“And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” Yesterday’s gospel (Luke 6: 31 – 36) is a steely reminder of just how tough it is to be a Christian. We are called to be actors – to initiate action rather than responding or reacting to the other. Who is the other? The answer is simple: anyone that we interact with be it negative or positive. We are told to love those that love us. That is not the problem. We’re also told to love those that hate us – that is where our Christianity becomes confronting.
We are obliged to love the other because we are all made in the image of God. We cannot love God and hate his creation. That is not the Christian message. Christ tells us: “why do you call me “Lord, Lord” and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). We need to show compassion to all because that is what Christ wants us to do: “love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.” I just wonder how many of us today have that depth of compassion.
Compassion not mean to be charitable to another. What it means is to share in the suffering of that other. We need to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of the other and look at life through their eyes. It means that by sharing their pain it becomes our pain and it needs to be alleviated. To the extent that we can do so it becomes compassion. The core idea is not justice in the judicial sense but seeking to elevate the other because we, ourselves, see, understand and share in their pain and that it is the “Christian” thing to do.
In developing compassion within ourselves what we do is something truly amazing. We become transformed by this seminal virtue and give effect to our purpose of transforming this world into a place that reflects the teachings of Christ. We become merciful to the other. In so doing we fulfil the teaching of Christ and by so doing aid ourselves for the measure that we give, will be the measure we get back from God (Luke 6: 38).
Wednesday 4th October
6 PM to 7 PM – Catechism and Renewal Class
7 PM to 8 PM – Adult Bible Study
Friday 6th October
7:30 AM to 9:30 AM – Matins and Divine Liturgy
Saturday 7th October
9 AM to 10:15 AM – Divine Liturgy in English
Sunday 8th October
8 AM to 11 AM – Matins and Divine Liturgy
Do not forget: on Wednesday the 11th October our church will be hosting Fr Themi who is carrying out Orthodox missionary work in Sierra Leone and is seeking to raise funds for the continuance of his sacred work. We will be having his company from 6 PM to 8 PM and look forward to hearing him tell us about the missionary work undertaken by him. All are invited to attend. Also do not forget that all three churches and the monastery will be hosting a branch on Sunday, 15 October at Alexander the great Hall locate on the corner of Wordsworth and Homer Road Inglewood (behind the Terry Tyzack swimming pool in Inglewood). Admission is free. All are invited.
A thank you to all for continuing to support our raffle. Tickets are selling steadily. Please contact me for ticket purchases.
I have posted a roster for Sunday morning coffee after church and am seeking people to put their names down. Yesterday, no one had put their names down so the “pickings” look bleak. However, from a famine it went to an overwhelming feast: freshly made toasted sandwiches, sausage rolls, roast chicken, sweets et cetera et cetera appeared. It was great to see so many people pitch in but it would have been better had there been a roster so everybody’s effort can be appreciated. I have no doubt once our teething problems are sorted out the “liturgy after the liturgy” will be a great success.
Not everything is plain sailing in operating a parish. I continue to feel frustration that we haven’t begun our mission to assist the needy with the food hampers. I know that sometimes patience is needed but you can only tell an empty stomach to be patient for so long. I would be grateful if anyone could assist in providing assistance in laying a concrete pad so we can assemble our shed (currently in pieces in the car park) so that we can relocate our storeroom. Having made this confession I still have comfort that the Lord will provide.
In keeping with the reflection on compassion I can do no better than reiterate the words of St Paul: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians: 1:3–7)
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou – 0411 061 554