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St Nektarios Parish Newsletter 15-04-19

Dear all.

Gospel reading

Yesterday’s gospel reading (Mark 10:32 – 45) is a timely reminder of what orthopraxis is all about. Christ tells us: “and whoever of you desires to become first shall be slave of all.” Let us consider this: where are we seeking to become first? Answer: in the kingdom of heaven!; Where do we then need to be a slave of all? Answer: in this world! This necessitates the abrogation of self in favour of the other whomever it may be. What a radical teaching. Slaves were property – something to be owned; something whose will was dictated to by the master. Who on earth would sell themselves into bondage?

Let us remember that Christ is obedient unto death. Christ voluntarily assumed the sins of the world. He knew what would become of him. The difference between Christ and a slave is that Christ was free to do as he will and yet at Gethsemane he prays: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36).

If we are to be followers of Christ, we need to imitate Him. If Christ is prepared to submit to the will of the Father then should not we? God wants us to be with him but there are no favourites in heaven. Nor can good works be transferable. All of us will be judged by how we live our life on this earth. As Christ tells us: “I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is righteous, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” (John 5:30)

Do you now see why Christ says: “to sit on my right hand and my left is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared? “Each one of us, through our actions, is identified as a soldier of Christ or not. Every tree is recognised by its fruit. And, the fruit of those who seek salvation are manifested in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Now, do you see how important orthopraxis is? Faith (Orthodoxy) without works (Orthopraxis) is dead.

Around our church

  • We are in need of palm fronds for Palm Sunday (being this coming Sunday). We need approximately 30 fronds in total. Our original source is no longer able to supply us and although I have made a number of requests I’m yet to have any firm commitment – so as a matter currently stands we have no palm fronds and hence the SOS. If anyone can assist please contact me.
  • We have had donated 25 Holy week books to the parish. These are new books. If you wish to borrow a book and follow the Holy week services (and now there is no excuse not to be able to follow the services) all you will need to do is to provide your details and sign for your copy at the time of your borrowing. You can keep the book for the entire week and return it at the conclusion of Holy week. The books will be available from the Pangari. All we ask is that you look after the book so that those after you may also enjoy their benefit.
  • On Friday the 19th(and on the assumption that we will have palm fronds) and after the liturgy the pre-sanctified gifts we will be making crosses for distribution palm Sunday. If not, we will be distributing olive twiglets.
  • Yesterday was dedicated to Mary of Egypt. If you wish to hear about Mary of Egypt I invite you to tune into 95.3 FM (6 EBA FM) tomorrow at 5 PM to listen. A reminder that “the Hour of Orthodoxy” is live each Thursday from 2 PM to 3 PM and replayed Tuesday between 5 PM to 6 PM’s.
  • Our food bank requires your support. Let us not forget the message of yesterday’s gospel and let us help those in need. As St John Chrysostom reminds us: the rich exist for the sake of the poor and the poor exist for the salvation of the rich.
  • The program for the week is as follows: Compline Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3:15 PM; the canon of Lazarus on Friday 3 PM; on Saturday the 20thwe will be commemorating the friend of Christ Lazarus (matins in Greek from 730; divine liturgy in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM), on Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 AM liturgy of the pre-sanctified gifts.
  • Bible class tomorrow (Tuesday) from 6:45 PM:” how the Orthodox consider and understand the book of Genesis”. Please bring your Bible.

Thought of the week

Why is it that we consider it an entitlement to receive, an imposition to give and get angry when we call on God to grant us something and not receive? Perhaps St John Chrysostom got it right when he said that when you are weary of praying and do not receive then consider how often you have heard a poor man calling upon you and you have not listen to him yet this poor man has not been angry nor insulted you. So, from that example let us all await patiently, without anger and without expectation for the good things to come.

Till next time.

In Christ.

Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554