- Yesterday’s gospel of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21 – 27) begins the ministry of Christ to the Gentile world. The Canaanites were the descendants of Ham, a son of Noah, and were considered to be wicked and idolatrous. Christ declares to this woman: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Here, Christ rejects this heart rendering petition and the question must be asked: who were the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
- In the Old Testament God calls Israel his people and his “lost sheep” (Jeremiah 50:6). The Messiah, the one foretold, was understood to be the one who would gather these lost sheep for the Lord God, therefore, when Jesus declares himself as Shepherd of Israel he is declaring himself to be the fulfilment of messianic prophecy. So it is that God, through the Jews, not only issued His laws but also sent his Son thus demonstrating the immutability of his promise to the world.
- So, by not attending to the prayer of this woman immediately Christ gives to the Jews one last opportunity of coming to him as well as denying to them the excuse that they could not do so on the basis that he, Christ, is no longer ritually pure, for having come into contact with this Gentile woman. This understanding thus represents the final divide between those under the law and those who are now not under the law having been redeemed by Christ.
- Now, in this area of the Phoenicians Christ finds true faith. Christ tests her: “it is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Under the law dogs were considered unclean. In response, she perseveres: “yes Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters table.” So the Lord heals her daughter thus demonstrating that no longer is the son of David for the house of Israel. Now, the son of David belongs to the entire world, thus allowing Paul to declare that now: “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
Around our church
- The program for this week is as follows; Thursday (St Haralambos) matins from 7:30 AM; Saturday: divine service in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM. Sunday divine liturgy in Greek from 8 AM.
- Do not forget that adult Bible Fellowship will resume this Tuesday, 8 February at the church from 6:45 PM; also note that adult catechism will continue on Saturday from 11 AM.
- The Archdiocese diary is now available at the church at the cost of five dollars each.
- On 27 February the day of ” Apokries” we are having a luncheon on the church grounds offering lamb on the spit. It promises to be a great afternoon. See ticket for further details. Please contact me to reserve tickets – numbers are limited, so hurry.
- An update on the cake stall – it will no longer be held on 13 February but on 27 February 2022, been the same date as our luncheon.
- We are having a run on our food store so any material help would be greatly appreciated. Also, I am looking for volunteers to assist with the running of the food store. Contact me for further details.
- Please see attachment for the rubrics for the coming week. SUNDAY OF THE PUBLICAN AND THE PHARISEE
Thought of the week
Faith means that we trust Christ as our Saviour. Just like this Canaanite woman we too can become true children of the kingdom of heaven. We too can become a new vine grafted onto the old root. This Canaanite woman demonstrates to us that we are never beyond God’s love. We never beyond salvation and we are most certainly never beyond forgiveness. But faith also means we follow Christ. As the chosen ones we need to live a Godly life and the Godly life is this: first, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and, secondly, to love neighbour as yourself. You show love to neighbour through your works to neighbour and through those works you manifest love to God.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554