Orthodox Christianity involves the whole of life. Every part of an Orthodox Christian’s life is lived in, through and for Christ. Following Christ’s teaching, love for God and love for man constitute the centre of our being. This week, one of The Good Shepherd’s parishioners sent me his reflections the moral case for being vaccinated. I’d like to share it with you. “I’ve assessed the risk vs. reward trade-off of obtaining the COVID-19 vaccination as being strongly positive.
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John the Baptist, the Forerunner of Christ, began his preaching with the message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt 3:2). That was Christ’s first message too! (Matt 4:17). In the New Testament, the word translated into English as ‘repentance’ comes from the Greek ‘metanoia,’ which means ‘to change one’s mind’ or ‘to turn around.’ To repent is to have a change of heart. An idea has developed in some non-Orthodox circles that repentance is a unique, one-time activity that occurs when first making a commitment to Jesus as Lord.
The Orthodox mind is a prepared mind. We never just “do an event.” We prepare for the event. And we never just prepare for an event, we prepare to prepare to prepare for the event! The fulcrum of our liturgical year is Pascha. Holy Week Prepares us for Pascha. Lent prepares us for Holy Week. And the week following Zaccheaus Sunday is when we prepare for Lent. So, today is the day we prepare to prepare to prepare for Pascha. What follows are six questions we can ask ourselves to see if we’re truly ready for Great Lent.
Seemingly every year there’s a mad rush to tie up loose ends at work, shop, party and stress over visiting the relatives. Despite our streets and shops having awesome decorations, Christmas in Australia has become increasingly secular. The most counter-cultural thing you can do is to make this season an opportunity for increasing your spiritual sensitivity.
At the start of this week, I was looking forward very much to seeing more faces I haven’t seen for the last three or four months at the Liturgy this coming Sunday. Then yesterday we had the news that we were in lockdown again and wouldn’t be able to have anyone at church apart from those needed to serve the Liturgy. I have to confess that my first reaction was; LORD have mercy. I think I felt like the Psalmist sometimes felt when facing difficult times:
The Holy Mysteries (also known as “Sacraments”) express how God restores people to a loving, trusting relationship with Him through the Church. They are the primary means of communicating His peace, love and grace in the form of His indwelling presence. Let’s explore the Holy Mysteries. Background From the earliest days, the Church considered that there was exactly one Holy Mystery—the Church itself. St Irenaeus wrote:
In the Orthodox Church the Easter Feast is officially called Pascha, which means “Passover,” and it remembers the new and everlasting covenant foretold by the prophets, which was fulfilled by Christ’s Resurrection. Pascha is the major feast of the Orthodox Liturgical year, and is a time of exultant joy and celebration, because Christ has broken the power of death! Let's learn some more about what Pascha is and how it is celebrated.
On the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt and the Gospel reading from Mark (10:32-45). This week is the Sunday before Palm Sunday, or ‘The Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem’, and the beginning of the salvific Passions that end up on the Cross and then is completed with His glorious resurrection. The Lord began preparing His disciples by telling them what would happen to Him. Foreseeing that the minds of His disciples would be troubled by His Passion, He foretells both the pain of His Passion, and the glory of His Resurrection.
Parishioners and visitors are invited to participate in the Liturgy from their homes via live-stream at 10:00 am on Sunday. The Divine Liturgy is not open for in-person attendance. All other services have been cancelled this week. His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios has written to the clergy and faithful of our Archdiocese yesterday regarding the impact of the Coronavirus. As a result: