A SERMON ON THE GOSPEL OF MEATFARE SUNDAY
THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD
“Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)
The Lord, dear Brothers and Sisters, wanted to lead the rebellious and fallen man to the knowledge of God and see his return to the arms of God. Thus, He came among men, of His own free will. In the Salutations of our Lady, which will shortly be recited by the Clergy in front of the icon of our Lady during the Holy and Great Lent, we hear the following: “Wholly present on earth, yet never absent from Heaven, the Infinite Logos“ (The Akathist Hymn).
These events took place when the Second Person of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, the Son and Logos of God, became man “by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary” more than two thousand years ago.
Thirty years after the Incarnation we had the three-year public ministry of the Lord as well as the selection of the twelve disciples, His teaching, His parables and miracles and His association with men. Afterwards, came the collision between the Lord and the scribes, the Pharisees and hypocrites, His arrest, the Passion, the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection.
Following these events, the presence and the role of the Lord did not come to an end. The day of Pentecost followed and the presence of the Church on earth occurred. The Church continues ceaselessly the redeeming work of the Lord and continuously calls man to repent and to progress spiritually. Man is invited to multiply the chain of virtues which help him to weaken and defeat the various passions.
All these events take place during the brief and ephemeral time of our life. This space of time is a period for struggle and a time for preparation for the other life, the eternal life. It is not known when, but at some time, the launch of eternal life will follow, where God will be present to judge the world and grant justice. All these events will take place at the Second Coming of the Lord, Whose return we do not know and cannot predict.
The Lord in His Incarnation came poor, humble and unnoticed. During His life and presence on earth He acted with His Divinity and Glory hidden. However, during His Second Coming He will come in Glory surrounded by the Angels and the Apostles. The first time He came to offer forgiveness of sins and love. At the Second Coming He will come to judge and grant justice.
When each one of us departs from this life through death, at which the separation of the soul from the body takes place, we may say that the book of our life is already sealed. Each one of us, according to the way we led our life on earth, foretastes the state of hell or paradise, accordingly. However, the final judgement will follow at the Second Coming of the Lord.
On what grounds, therefore, will God judge people at the Second Coming? In accordance with today’s Gospel reading, a universal criterion will be the degree of love which we showed towards our fellowmen. The Lord mentions, of course, all the destitute, the sick, the prisoners, the strangers and the needy “the least of my brothers”. All those who during their earthly life, cultivated the virtue of sincere love, will be called “the blessed of my Father” and will be invited to inherit eternity, which has been prepared and which is waiting for them “from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25: 34).
On the contrary, the sinners and the unjust, the hardhearted and uncharitable people towards their fellowmen, the condemned, will be sent far away from God, where darkness and eternal trials prevail. “Depart from me you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mt 25:41). God cursed the devil but not man. Man, however, making use of his own free will, chose to imitate and follow the devil, the promoter of evil and father of hatred. Let us pray that God, through His mercy and love, will overlook our mistakes, wipe out our sins and grant us a place in His Kingdom. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: The meals for the elderly during the months of January and February were subsidised by the following: Erotokrita Livera in memory of her beloved parents Andreas and Anna; Athenoulla Anastasiou in memory of her beloved husband Kyriacos, parents Sarah, Achilleas, Eleni, Anastasi and brother Michael; the family of Eugenios and Marjorie Nicolaides in memory of their beloved parents Meropi and Nicolas; Various donors in memory
of Andriani Constantinou; Meropi Kelepeshi; Panayiotis Kokkinou; Maria-Fafalios-Dragonas; the Philanthropic Association of the Ladies of Margate; Nicos Artemiou; Koulla Minaides, Onoufrios Onoufriou and Maria Christophi in memory of their beloved uncle Alexandros; the family of Anastasis and Maroulla Constantinou in memory of their beloved parents Nicolas, Meropi, Constantinos and Anna; Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association (Finchley & Barnet); an anonymous donor, Maroulla Menelaou and Yiannoulla Alexiou in memory of their departed loved ones; the family of Androulla Poirazi in memory of their beloved Demetrios, Chrystalleni, Demosthenis, Stavros and Eleni; Koulla Minaides and Onoufrios Onoufriou in memory of their grandparents Onoufrios, Katerina, Michael and Kyriacos and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this worthy cause.
RENEWAL AND CLEANING OF CHANDELIERS: The work of cleaning and renewal of the chandeliers in St Mary’s Cathedral has now been completed. This involved bringing down the chandeliers, undoing them and carefully cleaning and renewing whatever needed to be renewed and reconstructing them. As you will appreciate this work was quite costly but as you see the chandeliers are much cleaner and brighter and we trust that this kind of work will last a very long time.
PANTANASSA FUNCTION: The Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA organised a successful dinner function on Thursday, 12th February 2009. The function was honoured by the presence of His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, who addressed the gathering, and His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou also attended. Over 150 persons participated, including the Chairpersons and Members of the Church Committee as well as various representatives from other Communities. Mrs Androulla Christaki welcomed the participants and also introduced the programme of the evening. Everyone enjoyed the lavish meal. Towards the end of the evening a raffle was drawn. Over £4,240-00 was raised, which will go towards the cost of cleaning and renewing the chandeliers in St Mary’s Cathedral.
RENEWAL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS: The subscriptions for the Community (£50.00), Pantanassa (£25.00) and the Archdiocese Magazine (£15.00) are now due. If you have not already settled your subscriptions or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The annual school raffle began its circulation last Sunday, 15th February 2009. £520-00 has been raised so far. We do hope that this year we will be able to sell all 11,000 of them the as soon as possible.
TALK ON THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE: The Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain is organising a talk in English entitled: “Our Ecumenical Patriarchate”. The speaker is the English Orthodox author and reporter, Mr Bruce Clerk. The talk will take place at 7.30 p.m. on Monday, 23rd February 2009, at the Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS. ALL ARE WELCOME!
ANNUAL MEAL FOR THE ELDERLY: Today, Meatfare Sunday, the Ladies’ Auxiliary SOCIETY OF PANTANASSA have prepared a superb luncheon in honour of our elderly. The luncheon will be served at both our church halls as follows:
St Barnabas Church Hall from 11.10 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
St Mary’s Greek Cathedral from 12.30 p.m. – 2.00 p.m.
We look forward to seeing as many of our elderly as possible at either St Barnabas or at St Mary’s. The younger members of the Community will have the opportunity to serve them and show their appreciation for the wisdom and the labours of that generation.