Today I will start my article with a story. Do you know what I mean when I say two shorts and one long?
Today- two short readings and one long article. However, in the past SOS in Morse Code- two longs and one short
I was told today to keep my message short. I said no problem. This is not my message, it is a message to you from God.
I have three points to cover today
First- there are two messages or themes we should revisit in the readings.
In 1 Corinthians 2:11-16 And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.
Brother and sisters- God wants you to know that he wants you here, he wants you to listen, and more importantly he wants you to actively make your religion your way of life, your guideposts, and your reason to exist.
In Luke 10:21-24“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Brothers and sisters he is telling us here that most of us are not doing all we can to help God. God may be all powerful and all knowing but we are his hands. We have to do His work right here and right now
Second, this the Season of Lent. Lent gets us prepared for Jesus giving up his life and our yearly tribute to Service. The Church was born at Pentecost with the Holy Spirit. Brothers and sisters, would we have a Pentecost without a Lent? Would we have an Easter without a Good Friday?
During the upcoming Pentecost season we read a great deal from the Acts of the Apostles and Gospel readings are all very important, short and to the point.
We in the Eastern Catholic Church Celebrate the Feast Day of St. Bartholomew on June 11 and in the West it is August 24. Either way, brother and sisters, I will tell you a little more about this Saint and Apostle of God. This happened in Eastern Armenian near the Caspian Sea. Why is this important? Many people today do not realize that Armenia was a much bigger country then than today. Situated as a client state between Persia and Rome- Armenia was where the West met the East.
Joe Stalin in the 1920’s created a country from historical Armenian land and called it Azerbaijan. The Azeri people were Turks that moved into this area. With the fall of the USSR in 1991- Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought over this land. Then nine years later, there was another open conflict that ended in a November 2020 cease fire.
The reason why we do not know about this is that many of us look at history as boring. Brothers and Sisters, it is not boring. Our educational systems have taken history and relegated it to being not that important. This is not right, no, no, not right at all. Actually they have done one better, they have rewritten it. If you do not like something either rewrite it or ignore it. They both work.
Bartholomew brought the Gospel to Ethiopia, Media, Persia, and India. He is the patron saint of Armenia. As a person of Armenian descent, I take great pride that he is a patron saint of Armenia. He had converted many people to Christ in Armenia. In fact he converted a King to the Church. The brother of the king did not like this conversion and with the death of his brother (in which he probably had a hand in doing) he captured Bartholomew. He flayed Bartholomew- de skinned him and then crucified his dead body upside down.
Brother and sisters, do you have that type of faith to not only give up your life for Christ? Do you have the faith to be skinned alive? Bartholomew Feast Day is June 11- now I will ask you what day would you like your feast day to be?
Three, Pentecost is the time for service. We all learn that the key to the Church is actually the wealth of the Church- the people. People are the real source of power within the Church. We can not have a Divine Liturgy without people. People can not have a Divine Liturgy with the presence of Christ. Therefore we should apply our two readings today right here.
1) We are taught by the Spirit and we are holy. We are all holy. We all have flaws but if you allow the flaws define you do not realize the power that you truly have. We must do the work. We do the work not for a reward or money but because the job must be done- right here and right now. This job is too big for just a few of us and too important not to offer the opportunity for everyone to be involved.
2) You will see what I see today. When I look out at you I see many people. Many of you I know, and many I do not. Many of you know me and many do not. But this is not important. What is important is this: Are you doing everything you could do everyday for the Lord?
Brother and sisters we all have talents and skills. Our talents and skills are going to waste if we are not using them to build up the kingdom of God. About six weeks before the advent of the COVID 19 I approached a College in Canada to create a program for the education of three different Eastern Catholic Churches. The College loved the idea but the time was not right. However, since COVID 19 has changed our world- this last week I decided to rededicate my efforts and created a video to explain my idea. I contacted the parties and explained why we needed this idea. We need to train Lectors, Religious Education Teachers, Religious Education Directors, Sub Deacons, and Deacons. We have talented Priests who can teach and God wants us to do this. How do I know this? The Holy Spirit. How did I see this where others did not? Luke 10:21-24 “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
Today we used two readings, a short history on Bartholomew and how the Holy Spirit has inspired me. Now we will conclude with this:
What are you willing to do?
How many would like to be a lector?
How many would like to come 30 minutes early every Sunday to do Morning Prayers?
How many of you feel that you can do more for God than what you are currently doing right now?
How many people feel that they would feel much better if they did more for God?
The future of this Church is in your hands
Your future is in your hands
And more importantly-we need all of us to participate. This is a call to action Join me today, tell me what you are willing and wanting to do to help God bless you