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St Nektarios Parish Newsletter 17-12-18

Dear all.

Gospel reading

Yesterday’s gospel reading of the great banquet (Luke 14:16 – 24) continues to build upon the coming of the new dispensation which will be with us in a few short days, where we celebrate the incarnation of the Word of God. The image of the great banquet where “all is now ready” is a powerful one. God invites man to celebrate the initiation of the divine plan of salvation – yet man finds many and varied devious ways of declining that invitation.

Of course the excuses for declining given in the gospel reading may be different to the excuses given now but for all that they are in essence the same. Today’s excuses may well be that we have to run the children to Sunday sports, or, the weekend is the only time that we can fully spend together as a family, or, we don’t need to go to church to be close to Christ. Our capacity to justify our refusal to attend church is inexhaustible.

The divine plan of God cannot be thwarted by man. God will have his house filled – whether they be those who think they belong or whether they be those who consider themselves to be unworthy. The beauty of God’s house is that anyone and everyone can accept the greatest invitation given to humankind. Notice, also, that we are not told anything about the capacity of the banquet hall.

Elsewhere, Christ is asked “Lord, will those who are saved to be few?”. Christ’s response is telling: he does not discuss numbers instead he responds by saying: “strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder is risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord open to us” he will answer you: “I do not know where you come from”. Then you will begin to say ” we ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!” (Luke 13:25 – 27)

Yes, “many are called, but few are chosen.” If you reject God you reject his gifts. However, be aware, elsewhere the Gospel reminds us that even if we are admitted into the great banquet hall we still have to ensure that we are found worthy to be good guests. The last thing we want the King to say to us is: “friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” (Matthew 22:12). Yes we may be invited to the feast but we need to be found to be always worthy of that invitation.

Programme for the week

There are no programme dates for this week save and except for Saturday which will commence from 7:30 AM with the matins in Greek and the Divine liturgy in English. From now on please refer to the Christmas programme attached to this email.

Around our church

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. If you wish to help financially the account details that our store operates from are: BSB 082057  account 616004624.

I have attached the Christmas/epiphany program for 2018/2019 which is slightly amended from last week. Please print it and put it in a conspicuous place. If you cannot print it, 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 if you wish me to do so. Note, I will visit the houses that I have visited in the past – so you do not need to give me your names.

Thought of the week

In keeping with the theme of Christmas: from “The Incarnation of the Word of God “by Saint Athanasius, written circa 318 CE, and in describing the mystery and miracle of Christ taking flesh from the virgin, he wrote: – “in creation He is present everywhere; ordering, directing, giving life to all, containing all, yet is He himself the uncontained existing solely in his father. As with the whole, so also is it with the part. Existing in a human body, to which He himself gives life, He is still source of life to all the universe, present in every part of it, yet outside the whole; and He is revealed both through the works of His body and through His activity in the world.” ( Chapter 3: part 17)… Now the reference 3:17 may be coincidental but perhaps you should look it up in the gospel of John..

Till next time.

In Christ.

Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554