Not sure how many of you have been following the news in Montenegro. Ever since Parliament passed a law last December, tens of thousands of Serbian Orthodox clergy and faithful, along with other supporters, have hit to the streets twice a week in prayerful litiya-processions, demanding its withdrawal. These processions have been not only in Montenegro but elsewhere (Serbia, Republika Srpska, etc.). The law calls for a creation of a register of all religious buildings and sites the Government claims were owned by the independent kingdom of Montenegro before it became part of the Serb-dominated Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, later renamed Yugoslavia. If they cannot prove ownership of the sites, they risk being confiscated to the state.
The silly cartoon commentary above suggests how backwards things have become. Or am I ready it wrong?
Yesterday was Popadija’s birthday. She spent the day with her friend who treated her and spent the whole day with her, on the beach, lunch, drinks…until we met up at this beautiful resort in the evening for dinner.
We are still in the midst of our celebration of the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, according to the church’s calendar. On that feast, His Grace Bishop Milutin of Valjevo, noted the following (HT here):
“The feast of the Meeting of the Lord is a feast of a meeting – encounters, for we will all meet. Some in God’s Kingdom, some in eternal hell. When we bid farewell from our close ones who leave this world, we have a “joyful sadness”. We are sad that they left, but we rejoice in meeting them again, which one day will happen. For this reason is it important that the Church pray for all of those who have gone to life eternal. The holy fathers said that the Church will remain on the earth until the Judgment Day and, if we pray for the deceased, Christ will deliver them from hell.
So important is it that we pray for our deceased, to light candles for them on Memorial Saturday and have their names commemorated. That, dear brothers and sisters, is so exalted and great that at times we are not even conscious of just how much. Those who fell into Hades cry out to us that we cry our to Christ God, for He is the Lord of the living and the dead. For this reason us who are living are the ones who rejoice in the first place at this meeting. We are here to rejoice in one another. This is the greatness and beauty of man. The Church teaches us that each person is an icon of God, even our enemies. The worst person is an image of God. Some, however, darken that image while others wash it and it clean and bright and resembles Christ. We are fed by Holy Communion! That is everything that is given to us today and we need to use it, for we know not whether we will be alive tomorrow.
We need to love all living things in this world, and most of all man. Then our meetings and encounters with one another will be beautiful. Otherwise, we will not be able to enter God’s Kingdom. It is important that we encounter and see each other in love, not with hatred and envy. Today’s feast speaks to us of an encounter between God and man, the righteous Simeon who in old age lived to receive Christ into his hands and to leave this world in peace. His words, spoken when he came in contact with the Christ Child, “He will be the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against throughout the history of the world,” we must never forget. They have been fulfilled for two thousand years now. The Apostles preached it, pagan kings killed His followers, and millions followed and continue to follow Him. Today, also, we see that the world is divided for those for and against God. Sin destroys man. For this reason does Fr. Justin exclaim: “Brethren, let us stand against sin!” If we sin we, ourselves, will fall to eternal hell. The Lord raises those whom He loves, those who pray, come to Liturgy and commune and are fed by Him. And if they sin, fear not! Ask for forgiveness. The Lord forgives for He is love.
From a homily delivered by Bishop Atanasije of Milesevo yesterday on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Translated from here
“We continue giving thanks unto the Lord who receives us at His table, for the Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist, is the Table of the Lord. There we commune with the Living God, the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, and there we join in the community of those best, the community of Saints who are in God. And their names we invoked, and our lives we have put in their care, and we have referred one another to them. To God and His Saints.
From today’s reading we learn something very important, which is often overlooked. Namely, we learn that God is our best friend, the only faithful friend, who will never leave us, who always understands us. Just as the creator of an appliance knows that appliance, knows what its made of, in the same way – and much more – God knows us for He is our creator. As if we can hide something from Him. We cannot hide anything. But He approaches us with His fatherly goodness and love.
Since the beginning of history, man has tried to guess how he can make good order, but without success. But there is only one lesson, one step to take and everything would succeed. And that is that we understand that all of us are God’s children. To understand and accept this and to behave towards one another as our children of God. We need to grasp that God cares for all of us.