Yesterday’s gospel reading the Prodigal son (Luke 15:11 – 32) continues to prepare us for great Lent. The parable centres around two sons: the elder obedient to the law of his father and the younger, a prodigal, and, their relationship with the Father.
Consider the younger son: arrogant and insistent upon what is not his. He wants a share of the living of the father. The listeners to this parable would have been aghast and scandalised at the temerity of the son and at the actions of the father. Chapter 21 of Deuteronomy makes It clear that fathers had the right to have their rebellious children stoned to death. Yet this father accedes to the monstrous demands of the younger child.
The younger son fell into sin, realised his nature, repented and came back to be reconciled to the Father. Consider the Father: He runs to the son. The indignity of the act of running would have scandalised the listeners to this parable. However such is the love of the Father that he embraces his child and lifts him to his former glory. By kissing the father demonstrates forgiveness; by dressing he demonstrates reconciliation; by the ring he restores the younger son to authority and dignity.
Consider the older son: obedient, exact and who never disobeyed the word of the Father which was his law. The listeners to this parable would have recognised the response of the elder son as being both pharisaic and correct. There is no love in the older son either to the brother or indeed to the Father. For the older son had no room for compassion or mercy and he saw those qualities in the Father as weakness. To him the law of the Father was broken by his younger brother and hence he had to be punished.
The Father, in his love, reconciles both children to him. To the older He acknowledges that he shares fully in all that is the Father’s. Further He declares to him that: “it was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found”. You see, Joy and gladness are the direct result of all prodigals who find their way back to the Father has great joy in each and every one of us who are saved.
I want to thank the people who volunteered to assist in the payment for the framing of the three panel icons that I brought back for Melbourne. I have recently also received two paper icons which also need framing. If you can assist please contact me.
I have also commissioned four panel icons which will be received during the year. These icons are: the mystical supper; the dormition of our Lady; the birth of Christ and “Hail, bride unwed”. Each icon will cost $900 and I have sponsors for two of them. If used wish to assist please contact me. I also wish to thank the person who contacted me and informed me that they were prepared to pay for a “proskinitari “which is required by the church.
Yesterday, I called upon people to assist with provision of religious books in English. These books will be part of our ongoing prison ministry and be donated to the prison library. There are Orthodox Christians in prison who hunger and thirst. The books need to be in good condition with no markings, including dedications and be in their original covers. No covering of books allowed. If you have such books I asked you to contact me with them and I will vet them for suitability. This morning I wish to thank the person who made the first contribution of such books.
The program for this week is as follows: Tuesday 6:45 PM to 7:30 PM adult education class – please bring your Bible; Saturday, being the Saturday of Souls Matins from 7:30 AM in Greek; Divine Liturgy in English 9 AM.
For Those of You That Are Interested There Is a Vigil (Agripnia) this evening commencing at 8 PM at the church of St Constantine and Helene 20 Parker Street Northbridge.
Thought for the Week : God Seeks from Us a Sign That We Are Prepared to Change and If We Change It Is Never Too Late.
Till Next Time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554