My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
FORGIVENESS (CHEESE-FARE) SUNDAY
This Sunday is the Fourth of the Sundays which prepare us for Holy Lent. It ends, and is the last day of the period of preparation. From the following day, Monday, we shall be in Holy Lent itself. This Sunday itself is called 'Cheese-Fare Sunday' because, beginning with the next day, the Tradition of the Church is that we should abstain from eggs, milk, butter and cheese.
The Saturday preceding this Sunday is dedicated to the memory of those Saints, men and women, who have given themselves to the ascetic life. At the threshold of Holy Lent, we honor them as inspirers and intercessors in this difficult way of penitence.
The Epistle reading of Saint Paul to the Romans (13:11-14, 4), read at the Sunday Divine Liturgy, exhorts us to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light, to walk honestly as in the day, fleeing drunkenness, debauchery and the lusts of the flesh. Saint Paul links this theme of the flesh to the theme of fasting. One person believes that he may eat all things; another eats only herbs. Let not him that eats despise him who does not, and let not him who does not eat judge him who does. Who are you to judge another? Both you and he are dependent on the same Master.
The Gospel for the Divine Liturgy, taken from Saint Matthew (6:14-21), opens with the precept of forgiveness: "if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." The fact that the Church has chosen this saying to introduce the gospel for this day shows that she intends to make forgiveness the dominant theme for this Sunday. It is true that the rest of the gospel for this day speaks of fasting; but the Greek particle which joins the verses about fasting to the verses about forgiveness seem to assign to the former a position of dependence on the latter. The Lord Jesus advises those who fast not to look gloomy like the hypocrites who want to be noticed when they fast. "Thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face." The Father, who sees in secret, shall reward thee openly. Let thy treasure and thy heart be not on earth, but in heaven.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God