P A R E N T S A N D C H I L D R E N
“And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.” (Luke 15: 12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The parable of the prodigal son which we hear today in the churches, amongst other matters, brings to our attention a vivid image of the contemporary family. Most families living in anxiety and stress, which dominate the present lifestyle, limit the number of children they bear to two. From that moment onwards all their efforts are spent and absorbed in bringing them up and nurturing them in such a way that they would not lack anything in food, clothing or in education.
What happens then regarding their spiritual and religious improvement, stability and elevation? Unfortunately, not everyone considers these matters as a priority. In the majority of cases the whole concern limits itself to the materialistic factor and shallow way of life. They have as their motto what the Epicureans preached and practised in the heathen world of Ancient Greece: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15: 32). However, every human being carries with them their immortal soul, which is nurtured and is comforted by the word of God, by prayer and through Holy Communion.
The children, on the other hand, from their point of view, become accustomed to presenting endless demands. In the thoughts of these young people prevail impertinence, their rights and whatever else the law of the land offers them. They allow little room for the divine law of God to operate. They find it difficult to forego their rights and make sacrifices for the sake of their fellow men. They say they want to live their life. To get to know the world. They spend as much as they can. They do not think that life on earth is temporal and transient. At the same time life has certain restrictions and is accompanied by many dangers and temptations. Additionally, they do not understand that sin is not so sweet as the enticements seem to be and they should not play with it.
If they wish to have a family they must do so at the appropriate time. In order to be able to face the financial burdens of a family they must prepare themselves accordingly and save money in good time. To give birth to children they must do this before they advance in age so that they will have time to enjoy their children and the children themselves will have the opportunity to enjoy their parents. In order to make their dreams and obligations possible they need to have time.
One needs to have their feet on the ground. When the lovely and lively youth waste their abilities on living a prodigal life, they end up without having strength and ability to create a family and carry out responsibilities. When they enter family life with wrinkles on their faces, it is time for them to be seeking rest rather than having a family. The opportunity on the other hand, for them to bear children, if it is not impossible because of the excesses in their life and due to their old age, it is certainly limited tremendously.
Drink, drugs, late nights, a sinful way of life and the other excesses leave behind ruins, broken hearts and stained souls. This was approximately the way of life of the prodigal son in the parable of the gospel. Fortunately, however, the prodigal son had a good upbringing. He had memories of his princely family life. Therefore, when he reached rock bottom, he came to his senses and said: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15: 18-19).
The young people, due to their inexperience, are vulnerable and easily influenced by various temptations, wrong ideas and they become victims in the hands of various opportunists and intriguers. For this reason the family, the school and the church need to co-operate and be alert so as to lead the young generation to the right way, far from the traps of sin.
The love with which God the Father showed the prodigal as well as the elder and hard-hearted son, is the appropriate signpost, which shows the way to the stray man and leads him to salvation. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: After the Christmas and the New Year holiday the meals for the elderly resumed. During the month of January were subsidised by the following: the family of Stella Christodoulou in memory of their beloved parents Panayiotis, Maria, Christodoulos and Margarita; Athenoulla Anastasiou in memory of her beloved departed; Christos Ioannides in memory of his beloved grandfather Costas; Merope Kelepeshi in memory of her beloved husband Stelios and parents.
During the month of February the following persons and institutions contributed: Erotokrita Livera in memory of her parents Andreas and Anna; an anonymous donor in memory of her beloved departed Christina, Panayiota, Ekaterini, Anastasia, Athena, Vasilios, Stella and Androulla; the family of Anastasis and Maroulla Constantinou in memory of their beloved parents Nicolas, Merope, Constantinos and Anna; various anonymous donors in memory of Amaryllis Loukaidou; the family of Eugenios and Anna-Marjorie Nicolaides in memory of their beloved parents Nicolas and Merope, the Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association (Finchley & Barnet) and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANSSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
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 paid your subscriptions or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
NEW YEAR’S CALENDARS: The calendars for the new year 2011 are now available. You may obtain these from our office and our two churches. The prices are as follows: Archdiocese large-sized diary £6.00), the pocket-sized diary (£1.50) and the Community’s wall calendar (£2.00). We advise all families to obtain the calendar of their choice so as to be able to remember the feasts of the saints and all the other important dates in our life.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The School Governing Body is pleased to announce that the annual school raffle is in circulation. You are kindly asked to support the selling of the school raffle. Please bear in mind that the raffle is a means whereby the school covers a number of its financial obligations. We trust that, as in the previous years, you will show your support in this venture. Price per raffle: £1.00. The school accommodates in its classes about 300 children. In order to sell all the raffles we need 300 volunteers to buy raffles of £40.00 each.
MEATFARE MEAL FOR THE ELDERLY: We are pleased to inform you that the Meatfare meal for our elderly will be held again this year. This is an opportunity for all of us to show our love and respect towards our elderly by contributing in any way we can. The meatfare meal will be held on Sunday, 27th February 2011, as follows:
Those of you who attend the church of St Barnabas will have lunch at 11.30 a.m. Those of you who attend St Mary’s cathedral will have lunch at 12.30 p.m.
We look forward to welcoming our elderly on this occasion and as many volunteers as possible to help serve the meal.
SCHOOL MAGAZINE: The Christmas edition of the school magazine ‘I Phoni tou Scholiou’ is now in circulation. The magazine includes various texts written by His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, by teachers and pupils. Additionally, there are a number of advertisements from people who support the existence of the magazine plus many photographs of our community events and school life.