St. Peter Newsletter May 7, 2018 – Sunday of the Blind Man

Christ is Risen!

The Sixth Sunday After Pascha

The Sunday of the Blind Man

Introduction

The sixth Sunday of Holy Pascha is observed by the Orthodox Church as the Sunday of the Blind Man. The day commemorates the miracle of Christ healing the man who was blind since birth. The biblical story of this event is found in the Gospel of Saint John 9:1-41.

Background

The Lord Jesus was coming from the Temple on the Sabbath, when, while walking in the way, He saw the blind man mentioned in today’s Gospel. This man had been born thus from his mother’s womb, that is, he had been born without eyes (see Saint John Chrysostom, Homily LVI on John; Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V:15; and the Second Exorcism of Saint Basil the Great). When the disciples saw this, they asked their Teacher, “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” They asked this because when the Lord had healed the paralytic at the Sheep’s Pool, He had told him, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14); so they wondered, if sickness was caused by sin, what sin could have been the cause of his being born without eyes. But the Lord answered that this was for the glory of God. Then the God-man spat on the ground and made clay with the spittle. He anointed the eyes of the blind man and said to him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.” Siloam (which means “sent”) was a well-known spring in Jerusalem used by the inhabitants for its waters, which flowed to the eastern side of the city and collected in a large pool called “the Pool of Siloam.”

When our Lord Jesus Christ, then, came at midday to this city, which is also called Sychar (John 4:5), He was wearied from the journey and the heat. He sat down at this well. After a little while the Samaritan woman mentioned in today’s Gospel passage came to draw water. As she conversed at some length with the Lord and heard from Him secret things concerning herself, she believed in Him; through her many other Samaritans also believed.

Therefore, the Savior sent the blind man to this pool that he might wash his eyes, which had been anointed with the clay-not that the pool’s water had such power, but that the faith and obedience of the one sent might be made manifest, and that the miracle might become more remarkable and known to all, and leave no room for doubt. Thus, the blind man believed in Jesus’ words, obeyed His command, went and washed himself, and returned, no longer blind, but having eyes and seeing. This was the greatest miracle that our Lord had yet worked; as the man healed of his blindness himself testified, “Since time began, never was it heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind,” although the Lord had already healed the blind eyes of many. Because he now had eyes, some even doubted that he was the same person (John 9:8-9); and it was still lively in their remembrance when Christ came to the tomb of Lazarus, for they said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have caused that even this man should not have died?” Saint John Chrysostom gives a thorough and brilliant exposition of our Lord’s meeting with the woman of Samaria, the healing of the paralytic, and the miracle of the blind man in his commentaries on the Gospel of Saint John.

Read more on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.

 

The Ascension Divine Liturgy on May 16, 2018 at 6:30pm

The Ascension is when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven to resume his rightful place at the right hand of the Father. It is the completion of Christ’s earthly ministry. Following about two weeks later the Holy Spirit descends, the Church begins, and the era of the New Covenant (God’s new way of dealing with men) begins.

We will commemorate Ascension with a Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Ascension on May 16, 2018 starting at 6:30pm.

 

Fr. Hans Out of Town May 17-31

Fr. Hans will be traveling to Russia the last two weeks of May.

We will still have church every Sunday. The substitute priest will be Fr. Kyrill Williams, an OCA priest and hospital chaplain working in St. Petersburg (Forida, not Russia).

In case of pastoral emergencies please contact Fr. Paul Girgis from St. Paul’s at 509-845-4540. Fr. Paul has graciously consented to help us while Fr. Hans is out of town.

 

Interfaith Charites Needs More Help

The shelves are bare. They need rice, canned vegetables, beans, and cereal. Please consider picking up a few extra items the next time you are shopping and bring them to Church. We will get to Interfaith Charities.

Interfaith Charities is a coalition of churches and business that help the poor in the San Carlos and south Fort Myers area (view their website). We partner with them to help the working poor in our area as part of our mission to serve the poor around us.

Mark Your Calendar! Upcoming Events at St. Peter’s

Movie Night on Friday, May 11 at 7:30pm

St. Peter’s is hosting a moving night on Friday, May 11 starting at 7:30pm with a movie, pizza, fellowship, and discussion.

The movie will be a religiously based film and if it is good, we will discuss why it is good; if it is bad, we will discuss why it is bad. We will learn more about our Orthodox Christian faith either way.

Come for the fellowship, stay for the discussion. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and learn something along the way.

St. Peter Orthodox Church

Pilgrimage to Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery on Saturday, July 7, 2018

Join us for a pilgrimage to the Panagia Vlahernon Monastery near Ocala on Saturday, July 7, 2018. We will leave the church at 8:00am and return between 9:00-10:00pm. We will rent a bus and ride up together. More details forthcoming.

You can learn more about the monastery on their website.

Calendar At A Glance

  • Friday, May 11, 2018 — 7:30pm Movie Night
  • Wednesday, May 16, 2018 — 6:30pm Ascension Divine Liturgy
  • Sunday, May 27, 2018 — Pentecost
  • Saturday, July 7, 2018 — 8:00am Pilgrimage to Panagia Vlahernon Monastery
 

Wisdom From The Elders

How can there be peace, when people are not reconciled with God? Only when man is reconciled with God can inward and outward peace come. But for us to be reconciled with God, we must first attain awareness, we must repent, we must live in accordance with God’s commandments, and then the Grace and peace of God will enter into us, enabling us to also help create peace around us. Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

It is difficult for you, but think of how it was for the Savior on the Cross. The end is near; life passes quickly. We are guests on earth, migratory birds. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

An unfulfilled promise is just like a good tree without fruit. St. Ambrose of Optina

No wickedness, no heresy, not even the devil himself can deceive anyone unless he counterfeits virtue…
Dorotheos of Gaza

He who attains love cannot fall. Saint Macarius the Great

For you to learn repentance depends not only on me, but more on you yourself. Repentance in its essence is humility. And you must humble yourself. Then humility will teach you true repentance. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

 

Remember in Your Prayers

Carolyn L.
Jim R.
Vassiliki
Octavio
Tom
Carl
Rena
Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
David
Eva K.
Rosie
Jill
Kathryn
Jeremy
Robert
Jane
Theodora
Baby Brynn L.
Micheal
Haralambos
Lillian
Presbytera Rosy
Valentina
John
Eva W.
Barbara
Angela
Sonya
Kenneth
Carol Ann
Matthew
Chrysostom
Tim
Ron
Ivy-Jean
Pat
Christina
Maria Louise
Maximos
Marian
Photini
Nicholas
Sarah
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Constantine Houpis
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Ron Chromulak
Beverly Chromulak
Katerina
Loucine Kassis
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Christine
Maria
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
Anthony Mourgis
John Hansen
James Hord
Tom

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names (first names are sufficient) and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Add or remove names and print this list for easy reference during your prayer time on the St. Peter website.

 

Sunday Readings

Christ Giving Blessing

Epistle

Thou, O Lord, shalt keep us and preserve us.
Save me, O Lord, for the godly man hath disappeared.

The Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. (16:16-34)

In those days, as we Apostles were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I charge you in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers; and when they had brought them to the magistrates they said, “These men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs which it is not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.

And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s fetters were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.

Gospel

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John. (9:1-38)

At that time, when Jesus was passing, He saw a man blind from his birth. And His Disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. I must work the works of Him Who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

As He said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” [which means Sent]. So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.” They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, “What do you say about Him, since He has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age, ask him.”

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become His disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him He said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered, “And Who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him, and it is He who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped Him.

St. Peter Orthodox Church