Bulletin-February 23, 2020. Sunday of the Cheese Fare.

Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church Bulletin.
Sunday, February 23, 2020.
Sunday of Cheese Fare. The Gospel of Forgiveness & Fasting.

February 23. Commemoration of the Holy Hieromartyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna.
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. Like St. Ignatius the Bearer of God, he came to Rome at the time of Pope Anicetus (155-166) in order to help settle the question of fixing the date for Easter. He was martyred on February 23, 155, in the days of Proconsul Statius Quadratus.

The Bishop’s Appeal will conclude at the end of March. The annual Bishop’s Appeal is an essential way in which our parish fulfills its duty to our larger Melkite family throughout the U.S. Our Father and Shepherd, Bishop Nicholas asks every Melkite household in the U.S. to give at least $100-$200 each year to support our Eparchy in America. By contributing to the Appeal, each of us responds to Christ’s call to support our Church and helps to fund its vital works, such as publishing SOPHIA magazine, supporting our seminarians for the Priesthood and Diaconate, providing for our elderly priests, teaching the Faith to our children and young adults, and establishing and supporting new missions and outreaches. Those who give a gift of $1000 or more will be automatically enrolled in the Order of Saint Nicholas, the charitable society of our Eparchy.
Our goal is 100% participation for our parish. Please send your gift today. May God bless you for your generosity. So far 16 families have donated $14,000 of our $19,000 goal. If you did not receive a letter you may send a check to: Melkite Eparchy of Newton 802 Riffle Camp Road, Woodland Park, NJ 02132 or donate online at: Melkite.org

Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die’ ” (John 11:26).
The Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church Community offer our condolences to the family of the servant of God, John Makhlouf who was born on July 7, 1946 in Jerusalem, Palestine and reposed in the Lord on February 17, 2020 in Lakewood, California. We extend our condolences to his wife Nerissa Makhlouf, his children Jennifer Makhlouf and her husband Rodrigo Sieira, Jeanette Makhlouf and her husband Felices Emmanual Teres, his grandchildren Sibylla, Angel John, Anastastia, and Zarah, his siblings Joseph Makhlouf and Father George Maklouf. John Makhlouf is predeceased by his parents Shukri Makhlouf and Louisa Jiries Odeh, and his siblings Helen, Noeili, Louis, Anton, and Manuel. The funeral service was on February 21, 2020 at Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church (451 West Madison Avenue. Placentia, CA 92870-4537). The internment will be on March 5, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. 4471 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630. May his memory be eternal.

Hymns: (See our Church’s website for Audio Recordings: holycrossmelkite.org/Melkite-hymns)
Troparion of the resurrection (Tone 4). The women disciples of the Lord, having learned from the angel the joyful announcement of the resurrection, and having rejected the ancestral sentence, proudly told the apostles: Death is despoiled. Christ God is risen, bestowing to the world great mercy.”
Troparion of the Holy Cross (Tone 4). O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance. Strengthen our Public Authorities in every good deed and protect your nation with your Cross.
Kondakion of Cheese-fare (Tone 6). O You who guide men toward wisdom, and give them intelligence and understanding, instructor of the ignorant and helper of the poor, strengthen and enlighten my heart, O Lord, give me word, O Word of the Father, for behold I will not refrain my lips from crying out to You: O merciful One, have mercy on me who have fallen.

Epistle: Romans 13:11-14:4. If you would like to read the Epistle please contact the office.
Gospel: Matthew 6:14-21.

Today’s Divine Liturgy is celebrated for the repose of the souls of:
John Makhlouf (February 17, 2020), Joseph Dagher (January 10, 2020), Marie (Flood) Hajjar (February 12, 2020), Gracie Sebastian (February 2020), Faddiyah Tashman Abbaway (January 29, 2020), Vincenzo Gambino (January 27, 2020), Issa Salim Abdel Ahad (September 13, 2019), Suhail Bishara Dababneh (December 18, 2017), Jamil Mikhael Semaan (February 24, 1996), Jaklin Nino, Mariam Lutfi, Najib Lutfi, Fuad Lutfi, Fawze Lutfi.
The health, safety, and salvation of:
Rowena Angeles, John Bastian, Inaam Bottomley, Carmen Kassouf, Brigette Lao, John Makhlouf, Conchita McElrafth, Marie Semaan, Florence Shaib, Father Saba Shofany, Tom Tomey.
For vocations to the priesthood, monastic life, and lay parish ministries.
For peace in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and all the troubled regions around the world.

Scripture Memory:
“The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; [13] let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. [14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:12-14).

“When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, [18] that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:17-18).

House blessings. If we have not contacted you for a house blessing please call the office and let us know what day and time works best for you and your family.

Bookshelves needed. We are looking for bookshelves for our library and classrooms. If anyone has any bookshelves they no longer need please contact the office. Thank you very much.

In-home services needed. If you are interested or know of someone who might be able to provide in-home services daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. please contact the office.

Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church Choir. “Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day” (Psalm 96:2). The choir has a very important role in helping the community lift their hearts up to the Lord during the Sunday Divine Liturgy and other services.
If you would like to stand with the choir on Sunday you must attend the rehearsal at 10:15 a.m. in the children’s room at the back of the Church. When the choir members are not prepared this causes confusion and too many varying voices. Only those who attend the rehearsal will be able to stand and sing with the choir. Everyone is welcome.

Holy Cross Young Adults Ministry. We meet every Sunday following the Divine Liturgy for spiritual discussions and Bible studies. Feel free to bring your friends. See calendar for event details, visit Holycrossmelkite.org/ministries/young-adults, or contact the office.

Isaiah House Women’s Shelter Volunteer Opportunity. Next date: Saturday, February 29, 2020. Holy Cross Church prepares and serves a meal for the women at Isaiah House (316 South Cypress Avenue, Santa Ana) every month. If you or your family would like assist on those days or if you would like to sponsor a Saturday to prepare food at your home, serve the food with your family, and enjoy a meal with those in need please contact the office.
Schedule: 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Prepare meal in the Holy Cross Hall Kitchen for Isaiah House Catholic Worker’s Women’s shelter.
4:30 p.m. Carpool to Isaiah House (316 South Cypress Avenue, Santa Ana. http://occatholicworker.org).
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Set up, serve meals, visit with the women, and clean up.
2020 dates: Saturday, February 29, Sunday, March 29, Saturday, April 25, Sunday, May 31, Saturday, June 27, Saturday, July 25, Sunday, August 30, Saturday, September 26, Saturday, October 24. If you would like to sponsor or volunteer for this event, please contact the Church office.

Father François Beyrouti’s Homilies. You can listen and subscribe to the homilies on YouTube.com/MelkiteTV or these podcasts: Apple’s iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn + Alexa, Google Podcast, and iHeart Radio podcasts.
If you would like to receive the emailed weekly parish bulletin or homily please sign up on our website (HolyCrossMelkite.org) or contact the office. Most recent homilies by Father François Beyrouti:
-“Lentil Soup Recipe to Get to Heaven.” February 16, 2020.
-“Celebrate When God Finds Us and We Find God.” February 9, 2020.
-“Tea Time with God.” February 2, 2020.
-“The Truth: Why bother?” January 26, 2020.
-“Privileges Have Responsibilities.” January 19, 2020.
-“Is your Spiritual life in Cruise Control?” January 12, 2020.
-“How to Find New Happiness." January 5, 2020.
-“The Lost Part of the Christmas Story.” December 25, 2019.

Thomas Aquinas College Summer High School Program. Full scholarship available. Sunday, July 12 to Saturday, July 25, 2020 at the Santa Paula campus, 70 miles north of Los Angeles. A full scholarship is available to any Holy Cross parishioner going into their senior High School year. This $975 scholarship covers tuition, housing, meals, books, and organized off campus activities.
The pursuit of wisdom begins with wonder — wonder about the causes and principles of man and nature, and wonder about God, who is the first cause and principle of all things. For two weeks, students from around the country and abroad will delight in spirited conversation, engaging firsthand some of the best works of the past 2,500 years. They will read and discuss texts selected from the masters of the Western intellectual tradition. The program will be centered around the College’s unique Great Books program of Catholic education. The High School Summer Program is a time for forging new friendships, for enjoying the give and take of rational argument, and for pursuing the truth, which civilizes, ennobles, and liberates.
Classes are conducted, like all classes at Thomas Aquinas College, using the Discussion Method, guided by members of the teaching faculty. Class size is limited to 17 students in order to allow each student the opportunity to contribute to the discussions. The location is ideal for recreation of all sorts. In addition to daily sports, occasional movies, and hiking, the program includes excursions to local attractions. Students will visit the Getty Museum, take in a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and head to Santa Barbara for volleyball on the beach and an exploration of the historic city.
Thomas Aquinas College is genuinely Catholic and has a rich sacramental life. During the Summer Program, Mass will be offered daily and a chaplain will be available on campus at all times. For further information contact Holy Cross Church and review these links:
thomasaquinas.edu/admission/high-school-summer-program
California Summer Program 2019 Recap: youtu.be/JR15Xql8mL4

The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. Invite your family and friends and remind everyone in the area. We will meet in the hall at 5:45 p.m. to review the hymns and the Divine Liturgy will begin in the Church at exactly 6:30 p.m. on March 15, 2020, at Saint Kilian’s. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (off Marguerite Parkway).
2020 dates: March 15, April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 20.
If you live or know anyone who lives in the area surrounding Mission Viejo please give us their contact information so that we can keep everyone informed on upcoming events. Please send contact details to the parish office at (714) 985-1710 or email a list of names to Father François at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Listen to Melkite audio links on our parish website at holycrossmelkite.org/Melkite-hymns
We uploaded many Melkite hymns for the Divine Liturgy and other important services. To practice or become more familiar with our beautiful liturgical hymns you can listen or download them by visiting the above link.

Vocation Awareness. In today’s Divine Liturgy the readings speak of the need for turning toward God and for coming together as a community to grow in our Christian life. The Gospel suggests practical tools to do so. The service of Forgiveness Vespers on Monday evening unites us to begin our Lenten efforts as a united family. More priests are needed as shepherds in our parishes to facilitate this growth. Have you noticed any potential candidates for that ministry in your parish? Will you encourage them by prayer and suggestion?

A Prayer for Vocations. O Lord God, in every age, You invite men and women to hear Your call to serve You and the Church. We bow before You now, asking that You call forth more men and women to serve our Melkite Catholic Church in America. Give us priests, deacons, monks and nuns, who will lead and guide your holy people. By Your will, bless us with vocations so that we continue to be the church which You called us to be, centuries ago. Let all hear Your voice inviting them to care for and serve Your people. Strengthen us in being disciples of Jesus Christ, Your Only-begotten Son and fishers of men. Inspire in us the spirit and pride of Antioch, our holy heritage. We ask You, O Lover of mankind, to raise up men and women who appreciate what they have received from You and who want to be generous in their service, willing to offer their lives and all their gifts, to serve others, to give You glory, thanksgiving and worship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Your Sunday donation envelopes are mailed to you every two months. These envelopes are dated with your envelope number on the back. Please contact the office if you are not registered or did not receive your envelopes. Thank you.

Do you want to be inspired and learn more about your Catholic Faith? Listen to Relevant, a Catholic Radio station on 930 am. For further information visit their website or call 1-888-887-7120.

Listen to Melkite audio links on our parish website at holycrossmelkite.org/Melkite-hymns
We uploaded many Melkite hymns for the Divine Liturgy and other important services. To practice or become more familiar with our beautiful liturgical hymns you can listen or download them by visiting the above link.

Thank you for your ongoing generous donations:
-Tuesday February 18. Charity account deposit: $260.
-Tuesday February 18. Bishop’s Appeal deposit: $100.
-Tuesday February 18. House blessings. Building fund deposit: $980.
-Tuesday February 18. Building Fund Deposit: $840.
- Sunday, February 16 collection: $1,915 in 41 envelopes (average $47 per envelope) + $233 loose plate + $123 candles = $2,271.
-Sunday, February 16. Mission Viejo Melkite Catholic Community collection: $630 in 11 envelopes (average $57 per envelope) + $79 loose plate = $709.
-Monday, February 10. House blessings. Building fund deposit: $1,845.
-Monday, February 10. Building fund deposit: $1,225.
-Sunday, February 9 collection: $1,115 in 33 envelopes (average $34 per envelope) + $226 loose plate + $81 candles = $1,422.
-Sunday, February 2 collection: $1,410 in 24 envelops (average $59 per envelope) + $891 loose plate + $188 candles = $2,489.
-Saturday, February 1 collection: $555 in 7 envelops (average $79 per envelope) + $68 loose plate = $623.

Total deposits in the past four months: October: $33,026, November: $20,315, December: $116,145, January: $30,322, February: $12,764.

Sample Holy Cross Church Expenses:
$177.39 paid February 20, 2020. Republic Trash Services.
$366.63 paid February 10, 2020. SoCal Edison.
$89.55 paid February 07, 2020. SoCal Gas.
$64.17 paid February 06, 2020. SoCal Gas.
$177.39 paid January 22, 2020. Republic Trash Services.
$120.44 paid January 13, 2020. American Sanitary Supply Inc.
$30.84 paid January 10, 2020. So Cal Edison.
$55.98 paid January 10, 2020. SoCal Gas Company.

Calendar:
Friday, February 21.
2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Saturday, February 22.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening prayer).

Sunday, February 23.
9:45 a.m. Orthros (Morning prayer).
9:55 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Monday, February 24. First Day of the Great Feast.
7:00 p.m. Forgiveness Vespers.

Tuesday, February 25.
3:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Wednesday, February 26.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Pre-Sanctified Liturgy.

Thursday, February 27.
2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Friday, February 28.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Akathist Hymn.

Saturday, February 29.
If you would like to sponsor or volunteer for this event, please contact the Church office.
3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Prepare meal in the Holy Cross Hall Kitchen for Isaiah House Catholic Worker’s Women’s shelter.
4:30 p.m. Carpool to Isaiah House (316 South Cypress Avenue, Santa Ana. http://occatholicworker.org).
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Set up, serve meals, visit with the women, and clean up.

5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy in Arabic.

Sunday, March 1.
9:45 a.m. Orthros (Morning prayer).
9:55 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy in English.
2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Monday, March 2.
7:00 p.m. Great Compline.

Wednesday, March 4.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Pre-Sanctified Liturgy.

Thursday, March 5.
1:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Friday, March 6.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Akathist Hymn.

Saturday, March 7.
9:00 a.m. Holy Cross Church in collaboration with St. Martin de Porres Pro-Life ministry. Join your friends in Christ as we pray the rosary in front of Planned Parenthood to end abortion. Rosary begins at 9:00 am. We meet at 700 S. Tustin Ave in Orange. For further information, please contact the office. We look forward to the day when our powerful prayers will close the doors of Planned Parenthood.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening prayer).

Sunday, March 8.
9:45 a.m. Orthros (Morning prayer).
9:55 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Monday, March 9.
7:00 p.m. Great Compline.

Wednesday, March 11.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Pre-Sanctified Liturgy.

Thursday, March 12.
2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Friday, March 13.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Akathist Hymn.

Saturday, March 14.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening prayer).

Sunday, March 15.
9:45 a.m. Orthros (Morning prayer).
9:55 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. House blessings.

5:45 p.m. Music practice in the hall.
6:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy. The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Monday, March 16.
7:00 p.m. Great Compline

Wednesday, March 18.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Pre-Sanctified Liturgy.

Thursday, March 19.
2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Friday, March 20.
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Akathist Hymn.

Saturday, March 21.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening prayer).

Sunday, March 22.
7:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Holy Cross Church in collaboration with St. Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Church Skid Row ministry. Food, hygiene kits, and blanket distribution to men women and children living on the streets of downtown L.A. Please contact Holy Cross Church if you are able to attend.
9:45 a.m. Orthros (Morning prayer).
9:55 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Monday, March 23.
7:00 p.m. Great Compline.

Epistle. Romans 13:11-14:4.
Prokimenon (Tone 3): Sing praise to our God, sing praise! Sing praise to our King, sing praise!
Stichon: All you peoples, clap your hands! Shout to God with cries of gladness.

Reading from St. Paul to the Romans.
Brethren, now our salvation is nearer than when we came to believe. The night is far advanced: the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk becomingly as in daytime, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and as for the flesh, pay no attention to its lusts. But whoever is weak in faith, receive him without arguing about opinion. For one believes he may eat all things but another who is weak, let him eat vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who does not; and let not the one who does not eat judge the one who does, for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls but he will stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Alleluia (Tone 3): In you, O lord, I have hoped: let me never be put to shame.
In your Justice, save me and deliver me.
Stichon: Be for me a protecting God, a sheltering house to save me.

Gospel. Matthew 6:14-21 (Forgiveness & Fasting).
The Lord said, “If you forgive men their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men there offenses, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses. And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, who disfigure their faces in order to appear to men as fasting. Amen I say to you they have had their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not be seen by men to fast, but by your Father, who is in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where worm and rodent consume, and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither worm nor rodent consumes, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.”

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Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church.
451 West Madison Avenue, Placentia, CA 92870-4537
Telephone: (714) 985-1710.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Parish Web site: HolyCrossMelkite.org
Facebook Page: Facebook.com/HolyCrossMelkite
YouTube Page: Youtube.com/HolyCrossMelkite
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HCMelkite

Pastor: Father François Beyrouti.
Electronic mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Cellular phone: (714) 914-1710.

Pastoral Associate: Deacon Elias Kashou.
Office Manager: Carol Nasr.
Choir Directors: Saad Tashman and Lupe Ojeda.
Sunday School / Eastern Christian Formation Program: Every Sunday after the Divine Liturgy from September-May. Pre-School to Grade 8.
Our Lady’s Society: Iman Lutfi (714) 595-7999.

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE
SATURDAY: 4:30 p.m. Confession. 5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening prayer).
SUNDAY: 9:45 p.m. Orthros (Morning prayer). 11:00 a.m. The Divine Liturgy.

ARABIC DIVINE LITURGY: 5:00 p.m. Saturday before the first Sunday of the month. In 2020: February 29, March 28, May 2, June 6, July 4, August 1, September 5, October 3, October 31, December 5.

ENGLISH DIVINE LITURGY: 11:00 a.m. First Sunday of the month. In 2020: March 1, March 29, May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1, December 6.

HOLY DAYS AND WEEKDAYS: Please check the bulletin.

THE HOLY MYSTERIES
MYSTERIES OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION: The three Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist are always celebrated together in one ceremony. One month notice is required and one baptismal preparation meeting is required with the priest.
MYSTERY OF HOLY CROWNING: Six month notice, an initial meeting with the priest, marriage preparation sessions, and a wedding license are required. You must be an active member of the parish.
MYSTERY OF HOLY CONFESSION: Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
MYSTERY OF HOLY ANOINTING: Available for anyone who is ill.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no charge for the celebration of the Sacramental Mysteries, however, it is appropriate to offer a gift of thanksgiving. Therefore the Parish Advisory Council suggests an offering of $200 for Baptisms; $500 for Weddings; $300 for Funerals; and $100 for a Memorial Service.

HALL RENTAL POLICY.
MERCY-MEAL ON THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL, MERCY-MEAL FOR THE 40th DAY OR OTHER MEMORIALS: $200.00 for registered parishioners of Holy Cross Church who regularly use donation envelopes.
A PARTY WITH MUSIC, FOOD, AND DRINKS (up to 5 hours of use): $400.00 for parishioners + $100 insurance payable to the diocese. $500.00 for non-parishioners + $100 insurance payable to the diocese.
DAMAGE/CLEANING DEPOSIT: $200.00. Refundable if the hall is left in the condition it was given to you.
SECURITY FEE: $150 charge will be added to cover security for 5 hours.
A MEETING (Use of the chairs and tables only. No use of the kitchen, oven, or refrigerator). $75 / hour for parishioners. $100 for non-parishioners.
ADDITIONAL CHARGE FOR A RENTAL OVER 5 HOURS: $100 / hour.

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2020-02-16 Father Francois Beyrouti's Homily:"Lentil Soup Recipe to Get to Heaven."

Dear friends,
This is the link to Sunday's homily: https://youtu.be/SLkELAeSCSU

Lentil Soup Recipe to Get to Heaven.
Sunday, February 16, 2020 homily by Father François Beyrouti, Ph.D./D.Th.
1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2. Matthew 25:31-46.
Meat Fare Sunday. The Last Judgment.

The full readings and homily are below.

Subscribe to the weekly video homilies at: YouTube.com/MelkiteTV

Father François Beyrouti, Ph.D./D.Th.
Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church
451 West Madison Avenue
Placentia, CA 92870-4537
(714) 985-1710
HolyCrossMelkite.org
Sign-up for our homily and bulletin e-mail list: HolyCrossMelkite.org/parish/homilies
YouTube.com/HolyCrossMelkite
YouTube.com/MelkiteTV
Facebook.com/HolyCrossMelkite
Twitter.com/HCMelkite

Readings:
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 8:8-13 & 9:1-2.
Brethren, food does not commend us to God. For neither shall we gain any advantage if we eat, nor suffer any loss if we do not. And yet, beware lest perhaps this right of yours become a stumbling-block to the weak. For if a man sees you who “have knowledge” sitting at table in a place dedicated to idols, will not his conscience, weak as it is, be emboldened to eat idol offerings? And through your “knowledge” the weak one will perish, the brother for whom Christ died. Now, when you sin in this way against the brethren and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food scandalizes my brother, I will never again eat any more meat so as not to scandalize my brother. Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? And if to others I am not an apostle, yet to you I am. For you are the seal set upon my apostleship in the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46.
The Lord said, “At that time when the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory; and before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the just will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you to drink? And when did we see you a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ And answering, the King will say to them, ‘Amen I say to you, every time you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left hand, ‘Go away from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his ministers. For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked and you did not clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Amen I say to you as long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for me.’ And these will go into everlasting punishment, but the just into everlasting life.”

Homily:
As I was growing up I would watch with fascination as my mother prepared lentil soul. I quickly realized how many important steps there are to make a good bowl of lentil soup. My mother would measure the amount of lentils needed, put them in a large tray, then begin to separate the lentils from the debris and anything else that may have been mixed in with the bag.

Today bags of lentils come much cleaner than they used to, but you still have to go through the separation process before you begin cooking your lentil soup, otherwise you’re going to accidentally include some mystery ingredients in your lentil soup.

Separating lentils from non-lentils is a tedious process and we might even feel cheated because we paid for something that we are throwing away. However, if we put everything in the pot without separating and washing, then we will never be able to make a good bowl of lentil soup.

Separating the good from the bad, the clean from the dirty, the real from the make believe is something that we do every day and the consequences of that separation are much greater than a good bowl of lentil soup.

Today is meat-fare Sunday (Ahad-Marfa’ al-laham) which traditionally is the last day of eating meat until Easter Sunday. Next week is cheese-fare Sunday (Ahad-Marfa’ al-jibn) which traditionally is the last day of eating dairy products until Easter Sunday. In order for us not to think that the point of Fasting is about food, today we read a passage from Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he states: “Neither shall we gain any advantage if we eat, nor suffer any loss if we do not” (1 Corinthians 8:8).

Rather this gradual preparation of meat-fare, cheese-fare, and the period of the Great Fast itself is intended to help us focus on the process of separation in the decisions we make, and even more than this how we are changed by each decision we make.

If we lie we are liars, if we steal we are thieves, and if we avoid work we are lazy. However, on the positive side, if we tell the truth we are honest, if we listen to others we are patient, and if we accept our shortcomings we are humble. Therefore, this focus on decisions is not just about external decisions, but on how those external decisions actually change who we are. We are what we are doing and we are what we are living: for good or for bad.

This is the focus of today’s Gospel. Jesus uses the analogy of the sheep and goats to show that there will be a separation between those who did good and those who avoided doing good. Jesus says: “I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:35).

Jesus then adds that those who did these things will be placed on the right hand and welcomed by the words: “Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” and those who avoided doing good will be placed on the left hand and told: “Go away from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his ministers. For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked and you did not clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.”

These may seem like harsh words coming from the mouth of Jesus and very often when people speak about what happens when we die, they focus on God judging us. However, as Jesus presents it here, God separates us based on what we have chosen to become. It is important to take responsibility for the things that we do and realize that every decision we make moves us in the direction of becoming sheep or becoming goats.

Sometimes people like to speak about the “wrath of God” or the “vengeance of God.” This in a sense makes us feel better about ourselves because if things go wrong in our life or in the world we can easily blame it on the wrath of God. If there are wars around the world or community shootings the easy way to explain it is blame God for it. However, God has not started any wars, created any famines, or appeared on a campus with a gun. We run away from our responsibilities to make this world a better place when we blame God on the bad things that happen either to us or to our world.
Also, after we die if we think that God will judge us in a random way depending on how He is feeling that day we miss the whole point of our life. It would not really be heaven or hell if God sends us there. Sometimes people say that if God wants to send me to hell that’s ok with me. However, this is an insult to God because God does not send anyone to hell. Rather, we send ourselves to hell by appearing before God in a form that He does not recognize.

God separates the good from the bad only in the sense that God respects the decisions we have made that led us to become what we have become. The reason why we speak of hell as being a place of pain and punishment is because we had a whole lifetime to choose to become like the sheep but we chose instead to become like the goats. There is great pain in knowing that we have become something we should not have become and something that we could have easily avoided. Hell is hell because we choose it and heaven is heaven because we have allowed the work of God to grow in us.

This period of preparation for Great Lent, reminds us that the decisions we have made have made us who we are. The good news is that the decisions we will make will make us who we want to be. It is important for us to move out of auto-pilot and to see a clear relationship between what we have done and what we have become, then realize that there is a direct relationship between what we do and what we become.

I’m sure that none of our mothers would ever put debris and rocks in lentil soup. We have to be careful when we make lentil soup simply because the things in the bag that are not lentils need to be separated from the real lentils to make real lentil soup.

Also, for us to remain real we have to always be careful of the choices we make. We all have been created in the image and likeness of God and we are all living temples of the Holy Spirit. Our daily choices help us grow and reflect that blessed glory.

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