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3rd Sunday of Pentecost

‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’ these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. -1 Corinthians 2:9

How well do you know a foreign language? This is a question that language experts have asked, studied, and provided clear answers to. (1) I hear something. (2) I understand the sound as speech.(3) I understand which language is being spoken.(4) I understand some of the words. (5) I understand most of the words and speak some words. (6) I understand all of the words and speak well. (7) I understand the subtleties of the language, I laugh at jokes, and can understand the major literary works. (8) I can teach the language. (9) I can compose major literary works in the language.

I want you to imagine learning a language or recall a time you learned a language, what would the greatest literary works mean to you at the various phases of language learning. If you do not know English, the works of Shakespeare mean nothing. If you do not know Greek,  λιάς (the Illiad) is no more than sounds. If you do not know Arabic, أَلْف لَيْلَة وَلَيْلَة‎,(1001 nights) will be no more than a long night of noise.

If we were to attend a recitation at level (1) we would be bored, at level (4) we would be exhausted, and at level (7) we would be in tears and inspired. It is important to be honest with oneself as to how well one knows a language or else one ends up with a situation like the following video

Similarly, in terms of health, one can (1) not know that one is sick, (2) know that something is wrong, (3) know that we are sick, (4) know what sickness we have, (5) know what the cure is, (6) have the cure, (7) be cured, (8) tell others about their sickness and the cure, (9) administer the cure.

God desires to tell us the most profound story to ever exist, because it is the story for which everything exists, and it is told in the language of  divine love. This story identifies our sickness and provides healing. This is the love story of creation, fall, redemption, glorification, and commission.

Just as with language, our ability to understand affects us, but says nothing about the power and beauty of this story. In 2 Corinthians 6:1b we read, "we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain." When we come to the Liturgy, we are invited to partake in the most important events of history.  Not merely the single most important event of history, but easily dozens of the most important events of history. What happens in the liturgy, in the sacraments, and in prayer is so far beyond what happens in the secular world view. An ant on a battle field can see more clearly the greater world around her, than all secular scholars combined can understand the profundity of the liturgy. Yet, we who are initiated into Christ through the Holy Mysteries are given graces of healing, freedom, power, peace, love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, understanding, wisdom, faith, hope, redemption, forgiveness, and more. Despite our initiation, despite being drowned in grace and heavenly blessings, many of us leave unchanged and unaware. We receive the grace in vain. We do not understand what we are hearing. We do not know that we are in need of healing.

I would like to propose nine non-exhaustive stages of the spiritual life following the above proposed pattern of language fluency and of physical health. (1) I have not heard the proclamation. (2) I have heard something of God. (3) Open to God. (4) Seeking God. (5) Beginning Discipleship, having accepted the Gospel and Jesus love through faith and Sacraments, is beginning to leave everything to follow God. (6) Growing disciple. Relationship with God is transforming every area of one's life. Relationship with God becoming more central than any other aspect of life. (7) Commissioned disciple. Discipleship understood as central and inseparable from one's identity. All is grace.  (8) Disciple maker. Having been transformed and filled with the Holy Spirit, one begins to be a channel for the conversion and discipleship of others. (9) Saint, life entirely attuned to God, having been entirely transformed by love. "I live now not I, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20) 

When we attend liturgy, at level (1) we would be bored, at level (4) we would be exhausted, and at level (7) we would be in tears and inspired. It is important to be honest with oneself as to where one is on in the Spiritual life and to take intentional steps to grow or else one ends up with a situation where we skip the liturgy as if it were nothing or we live a life no different than someone without Christ. We end up with a situation where people replace spiritual growth with political partisanship and obsession, and are unable to see the human dignity of the refugee, of the prisoner, of the poor, of the unborn, of the elderly and dying, of the handicap, of the foreigner, of the other. We end up with mass exodus from Christianity, with studies saying 70-90% of Christian youth leave the practice of Christianity by  age 23, the majority never to return. If we want our children to remain Christian we must help them to become disciples, if we want are children to be disciples then we must become disciple makers. 

Let us come together to give what we can so that we can purchase and renovate Our New Home on 50 Nutt Rd. The goal is to raise $150,000 in additional donations and pledges with $60,000 to go towards the purchase and $90,000 to go towards renovations including renovations and hall and addition of commercial kitchen so that we can make a smooth transition while keeping a safety net in our savings and waiting for the sale of our current property. We have raised the last $60,000 to close on Our New Home. Please help us raise $90,000 to renovate Our New Home over the next few months. Please keep an eye out for an email announcing our successful closing.

-Congratulations to our nine young parishioners who participated in our joint Vacation Bible School with St. Henry's this past week. I enjoyed praying with them on Monday and Tuesday. -Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul Sunday, June 30th ( actual feast June 29th). The traditional Apostles' Fast begins Monday, June 17th. -Sajj Party! Enjoy fresh made bread with zaatar and cheese next Sunday, June 30th. - Feast of Blessed Massabki Brothers July 10. - Feast of St. Sharbel, Relic of St. Sharbel July 23rd. -House of Bread Tuesday July 30th from 9 am - 2 pm at 9 Orth Avenue. -Youth summer camp in Michigan from July 1st-July 4th. There are activities like a ropes course, kayaking, canoeing, swimming in the lake, sports, and other fun activities which will be facilitated by trained camp staffers. Ages 12-17. Please speak with Fr. Alex for more information. -Please make plans to participate in our Festival August 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Annual St. Ignatius of Antioch Banquet Saturday, December 14th. -Our religious education policies are changing. Please see Fr. Alex for more information

Initiatives- To what is God calling you? What are your hopes, dreams, and ideas for our parish? What do you want to do? Mission, charity, prayers, work, fundraisers, or maintenance? How can we support you? -We need volunteers to read during the liturgy and to bring the gifts. If you would like to do so, please see George Najem for 11 am liturgy or Jim Zaidan for the 9 am Liturgy. -Marriage announcments

Please pray for John Dohar and Jessy Eid as they prepare for marriage. Please pray for Jordan Gunter and Krystal Daoud as they prepare for marriage. Please pray for Tarek Shteiwi and Micheline Eid as they prepare for marriage.

Please pray for two parishioners in treatment for cancer.  Please pray for one parishioner who is sick. Please pray for the school of one parishioner which has had two gun scares. Please pray for a parishioner who was injured in a motorcycle accident.

- Bible Study every Sunday at 10 am.

Sunday liturgies 9 am and 11 am

Confessions immediately before and after liturgies or by appointment.

St. Ignatius of Antioch 3rd Sunday of Pentecost June 23, 2019

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