judged if we do not care for the “least of the brethren” who are listed as the sick, the hungry, the naked, and those in prison. Of course, that list is not exhaustive. And when we do care for them we are caring for Christ Himself who became for us and remains for us, as He says, “the least of the brethren.”

Going one step further, into a psychological interpretation, we come to see something wonderful and frightening. Let’s quote Professor Jung.

“What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me; and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I, myself, am the enemy who must be loved -- what then?”

The answer to “What then” is this. We need to recognize the beggars and offenders inside of us and meet them with compassion, tend to their wounds, draw them close to us, and transform their sadness into joy. This is probably the hardest thing of all to do because we have spent so long ignoring the sorrowful voices within and trying to drown them out with video games and alcohol and sex. We discover them when we are alone and the world is quiet and suddenly we hear them and they frighten us. We cannot drown then out forever. We try to run away, but we cannot run forever. We think death will end them? No, it won’t. We will take them into eternity with us and there is nothing there but beautiful Silence. In heaven those voices will sound like cathedral bells. Our wounds must be healed and they will be either here or there.

The final revelation is this: the “beggars and offenders” that haunt us within, they too are Christ. He has identified himself with them and so must we. Another scriptural metaphor for the dark lands of Zebulon and Naphthali is the Valley of the Shadow of Death in Psalm 23. There the Lord prepares a table for us in the presence of our “enemies” which is a metaphor for the “least of the brethren.” Who is more “least” in our eyes than those who hate us? At this table we are to invite them to eat with us and at this table we are called to serve them. Then our “enemies” become our friends and more: we see them for what they are. They are also us.

Now, one more thing before I close. We hear at the end of this reading Christ’s first recorded sermon. It is short and simple. “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent of what? Repent of the belief that the kingdom is not “at hand.” We think repentance is a making a list of sins and confessing them before God. Well, yes perhaps on a very superficial level, but there is far more to it than that and if it remains there we will never get anywhere. 

The root of the problem of sin is that we have been taught and believed the lie that the kingdom is somewhere else, off in the future, that there is a safe distance between us and the kingdom, that there is enough time in life for us to live a life that doesn’t take the kingdom into consideration. But it is consistent with Orthodox interpretation that Jesus did not come to bring the kingdom, but rather to reveal its eternal presence. The kingdom is the very heart of the whole of creation. It is said that when the Buddha reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree he touched the earth and creation burst into flower. When we see the kingdom everywhere, then we see that the whole cosmos is Communion.

Where God is there is the kingdom and God is everywhere. Repentance is a change of mind from believing that God is not everywhere, that He is where we want Him to be, in our little boxes, in our grand churches, in our ethnic communities and not in those “dark places” where people worship God with strange names and their faces are different colors and beliefs are odd and suspicious. In the end the only thing that matters is that we wake up to the fact that God’s light in shining now in all the earth and that allow it to penetrate to the very depths of our unconscious.

~Hymnography of the Day~
RESURRECTION TROPARION - TONE 8
You descended from on high, O Merciful One! You accepted the three day burial to free us from our sufferings! O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to You!

THEOPHANY TROPARION - TONE 1
When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His Beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God, You have revealed Yourself, and have enlightened the world, glory to You!

HOLY FATHER NICHOLAS TROPARION - TONE 4
Truly you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you. Hierarch Father Nicholas, entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

RESURRECTION KONTAKION - TONE 8
By rising from the tomb, You raised the dead and resurrected Adam. Eve exults in Your Resurrection, and the world celebrates Your rising from the dead, O greatly Merciful One!

THEOPHANY KONTAKION - TONE 1
Today You have shone forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us. Knowing You, we sing Your praises. You have come and revealed Yourself, O unapproachable Light.

Instead of “It is truly meet,” we sing:
Magnify, O my soul, the Most-Pure Virgin Theotokos, more honorable and more glorious than the heavenly hosts.
No tongue knows how to praise you worthily, O Theotokos; even Angels are overcome with awe praising you. But since you are good, accept our faith; for you know our love inspired by God. You are the defender of Christians, and we magnify you.
~Scripture Readings of the Day~
READERS:
Matins: Lenny Tepsic Epistle: Teddy Sukhernik
Matins Next Week: Lenny Tepsich Epistle Next Week: Dasha Gencturk

EPISTLE: Ephesians 4: 7-13
 
DEACON:      Let us pay attention. 
PRIEST:        Peace be unto all!
READER:      And with your spirit!
DEACON:      Wisdom.
READER:      The Prokeimenon in the First Tone: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on You!
CHOIR: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on You!
READER: v: Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, praise befits the just.
CHOIR: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on You!
READER: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us...
CHOIR: ...as we have set our hope on You!
DEACON: Wisdom!
READER: The Reading is from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians.
DEACON: Let us attend!
READER: Brethren, to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
 
PRIEST: Peace be unto you, reader!
READER: And with your spirit! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
READER: I will sing of Your mercies, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your truth from generation to generation.
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
READER: For you have said: Mercy will be established forever; your truth will be prepared in the heavens.
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
 


АПОСТОЛ: Ефесцима 4: 7-13

Ђакон:          Пазимо
Свештеник: Мир свима!
Читач:           I Духу Твоме!
Ђакон:           Премудрост
Читач : ПРОКИМЕН- глас 1 Нека буде милост Твоја, Господе, на нама, као што се уздасмо у Тебе.
Хор: Нека буде милост Твоја, Господе, на нама, као што се уздасмо у Тебе.
Читач: Веселите се, праведници, пред Господом, праведнима доликује похвала.
Хор: Нека буде милост Твоја, Господе, на нама, као што се уздасмо у Тебе.
Читач: Нека буде милост Твоја, Господе,
Хор: на нама, као што се уздасмо у Тебе.
Ђакон: Премудрост
Читач: Читање посланице Светога апостола Павла Ефесцима.
Ђакон: Пазимо
Читач: Браћо, свакоме се од нас даде благодат по мјери дара Христова. Зато вели: Узишавши на висину заплијени плијен и даде дарове људима. А оно 'узиђе' шта је, осим да прво и сиђе у најдоња мјеста земље? Онај који сиђе то је исти који и узиђе више свију небеса да испуни све. И Он даде једне као апостоле, а друге као пророке, једне као јеванђелисте, а друге као пастире и учитеље, за усавршавање светих у дјелу служења, за сазидање тијела Христова; Док не достигнемо сви у јединство вјере и познања Сина Божијега, у човјека савршена, у мјеру раста пуноће Христове.
Свештеник: Мир ти читачу!
Читач: I Духом Твоме! Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Читач: Пјеваћу увјек милости Господње; од кољена на кољено јавићу истину Твоју устима својим.
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Читач: Јер си рекао: Милост ће бити основана заувјек; на Небесима си утврдио истину Своју.
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
 


LITURGY GOSPEL:  
Matthew 4: 12-17

At that time, when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death the Light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 

ЈЕВАНЂЕЉЕ:   
Матеј 4: 12-17

А када чу Исус да је Јован предан, отиде у Галилеју. И оставивши Назарет дође и настани се у Капернауму приморскоме, у крајевима Завулоновим и Нефталимовим, да се испуни што је рекао пророк Исаија говорећи: Земља Завулонова и земља Нефталимова, на путу к мору с оне стране Јордана, Галилеја незнабожачка; Народ који сједи у тами видје свјетлост велику, и онима који сједе у области и сјени смрти, свјетлост засија. Од тада поче Исус проповиједати и говорити: Покајте се, јер се приближило Царство небеско.
 

~ The Week Ahead: Scriptures and Services ~
January Birthdays
Kristina Carricato (Jan 3), Brad Livingston (Jan 4), Betty Matovich (Jan 5), Christine Krnjaic (Jan 5), Voni Brown (Jan 6), Jody Atty (Jan 7), Fred Book (Jan 7), Ellen Long (Jan 8), Lauren Spangler (Jan 9), Jason Milletics (Jan 11), Peggy Radanovic (Jan 13), JoAnn Filepas (Jan 13), Tracy Petrovich (Jan 13), Bill Wenner (Jan 15), Stacey Stanovich (Jan 15), Nicole Stefan Imschweiler (Jan 15), Christina Radanovic (Jan 15), Tatyana Reznitchenko (Jan 16), Sylvia Stefan (Jan 18), Nina Radanovic (Jan 19), Makrina Rocknage (Jan 19), Kristina Vukalo (Jan 20), Rita Vorkapich (Jan 22), Popadija Andreja (Jan 24), Kobe Petrovich (Jan 24), Sophia Mummert (Jan 28), Jane Svitchan (Jan 29), Maxim Reznitchenko (Jan 29), Ashtyn Isadora Cruz (Jan 30)



~Bulletin Board~
COVID-19
Protocol & Updates
 
Governor Wolf announced new restrictions for gatherings in Pennsylvania. One of those alluded to having no gatherings of more than 10 people. However, essential businesses may operate at 50% capacity. The Church is the most essential organization. Thus, we will continue to serve Christ in all that we do. Those who are comfortable coming to worship will be welcomed. Physical distancing efforts and masks are mandatory protocol for attendance in Church. This means that currently, we can have about 50 people in Church (including clergy and choir) and roughly 70 people in the hall. Those in the hall will be able to see the service, and receive Holy Communion as well.
Slava celebrations will be performed in the Church only. Please bring your kolach and koljevo to the Church to be blessed.
Due to the increase in cases in our local area, we remind everyone that if you are at high risk, you should remain at home if possible. 
Fr. Christopher is available to bring the Holy Mysteries of Repentance and Communion to those unable to come to Church.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are:
  • People 65 years and older
  • People living in a nursing home or long-term care
  • People of ALL ages with chronic medical conditions, particularly if poorly controlled:
  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Immunocompromised, especially cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune-deficiencies, HIV/AIDS, prolonged use of corticosteroids or other immune weakening medications
  • Severe obesity (BMI of 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Kidney Disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver Disease

PARISH ANNUAL ASSEMBLY
At the direction of His Grace, Bishop IRINEJ and the Diocesan Council, we will not be having an in person Annual Assembly this year. Parish Council Officers will remain the same as in 2020. We will have a virtual meeting which will present informational reports only, on Sunday, February 7, at 1pm. This will enable our continued transparency, while maintaining a safe environment for all parishioners.

HOUSE BLESSING
The season for house blessings will soon be upon us. We will not be scheduling house blessings as normal this year. Father Christopher will be able to visit those who request a blessing during the weeks following Holy Theophany. Appointments can be made with Daria Milletics by calling into the Church Office. Later in the year, a time for normally scheduled blessings will occur once restrictions have been eased.

SERBIAN/AMERICAN CLUB 2021 DUES
Peggy Radanovic is collecting club dues once again. Please mail your dues to her at her new address (203 Community Circle, Palmyra 17078) or here at church. You may call her with questions at 717-641-4249.

ST NICHOLAS SENIORS 2021 DUES
JoAnn Filepas is collecting 2021 dues for the St Nicholas Seniors. Please mail your dues to her at (7054 Red Top Road, Harrisburg 17111). Dues are $5 for the year.

SOTAYA CEVAPI SALE
SOTAYA is once again selling frozen Cevapi, in packages of 32 for $12. They can be bought on Sunday’s or during the week while the office is open (9am-noon). Forms are on the Tutors stand and can be given to Dn. Bojan, Sladjana or Daria.
 



January Charity
The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)


IOCC is a humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians. Established in 1992 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), it works in cooperation with the Orthodox Church and on behalf of Orthodox Christians. In carrying out its mission, offering emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthening the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond, IOCC applies the highest profession standards and renders itself fully accountable to the public and its donors. Since its inception, IOCC has administered more than $580 million in humanitarian relief, sustainable development and self-help programs worldwide.
 Approximately 92% of all money donated directly helps those facing dire situations and every dollar given helps secure $7 in support from various sources. All assistance is provided solely on the basis of need and benefits orphans, refugees and displaced persons, the elderly, school children, families and people with disabilities. Over the course of their history, IOCC has been able to assist people in 50 countries with priority currently in the Balkans (Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro), Cameroon, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, Iraq, Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Romania, Syria, Uganda, and the United States. Since the need for help is great, IOCC continually works to expand its programs to other areas. Visit www.iocc.org for additional information.

In Memorium -
Fr. Dan Ressetar