St. Silouan the Athonite Mission Parish

Priest Musings

Of Golden Coins and Cities - 2016
by Fr Roberto Ubertino 

It may be a surprise to most pious Christians to discover that the New Testament, especially St Paul’s letters, are not afraid to talk about gold coins and that these messages are directed to people living in the cities, hard at making a living just like you and me. At St Silouan, we hear a lot about prayer, living the faith and serving the poor. At St Silouan’s we have had a unique beginning. Our story begins with the poor who welcomed us, the Orthodox Church, by giving us a building to worship in and for many years it was the poor who paid our heating bills and cooked our meals.


Father Maxym, our Dean, met recently with the parish council and challenged us all to think about the future. There is the real danger of taking for granted what we have... for example, a full time priest, or even a part time priest, can't survive on the present honorarium. (Different scenarios of what if Father Roberto is run over by a bus were discussed...) We must remember that the rent we pay the Mission does not reflect the reality of the cost and raises a question of simple fairness.


Practically speaking we should never come to church without a bottle of oil or some bread or wine to offer. Please support Laurentiu and his son Peter as they come and ask you to purchase the wine for communion or the eternal light that burns over the holy table all week. This is the very minimum. When I see us struggling to light lamps, or to have enough bread and wine to give for Communion, I ask myself if there is not something basic that is missing in our understanding of what it means to live the liturgy as Orthodox.


St Silouan has a privileged opportunity to live and be the Orthodox Church for OTHERS. Our church will be open the coming winter months every day of the week. Anyone can come in to pray or get some food or have someone listen to them with compassion. All the work that is done at the Mission is done in the name of the Orthodox Church but the actual financial support of this work is from elsewhere.


I would like us to challenge ourselves. Ultimately, we are judged by how we use our mind, time and money. There are always reasons why we can't afford to help the church do its work in the world. I am not here talking about a bigger building or fancy items.

There are always financial crises in the world.


But the Gospel promises us that we will be rewarded 100 fold for what we give to God to meet the needs through His Church of the poor, the spiritually lost and the suffering


In the end, it is either God is a liar and can't be trusted, or here at this time and in this place with these people I am given an opportunity to show my gratitude for all that God has given me in my life. This is what is meant by living the liturgy.

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