With over 300 images of MOTHERS of the parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA prayerfully displayed at St. Andrew the First-Called Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church of the Metropolia Center of the UOC of the USA (South Bound Brook, NJ), His Eminence Archbishop Daniel led the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Fourth Sunday after Pascha on May 10, 2020.
A week prior to the celebration of this year’s Mother’s Day on the civil calendar of the nation, Vladyka Daniel asked, via mobile link, parishioners of the Church to submit photos of their mothers, so that in time of COVID-19 pandemic, the Church may honor in a special way the most dear people to all of us – our mothers.
Concelebration with the archpastor were Very Rev. Fr. Yurij Siwko – pastor of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church (South Bound Brook, NJ); Rev. Fr. Vasyl Pasakas – pastor of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Ukrainian Orthodox parish (South Plainfield, NJ) and Rev. Fr. Vasyl Shak – pastor of St. Panteleimon Ukrainian Orthodox parish (Brooklyn, NY) – all residents of the Metropolia Center, who together with the Seminarians of the Church have been providing spiritual support on a daily basis to the clergy and parishioners of the UOC of the USA via Facebook live-streamed liturgical services.
In his sermon, Archbishop Daniel reflected upon the notion of a “desire” and the need for us to make a choice to live by the precepts of Faith. Vladyka stated: “…It is part of the cure to wish to be cured. The person with greatest expectant faith, with the greatest positive desire to get well, is the person who recovers fastest. It's all a matter of desire… Nothing can happen without this inner desire to see the Savior. Not even God can come into our lives, unless we WANT HIM. Salvation begins with desire. In fact, God have us the great gift of free will that we may choose freely and of our own accord to love Him and serve Him.
This Gospel of the cure of the paralytic is one of the miracle stories of John's Gospel. When you combine this one story with all the others in John and apply John's theology, which is so different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you realize that Jesus is asking us specific questions through the miracle described today. So, "DO YOU WANT OT BE HEALED?”
Towards the conclusion of his remarks, Archbishop Daniel paid special tribute to all mothers of the Church, especially the ones, whose photos were displayed on the seats of the temple. Names of all mothers were loudly pronounced, offering prayer for the living and the reposed mothers of the Church.