Yesterday’s gospel reading (John 1:29 – 34) calls for deep reflection of just how far we need to go to be truly humble. We all like to think that we are master practitioners of humility and meekness – and yet look how far we have to go! John, at the apogee of his powers, whose name was on the lips of all and sundry and who commanded centre stage deliberately gives to Jesus, an unknown, full homage and precedence..
Who, in this day would, whilst basking in the full glory of human admiration, say of another: “behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world?” Yet not only did John say this but he added that Jesus,this stranger, was greater than he and bore witness to the fact that he is the son of God.
John, was not interested in power, prestige or privilege. Not for him were the sweet pandering words of sycophants. He called it as he saw it and he saw his job as making the way straight for he who was to come after him. John baptised with water but Christ baptised with the Holy Spirit.
No wonder Christ said of John: “among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist”. What an honour! But Christ continues immediately and says: ” yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he[John]” (Matthew 11:11)
You see, attaining the kingdom of heaven requires ongoing engagement. We need to be constantly renewed. We need to be constantly vigilant so that we don’t backslide. The kingdom of heaven is the greatest gift and the greatest gift requires the greatest of effort. Not just once – but always.
Due to the house blessings being undertaken this week the only church service will be on Saturday the 13th January being the Divine liturgy in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM .
For the next several weeks I will be visiting houses for the purpose of blessing. If I do not have your name and you wish your house or business to be blessed please provide me your contact details including the address for the blessing as well as telephone number.
Having been through the hectic church schedule of the Christmas/epiphany celebrations of our Lord we are now entering calmer waters conducive to reflection. If this cycle of feasts does one thing it is this – we are reminded that we are all precious in the sight of God who gave his only son so that all who believe in him may have eternal life. So, in one swoop, we become children of the most high. That is God’s gift to us. Our gift to him? It is to love, honour and follow him. Do this and we are saved.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou – 0411 061 554