Fr. Michael Lupu preaching

Our lives are very busy these days and it's difficult at times to know where the priorities are. We have demands made of us from our work, our spouse's work, from the children's school, music lessons, sport activities, and let's not forget our family and friends. How does one decide? What if we make a mistake and neglect something or someone?

There's just not enough hours in the day. In Canada hockey is the culture that children are raised in. I'm sure in other parts of the continent you could replace hockey with football or soccer or something else. Here, hockey parents rush from one rink to another for practices.

Children get up early in the morning before the birds are up so they can get ice time for practices. They have weary eyes that soon open when they put on their skates. All the parents gather and cheer on their child, sometime a little more energetically than proper. Friendships are made among the children and the parents too. Sometimes the team is good enough that they have to travel far away for a special tournament. Everyone cherishes those moments. And the winning team is so admired! The children get patted on the back, parents come to work and talk about the game their son or daughter won and get the admiration of their co-workers. Or maybe it was a district tournament that they managed to capture. How proud everyone is of little Johnny or Sally and their accomplishments. Maybe they have had to neglect a few other things in their lives, but they are a Sports Champion! Sunday morning…. What are we going to do? There's hockey practice, can't miss that or Johnny will be thrown off the team or maybe someone has planned a birthday party at the pool. Johnny didn't get his homework done all week because he was at the hockey tournament and he has to get it done this morning before we go out to Bunica's for dinner, or maybe we're just flat out tired from the running around all week.

We know that church starts at 10:00 but there's no way we can make it. We haven't done the grocery shopping and that's the only time left. So, we decide that this week we're not going to go to church. We tell ourselves that we're good Christians and God will understand. He won't throw us off the team like the hockey coach does. It's hard to make those decisions – I know. I've raised 2 children and been caught up in the whirlwind life too. I've also worked in a sports centre where I've seen how hockey and swimming lessons have taken over our children's lives. In our home we've always wanted our children to be balanced with music lessons and sports and everything else that is offered to kids these days. But there was one priority that was never negotiable and that was Divine Liturgy on Sunday. One of our children was actually thrown off a baseball team because the coached changed the schedule and had practices on Sunday morning which our son was not allowed to attend. Even when the kids started work, it was a condition of employment that they not work on Sundays.

Children need to go to God's house. We need to go to God's house and going to Divine Liturgy is the basis for our lives. We began our journey there on our Baptism day and will end it on the day of our funeral. Yes, it might be difficult to get there on time or even get there at all, but we need to make that sacrifice for God. Why is it we can make the sacrifice for early morning practice but not for 10 o'clock Liturgy? Attending Liturgy is an obligation we are given as Christians but it is also love and respect for God. He is our Saviour-how could we give Him any less? And maybe our friends won't be able to judge our spiritual growth, but God will and it's His pat on the back we live for.

They say there's an angel at the door of every church and he records the names of each person that enters. Will the angel know your name? So, when you're faced with that hard decision of what to do on Sunday morning, ask God and He will make it very clear. He wants you and your children to be Spiritual Champions. He wants your family to be with Him at church. See you on Sunday!

Fr. Michael Lupu preaching














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St Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church
3511 3rd Ave. SW, Calgary, AB T3C0A7 Canada

Parish Office: (403) 288-4699