- Yesterday’s obscure gospel reading (Matthew 5:14 – 19) tells us something profound about the personhood of Christ and requires deep reflection. Christ tells us that he has not come to abolish the prophets or the law and indeed declares that not one iota of the law will be varied until everything is accomplished. Yet, time and time again during his ministry Christ challenges the law, especially about the Sabbath as well as the guardians of the law, thus making his actions appear contradictory to his teaching. Now we know that cannot be so – so what is going on here?
- What Christ is really saying in this reading is that Scripture is unshakeable and Scripture points to him as the fulfilment of the law. So when Christ takes on human flesh and enters the world all prophecy has been fulfilled. The law has thus served its purpose and is superseded for Christ will give to his people a new covenant – a new law and that law is the law of love of God and neighbour.
- You may well say but how can the law be fulfilled for not all things have been accomplished – and by that I mean the crucifixion and the glorious resurrection have yet to happen. Surely you may say that it is at the point when Christ becomes of the Lord that one can say that all things have been accomplished. In response to that I would ask you to remember the prayer said at the Holy Anaphora of the Divine Liturgy that declares that through absolute love of man, Christ entered human history to fulfil the divine plan for our salvation. That plan was not only fulfilled but also inexorably set in train upon the birth of Christ and we know that God’s plans do not deviate so in that sense everything was accomplished.
- So Christ fulfils Scripture and the old has passed and the new is now and that new now glorifies Christ as son of God. The new was inaugurated by the birth of Christ. The purpose of the old was to declare the coming of Christ and having done that it becomes redundant and superseded by the new. So Christ, when he challenges the law as well as the guardians of the law, he does so under the dispensation of the new thus teaching us that he indeed is the son of God.
Around our Church
- This week’s program is as follows 2Nd February: the Presentation of the Lord – Othros from 7:30 AM; Saturday – Divine Liturgy in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM; Adult Catechism from 11 AM;
- Sunday, 13 February marks the beginning of the Triodion and the beginning of the preparation for Great Lent. That week is fast free. Therefore it is a great time to have a sweet stall. So, I would ask that you assist the fundraising efforts of our church to prepare sweets and other products for the sweet stall. Please help as our church relies upon the assistance of each and every one of you.
- I’ve been requested to inform you that the one-year memorial service of the late Dimitrios Labrou will be held at St Nektarios next Sunday 6th February.
- Do not forget to tune into 6 EBA FM tomorrow (Tuesday) to listen in to “The Hour of Orthodoxy” presented by me from 5 PM to 6 PM. Also, on the same radio station each Thursday from 1:30 PM to 3 PM the divine liturgy in English, recorded the previous Saturday and , from 4:30 PM to 6 PM the divine liturgy in Greek recorded the previous Sunday at St Nektarios will be aired.
- Do not forget our food store. If you wish to help financially you can do so by making contribution to BSB 082 057 account number 616004624.
- Attached please find next Sunday’s rubrics for your edification.
Thought of the week
When Christ refers to Scripture he is referring to the writings in the old Testament which writings he reads Christocentric. Listen to his words. At the beginning of his public ministry Christ reads from the book of Isaiah and declares: “today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (4:21). Christ further declares in John’s gospel: “you search the Scriptures, because you think in them that you have eternal life, and that is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (5: 39) Further: “if you believe Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” (5:46). Even in his last days, he declared to his disciples: “behold we are going to Jerusalem and all things which are written through the prophets about the son of man will be accomplished.” ( L 18:31). Even on the road to Emmaus Christ taught the two disciples and: “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (24:27). Christ is indeed the way the truth and the life.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554