Sunday after Theophany
St. Nicholas Bulletin - January 23, 2021
God is Revealed! Бог се јави! Dios es revelado!
Homily for the Sunday after Theophany

from Fr. Philip LeMasters
Some people think of religion as a way of escaping the problems of life in the “real world.” They may view our physical bodies and their weaknesses, as well as all the problems that people and societies have in relating to one another, as evil or pointless realities from which they hope God will deliver us. Perhaps they want an imaginary spiritual bliss of not having to put up with others or with the other challenges that life in the created world presents. That hope may fit with the sensibilities of some and even be appealing to us at times, but it has nothing to do with the God Who revealed Himself as the Holy Trinity when Christ was baptized by St. John in the Jordan for our salvation.

Think for a moment about how the Holy Trinity is manifested. Jesus Christ submits to the baptism of St. John the Forerunner in a river full of water. When the Lord comes out of the water, the voice of the Father identifies Him as His Beloved Son and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove. Instead of escaping the creation or rescuing us from it, God enters into it. The Son lowers Himself into a river and gets as wet as anyone else who did so.   The deepest mystery of the universe, that God is the Holy Trinity, is proclaimed in relation to what happened in a river full of water.

The Savior was not baptized as a sign of His own repentance, of course, for He had no sins of which to repent. Instead, He makes the water holy by entering into it, by restoring the entire creation to its right relationship with God. As the God-Man, He descended into the world that He spoke into existence in order to free it from subjection to futility and fulfill it as an icon of His salvation.

We, of course, are part of that creation in every dimension of our existence, both as particular persons and in relation to one another. Recall the nakedness of Adam and Eve when they turned away from God, for they stripped themselves of the divine glory by repudiating their calling to become ever more like God in holiness. They diminished themselves and the entire creation by serving their self-centered desires instead of the Lord. They brought death and slavery to our passions into the world, which we see so vividly when their son Cain murdered their son Abel.

Our Savior entered fully into our distorted world of brokenness and pain in order to set it right. He was baptized in the Jordan in order to clothe the naked Adam, in order to restore us to the dignity of those who wear the robe of light of His beloved sons and daughters. We put Him on in baptism like a garment. By His mercy and grace, we participate personally in His healing and blessing of every aspect of our humanity. He does not call us to flee from His world, but to be so united with Him in holiness that we play our unique parts in fulfilling His gracious purposes for it. He invites us to become like Him as partakers in the divine nature by grace. That is really simply what it means to be a human being in the divine image and likeness.

We bless houses with holy water, which was blessed at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast. By entering into the water, the Lord made the water holy, which means that He restored and fulfilled its very nature. We need water in order to live. The earth needs water in order to become fertile, bearing fruit and giving life to animals of all kinds. We wash with water and use it to maintain cleanliness and health. Without water, we become weak and die, as do other creatures. And in the world as we know it, water can kill us through floods and storms. Since the creation has been subjected to futility through the sin of human beings, the very water through which God gives us life may become the means of our death.

The good news is that our Lord has made even death an entrance into life. When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death. When we put Him on in baptism, we died to sin and rose with Him in holiness, regaining the robe of light and being restored to our intended place in the creation in God’s image and likeness. When we bless holy water, we restore water to its intended place, to its original role in giving life and cleansing impurities. These are fulfilled in baptism, by which the Lord shares His eternal life with us and washes away our corruption. Here we see the purpose of water, and the creation itself, fulfilled.

When we bless a home, or anything else, with holy water, God restores it to its natural state, to its place in fulfilling God’s purposes in the creation. And since our homes are where we and our families live each day, how could we not want that blessing on our marriages, our children, and the physical space where we offer our lives to the Lord? When we bless our homes, we join what is most important to us to Christ’s healing and restoration of the entire universe. We make our daily lives a liturgy, an entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

We cannot stop there, however, for we must actually live as those who have put on a robe of light, who have entered into the fulfillment of all things in Christ. We must make our marriages, families, and daily interactions with others an epiphany, a manifestation of God’s gracious purposes. We must become icons of the Holy Trinity as particular people united in holy love with others.

As St. Paul taught in today’s epistle lesson, “And His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Christ blesses us, not as isolated individuals, but as members of His Body for the blessing of all our fellow members and ultimately for the entire world. We become truly human together in Him.

We will not find salvation in isolation, but as persons united in holy love who share a common life in Christ. As those created in His image and likeness, that is our natural state. It is revealed at Christ’s baptism that He is the Son of the Father. That is a relationship of holy love beyond our full understanding. To be in loving relationship with others is a key dimension of what it means to be a human being in the divine image and likeness. When we bless our homes, we find strength to make our marriages and families icons of the fulfillment of God’s gracious purposes. That is only a start, however, as we must intentionally turn away from darkness in all its forms in order to become radiant with the light of Christ. In other words, we must repent. That is ultimately how to celebrate this great feast, by offering every dimension of our lives to the Lord such that we become living epiphanies of His salvation in the world as we know it. The point is not to escape the world, but to become icons of its fulfillment.
~Hymnography of the Day~
Commemorating the Afterfeast of the Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, St Gregory Bishop of Nyssa, St Dometian Bishop of Melitene, St Marcian the Presbyter in Constantinople, Venerable Paul Abbot of Obnora Vologda, Venerable Macarius Abbot of Pisma, Blessed Theosebia the Deaconess sister of Sts Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, Venerable Antipas of Valaam Monastery, St Theophan the Recluse Bishop of Tambov

RESURRECTION TROPARION - TONE 6
The angelic powers were at Your tomb; the guards became as dead men. Mary stood by Your grave, seeking Your most pure body. You took captive hell, not being tempted by it. You came to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord, Who rose from the dead, 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 6
When Christ God the Giver of Life, raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand, He bestowed resurrection on the human race. He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life, and the God of all.

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: Natalija Gligorevic
Next Week:     Matins : Milan Radanovic      Epistle: 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 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~
HOUSE BLESSINGS
Please call Daria Milletics in the office at 717.939.3872 if you do NOT want your house blessed this year. Otherwise, expect to receive a call 1-2 days in advance of Fr. Christopher's visit.

Monday, January 31— Friday, February 4 
(Feb 5 Make-up Day)
17113, 17022, 17033, 17034, 17036, 17057

Monday, February 7 — Friday, February 11 
(Feb 12 Make-up Day)
17011, 17015, 17018, 17025, 17043, 17050, 17053, 17055

Tuesday, February 15 — Friday, February 18 
(Feb 19 Make-up Day)
17102, 17104, 17109, 17110, 17111, 17112


BLESSING OF THE SUSQUEHANNA (TODAY)
The Feast of Theophany will be truly remarkable as we bless the Susquehanna River this afternoon (January 23) at 1:30 pm. We will meet on City Island at the Arcade, and process to the river dock. 

COVID UPDATES
The increase in COVID cases throughout the area forces us to rethink our current social gatherings. SOTAYA rehearsals will postpone for the next month, to be revisited at the end of February. The Parish Council will also consider postponing fellowship hour after Church. 

ST. SAVA DAY PROGRAM
Due to the increase in COVID cases throughout the area and specifically in our community, we will be pushing our St. Sava Day Celebration to a virtual event. We ask for our families to record their children as they recite their deklamacije, play or sing a song. All videos will be compiled and posted on our St. Nicholas YouTube Channel on Sunday, January 30. Please submit your videos to Fr. Christopher by Friday, January 28 at 5pm.

HOUSE BLESSING 2022 BEGINS NEXT WEEK
As with previous years, Fr. Chris will be blessing homes according to the zip code schedule printed in the bulletin. You will receive a call and/or email one or two days beforehand, letting you know which day Father will be coming. Please have ready: a candle, a bowl of water, the list of names you would like Fr. Chris to pray for, both living and departed.

KOLO SRPSKIH SESTARA/CIRCLE OF SERBIAN SISTERS  MEETING
The KSS will be holding their next meeting Sunday, January 30, after the St Sava Banquet, in the Library. All members are encouraged to attend.

ST NICHOLAS SENIORS 2022 DUES
JoAnn Filepas is collecting 2022 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.

SERBIAN/AMERICAN CLUB AND KSS 2022 DUES
Peggy Radanovic and Jovanka Shaffer will be seated in the church hall after Liturgy on Sundays to collect 2022 dues. Dues remain at $5 for the year.

MOTHERS CLUB 2022 DUES
Mothers Club dues for 2022 are due. Please submit $5 to Popadija Andreja. The Mothers Club primary mission is to support our Sunday School and children. If you are not a member and would like to join, please also contact Popadija Andreja.

SOTAYA ČEVAPI SALE
Our SOTAYA Group is once again selling frozen packs of cevapi at $15/pack (32 pieces). To order see Dn. Bojan Gligorevic, Matthew Hoover, or call the office at 717.939.3872.
 
2022 PARISH COUNCIL NOMINATIONS
The following positions for the Parish Council are open for nominations for the Annual Assembly in February: 

I Vice President—responsible for helping to manage Church events.
II Vice President—responsible for the operation of the Church buildings and grounds.
Treasurer—responsible for managing Church expenses
Financial Secretary—responsible for managing Church income.
Member at Large—responsible for assisting II VP in operation of buildings and grounds.

All those who are interested in serving on the Council are required to the following: 
1)  Regularly attend services.
2)  Regularly participate in the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion.
3)  Regularly offer of their Time, Talents and Treasures to the Church.
 
Please notify Fr. Christopher by calling 717.939.0251, emailing at fr.chris@stnicholassteelton.org if you are interested in serving our parish in this way.

ANNUAL ASSEMBLY FEBRUARY 6, 2022 after Liturgy
The St. Nicholas Parish Annual Assembly will convene after liturgy on Sunday, February 6, 2022. Please make every effort to attend.

January Charity
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.