To message Archimandrite Kyril or to arrange a baptism or wedding please email the Parish Priest@bristol-orthodox-church.co.uk (Tel. 01179706302 or 07944 860 955).
For more see: CONTACTS
REGULAR: (please see our Calendar for all services)
Saturdays: Vespers 5.30pm in English.
Sundays: Divine Liturgy 10.30am in English with some Slavonic and Romanian. We recite the Lord’s Prayer in the languages of those present.
Sunday, 3rd. July THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
9.30 a.m. Baptism of Theodora, daughter of Lydia and Matt.
10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
THIS WEEK’S SELECTION OF SAINTS’ DAYS
Martyr Hyacinth in Cappadocia (108)
St German(us), Bishop in the Isle of Mann (474)
St Andrew, Archbishop of Crete (740)
St Andrei Rublev, iconographer (c1430)
St Athanasios of the Great Lavra on Athos (1000)
Uncovering of the relics of St Sergei of Radonezh (1422)
St Morwenna of Morwenstow (Cornwall (6th. c)
St Sisoes the Great ((429)
Virgin martyr Lucy (301)
St Seaxburh, Queen of Kent, Abbess of Ely (died about 699)
Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost
Archimandrite Kyril Jenner
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
Today’s reading from Saint Matthew’s Gospel is a collection of short sayings of our Lord. Teaching the people through short sayings which could be easily memorized was common among the teachers of our Lord’s time. Sometimes the sayings are isolated from one another. Sometimes they are clearly linked. Sometimes we can make links between them. That is the case today.
Saint John Chrysostom links this first saying both to what has gone before and to what comes after. The verse before reads: “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Our Lord had been discussing spiritual treasure, which should be our priority. He then moves on to discuss things in more earthly terms, to make it easier for people to understand what he was teaching.
Earthly treasure, money, possessions, are not in themselves beneficial to us. Yes, it is good to have enough for our needs. But if we have more then we have a great responsibility to use it in the service of God. The temptation is to keep too much of it for ourselves. Earthly treasure without health is of little value. Earthly treasure without spiritual health leads us away from God. The example that our Lord picks out is sight. Physical sight is a great blessing, enabling us to live well in this earthly life. Spiritual sight is an even greater blessing, allowing us to see where God is leading us.
Saint Theophylact summarizes Saint John Chrysostom in this way: “if you fill your mind with worries over money, you have extinguished the lamp and darkened your soul. Just as the eye that is sound, or “healthy” brings light to the body, and the eye that is evil, or “diseased” brings darkness, so also does the state of the mind affect the soul. If the mind is blinded by these worries, it is cast into darkness; then the soul becomes dark, and how much more so the body as well?” (Explanation of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 4)
The next saying follows on from this: “No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24) We are continually confronted with a choice. Do we serve God? Or do we serve ourselves?” The temptation is to fall away from God. But God is merciful and forgives us our sins when we repent.
As Saint John Chrysostom puts it: “when he sees us unworthy to receive good, he withholds his benefits, lest he render us careless. But if we change a little, even but so much as to know that we have sinned, he gushes out beyond the fountains, he is poured forth beyond the ocean; and the more you receive, so much the more does he rejoice; and in this way is stirred up again to give us more. For indeed he accounts it as his own wealth, that we should be saved. … Let us not therefore despair, but having so many motives and good hopes, though we sin every day, let us approach him, entreating, beseeching, asking the forgiveness of our sins. For thus we shall be more backward to sin for the time to come; thus shall we drive away the devil, and shall call forth the loving kindness of God, and attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love towards mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might to the ages of ages. Amen.” (Homily 22 on Matthew)
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