Yesterday’s gospel reading of the healing of the woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10 – 17) is a deliberate provocation to and assault upon the law of the old Testament. Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism and the only observance instituted by the 10 Commandments. Maintaining the Shabbat was a matter of life and death for the Jews. Exodus 20:8 – 11 declares it as a direct commandment of the Lord. Exodus 31:15 warns: “six-day shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.”
The Hebrew word associated with the Sabbath ” Melachah” is translated to mean work. Unfortunately, the word “work” does an injustice to the Hebrew meaning. The meaning of the Hebrew word has overtones of creation; adding to something existing and is used both in Genesis and elsewhere in the context of creation of the Temple. Accordingly Jewish exegetes declared 39 categories of forbidden acts that are capable of creating or adding to a thing, and hence were against the law, on the Sabbath.
The “adding” to this woman was in the giving to her a cure from her infirmity by Christ. The leader of the synagogue service in walking and moving was not working within the understanding of the limitations imposed by the 39 Mitzvoths upon Shabbat. Why? Because he simply he was not adding to anything other than what he would be doing on any of the other days of the week. Indeed, Judaism permits “a Sabbath’s journey” so all people can walk to and from synagogue.
Seen in this context, the leader of the congregation could well complain as he did. But, the people, instead of following the old dispensation of the law, embraced the new which was Jesus Christ. Christ could have healed on any other day that he chose. But by choosing the Sabbath he declared that the old dispensation had been superseded by the new. As Isaiah foretold: “there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” (11:1 – 3). This delight is Jesus Christ.
The programme for this week is as follows: Wednesday, St Spyridon, matins from 7:30 AM – note we will be liturgising from the side altar dedicated to St Spyridon; Saturday St Elefterios, matins in Greek from 7:45 AM, divine liturgy in English from 9 AM.
Note that adult education classes have now ceased. They will be resumed on a date to be advised in February 2019.
The Archdiocese calendars for 2019 are in stock. Cost is five dollars and available from the candle stand. Once they are gone – they are gone so please purchase early to avoid disappointment.
**** Mark it in your diaries: the Sunday school breakup party and concert will be on Sunday the 23rd of December at 5 PM. Mums and dads please bring a plate of fasting food (remember no fish!). Come and enjoy our children as well as the Christmas carol singing***
The morning tea roster has now been posted. Please make sure to read it so you know when you are rostered for duty. If the date allocated is not suitable please contact me. Also, we have a number of spaces available on the flower roster. Please, if you have a name day, commemoration or otherwise want to see our church beautified, put your name down. Thank you.
Let us remember in the coming season of plenty those who are less fortunate than us. Please remember our food store and pray that our outreach may continue to grow so we can better serve the Lord.
From the letter of Paul to the Romans (11:17 – 18) “but if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that is not you that support the root but the root supports you”.
Till next week.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554
+++ I have attached the Christmas/Epiphany program for 2018/2019. Please print it and put it in a conspicuous place. If you cannot printed fear not some hard copies will be available at the church I also attach a request for me to bless your homes/businesses for Epiphany 2019. Please send me your response by email+++