Spiritual Reflections of Fr John Brian

A web place for epistles, sermons, homilies, and other spiritual and pastoral reflections of Fr John Brian Paprock, including Sunday sermons from Holy Transfiguration Chapel in Madison Wisconsin and links to articles published on-line. All images are from the archives of Fr John Brian. Most of them are photographs taken by him. Permission to use any of the content of this blog needs to be requested - frjohnbrian@gmail.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Lonely Place with Five Thousand

A Lonely Place with Five Thousand

This is another sermon given for this modern time during the festal time of the Holy Apostles.

In the Gospel of Luke 9:10-17, we are given a story of a miracle, but it begins with Jesus going to a lonely desolate place with his apostles.

When a multitude of the needy come to him there, he heals them and teaches them.

Then we are told that with 5 loaves of bread and two fish, the multitude is fed.

Fr. John Brian gives us insight into the symbolism and the spiritual instructions of this passage from an Eastern Christian perspective. This inspirational sermon can bring us to greater service and greater connection to God in this life and in that to come.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syriac Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday July 13, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for the mission chapel and all who attend services there.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Saturday, July 12, 2014

If ... in This Life

If ... In This Life
This is a sermon given for this modern time during the festal time of the Holy Apostles.

"...For if in this life of the flesh, my efforts bear fruit." (Philippians 1:22) Yes, St. Paul actually says "IF." He writes that he is unsure of the results of his efforts. The great apostle, the great builder of the church, the great teacher, St Paul was unsure of the results of his efforts, even though he definitely saw congregations form and seek spiritual food - indeed we have that evidence in his amazing spiritual instructions in the letters he wrote to them.

It was the Holy Spirit that continues to give life to these teachings and to us. Fr. John-Brian gives important teachings about the Holy Spirit and its place in Apostolic Succession.

The Spirit is like a breath or a wind. See Genesis 2:7 and Ezekiel 37:9 in addition to the gospel ordinations and the Holy Spirit coming to the Apostles by Jesus after the resurrection and at Pentecost and Acts records the Spirit coming to them again.

"As long as breath is in me, the Spirit of God is in me." Job 27:3

In this sermon, Fr John Brian describes the Trinitarian formula for restoration, a transformative understanding of the Trinity to bring us to our created purpose and essence.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syriac Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday June 29, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for the mission chapel and all who attend services there.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Not Afraid of Those Who Kill

Not Afraid of Those Who Kill

This expository sermon discusses one of the most significant scriptures for the early church; Matthew 10:23 - "do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul."

Fr John Brian starts by speaking to the essence of honor and words. It is good to be like our leaders, masters, teachers - we show that honor by using their words and examples in our leading and teaching.

Fr. John Brian reminds us that "fear will take you away from love" and so we should not be afraid of others, treating them with fear. We ought, as Fr. John Brian says, "to treat them with respect and honor because it is the potential of every person to be redeemed at the end of time." So we should treat them as though they can reach that potential.

So how can we get to the point of trust as the early Christians, who went to martyrdom praying for thought that would "kill the body."

"Love God more," says Fr. John Brian.
"Make God's love and mercy our priority is how we grow and development spiritually." This is the wisdom of Christianity.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syriac Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday June 22, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for the mission chapel and all who attend services there.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Friday, June 20, 2014

Continuing New

Continuing New

This important sermon discusses what St Paul calls "walking in newness of life" (Romans 6:4)

Starting with Apostolic Succession and moving into our personal lives, Fr. John Brian enhances understanding of our spiritual genealogy.

"We walk in newness of life. " says Fr. John Brian, "as though we have been resurrected from the dead."

This sermon discusses how we can do this walk or as Fr John Brian puts it:

"Rather than a lump of was without a wick, each of us has a wick in the core of us to be lit... We have always been part of the truth and reality of God - that newness of life - the activity of being-ness."

Fr. John Brian closes with insight into Matthew 11:28-30" Come to me [says Jesus] all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syriac Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday June 15, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for the mission chapel and all who attend services there.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, June 05, 2014

A Holy Waiting

A Holy Waiting

This sermon elaborates on the Gospel stories of holy waiting for us to consider the pauses in our lives as opportunities:
to work our spiritual work
to practice spiritual principles
to be ready for the time to come
to be ready for the eternal life
to be ready for the return of Christ

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development in another inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday June 1, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for the mission chapel and all who attend services there.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

All of What is Human

All of What is Human

"All of what is human," says Fr John Brian in this sermon, "meets Jesus at the Cross, or rather through the Cross to the Resurrection."

"...not just the embrace of a physical life with spiritual attributes, but the spiritual life that embraces even the death of the physical body on the cross." - Fr. John Brian

We need to become willing to let Christ raise us together, integrated fully in life which is the Spirit moving in the denseness of matter. This is our own work individually and collectively. This divine work is what moved the apostles to people they had never known, places of distant lands.

Fr. John Brian uses the Second Chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians to help us and remind us that it is the actual effort of God in this world to bring us together. .

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development in this inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday May 18, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for the mission chapel and all who attend services there.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, May 29, 2014

All the Grace and Mercy

All the Grace and Mercy
Christ is Risen!

"All the grace and mercy of God has been given to humanity," says Fr John Brian, "so that we may also rise from the dead."

IN this resurrection time, we are reminded in today's sermon that death has no more power over us. By living dedicated to fear and survival, we actually can end up separated from the eternal mercy available to all.

Fr. John Brian uses the Epistle of Hebrews Chapter 10:1 to help us by showing there is a second and re-newed way of being that helps us reach for the holy sanctification of this auspicious time.

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development and he encourages us another inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday May 11, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fix the Broken in Our Lives

Fix the Broken in Our Lives
Christ is Risen!

This sermon focuses on the Resurrection Gospel reading - John Chapter 21.

We may have felt the joy of the resurrection, that God has defeated death and given hope for our limited lives. But are we ready for God to be in our everyday life?

If we can see how we have separated ourselves from Him, how can we truly be reunited with HIm? We are taught in the gospels that He revealed Hmself to His Apostles after His return from death. And in John 21. He is embraced and joins the dinner.
But how do we follow His example of coming back from death?

How do we removed the lingering doubts we have in our relationship with God? We need to make amends. We need to fix that which was broken. When we acknowledge our sins, our separateness, we have only begun a process that is given to us for strength in our conviction that God is good and there is nothing that will keep His goodness, love and mercy from us.

Fr. John Brian explains why the post-resurrection conversation of Jesus and Peter is a demonstration of the way we can fix the brokenness in the world around us - that begins with mending our own brokenness. This brings the talk to the healing of the resurrection continues into our present age.

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development and he encourages us another inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday May 4, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Christ Lives In Me!

Christ Lives In Me!
Christ is Risen!

This sermon focuses on Galatians 2:20 in harmony with the resurrection celebration of Pascha (Easter).

The fullness of the Christian experience is the resurrection of Christ. Fr. John Brian talks bout why this was so important. He asks how do we overcome the separation from God? How do we attain complete relationship with God?

Fr John Brian explores why several key events were not enough: the incarnation, epiphany, crucifixion... These are all important to show God's willingness to be with us completely.

But it is the resurrection that gives us the path to be with God completely!

St. Paul writes in Galation (2:20) "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

This leads Fr John Brian to talk inspirationally about our journey as Orthodox Christians - how Easter is echoed in every Sunday liturgy throughout the year.- so that our journey with Christ IN us will lead us beyond death and into union with God.

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development and he encourages us another inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Saturday Night (in anticipation of Paschal Sunday), April 19, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:



Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wishing and Striving are Not Enough

Wishing and Striving are Not Enough

This sermon is a homiletic of Romans 9:16 with the Hosannas that lead to the Passion of Christ.

St. Paul writes of the blessings of God, that in the scriptures there are those that are favored. IN the Gospel of Mark, Jesus curses a fig tree in Jerusalem that bears no fruit. He then casts out the money-changers from the temple.

This leads Fr John Brian to talk compassionately about the acceptance of what is beyond our reach.

St. Paul divides this up for us in verse 16 of Chapter 9, writing that the blessings are NOT in reach of our wishing nor of our striving. No earthly human plan has worked of itself.

St. Paul finishes the verse by writing that IT IS within the reach of the merciful God.

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development and he encourages us another inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, April 13, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:


Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christian Enough

Christian Enough

Sometimes it seems that we got it all sewn up and we can easily tell who is Christian. But we cannot know everything about anyone, not even ourselves - we cannot know who is Christian enough. This is something only He who knows the heart can know.

People have been harshly judgmental lately, as though life was some sort of a team sport, where wearing the proper colors lets everyone know you root for the home team. Bur Fr. John Brian reminds us, "our self interest ought to become less and less selfish."

The two blind men, healed in the Gospel of Mark, follow Christ when they are given the gift of sight. There is no record of these former blind men using there ability to see judging others and harshly criticizing others. All they do after being healed is follow Christ. Fr. John Brian notes, "Being able to enumerate and talk about another's sins does not make you holy or even superior. It certainly does not make you less sinful. It does make you a person with great interest in another person's sins."

"I would prefer'" he continues, "people come to church as rampant sinners - so they can truly come to know the love of God for them."

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development and he encourages us in this inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, April 6, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin. Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:


Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We are People of the Mud

People of the Mud

We are all People of the Mud, of the dirt. We are one humanity with one hope.

God got muddy with us and showed us that, even though the dirt and dust remain, we may all rise from the dirt and have new life.

This sermon uses the spring weather in the Midwest with the mud that still seems lifeless as analogy of the Lenten season that is coming to a close with hope in all humanity.

Fr. John Brian gives a very short sermon (under 10 minutes) on the issues that the season brings to our humanity and our spiritual development.

Fr. John-Brian continues to speak to our further spiritual development and he encourages us in this inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, March 30, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Servant of All

Servant of All

On March 21, 2014, HH Moron Mor Ignatios I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East departed from this world. At the request of the Patriarch, memorial prayers were said in all churches.

This memorial focus gave an opportunity to talk about the need, purpose and the nature of hierarchy in the Christian Church from the beginning centuries.

In Holy Orthodoxy, the hierarchy in its form, substance, spirit and symbolism have been kept intact to the present era.

Fr. John Brian gives a short sermon on the issues of leadership, paraphrasing the great work of St. John Chrysostom "On the Priesthood" which was written from St. John's refusal to be consecrated Patriarch of Constantinople in the 4th Century.

May the memory of LL HH Moron Mor Ignatios I Iwas be eternal! May he pray for us, asking for the Lord's mercy and the fruits of faith in all our lives.

Fr. John-Brian speaks to further spiritual development and encouragement in another short inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, March 23, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Whom Does It Serve?

Whom Does It Serve?

If Lent is the great preparation, whom does it serve?

Fr. John Brian gives a short sermon on the issues of service and temptation. "Selfishness is the major source of our struggles," he says.

He brings up the temptations of Jesus Christ during the 40-day fast after His baptism.

"May God fill us His love. For whom? For self? No for serving others," Fr. John Brian encourages us.

Fr. John-Brian speaks to further spiritual development and encouragement in this short inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, March 9, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Great Preparation

The Great Preparation

Lent is the great preparation for the renewal of the entirety of creation through the coming resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Lenten spotlight in Holy Orthodoxy for this preparation is not only a physical culinary change, but also the clarification of our inner life. Is our focus on being with God or on how others may judge us? And then, we have to come to terms with our judgment of others.

So, Lent begins with forgiveness, with reconciliation, with reparation among those that should and ought to love one another.

Yet often we base our inner life on the outer world rather than engage the inner life in all our worldly activities.

Fr. John Brian uses our instant judgment of a church by its outward appearance as an indicator of how we get stuck in our desire for oneness with God.

Sacred places are places where God dwells and Lent is preparing a sacred place in our hearts. Yet, so often the outward appearance of a person seems to be more important than their heart and soul.

"However, many of us feel more welcomed by an empty church," says Fr John Brian, "than in a church full of people." This is a real problem in our modern Orthodox churches and congregations.


Fr. John-Brian speaks to further spiritual development and encouragement in this short inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, March 2, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission chapel and all our spiritual helpers.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ready for Christian Purpose

Ready for Christian Purpose

As we get ready for the Feast of Feasts, the Day of all Days, the day that our entire relationship with the created universe changed - when Jesus Christ rises from the dead.

We prepare with a Great Fast at Lent. And we prepare for this Great Fast with a smaller fast, examining the mission and purpose that God gave us.

In this examination, inwardlly, we are asked to come to terms with our willingness to work in God's fields. We also come to terms with how we do not trust God.

It is the Prophet Jonah and the scripture story that is our guide and example for the Great Fast.

Fr. John-Brian speaks to the guidance, example and spiritual encouragement of Jonah in this short inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, February 9, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Honorable Vessels and the Song of Simeon

Honorable Vessels and the Song of Simeon

Simeon is a prophet who is a witness of Jesus as messiah, the savior of all. He was told by God that he would not die until he saw the messiah.

When he saw the baby Jesus presented in the temple, he knew he could die. And he sang a song - praising God as he let go of this life for the life to come. God's will is fulfilled.

Sometimes he is pictured bearing a candle in each hand, one to be a light for Israel and the other to illuminate the Gentiles. So, we bless candles on this day of Christ's presentation in the temple.

In the Second Epistle to Timothy, St. Paul talks about different vessels that are used in a household. Fr. John Brian uses this analogy to emphasize our spiritual need to embrace the way God made us - with three clear characteristics to be of purpose, as an honorable vessel.

Fr. John-Brian speaks to this blessing and this illumination in this short inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who remains committed to us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, February 2, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Illumination - The Gift of Timket

Illumination - The Gift of Timket

Timket is Ge'ez (the Ethiopian liturgical language) for Epiphany.

The Baptism of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist is a seminal event in Christianity. It is the event that ends the Old Testament.

In Ethiopian tradition, it is the feast of the Ark of the Covenant that prefigured the appearance of the Trinity at the Baptism - the Illumination of the Word by the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove (which links this to the Ark of Noah).

At this festival, the Ark (or the representation of the Ark) is carried forth to the place where the waters are blessed.

Fr. John-Brian speaks to this blessing and this illumination in this short inspriational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, January 19, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Living in the Cold and Dark

Living in the Cold and Dark

Sometimes we underestimate to the power of the world arounds us - the powerful influence of cold and dark. Through human ingenuity and practical application of the created laws of nature, we are able to combat both of the cold and the dark with heat and electricity. However, not everyone benefits.

In the opening of John's Gospel and his First Epistle, there is discussion of darkness and light. There is a symbolic understanding of cold and dark as applied to our awareness in consciousness and our moral conscience, our inner guidance system.

Fr John Brian talks about these opposing forces in our spiritual development.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian Spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Orthodox calendar and was given on Sunday, January 5, 2014 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, January 09, 2014

For That Which Does NOT - Praise God



For That Which Does NOT - Praise God

Any step in the right direction is progress. And we all know to be gracious and grateful for any progres we can make in this life.

We often do not even consider the potential or terrible things that might have happened - when bad things do not happen to us.

After Nativity of Jesus Christ, we are told that Herod, out of fear of losing his earthly kingdom, wealth and power, sought to kill Jesus as a baby. When he found that Bethlehem would be the birth place, he ordered the death of all male infants under a year old. These are considered the first martyrs - the Holy Innocents. We ask them to pray for us.

And the three kings and Joseph were both warned. Joseph, by an angel.

Fr. John Brian talks about the need for the prayers of others. "By prayer," he says, "we hold each other up."

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian calendar and was given on Sunday, December 29, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Lump of Clay

Christmas Lump of Clay

Preparing for Holy Nativity, we ask God, who has done the extraordinary things with the ordinary, what may His purpose, His intention, be for us?

Even so, everything is done with our consent. The whole of the nativity story told over the weeks before the Holy Nativity are filled with the confrontation of God's plan and human consent.

"He calls us to be more of what we are," says Fr. John Brian. With our permission, He forms us into the true being we were created to be.

Romans 9:21 "Does not the potter have the power over his clay..." We consent to be that lump of clay. The best form is already present. It only needs to be brought forward, revealed. It is the best person we can be.

Mary is given an impossible idea - a virgin to give birth. It is a confrontation with an incredible notion: God will bring about the restoration of divinity in all of His creation through the consent of a young woman.

"Nothing is impossible for God," says Archangel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke. Mary responds as a lump of clay, "Here I am...let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, November 24, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:


Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Ready to Listen

Ready to Listen

Preparing for Holy Nativity with Story of Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist (as recorded in Luke Chapter 1), are we listening?

In Holy Orthodoxy, the rules and fasts are not meant to create an atmosphere of failure. Rather, it is an understanding of our limits and knowledge that God does not have our limitations.

The rituals and festivals of Holy Orthodoxy are intended to bring us closer to God.

"We are limited," says Fr. John Brian in this sermon, "but God calls us beyond our limits - nothing beyond our ability to move closer to God."

Fr. John Brian also examines the ability of Zachariah to listen to the angel who visited him. Zachariah could only hear the news through all his limitations. We need to listen to the urgings of God outside these limitations - for with God all things are possible.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, November 17, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Friday, November 29, 2013

Great is This Mystery

Great is This Mystery

"Truly great is this divine mystery of righteousness..." 1 Timothy 3:16

Fr. John Brian's mentor Archbishop John passed from this earthly existence on October 26, 2013. This sermon includes tribute and reflections on "Bishop John."

As Fr. John Brian relates, "He helped me understand the importance of Orthodox ministry in this world."

This is tied into the Gospel reading from Matthew 5 and 1 Timothy Chapter 3.

"Mystery is profound understanding that we are inadequate to comprehend all of what God is and all of what God does.... IN the sacraments of the Church, we participate in this [divine] mystery.... This mystery is revealed to us in the flesh." Listen to more of Fr. John Brian says in this sermon

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, October 27, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Kingdom of Heaven is for Children


The Kingdom of Heaven is for Children
 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock
 
From the Sermon delivered Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin
 

photo by JBP 2013 - all rights reserved
In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 18, there is a simple little moment when Jesus talks about children. He talks about children and about us the same way.
 
He says, “truly I say to you...” and whenever He says “truly” in the Bible that means “pay attention, this is much more important than anything else.” He is also saying “truly” to say that it is of the truth.
 
In Matthew’s Gospel, He says, “Truly I say to you, unless you change, and become like little children, you shall not enter” you shall not enter, “the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoever, therefore, will humble himself like this little child shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. And he who will welcome one like this little child in my Name welcomes me.”

He is saying three different things here that I want to point out: two of which are about us, and one is about others. Notice that He doesn't take away, or suggest we treat other people differently than we would ourselves.

This first point that He makes is: unless we change and become like little children, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This idea of changing and becoming like little children is not easy. We know what it is to change and become adults. We know what it is to grow up, and we often have different experiences that tell us, or clarify for us - either through our society, our culture, or in our own lives. There's always this point at which we can say, “now I'm an adult.”

In America, we have a legal standing of adulthood, which is when one is eighteen years old.  But that's not necessarily the same thing as feeling like you're an adult, with all the responsibilities, living independently, and maybe even being married and having kids, etcetera, and etcetera.

Jesus says in Matthew, rather than grow up in this world and become an adult in this world, we need to change and become like little children. Little children are innocent, but they also have great joy as they live in the present moment. They're not worried about the future, and they don't dwell on the past.
 
So, to get to the Kingdom of Heaven, we have to be in the present. I have brought this teaching to you previously, which is the idea that we cannot meet God any other place than in this present moment. This present moment becomes precious full of life and spiritual goodness, and all the other things we seek. In other words, it is the time of Kingdom of Heaven.

And another place, early on in the Gospel, both John the Baptist and Jesus proclaim, “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” [Matthew 4:17, NCSB]. Repent, in Greek, means 'metanoia' which literally means “change your mind.” So, another translation could be: “change your mind, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” And, as I have taught before, there is your hand. How close it is indeed.

The second thing that Jesus points out in the Gospel reading (as if it wasn't totally clear about what it means to become like a little child): “therefore whoever will humble himself like this little child shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
 
A little child is completely dependent upon others for everything. That is a humility that understands how dependent they are, and how precious the people around them help them. That's the humility that's being spoken of by our Lord. So again, this humility will make us great in Heaven.

What is meant by “great in Heaven?” When you're large in Heaven, you feel as though you are part of the entirety of everything. That you are one with God, and instead of just being a little small body that houses a little heart area, you become like a big cathedral that can be filled with God, filled with the Spirit. And that's what is meant by “great in the Kingdom of Heaven,” not that you have greatness like a king, a pope, or a president, but that you have greatness in a spiritual way. But you need to be humble like a little child.

The third thing Jesus teaches is related to other people.  Jesus says, “one that welcome this little child in my name welcomes me.” In other words, when we treat other people as though they are children in need of care, concern, patience, tolerance, love, and even guidance perhaps, we will find that we are actually not just treating them that way, and welcoming them, we are also welcoming Jesus.

Now often people say they don't want to welcome children because “child are noisy,” and they just don't want to be worried about children, and distracted by children. But what Jesus is saying is one who “welcomes one like this little child,” not that bad child behaviors are part of it at all. That means welcoming those people who are living the God-ward way.
 
Then He says, in Matthew’s account, another point which is similar: “and whoever misleads these little ones who believe, it would be better for them that [they just go basically die - my paraphrasing, of course].”  His point there is simply that the little ones and children need trust, they need to be in trustworthy places, and around trustworthy people.
 
So Jesus is saying that if you're not going to welcome them, then don't be untrustworthy. Don't mislead them. Don't let them believe things that aren't true. Take care of them, but, if you're not going to take care of them, then it is better that you just go away and die.

That seems kind of harsh, but then Jesus says something a little bit later to clarify this. In verse ten of Matthew 18: “See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, their angels always see the face of my Father in Heaven.”
 
So, for those who act in that way, and are able to humble themselves in that way, and if you welcome those who are like that, you will be able to see God in them. And angels, that is to say those powers that help us in our day to day activities, and those who intervene for us, can see God, and those people who humble themselves are like those little children with the face of God. And so in our welcoming of them, we will be able to see God clearly.

Then Jesus goes on to say, in verse eleven: “for the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” And many people in America and in the world today, as they get older, becoming more adult, they lose the very thing that they need to be with God, which is a certain innocence, and humility.
 
God calls us to be in the present moment with Him; so we can have the joy, peace, well-being, and goodness that exists in the present moment with God, or Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. By doing so, by welcoming them, we also welcome God into our lives.

So here I am, a very weak and sinful servant of God who, of myself, am nothing. I understand the Spirit of God sustains me, and whatever ministry I am able to do is by the grace of God alone. This mission has been here all these years, by the grace of God, and it is God's mission. So I come before God, and ask, “God what is your Will? This is Your mission. Help me who am weak. Help me who am sinful. Help me who falls short of all the good things that You wish to do.”
 
And, very often, I hear a small voice that says, “be like a little child. Trust. Be innocent as best you can. Keep trusting in the way that a child trusts. And keep understanding that you are incomplete without God. You cannot do this alone. You cannot even live your life without God's help, let alone do any ministry, or any kind of good without His help.”
 
It comes down to a simple choice, am I willing to be with God in the present moment? Or do I give up God to be an adult in this world?

I think there may be a way to do both. But if it comes down to a choice between the two, we should always choose to be like a little child in the present moment, in the awe and wonder of what God has given to this world, both in His creation and to all of us. And be filled with His love by being in the present moment. Even as I say this, I can hear an echo of children giggling in the goodness of God’s love, because they're so willing to be in the present moment.

And so we are called by God to be as little children: to be with Him as His children; to view Him as Father; to be filled with His love. So that we may have joy and peace, and know that we are safe and sound as long as we trust in Him.
 
+ + + 

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

You Lack One Thing...

You Lack One Thing...

In Mark, Chapter 10, Jesus Christ is presented with the problems of those that want to follow Him, but do not. In this instance, the issue presented is wealth.

Fr. John Brian gives a homiletic sermon on the real issue of possessions and wealth, how it is a quick test of humility which is neded to follow.

It is our attachment to wealth, to things, that keep us bound to this world and unable to rise to heaven. But we are very attched to our things. Fr. John Brian brings the example of Papa Nicholas, a 19th Century Greek priest, who demonstrated great piety.

This episode to Jesus saying, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven..."
Of course, in Mark's version, an explanation of sorts is given by Jesus.

Then in the appointed Epistle, 1 Thessalonians, St. Paul exhorts us in chapter 4:3-4 - to "keep [our] possesions in sancitification and honor." Fr. John Brian helps us understand this and then compares sexuality to financial issues to help in our understanding.

"You are taught by God to love one another." 1 Thessalonians 4:9

"With God all things are possible." Mark 10

This is a sermon in continuation of the Syrian church's celebration of the Cross.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, October 20, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Ransomed For All

Ransomed For All

From the Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy is a curious use of the word "ransom."

1Timothy 2: "...[God] who desires all should be saved [through one mediator Jesus Christ] who gave Himself as a ransom for all."

Usually a ransom is padi to a kidnapper or terrorist who make demands for something or someone held hostage.

Fr. John Brian takes this dramatic notion that a ransom was paid for us to give a short yet deeply and spiritually significant sermon about the special relationship we have with God.

This is a sermon in continnuation of the Syrian church's celebration of the Cross.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, October 13, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:


Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Gebre Meskel and St. Gregory, Illuminator of Armenia

Gebre Meskel and St. Gregory, Illuminator of Armenia

Gebre Meskel = Ge'ez for Holy Cross - the designation of the festival of the exaltation of the cross. Fr. John begins this festival sermon by talking about the history of the "raising up of the cross" from its buried place in Jerusalem after almost three centuries. St. Helen the mother of Emporer Constantine secured the location and brought the cross to Constantinople.

It is a significant festival for Orthodox Christians full of symbolism, allegory and metaphor. The cross is no longer hidden. The symbol of torture and death has become the symbol for healing and life.

The glory of the cross is a major part of the Teaching of St Gregory the Illuminator, who is considered the father of the Armenian Church. He uses Psalm 117 where David refers to the "corners of the altar" as prophecy of the cross and its symbol for Christians.

In the sign of the cross is mercy and gratitude for us and the entire world. St. Gregory explains this symbol and its power. Fr John Brian gives and inspiration homiletic on this important writing from one of the Orthodox fathers and saints.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, September 29, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Making A Difference

Making A Difference

Fr. John begins by discussing the terrible news of shootings in America and about suicide. We need to get rid of evil-ness in us and around us, but also with compassion.

Then the sermon walks into Matthew Chapter 15, asking: what's more important - the tradition or the mercy and love of God?

Fr. John Brian challenges Orthodox Christians: "If we cannot be expressions of the mercy and love of God than tradition can do very little for us."

"We cannot just be a hollow continuation of a tradition or a language or a culture. That's not what we are called to be as Christians. We are called to be so much more."

We need to bring goodness into every area of our lives, putting aside all evilness.

The Holy tardition ought be an expression of the love and mercy of God in our lives.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, September 22, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Earthly and Worldly

Earthly and Worldly

Fr. John begins this sermon clarifying that the stories and festivals of Mary were scriptural in most of the Christian world - remaining among the scriptures of the Ethiopians. Orthodox traditions are based in Truth and the love of God.

There has been a basic dilemma, a challenge of "sola scriptura," within Holy Orthodoxy. It is the challenge of God's Creation and then incarnation and death of one fully God and fully human.

This sermon is ultimately about the discrepancy of living an earthly life but not the worldly things. (2nd Corinthians 10:3-4)

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, September 1, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

At the Door to Heaven

At the Door to Heaven

Fr. John Brian speaks in this sermon on an essential element in Syrian Christian Spirituality. It is in the words of Luke, Chapter 11:9-10.

He also speaks to an essential integrity of Christians. Also takes the opportunity to speak about Fatherhood. A full and inspirational sermon.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, August 25, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kingdom of Heaven is a Mother

Kingdom of Heaven is a Mother

For the festival of the Falling Asleep of Mary; also called the Dormition and the Assumption, Fr. John Brian goes into the symbolism in our daily practical Orthodox Christian spirituality. He refers to Hebrews Chapter 9 to enhance the teaching of symbols in Christianity.

Mary, Theotokos, Mother of God, is a symbol of the church and the church ought to be a representation of heaven on earth, as our Holy Fathers in Orthodoxy have taught us.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, August 18, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kingdom of Heaven is Being More Alive

Kingdom of Heaven is Being More Alive

For the mission festival of Transfiguration, Fr. John Brian gives an inspirational sermon on the epistle readings from 2nd Corinthians chapter 3 and James chapter 2.

Therein is the key to understanding what it is to be Christian. Christian spirituality and living requires faith and good works.

We need such trust of Christ toward God to know that our sufficiency is from God. And, we are called live that way - and be more alive.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, August 4, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Kingdom of Heaven is for Children

Kingdom of Heaven is for Children

Today's sermon is about Matthew Chapter 18 where there is a recorded event where Jesus uses children among the crowd to emphasize an important lesson: the quality of children ought to emulated.

There is some variety of which qualities He was emphasizing, but one which is mentioned today is humility. But it is often overlooked that, in Matthew's gospel, it is not only the manner we approach the kingdom of heaven, but also how we should receive others.

Entering the Kingdom of Heaven is a present moment dilemma. As we grow up in the ways of the world, we lose the very things we need to know God and be with Him.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, July 28, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:


Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Kingdom of Heaven is a Garden

Kingdom of Heaven is a Garden

Three different parables about the Kingdom of Heaven are given in Matthew Chapter 13: field for harvest; the mustard seed; and leavening.

The beginning of our connectedness to God is a garden and its fruit, a place where life is allowed to grow.

Parables are filled with spiritual symbolism and moral lessons. Jesus taught in this way to ensure that person to person instruction, a certain connectedness, happened in Christian spiritual development.

Combining the lesson from St Paul's second Epistle to the Corinthians, Fr. John Brian moves us to greater closeness to that garden of truth and life and love of God.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, July 21, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

See Through Glasses

See Through Glasses

On the day of the Holy Apostles, Fr. John Brian talks about seeing clearly and how some of us need help to see clearly.

The spiritual way to see clearly is through the eyes of God's love. This is given in the Fr. JOhn Brian's homiletic of 1st Corinthians chapter 13 - the "love" chapter.

This is another inspirational message of Orthodox Christian practical spirituality in the modern world.

Please pray for Fr. John Brian who continues to encourage us in the continuing development of Christian spirituality.

This sermon uses and refers to scripture readings appointed by the Syrian Malankara calendar and was given on Sunday, June 30, 2013 by Fr. John-Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison, Wisconsin.

Please pray for our mission and help us as you are able.

PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
http://frjohnbrian.hipcast.com/rss/spiritual_reflections_or_fr_john_brian.xml
LISTEN ON-LINE HERE:

Books by Fr John Brian available through Holy Transfiguration Publications