THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
March 26, 2023
Sunday of the Advent
Scripture Notes for Today’s Readings
This sixth and last Sunday of Lent is dedicated not only to the Second Coming of Christ but also to His Incarnation, God’s becoming Jesus, fully God and fully human. He will come again — this time not as the gentle and lowly Savior, but as a righteous judge in the glory of His Father with a retinue of angels. He will sift through the good and evil just as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats at day’s end. Jesus declares (Matthew 25:31- 46) that we will be judged for acts of righteous goodness born of a loving faith. Did we feed the hungry? Console those in need of comfort, ease suffering? Only on this unequivocal basis, will we be received into eternal life. Reflection: Prayerfully read Matthew 25:31-46. Imagine that day of glory and visualize where you will be; pray for Jesus to open your heart that you might see His face “in the least of these.”
Scripture Notes from Today’s Readings
Matthew 22:34-23:39 – In these verses, Jesus summarizes the law in the two greatest commandments in which all the law and prophecies of the Old Testament can be summarized (22:36-40). In 23, there is an extended warning (the “seven woes”) against the vanities and false pieties of the Pharisees. The reading concludes with Jesus’ poignant lament for Jerusalem in which (23:37) – in one of the rare moments when a female metaphor for God is used – He yearns to protect its people as a “mother bird gathers her young under her wings.” Discuss/reflect: Why do you think Jesus asks us to love God (22:37) “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind?” What is distinct about each of these three ways of loving?
Colossians 2:8-3:17 – In a beautiful accompaniment to today’s Gospel, St. Paul urges us to depend on Christ rather than human tradition or worldly principles. Through baptism we have died with Him and are raised with Him into faith and a new way of living. That virtuous, good life is eloquently described in 3:12-17. Discuss/reflect: In Christ “you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (3:9-10) Comparing the “old” ways described in 3:5-8 with the “new” outlined in 3:12-17, how would you rate yourself? Where do you need more of God’s help?
Isaiah 66:1-24 – Isaiah conveys God’s promise of both restoration and judgment; His children will thrive and be comforted in a new Jerusalem. But those who persist in false worship and rebellion will be harshly judged. Again (as in the Gospel passage above), we are offered a beautiful female image: God will comfort His people as a mother does her child. Discuss/reflect: Isaiah shares these words of God in verse 13: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” God is more often described as a father; what shades of meaning does this picture of God as mother add to your understanding of His love?
Araxie Basmajian Radynsky on the 40th day (Karasoonk) of her eternal life requested in loving memory by Douglas & Sharon Radynsky, Barbara Ciorletti and Deborah Radynsky and Family.
Very Rev. Gorun, Yeretzgin Maran, Boghos, Mayreni and Vartouhi Aghajanian; Aris, Alice, Knarig and Berj Balanian; Satenig and Sona Kazanjian, Makrouhi Chaghatzbanian; and for deceased members of the Aghajanian, Balanian and Shepigian families requested by Asbet and Nayiri Balanian in loving memory of their grandparents, parents and relatives.
COFFEE HOUR TODAY is sponsored by Asbet and Nayiri Balanian in loving memory of their grandparents, parents and relatives.
PALM SUNDAY BANQUET: Sunday, April 2, 2023, is ACYOA DAY. Immediately following Church Services, ACYOA is sponsoring a Banquet. Donations: Adults $40.00 – Children ages 4 to 12 yrs. $15.00 – Children 3 and under Free. No tickets will be sold at the door. For reservations, please send in your check by the Deadline: March 26, 2023.
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
TODAY – Film: Amish Grace
Sunday April 2 – Palm Sunday
Thursday April 6 – Holy Thursday
Friday April 7 – Holy Friday
Saturday April 8 – Easter Eve
Sunday April 9 – Easter Sunday
Every Wednesday, 7 pm, Zoom Bible Study with Fr. Hakob
Film Presentation: Following today’s worship, ACE will present a powerful film entitled “Amish Grace.” The film is based on a shocking true event which took place in a small Pennsylvania Amish community and their extraordinary response to the tragedy. We encourage our faithful to stay for the presentation and Fr. Hakob’s reflections. The 90-minute film is NOT recommended for children under 12 years of age.
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 greeting 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.
“Hope in Hard Times”: Rev. Dr. Flora Keshgegian, theologian and episcopal priest, will close out this year’s Lenten series with a Zoom presentation on Friday evening, March 31 at 7:00. Her timely topic, based on her book, “Time for Hope,” will deal with hopefulness in a future that seems bleak: How can we, as Christians who claim hope as the center of our faith, turn away from despair and powerlessness toward hope? To receive the link, contact email@example.com.
ATTIC TREASURES – BAZAAR 2023: Please do not bring your Attic Treasures to the church until September 15th. While we appreciate the donations, we ask you to store them at your homes as we do not have a storage area. Thank you.
Seeking Part-time Organists: the Choir of Holy Trinity is looking for multiple talented musicians who would be seriously interested in playing the organ for the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (Badarak) on a rotating schedule. Organ lessons will be provided to the interested candidates, along with one-on-one direction from a senior choir person. For further information, contact Karinne Andonian @ firstname.lastname@example.org.