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GOSPEL EADING: John 1:43-51

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,[a] you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”



Исус ги повикува Филип и Натанаил

43. На другиот ден Исус намисли да отиде во Галилеја и го најде Филипа, па му рече: „Врви по Мене!” 44. И Филип беше од Витсаида, од градот на Андреја и Петра. 45. Филип го најде Натанаила и му рече: „Го најдовме Исуса, синот Јосифов од Назарет, за Кого пишуваше Мојсеј во Законот, и Пророците!” 46. А Натанаил му рече: „Може ли нешто добро да излезе од Назарет?” Филип му одговори: „Дојди и види!” 47. Исус, пак, кога го виде Натанаила да иде при Него, рече: „Еве вистински Израилец, во кого нема лукавство.” 48. Натанаил Му рече: „Од каде ме познаваш?” Исус му одговори и рече: „Уште пред да те повика Филип, кога беше под смоквата, Јас те видов.” 49. Му одговори Натанаил и рече: „Рави! Ти си Син Божји, Ти си Царот Израилев!” 50. А Исус, одговарајќи, му кажа: „Веруваш, оти ти реков дека те видов под смоквата; ќе видиш повеќе од ова.” 51. И пак рече: „Вистина, вистина ви велам: отсега ќе го гледате небото отворено и ангелите Божји како се искачуваат и слегуваат над Синот Човечки.”


Gospel Message: Restoration of the Real Icon

Today – the Sunday of Orthodoxy – we celebrate the restoration of the use of icons in the Orthodox Church after the struggle of the iconoclasts to remove them.

Often, we emphasize so much the wood or canvas icons on the Sunday of Orthodoxy that we neglect to say anything about the spiritual icon: the image of God in our soul. This is the icon that really needs to be restored today; the icon the priest pays homage to when he turns from the altar during the Liturgy and censes you. He is censing the icon of God in you! Few of us will wantonly destroy a sacred icon, but all of us mar and deface the icon of God within us through our sins. We do it every day. And yet this is not a man-made icon. This is an icon painted by the Holy Spirit. It is a living icon, God’s most precious icon, for the restoration of which the Son of God did not hesitate to shed His precious blood. The purpose of Lent is to help us see the sorry condition of this inner icon and to restore it through repentance, confession, prayer, and the Eucharist.

On this Sunday of Orthodoxy, we need to remind ourselves that we are the icons – the living but marred icons of God – that need to be restored. We have blackened the white robe of baptism with sin. Like the publican who said, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner”; like the prodigal son who said, “I have sinned against heaven and before you…” we need to rise and return to our Father, because one day we shall stand before His judgment seat to give an account of all we have done. Only Jesus can cleanse the soiled image of God in us – the blackened icon – and make it whiter than snow. Every year the Sunday of Orthodoxy comes to remind us that this is the icon that needs to be restored. This is the icon that has been buried over with layers of sin and needs to be cleansed so that it will reflect the beauty of Jesus.

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