- Yesterday’s gospel reading of the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14 – 30) causes us to focus directly upon practical Christianity. The cross of Christ comprises of two pieces of wood: the stipe, or vertical beam, which represents man’s aspiration towards God and God’s coming from heaven to earth and the patibulum, or horizontal beam with represents the outstretched hands of Christ embracing the peoples of the world. The vertical beam represents Orthodoxy and the horizontal been represents Orthopraxis. Just as both beams are necessary to form the cross, both are necessary for the Orthodox Christian life. The true Christian is thus found at the intersect of Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis.
- Notice in the gospel reading that each received from the Master in accordance with their respective abilities. So although each of the three servants received a separate amount as far as each were concerned they received to 100 percent of their capacity. Thus, from the perspective of each of the servants they were all in a sense “equal”. That tells us that it matters little as to the number of talents received. What matters is what you do with what you have been given. Each must deliver back to the master, in accordance with their respective abilities, the master’s profit. Had the servant who was entrusted with five talents buried them in the ground and returned back to the master five talent only, he also would have been declared a wicked and slothful servant.
- So the issue therefore is whether we prove ourselves to be profitable to the master or not. So whatever we are given in terms of talents or abilities we are obliged to use them for the benefit of our fellow man. Let us return back to the image of cross: the master, who has given to each their respective abilities, through the Word, conveys to each of us the right teaching or Orthodoxy. We are then obliged to implement the word of the master by serving the peoples of the world through Orthopraxis. Failure to serve your fellow man renders you wicked – no matter what your talents or capacities may be. If you keep them for yourself you bury them in the ground.
- To those who have greater ability more is expected. If you are fortunate to earn great wealth through your God-given talent and keep the proceeds for yourself – even though you may have greatly benefited mankind through your abilities – you have received payment and now the issue becomes: what do you do with what you have received. Have you retained it because you earned it or have you distributed it in accordance with the dictates of the Lord? Each act has its own consequences.
- We are called upon to be vitally involved and share with neighbour. So, what does this mean to us? It means that we are above colour, creed, race or belief. We look upon our neighbour as the image of Christ. Just as I am embraced by Christ on the cross so is the one seeking my help. I have no greater call upon my property than does the person in need. It is at this point that the parable of the talents begins to kick in. That which I keep for myself I keep from the one in need. Simply put sharing is caring. After all, what does it gain a man if he wins all that the world has to offer but loses his soul?
Around our church
- The program this week is as follows, tomorrow leave taking of the presentation of our Lord from 7:30 AM; Saturday divine liturgy in English from 9 AM to 10:15 AM.
- On Tuesday the 16th February I will be resuming adult Bible study classes from 6:45 PM to 7:30 PM then immediately following an to 8:15 PM I will do catechism class for those who need to attend and those who are interested.
- Our food store needs your assistance. Please give generously.
Thought of the week
Life should be constantly viewed as a perpetual struggle between serving Christ and falling to the wiles of the devil. This week in Perth the faithful had to wear face masks in church. A large number of you waxed indignant that you had to do so and saw it as being “disrespectful to God” or “against the Canons of the church” or that “no one was going to tell you what to do by forcing you to wear a face mask.” Whatever your reasons, to those who did not go to church, ask yourself this: did you meet Christ in the Communion cup today? So, who won? Christ who beckons you to church or the devil who puts clever reasoning in your head as to why you should not go to church? You see the devil uses anything at his disposal to separate you from Christ. The tragedy is it took such a small thing as a face mask to do this. Next time, let us reflect before we let anything separate us from Christ.
Till next time.
Father John Athanasiou 0411 061 554