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St Nektarios Parish Newsletter 04-03-19

Dear all.

Gospel Reading

Yesterday’s gospel of the second coming (Matthew 25:31 – 45) gives a frightful yet imperious description by Christ as to the eschaton. Notice that Christ now returns, not as a babe in swaddling cloth as he did on the first occasion but rather in all his glory – he now comes as Kyrios to separate and judge us all.

Christ looks at our works. Notice that to those on the left and to those on the right the criteria for judgement are the same: have you fed me; have you given me drink; have you clothed me; have you visited me whilst I was a prisoner or sick and as stranger have you taken me in? To those welcomed in the kingdom our Lord will say to them that ” when you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it for me”.

To those who are cast away, they are cast away because they were indifferent to the need of neighbour – even if they perceive themselves as “good Christians who are churched and pray regularly”. Accordingly, we deduce that “minding our own business” or “leaving it to others” is the short road to damnation and everlasting punishment. Do you see how strongly Christ sees himself as standing in the shoes of the other? Do you now begin to understand that we are all made in the image of God and rejecting or being indifferent to the other is the same as rejecting or being indifferent to God?

We are now in a period of self-examination and reflection. Not a cursory examination such as, ” I have not killed or stolen”, but a real examination that asks whether I have  lived up to the love that Christ has shown within me for me. That becomes a far different question and a deeper introspection is required of us all. Now is the time to confess and repent.

If we take away anything from this reading it surely must be that the second judgement is not a question of if, but when, and when it does come: that fearful day!… When Christ looks to you and to me there will be nowhere to hide. Think and reflect upon that as we prepare ourselves for the great fast.

Around our church

We, at St Nektarios, take this particular reading to heart, accordingly:

  • We have established a food store (in that regard I need the following – two minute noodles; short grain rice; canned tomatoes; oil (vegetable and olive); spaghetti both packets and shapes; canned fish and sugar). We have a wide variety of clothes (including infants) for distribution.
  • We visit those in aged care facilities and in hospitals; we have commenced a prison ministry and next month will commence further outreach which will be announced at the appropriate time. I use the word “we” because without your help and support none of this would be possible.
  • I wish to thank the people that donated books that are going to be placed in prison. I will be accepting religious books till the end of the week – remember that they must be in English, unmarked and in their original cover. If you think you have books that are suitable please let me know.
  • I have obtained a quote and have commissioned the framing of our new icons. The costs of framing is $590. So far I have received $100. If you can help please let me know. The other icons that I have commissioned have now all been sponsored – thank you.
  • The 30 Holy Week books have now arrived and will be on loan for the coming holy week. They are a must if you are to follow in the footsteps of Christ. The books will be loaned for the entire week and you will be required to give your details so that we can keep track of them and ensure that those following after us will have the benefit of the word of God.
  • The program for this week is tomorrow evening (Tuesday) adult education class 6:45 – 7:30 PM – please bring your Bible; Saturday morning English liturgy 9 AM to 10:15 AM.
  • This week there is no consumption of meat. Everything else is permitted.

Vespers of forgiveness at St Nektarios

Do not forget – this Sunday evening is the Vespers of Forgiveness.The service will take place at the church of St Nektarios from 6 PM. All clergy will be present. All are welcome to attend this most wonderful Vesper service we reconcile ourselves to one another as we prepare for the Lenten fast.

Thought for the week

Thought for the week: as we prepare ourselves for the coming fast let us reflect upon the following hymn from yesterday’s matins: “when I ponder in my wretchedness on the many terrible things that I have done, I tremble for that fearful day, the Day of Judgement. But trusting in the mercy of Your compassion, like David I cry to You, “have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy.

Till next time.

In Christ.

Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554