Epistle: Ephesians 4:1-6
Gospel: Luke 17:12-19
Schedule of Services:
-Saturday, December 10th, Great Vespers at 4pm.
-Sunday, December 11th, Divine Liturgy at 10am. Hours begin at 9:40am.
-Today we will have a potluck coffee hour, followed by adult education.
-We have openings in December if anyone wishes to offer a coffee hour in the future.
-Thank you to all who stayed to decorate and clean the church last Sunday.
-Thank you to all who donated so generously to the St. Nicholas project. A Heartfelt thanks to Mila who delivered the gifts to the collection location.
-A request for donations from Zoe for Life! is on display on the bulletin board in the vestibule. Please check it out.
-On December 11th we will have a council meeting after coffee hour. Let Nellie know if you are unable to attend.
-On Dec. 18th Sunday School will be in session. The lesson will begin upstairs in the church.
-Please don't forget the needy! Shop Rite gift cards and non perishable staples are greatly needed and appreciated.
Living: Paul, Melissa, Helen, John, Darlette, Steven, Janet, Teresa, Irina, Alla, Ira, Victor, the Reader Christopher; the suffering people and innocent victims of the Ukrainian/Russian war; the suffering people of Yemen, Syria, and Palestine.
Words for the Day:
According to the Synoptics, the Pharisees accused the disciples of Christ of not fasting (whereas they and the disciples of John “fasted greatly”). To this, Christ answered, “Can the wedding guests fast as long as the Bridegroom is
with them? As long as the Bridegroom is with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them, and they will fast in those days” (Mark 2:18; Luke 5: 33; Mt. 9:14). These texts stress the connection between fasting and the Messianic service of Christ, but it becomes impossible in the joy of His Presence. More generally, fasting is the expression of expectation, of the state of waiting and preparation. Thus, Christ contrasts Himself to John the Baptist: “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine . . . The Son of Man has come. He eats and drinks. . .” John the Baptist in this context is the “type,” the symbol of the Old Testament in its relation to the New Testament. The Old Testament is the time of preparation and expectation and it comes to its end with the apparition of the Faster. But the Son of Man “eats and drinks” and His disciples also eat and drink and in the Gospel we constantly see the Lord breaking bread with the publicans and sinners in the homes of the Pharisees and also providing food to the multitude of men. For in Christ and with Christ is revealed and comes the Kingdom. And in biblical typology, the Kingdom is often represented as a banquet, as the breaking of fast. (cf. for example, Isa. 25:6). And it is this Scriptural teaching about fasting, the Christological and messianic context of fasting that defined the place and the “function” of fasting in the Church from its very beginning. On the one hand, the Church is herself the beginning, the eschatological anticipation of the Kingdom. The Bridegroom is present and His presence is revealed in the breaking of bread, in the eucharistic banquet, which is the sacramental anticipation of the fullness of the Kingdom, of the Messianic banquet. In the Book of Acts, the “breaking of bread” is the essential fact that builds up the “ecclesia,” the Messianic community. (Acts 2:42). In this assembly, in the “koinonia,” there is no room for fasting: the expectation has come to an end, the Lord is present, “maranatha.” He has come, He is coming, He shall come . . . But, on the other hand, with the Ascension of Christ, a new period of expectation has begun: expectation of the “parousia,” of the second glorious advent of Christ, of the fulfillment in which “God shall be revealed as all in
all.” The Lord has triumphed and is glorified, yet the history of “this world” is not yet achieved, it awaits its consummation and judgment. Whereas the history of the Old Testament was directed at the coming of the Messiah, the
history of the New Testament is directed at the return of the Lord in His glory and the end of the world.
Fr. Alexander Schmemann St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1, Winter 1959, pp. 2-9
Next Week’s Readings:
Epistle: Colossians 3:4-11. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Gospel: Luke 14:16-24. But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’