Brothers and sisters in Christ.

Gospel reading

Yesterday’s gospel reading of the healing of the woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10 – 17) is not so much about the healing but about the Sabbath day on which the healing occurs. Notice that the synagogue leader took great umbrage because “Christ had healed on the Sabbath.” Although chapter 2 of the book of Genesis tells us that on this seventh day God rested after finished his work in creation, it is not until Moses and the coming of the law from Mount Sinai that the Sabbath was to give be kept holy to the point where any infraction resulted in death by stoning (Numbers 15:32 – 36).

By the time of Christ clear rules, which number 613, were in place. Regarding the Sabbath what could do six other days of the week was now scrutinised with the understanding of work having 39 categories which create a labyrinth, requiring interpretation by rabbis, scribes and lawyers to have any understanding of what was prohibited. Yet, what Christ did here was this: he prayed at the synagogue which was not according to the law; he spoke to the woman which again was not contrary to the law. Clearly, the accusation against Christ was tenuous.

Christ now addresses the leader’s mistake in misrepresenting the law of the Sabbath by calling him ” hypocrite”. He reminds this leader that even the law allows for some work in leading animals to water. If the law allowed prevent the suffering to living things then why should this woman, a daughter of Abraham not be loosed from her bonds on the Sabbath day? In one sweep Christ thus demonstrates that the law, as interpreted by synagogue rulers, scribes lawyers and Pharisees had been superseded by love.

So here it is: you do not have to love God to follow the law of the Jews. Yet, Christ tells us that the greatest commandment in the law is it you shall love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself. On those two commandments: love of God and love of neighbour that all of the law and the prophets depend upon. Christ thus demonstrates in this reading that he is now not only fulfilled the law but also fulfilled all prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah. Now, it is love and intention that rules the Christian heart and not simply following rules. As Paul said, it is the law that kills but it is the Spirit that gives life.

Around our Church

The next church services Saturday with divine service in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM.

Bible class continues tomorrow from 6:45 PM,

A reminder that the “Hour of Orthodoxy” goes live to air tomorrow on 6 EBA FM tomorrow from 5 PM to 6 PM; between 1:30 PM and 3 PM and from 4:30 PM to 6 PM there is replayed on the same station on Thursday the divine services recorded at St Nektarios on Saturday (English) and on Sunday (Greek).

Thought of the Week

Love moves you beyond the law. Love allows you to see clearly the need of neighbour. Love allows you to see God in the other. Love never fails. As Paul puts it: ” I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 – 39)

Till next time.

In Christ.

Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554

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