ugcc.org.ua - How often we feel in Ukraine now that we need God's hand. We need God's hand in our private matters, in our social life. Ukraine needs not a man's hand but a God's one, which would raise her, renew and protect.

Where is that hand? Today the Lord our God gives a deep response to that... Our parents, when they wanted to receive something from God, would give alms and ask a beggar to pray for them.

This was said today, on the 22-nd Sunday since the Descent of the Holy Spirit, by the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav during his homily to the faithful in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv.

The Primate drew attention of the faithful that each time when we, during the Divine Liturgy, listen to the reading from the Holy Scripture, we hear the live voice of our God, Who is speaking to us. In His Word the Lord reveals Himself to us. By listening to God's voice, we can learn Who our God is, in order to be able to hear and understand Him more, but most importantly – in order to love God, Who loved us first, even more.

According to the preacher, today, in the reading from the Gospel of Luke, we hear a story about a rich man and Lazarus. In this parable Jesus Christ shows us two scenes. "One scene is devoted to our earthly life, to various relations among people. We see an image of a rich man and an image of a poor man, their ways of life, and, hence, that world which made them rich or poor. Another scene – is from the eternal life. This is a scene of the heavenly reality. The reality, which shows us what eternity is, where a man in his earthly life heads for," told His Beatitude Sviatoslav .

"We can say that," went on the hierarch, "that the first scene is temporary. The other one is eternal, which seems to give sense to the prior one. But what does Luke want to explain to us in this parable? He shows that those two scenes have a totally opposite perspective. That man, who is rich in the first scene, becomes poor in the second one. The one who is happy in the first scene, in the second – heavenly one – is suffering. Between those two scenes there is one point of convergence, which seems to be the moment of truth, the moment when the Lord our God puts everything in their place. This moment of truth is our death."

We can see, believes the spiritual leader of the Greek Catholics, that death is not the end of our life, death is a moment of truth of our life. When a man learns to the end, who he is, and what his ultimate goal is. And why God gives him everything he possesses or why he longs for something but doesn't have it.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Nowadays the poor are often called," says the Head of the Church, "socially unprotected people, and modern society, economy, politics regard them as a problem. Politicians often try to use or buy those people, so they could build their political success on their grief. Very often success of a society is measured, first of all, by the fact to which degree both the law and authorities defend the needs of poor people. But we, Christians, in a needy man must see not a problem but the Living God present among us – our Savior Jesus Christ Who Himself said about Himself: I am a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense," asks to ponder the Head of the Church.

"We, Christians," emphasized the hierarch, "regard it as a duty to serve the poor, not because of some ideological, economic or other human motives. Our ministry to the neighbor, in particular, to the needy is a necessary part of the Divine Liturgy – our ministry to God. A true Christian can see God present in a needy person. A wise Christian can see that a stretched arm of a beggar is God's hand of mercy, which is stretched towards us."

"Let us not reject today that God's hand of Lazarus," called the faithful the Head of the UGCC. "We must be certain that the Lord our God is near us, but our salvation, whether we stand or will fall, occurs before our gates during our meeting with another person."

The UGCC Department of Information

 


Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”

- Saint John Paul II