THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
February 9, 2020
Fourth Sunday after the Octave of Theophany
The Heavenly Bread
Jesus enticed us with both the wine at the wedding celebration in Cana and bread as he multiplied five loaves for the 5,000 people on the mountain, both of which were distributed abundantly and as a gift, symbols that recall Holy Communion. Once again, in this narrative, Jesus wants to draw us to the food which nourishes our soul and gives salvation, the Bread of Life. At the beginning of Badarak, behind the closed curtain, as the priest and deacon prepare the gifts of the bread and wine, the priest prays:
O Lord our God, who sent our Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly bread, the food of the whole world, to be savior and redeemer and benefactor, and to bless and to sanctify us; Bless now, Lord, also this presentation and receive this upon your heavenly altar.
During Badarak, the same and one bread shared with many is the same and one Christ sharing his Life with many as food for the whole world, uniting us to himself and to each other.
In the Armenian Church, we use bread in various contexts and services: Home Blessing, fasting (aghoohats), and of course, bread is essential to Holy Badarak. Bread has always been considered a staple, essential to the ancient diet, and even a form of charity, and so it was even considered sacred. Even today, for those who come from this kind of culture, to throw away a piece of bread is disrespectful and profane.
In the early Church, members brought loaves of bread as an offering. Still today, the bread used for Holy Communion is considered the gift from the people to God, offering back to God that which is most basic to our lives, representing the entirety of our lives. And so sacramental living, the life of the Christian connected to the Church, is marked by the presence of bread.
Jesus stresses that he is the true bread who came down from heaven. He is God in human flesh and blood, born in Bethlehem, which translates as “House of Bread.” He distributes himself, not just to one nation or one people, but shares his life with the whole world, to those who are willing to be baptized and follow him. Using the heavenly manna as a point of reference, Jesus is proclaiming himself to be God’s life-giving gift to the world, the true manna who walks alongside us in the wilderness when we feel as if God has abandoned us or doesn’t hear our prayer. It’s at those times when we especially need to be nourished with the Bread of Life, especially need to commune with the Church, the Body of Christ. As St. Gregory of Narek prayed while in that place of “exile:”
Still accept me, a wandering exile, defeated by wounds, faint with gnawing hunger. Heal me with your bread of life, confront me with mercy, for you are my first refuge. (47 B)
When we attend Badarak, do we, perhaps out of a sense of unworthiness, refrain from fully participating by choosing to not share Holy Communion? Jesus said “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53).” To refrain from Holy Communion is to refrain from salvation. St. Cyril of Alexandria writes,
Let those who have been baptized and tasted the divine grace understand this: if they are sluggish or reluctant about going to church and for long periods of time keep away from the Eucharistic gift through Christ, feigning a pernicious reverence by not partaking of him sacramentally, they exclude themselves from eternal life inasmuch as they decline to be enlivened. Thus, their refusal to partake of the Eucharist though seeming to be an expression of reverence, is turned into a snare and an offense.
Jesus, the Bread of Life, the heavenly Bread, is as essential to a person’s eternal life as bread is to one’s biological life. And it is only through Jesus Christ, only through the Church, that we can experience the eternal life for which we are created. We are created to live in the Promised Land, but there is only one way to enter it. By offering our lives to the One who offered himself to us. What part of our lives are we not offering? What parts are we not allowing Jesus to penetrate with his life, mercy, love, and forgiveness? Keep in mind, he wants to heal all of it.
By Dn. Eric Vozzy
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
2 Timothy 3: 1-12 (page 193) New Testament
John 6: 22-38 (pages 89-90) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 63: 7-18 (pages 738-739) Old Testament
“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Helen Mirijanian, Edward Tatoian, Rose Minassian, Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles and Armen Mirakian.
REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:
– HELEN VISHAB (5th Anniversary of her eternal life) requested by the Vishab and Yazujian Families.
– PEARL SERABIAN JOSEPHS & MARY SERABIAN requested in loving memory of my mother and grandmother by Larry and Dolly Grocott.
NEW COMMUNION PROCEDURE – Before gathering for confession, please allow time for the Choir Members to come down and join us before we begin.
COFFEE HOUR today is sponsored by Larry and Dolly Grocott in loving memory of PEARL SERABIAN JOSEPHS & MARY SERABIAN. All are welcome.
A Sunday Sermon Scripture Study: In his role as teacher and spiritual leader, today Fr. Hakob will turn the sanctuary into a classroom. In lieu of a sermon, he will guide us through a Bible study of an important passage in the Book of Acts which describes life in the earliest church. What was that community like? How did they worship? Did they have fellowship? Education? How did they handle their expenses? Be present as we compare and contrast our 21st century parish with that of the first century.
Blessing of Marriages: Married couples of all ages are invited to participate in a brief blessing service in church next Sunday, February 16. The ceremony, which has become an annual event at Holy Trinity, is intended to honor the relationship of husband and wife and is an opportunity for couples to rededicate that relationship to God and his sacred purposes. We look forward to seeing our entire church family next week to witness the ceremony.
Poon Paregentan Celebration Luncheon: February 23, 2020 following services in the church hall. Adults are $10.00 per person, children (ages 5-17) are $6.00 each and children 4 and under are free. RSVP by February 16, 2020. Everyone is welcome.
Home Blessings It is part of the Armenian Church tradition to have our homes blessed regularly and especially during the seasons of Christmas and Easter. Please consider bringing this age-old practice to your home in 2020. Having this short service done in your own home will bless you and create a sense of peacefulness for you and your family. If you would like to partake of this beautiful custom, contact the church office (215-663-1600 or email@example.com) and request a home blessing visit from Der Hakob. Please have a piece of bread, dish of salt and glass of water prepared for the blessing service.
LENT 2020: Our Adult Christian Education (ACE) team has planned an impressive and diverse program for us this Lenten season. It includes four Friday evening dinner programs, one Saturday workshop and a month-long reading challenge. For information on all these opportunities, pick up the flyers in the narthex or the lobby.
FAR UPDATE: FAR’s Support to Dilijan Music College Impacts Students and their Community – With help from FAR, the recently renovated State Art College of Dilijan has reopened as a newly revitalized institution and source of quality education for its more than 250 students. The college was a remaining bastion of Soviet-era architecture; built in the 1970s, it had never been renovated until now. Last year, through donations from several loyal FAR supporters and the efforts of the organization itself, the college’s building was completely upgraded. Now, music and architecture are intimately joined through abstract art. The new interior of the building is beautifully decorated with musical instruments, including the school’s first 75-year-old piano and statues of Armenian composers Armen Tigranyan and Romanos Melikyan. The new design has even attracted local visitors who are curious about the improvements. “A center for the arts center should be enticing and encouraging. Our college is now clean, comfortable, and modern. It more fully supports our mission of successfully educating our students,” said Principal Hasmik Mkrtumyan, who added that student concerts are now fully packed. “Thanks to the renovation we can now host public concerts. Our spacious hall is equipped with 300 new chairs and has its own separate entrance.” To support FAR’s Education Program, go to https://www.farusa.org/donate
Armenian Sisters Academy
March 12, 2020 9:30 -11:00 a.m. Join us for a look into the lives of ASA students. The open house will include a tour with our student ambassadors, followed by open discussion with faculty, staff, and parents. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-687-4100
EMERGENCY CLOSINGS: In an effort to inform parishioners and guests when a Holy Trinity church service or program needs to be canceled or delayed due to inclement weather or other reasons, we request that you check our website (www.holytrinity-pa.org) or facebook page (www.facebook.com/holytrinitypa) for the most accurate information.
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Sunday February 16th: Annual Parish Assembly (snow dates 3/1 & 3/8)
Sunday February 23rd: Church School Poon Paregentan Celebration! Look for details on how to register coming soon.
Sunday March 1st: Church School Vartanatz Play during Fellowship Hour
2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:
5 – 123 people $1,850.00
12 – 98 people $518.00
19 – 139 people $857.00
26 – 115 people $538.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00
Using the Pew Book: In order to enrich understanding of the Divine Liturgy, we encourage our faithful to follow along in the large two-part Pew Book. Part One includes the classical Armenian used in the Liturgy; the facing page is the translation in modern Western Armenian. Part Two contains the transliteration of the classical Armenian; the right-hand page has the English translation. This Pew Book includes the prayers of the celebrant usually offered inaudibly. The prayers offered aloud are indicated in boldface type.
THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is often sung after the Gospel is read from the altar. Occasionally, it will be recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.
THE KISS OF PEACE: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Jeanette Der Hagopian at 215-672-4188.
Would you like to:
– receive this Bulletin on Friday via email?
– request a Hokehankist, house blessing or hall rental information?
– find in-depth information on our faith, our parish and our activities?
– sign up for an event online?
-If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at www.holytrinity-pa.org
WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.