St. Luke Byzantine Catholic Church
Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma
Sundays: Divine Liturgy -10:00 am
Saturdays: Great Vespers - 4:30 pm
Wednesdays: Akathist to the Theotokos - 7:00 pm
Feast Eve: Festal Vespers - 7:00 pm
Feast Day: Divine Liturgy - 7:00 pm
Remaining All Souls Saturday
Saturday, June 4
Divine Liturgy for the deceased at 9:00 am
Mystery of Repentance:
Offered 30 minutes prior to Vespers
Sundays between 9:00 am - 9:30 am
By appointment (contact Fr. Michael)
Liturgy for the Deceased:
Contact Fr. Michael to offer a Divine Liturgy or Panachida for a deceased loved one.
Wednesday, May 25 - Festal Vespers at 7:00 pm
Thursday, May 26 Saturday- Divine Liturgy at 7:00 pm
Three incredible wonders – not known from the beginning of time and beyond our natural understanding – are intertwined and remain unbroken and immovable. For a triple-braid cord is not quickly ripped apart. These are: the virgin mother giving birth, the resurrection after the three-day passion, and the ascension of flesh into heaven. Time knows of a barren woman giving birth, but not without marital relation; it knows of dead who have come back to life, but not into life unending; it knows of a prophet taken up, but only as it were into heaven, that is ‘as if’, not in truth. For Elijah passed from place to place, but the Savior ascended, to whence he descended; while many men and women looked on, and grew weary gazing up at the sky, and angles bore witness to the spectacle, and disclosed the second coming; “And behold,” it is written, two men in white robes stood beside them and said; "Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking into the sky?”
Oh how much has the Good One accomplished for the salvation of wicked servants! He descended from heaven; he ascended into heaven; from heaven he will come again. How then, will he come? Not as some other divided hypostasis, but in the likeness of flesh, inhuman form; not however in a lowly manner as formerly – not sleeping in a boat, not detained by weariness from thirst next to a well, not seated on the colt of an ass – but carried by colts in the form of clouds; not bringing fishermen with him, but accompanied by a guard of angels; not standing before the judgement seat, but he himself will be judging the uttermost ends of the universe, granting judicial authority to the fishermen, as he himself taught the disciples, saying: “When the son of man will sit on this throne of glory, you will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” And to the Jews: “If I cast out demons by Beelzeboul, by whom then do your sons cast them out? For this reason, they will be your judges” – since those who were of the Jews, did not heed the things of the Jews, but preferred the sufferings of Christ, and the marks of their relatives, the slayers of the Lord.
What a great wonder! What a strange tribunal: to see a fisherman judging, and a Pharisee being judged, a tent maker boldly sitting as judge, and a high priest groaning, being convicted. Why then were they slapping the Master’s face, and punching him around the head, until in the end they murdered the heir outside the vineyard? Why did they imprison Peter? Why did they torture Paul five time with forty lashes less one? Yet the admirable high priest Ananias commanded his servant to strike Paul’s mouth, the mouth of Paul, the mouth of grace, the mouth of truth, the plectrum of life, the noblest of all trumpets, the most harmonious of all harmonies, the instrument of Christ, the flute of the Spirit; for those things which are known through the Holy Spirit, Paul made public with his tongue. And so, I think David was characterizing Paul when he wrote: “My tongue is the pen of a swift-writing scribe.” What then did Paul say to Ananias, foreseeing this impending judgement? “God will strike you, whitewashed wall!” For a whitewashed wall is an ornamented tomb; an enemy without, and dead within.
Since therefore the account of life’s actions and the universal court lies ahead, the demand of the work of the talents, the spurn of the mystical wedding, the illumination of the bridal chamber, the seed’s increase, the fruit of the vineyard, and all that he revealed to us through parables – let us weigh up our life, and change our ways, not acting like money-changers, or gold diggers, or predatory lenders – for these things the judge also rejects - but supporting the poor, practicing hospitality, calling on God and doing all that you know will soften the Judge’s wrath. Learn the profit of hospitality, looking to Abraham, reckoning on the benefit of the supplication of the Ninevites, considering Tabitha, the treasury of mercy, stretched out lifeless on the bed, about to be buried. But the widows surrounding Peter and showing him the dead woman’s gifts, pulled her up from Hades.
If then, widows’ tears brought life back to a dead body certain to have died again, what sort of good rewards to you think the judge is ready to give to those who habitually feed the poor with a generous hand and do not reject their testimony? For at that time the gift cannot be taken away, no longer will death interrupt, but life will continue unbroken. “For a trumpet will sound, “it is written, “and the dead in Christ” will rise “incorruptible” and unchangeable, in imitation of the Lord, And just as clouds carried him, so we too, in Paul’s words, “will be snatched up in the clouds.” And just as he ascended with a joyful shout and the sound of a trumpet, in the same manner, we also, at the sound of the archangel’s trumpet, will shake off the cloud of death like sleep, and be joined to the author of life. “And so,” he says, “we shall always be with him, “intent on the things of the Lord, keeping his commandments. May we all hear that blessed, esteemed voice: “Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little, I will put you in charge over much, enter into the joy of your master.” To him be the glory and the power, into the ages of ages. Amen.
Troparion (Tone 4):
You were taken up in glory, O Christ our God; you gladdened the disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit. By blessing them you confirmed that you are the Son of God.
Kontakion (Tone 4):
When you had fulfilled the plan of salvation for us and united the earthly with the heavenly, you were taken up in glory, O Christ our God. Never parting from us but remaining constantly, you proclaim to those who love you: I am with you and no one can be against you.
Let every pious and God-loving soul enjoy this splendid and luminous feast; let every faithful servant enter joyfully into his Master’s joy! Let the one who has borne the burden of fasting now receive his pay, and the one who has toiled since the first hour, let him obtain his due reward! If anyone came after the third hour, let him gratefully join in the feasting; and the one who tarried until the sixth hour, let him not be afraid of missing anything! If there is one who waited until the ninth hour let him come unhesitatingly; and even the laborer of the eleventh hour, let him not fear his sloth. For the Lord is generous and receives the last even as the first; he gives rest to the worker of the last hour even as to the one of the first. He has pity on the last, and serves the first; he rewards the first, and gives freely to the last. He receives the fruits of labor, and accepts good intentions; he honors the deed, and praises the effort. And so, enter into your Master’s joy: you the first and you the last will receive the bounty. Come together, you rich and you poor: abstinent or indulgent, honor this day. You who have kept the fast and you who have not, be joyful now: the table is laden, take of it all of you without any scruple. There is enough of the fatted calf for all; let no one go away hungry. All of you, come and taste the banquet of faith; all of you enjoy the abundance of mercy. Let no one bemoan his poverty, for the Kingdom of us all has appeared to us; let no one complain about his sins, for Pardon has risen from the tomb; let no one be afraid of death, the Lord’s death has delivered us: He has destroying it by enduring it; He went down into the Abyss and stripped the Abyss; He made it bitter for having tasted of his flesh. That is what Isaiah had foretold; the Abyss he said was made bitter when it met You beneath the ground; it was made bitter because it was reduced to naught; it was made bitter because it was fooled; it was made bitter because it was put to death; it was made bitter because it was annihilated. It seized a corpse, and lo! discovered God; it took hold of earth, and behold! Encountered heaven! It captured the seen, and fell before the unseen. O death, where is your sting; Abyss, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are cast down; Christ is risen, and the demons are crushed; Christ is risen, and the angels sing for joy; Chris is risen, and life has overcome; Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead; for Christ the Resurrection has become the first-fruits of the dead. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 St. Luke Byzantine Catholic Church - All Rights Reserved.