Seems like everywhere I go I see help wanted signs posted. With the sluggishness of folks getting back to work after this storm of trials and tribulations, industries and businesses are needed willing hands to come and join their work force. Poultry houses actually sit empty as there are not enough workers to harvest the birds driving the price of groceries up. The price of lumber has soared to never before seen prices as the lumber yards have lost their supply of trees to harvest and so and so on! I have even heard some advertisements offering thousands of dollars as a bonus for new hires that show up for work for at least 30 days. I also know of some people that changed careers to take advantage of those bonuses. Well I hope the grass is greener for their choices.
There is another Help Wanted offering that we all need to participate in! We are also called to serve our Lord. Especially in these confusing times, we need to serve each other even more. Even though we may not see each other as frequently, we need to reach out and connect with each other. With all the new media platforms there simply is no excuse not too! This is not the priest’s job, but everyone’s job. And please remember to always pray without ceasing! (1 Thessalonians 5:17) We are FAMILY!!! This is simply not work, this is salvation!
We also constantly need volunteers to help clean, sing, teach and serve. The bonus for this type of job is out of this world! Our Lord was condemned to death on our cross of freedom so that we will have ample opportunity to help Him build His Church! Help is most wanted! “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Mk. 10:45] Saint John Chrysostom writes: “Never fear as though thine honor were pulled down if thou humblest thyself, for in this, much rather, is thy glory lifted up, and it becomes greater. This is the door of the kingdom.” [Ib., P.G. 58:649, 650 (col. 623).]
We are too tithe ten percent of our time to our Lord, and THOU SHALT NOT STEAL! St. Mary of Egypt spent the first part of her life selfishly stealing her time in this life We heard the words actions in the Vesper Service last night remembering Venerable Mary of Egypt: “The pollution of past sins prevented thee from entering the church to see the elevation of the Holy Cross, but then thy conscience and the awareness of thine actions turned thee, 0 wise in God, to a better way of life, and having looked upon the icon of the blessed Maid of God, thou has condemned all thy previous transgressions, 0 Mother worthy of all praise, and so has gone with boldness to venerate the Precious Cross.”
Help Wanted is about taking action, your salvation depends upon it. No prior experience is necessary! Glory to Thee!!!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-18-2021
Back when I was a boy, I was the remote control! Rest assured, I was a lot of other things including a lot of hungry, but I was the gadget used to ensure entertainment. We had a black and white console with rabbit ears that would land 3 local stations on to our TV screen. When it was time to change the station, I was the device used to flip channels. I could flip the dial clockwise and counterclockwise swiftly as well as anyone else and perfectly adjust the fine tuning with the turn of the dial! We kids were only allowed and hour and half of TV a day, so we had to choose wisely, and so all my day was not occupied being controlled by what to watch. Of course, there is much less to watch these days with Follywood increasingly pushing modernism and atheism on its’ hypnotized audience.
As if he was being controlled by a remote control, the deaf and dumb boy in the Gospel of St. Mark this morning was being controlled by the evil one. Being thrown into the fire or the water and foaming at the mouth and gnashing his teeth (Mark 9:17-31). According to the fathers, deaf because the fallen one would not allow the boy to hear the word of God, and dumb because the boy could not speak and praise God. Sometimes I let the fallen one have control of mind and my foaming tongue as well! When we allow the evil one to push our buttons, we are being thrown into the fire and then into the water as well. Our mouths may not yet be foaming, but we are on the path to that type of drooling enslavement.
I tend to also allow him to throw me into the fiery paths of anger and lust as well. And if that was not enough, with my jealousy, hatred and rage I continue to be tossed into the burn pile. And then I let my guard down and allow the waves of worldly care to consume me as if I had fallen off my life raft!
This is the time of fasting, confession and prayer! There is no freedom in sin! As enticed as we may be with what seems to be freedom to sin and all its trimmings, in actuality we are surrendering our true freedom over to the evil one, and rest assured he will be pushing your buttons! St. Justin Popovich instructs us: “In truth there is only one freedom – the holy freedom of Christ, whereby He freed us from sin, from evil, from the devil. It binds us to God. All other freedoms are illusory, false, that is to say, they are all, in fact, slavery.” St. Justin Popovich, Ascetical and Theological Chapters, II.36
Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-11-2021
We chose to live or we chose to die! Think about it, every choice every day is either to be buzzard bait or joyfully alive in Christ! The Gospel writer Mark states it like this: “For what shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his soul? [Mk. 8:36] It seems as though life goes by very fast and to actually take a moment and size up each and every choice seems impossible. But, that is part of the problem. Is our life so busy because we have haphazardly chosen so many distractions? Have we been caught up in the pursuit of unhappiness?
Something has to give! When our schedules are so jammed packed, we tend to prioritize our energy at what seems to be our most clear choices for our near future. We easily forget that we are only here for a short time and tomorrow may not come. Did we make the most of our day or squander our opportunity to draw near to the One who loves? Did we lovingly react to all the people we encountered today or gripe and complain about them?
Just how do we do that? He said to them, “Whosoever is willing to follow after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and keep on following Me. [Mk. 8:34] Deny myself means that no matter what a bad day I have had, no matter what afflictions I am nursing, no matter what is storming out of control in my life, I love you first and look past my fleshy distractions. My salvation depends on my unselfishness and His grace. Elder Porphyrios states: “God gives us His Grace, when we are humble.”
Making “life” in Christour only priority takes work. It takes an increase in humility as we pull the weeds out of our gardens. “Increasing self-criticism is the sign of increasing humility. Indeed, there is no clearer sign.” (The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step Four, On Obedience) More of Him, less of me! How can I be a blessing today!
I pray that you and I will struggle in this conversion and become a better icon of the One who died on the cross for us. And in that process, we will cease being stinky buzzard bait!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-4-21