We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves;
 let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.
 For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.”
 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles,
and sing to thy name”;
 and again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
 and again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles,
and let all the peoples praise him”;
 and further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him shall the Gentiles hope.”
 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
On this the second day of the fast of the feast of Transfiguration I am reflecting on today’s lectionary readings found in the book of Romans.
What a great challenge our Lord puts before his disciples when he invites them to bear with those who are weak and beyond that to go beyond their comfort zone, even to the Gentiles who knew not God and to proclaim the joy of the knowledge of the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.
From our perspective it seems obvious that as Christians we are to bring a testimony of our faith to those around us be they Christian or not. More and more as people become less vigorous in their faith and taking the gift of their membership in the church often for granted, they grow weak in faith, become afraid and are less likely to show any inclination towards devotion and faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. Imagine how much more difficult it would have been for the disciples of Christ who are devout Jews, to separate themselves from those outside Judaism and to go into the world which often despised and persecuted them and to proclaim their joy in Jesus Christ. If in fact we have faith in Christ and our joy comes from the knowledge of his resurrection and the promise that he gives us poured forth in hope and eternal life, then we have no choice but to go beyond our own comfort zone and to be the witnesses to a dark and lonely world. What a great privilege it is for each of us to live His transfigured life and with the light of Christ our Lord shining through us in our thoughts and our words and our deeds to share that with all. I know that at times it seems we don’t do that so well even in our own community, and parish BUT we need to repent from the past, put down our differences, cast off our pride, laying aside the old garment of sin and to be renewed in the Transfiguration of a life in Christ. With that renewal of body, soul and mind even bearing at times the wounds of our Lord, we can then go boldly and steadfastly into a world which is often scary and growing more intolerant against Christianity. Many will reject you but so many others will welcome that joy that you share with them. As our Lord says there is greater joy in heaven over the one lamb that was lost and is now found then in the ninety-nine who stayed by his side.
Praise God among the unbelievers, make your sign of the cross, be bold and be filled with joy, do not recount the wrongs against you, forgive and love everyone. Above all do not hold on to any anger against anybody but pray for your enemies morning, day and night and joy and peace WILL come upon you. I can guarantee that your anger will melt with the love of Jesus and peace will fill your heart.
Come and join me this Sunday for the glorious feast of the Transfiguration when our Lord, Who’s divinity has no beginning and who’s humanity has no end, reveals himself in glory, illuminating his perfect humanity adorned with divine light.
When you receive the Holy Communion this Sunday thank God that he has united you body, soul and mind with the very person of his true and unique Son who shares with you the divine light and who dwells in you and you in him.
God bless you and have a very safe and blessed July 4. We will see you all on Sunday.
In the heart of Christ with love,
Fr. Shnork Souin