The Greatest Fail
By Father Nikiforos
Fail videos go viral on YouTube and the social media. There is nothing better to get our minds from our everyday problems and misfortunes than watching, well, someone else’s. And despite the broken ribs, noses and reputations, we seem even more addicted to a good fail. So, what are the ingredients of a great fail video (just in case you are interested to become instantly famous for all the wrong reasons)? First, do not use your brain; it gets in the way of ridiculing ourselves. Second, forget about gravity, momentum, friction or any of the laws of Physics. Sir Isaac Newton had only one famous fail (an apple fell on his head) and then wrote books about is. Which brings us to #3: do not read, write or think much (this is a repeat of #1, I know), never use a pen, just a camera. How can you make an itchy (and curious) monkey funny, unless you use a camera? So, knowing what makes a good fail video is a great way to think of the one single fail we should definitely avoid. Not losing our balance on the wedding altar, or skateboarding into a moving train, or skiing straight into the arms of an annoyed Grizzly bear; these fails are nothing compared to the greatest fail of all. You got it, losing our souls.
There is no coming back from losing our souls. And, worst of all, nobody will ever laugh about it. The new ecclesiastical year presents us with an opportunity to undo the fails of our lives. If there was an embarrassing video of us, going viral and making people ridicule us, our main concern would be to erase it and make everyone forget it ever existed. On Judgement Day, the offenses and fails of our lives will be presented for everyone to watch. The only way to erase them is confession and genuine repentance. Ask yourselves, have you recently increased your prayer? It is important to use our minds the right way and avoid future misses from our target, which is salvation. You see, the Greek word for sin (αμαρτία) is translated as missing the target. We want to be saved just like the skateboarder wants to balance on the barrier before Physics give him a nasty and painful lesson on gravity and impact dynamics. We may redeem ourselves from any painful results of “missing the target” when we use our brains (the heaviest part of our body must be there for a reason) and knowledge of the laws.
Faith provides us with this knowledge, teaches us the will of God and extends us an invitation for salvation. Some of the greatest “fail-artists” (the thief on the Cross, the Prodigal Son, the Publican, the robbed victim in the parable of the Good Samaritan) were saved thanks to the redeeming Grace of the Lord. The New Ecclesiastical Year is precisely about that; making good out of a negative situation. Rising and redeeming our fallen and broken nature. Reviving glory, where shame used to be, joy, where sadness was. Now, who is ready for that?
Η Παραβολή του φτωχο-Λάζαρου αποτελεί μία δραματική αφήγηση για τις αντιθέσεις, αντιξοότητες και αδικίες της ζωής. Ο φτωχο-Λάζαρος, σε κατάσταση ευτέλειας, ατιμέλειας και ανέχειας, συντηρείται από τα αποφάγια ενός ανώνυμου πλουσίου. Μόνη του παρέα τα άλογα κτίσματα, τα σκυλιά που του απαλείφουν τον πόνο και τις πληγές.
Holy Week is the most sacred and spiritually fulfilling period of our Church year. The events that are celebrated during Holy Week not only changed history, but they also affected the condition of humanity for eternity. We hope and pray that they will also change the souls and hearts of the faithful who aspire to be illumined and inspired by the divine Passion and the holy Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Ever since our early childhood, we remember with nostalgia how our pure and innocent hearts participated in the divine services. On the Saturday of Lazarus, we were told the narrative of the rising unto life of the friend of Jesus and we helped prepare the Palms.
The parable of poor Lazarus is a very dramatic narrative depicting the antitheses and injustices of life. A poor person, deprived of happiness and joy named Lazarus, feeds from the garbage leftover from the parties and celebrations of an un-named rich man. Lazarus’s only friends are the dogs licking his wounds and sores and keeping him company in his lonely state of existence. The day comes when both Lazarus and the rich man meet the inescapable fate of death. Lazarus elevates to the glorious Life eternal, embraced by Abraham and surrounded by the everlasting joy of Heaven.
CHRIST-LIKE LOVE: GODPARENTS’ SUNDAY
Love: such a small word, but such a huge concept for our lives. We say that we can’t live without love. “All you need is love” said the Beatles. We turn on the radio and we hear the word “love” over and over. We watch a movie, and it is a “love-story”. We read novels about love and we are moved about the romantic experiences of others, even fictional characters. Love wins Oscars. Love wins wars. Love seems to be an integral aspect of our social lives.
Η ιστορία της ανθρωπότητος έχει σημαδευτεί από ιστορικές φράσεις και αποφθεύγματα. Καμία άλλη φράση δεν είναι τόσο σημαντική όπως το άγγελμα της Αναστάσεως: «Χριστός Ανέστη!» Η Ανάσταση του Σωτήρος Χριστού άλλαξε τον κόσμο, ακόμη και την μεταφυσική μας πραγματικότητα. Ο Άγιος Παύλος σημειώνει ότι αν ο Χριστός δεν ανασταινόταν, θα ήταν κενή η πίστη μας, άδειο το κήρυγμά μας.
Make America Great Again! I have heard this phrase recently quite frequently. And something tells me that we will be hearing a lot of phrases like that during an election year. So, since Church and politics do not (and should not) mix, here is how we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (from an ecclesiastical perspective). First, to have a great country, we need great people. This is what makes a nation great. Great people are not just people who obey the law.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Never before in the history of the world did a phrase mean more for mankind. The resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ changed the world, society, even history itself. As Saint Paul states, if Christ were not Risen, our faith would be vain, our preaching would be empty. The victory of Jesus over death signifies our faith, hope and expectation to live forever.
Happy New Year! We all welcome the New Year with the hope that the future will bring peace, love and a better world for us and our families. And what a better way to pray for the spiritual and social prosperity of everyone than the Great Agiasmos or the Great Blessing of the Waters of holy Theophany. Holy Epiphany or Holy Theophany is the day when we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and when we commemorate the appearance (φανέρωσις) of the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
SUNDAY OF THE VENERATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Christ asks us to deny ourselves, pick up our Crosses and follow Him. Our Christian vocation requires sacrifices and personal endeavor. Christ Himself became the example of self-denial and sacrificial love on the Cross. The Lord was crucified because He pointed out the hypocrisy of the people who take advantage of other human beings.