- Yesterday’s gospel parable reading of the great banquet (Luke 14:16 – 24) serves as a timely warning for those who think that God is love and, as love, forgives all. Everyone will be saved they say – yet Christ goes to great pains to make plain that if you close the door to the heavenly banquet, then your heavenly Father will not know you.
- Everyone is invited to the heavenly banquet. Through participating in the divine liturgy we are making the heavenly banquet possible. The aim of liturgical experience is to participate in the body and blood of Christ and thus become united with God and hence saved. There is no need to understand it. It is beyond understanding. It is the mystery of mysteries and yet , it is life itself.
- The Eucharist is a heavenly banquet on earth that prepares us for the eternal heavenly banquet that is to come. There are not two banquets but one. There is only one wedding feast with the bridegroom himself and in this world we prepare for the wedding feast. Our purpose in life is this: that we have a foretaste of the divine banquet and never lose our zeal to share in the heavenly joy.
- The reasons for non-attendance of those invitees demonstrated that they, previously chosen, treated their invitation with distain. Who in an agrarian society where land and working animals are fundamental to farm life would buy sight unseen? No one! Why would someone reject the offer purely on the basis of a change in their marital status? No one! The reality is those invited flatly rejected their invitation because they felt no need to participate, so they cut themselves off, just – like the Pharisees did with Christ and his teaching.
- Now, the banquet hall is occupied by a new peoples who also can now choose to leave the banquet hall. But, if they do, then those that have left will, under the express instructions of the house owner, never share in the heavenly banquet.
- Do you not see the majesty and glory of the omnipotent and omnipresent God: first, He creates. Then He offers glory to those of his people whom He has first chosen. He then sends his son to them to show them the superior way. They freely reject the son for all sorts of flimsy excuses. Once the chosen race has rejected the son they have lost the favour of the Lord who now looks to others to fill the heavenly Kingdom. It is in this way that people thus reject God. It is not God rejecting any person. Food for thought, isn’t it?
Around our church
- The program for the parish of St Nektarios for the Christmas/New Year and epiphany is now attached to this email. Please print it out and stick it on your fridge for ready reference.
- This week’s programme is as follows Tuesday (tomorrow) St Eleftherios 7: 30 to 9:30 AM. The church will be closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to continue the electrical work. The divine liturgy will be in English on Saturday from 9 AM to 10:15 AM. Kindly note that from the 17th fish is no longer allowed as it is a strict fast until Christmas Day.
- A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to our food store. Thanks be to God, other than oil, salt, ladies personal hygiene products and Dolmeo sauces, we have sufficient for the moment.
- Zoom class tonight from 6:30 PM. All catechumens and those interested in their faith should login;
- On Tuesday on radio station 6EBA FM from 5 to 6 PM I present “the Hour of Orthodoxy “. The focus will be on the coming Sunday’s epistle and gospel. On Thursday from 1:30 PM to 3 PM the divine liturgy recorded on Saturday (English) will be replayed and for 4:30 PM to 6 PM the divine liturgy recorded on Sunday (Greek) will be replayed. Note we also host a musical program on Friday from 7 PM to 8 PM during which a sermon in Greek is delivered.
- Zoom class on Thursday, at 7 PM. THE BOOK OF REVELATION CONTINUED.
- A reminder to all to put their names down for the flower roster. Please help us keep our church beautiful.
Thought of the week
Christ declares in the gospel of Luke that “the kingdom of God is within you” (17:21), and when teaching us how to pray declares to his disciples: “thy kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10) So, where is the kingdom? Consider this: what if Christ’s earthly ministry was not to only show us the way from Earth to heaven but to also to equip us to bring heaven to earth? If we ascend to God through prayer and ask God for the power to glorify his name on earth, as it is in heaven, then would we not be rightly saying “your kingdom come” rather than “your kingdom go.”?
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554