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December 2019

 
 

paSTOR`S PAGE

December 2019

December 1

 

We measure years, we measure the months of the year, we measure joys and sorrows and then we name them all “memories”. Everything is transformed into “memories”.
The future is full of hope, the present is full of responsibilities and the past is full of memories. We are all collectors of memories. When the future becomes the past, the hopes of tomorrow become the memories of yesterday. In fact, we are these memories, the memories are the parts of our lives that we can no longer change. We can change the present, we can plan to change the future, but we cannot change the past, we cannot change memories. They remain rigid forever, as evidence the Master will use to give to each person what is right.
The future with which we plan, the present with which we battle every day will all become memories, evidence for or against us. “Come” or “go” will be said in the end, based on these “memories”. The way we thought or behaved yesterday can rise up against us tomorrow. Whoever does not correctly think about the future will behave incorrectly in the present and will suffer because of the “memories” of the past.
Today, at the beginning of December, it is the last time we share in the body and blood of the Lord in the year 2019. In all aspects of life, there is a “last time” that is heavy-laden with nostalgia, pain, and regrets or joys. The first time was in January, and now it is the last time in December, but someday, it will be the last time in our lives. Regardless of which time this is, the Holy Communion has the same significance, the same goal, the same importance. The savior said, “ ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer’ ” (Luke 22:15). Just like Him, we also deeply desire to sit at the table with our Lord, because of the significance that the Holy Communion has:
a) The Holy Communion is the remembrance of our Lord Jesus
b) The Holy Communion proclaims His death
c) The Holy Communion is the symbol of the New Covenant
d) The Holy Communion is the prophecy about the second coming of Jesus Christ
e) The Holy Communion is the fellowship of Christ with His Church
The disciples were so important to Christ, that one of His last desires before He died was to have the last Passover supper with them. How glorious it is, when we realize that heaven is filled with perfect beings, but man is so filthy! Christ truly loves us! Some-times our own relatives don’t even want to eat with us…
Some of those who were alongside us when we partook in Holy Communion in January are no longer with us now in December. Every minute on Earth, there is a sort of dance of life and death that results in approximately 107 deaths and 258 births. How many of us will be alive at the first Communion in January? What about next December or…?? It does not matter, it is sufficient that we are alive now, so that we may partake in Commun-ion in a responsible manner, for the glory of the One who truly wished to eat the last Passover supper with us. This is our Communion!

         

 December 15

The famous parable of the prodigal son is a pure source of learning about the family, about the relationship between parents and children. In this parable, we see God`s image as a Father both in His children`s moments of joy and moments of crisis. The purpose of the parable is very complex:
1. THE PEDAGOGICAL CHARACTER OF THE PARABLE - Because this parable is addressed to the Pharisees and scribes, the younger son symbolizes the tax-collectors and sinners, while the older son, who complained when his brother returned home, symbolizes the Pharisees and scribes (Luke 15:1-2). The lesson we can learn from this is the attitude of the father who notices the mistakes in both of His sons` behavior but finds resources to forgive and love both of them.
2. THE PERMISSIVE CHARACTER OF THE PARABLE - The father in the parable does not compel his younger son not to leave from home. He doesn't force the older one to enter inside the house either. He gives his fortune to his two sons without compelling them to do anything against their will. God's right to evaluate, reward, and punish people is directly proportional to people's freedom to choose what to do with their lives. The lesson we learn from here is that what does not come from love, what is not done voluntarily and what does not come from the heart, has no value before God.
3. THE PROPHETIC CHARACTER OF THE PARABLE - Because the parable is addressed to the most religious nation, the youngest son becomes the symbol of the emancipation of spirituality and religion, being as a prophecy about what God`s Church would become in 2000 years. The life lesson we receive here is that the young generation will always have the tendency to emancipate, to have fun, to trust in oneself, to disregard rules and authority, to disregard the experience of the older generation, to be individualistic.
4. THE PROFANE CHARACTER OF THE PARABLE - Because the parable is addressed to the religious leaders of the Jews, the older son, who remained "obediently" at home, is nevertheless full of dissatisfaction, envy, resentment, superiority, and unforgiveness. What we get from here is that even the most serious of people are wrong and guilty before the absolute holiness of God.
The Creator is presented in the Bible as the only perfect Father. None of the fathers featured in the Bible is perfect in any aspect of their lives.
This parable highlights the love of God and the responsibility of people. God loves them, provides them with the necessary resources, but man has the responsibility to serve God with passion. People's reaction leads to reward or punishment.

 December 22

 

At the celebration of the incarnation of our Savior, no matter what we call it, we celebrate the coming of Messiah to earth. Some people question, with ulterior motives, “where does the Bible say that Jesus was born on the 24th of December?” The Bible does not state the date when Jesus was born, but surely He was born one day. For the Church, the celebration of the incarnation of the Savior is a symbol of worship, of honor, of adoration, or remembrance in the honor of the Lord. For us the church, it is good to focus on the significance of the incarnation of the Savior, understanding in this way the sacrifice of His love, and especially, the purpose of His coming into our world.
When we look at this supernatural event, we accept the fact that we do not fully understand it, but this does not scare us, because what happened then is an action at God’s level. If we tried to understand and explain God, what kind of god would that be? He would be like us, at our level. God is supernatural and His actions are supernatural. In fact, this is the kind of God we need!
1. The incarnation of the Savior is enigmatic and cannot be understood with logic. Even the Virgin Mary did not understand how this work could be possible, reason for which she asked the angel who brought her the news, “How can this be?” (Luke 1:34).
2. The incarnation of the Savior is acceptable through faith. There are many events in history surrounded in mystery, unrepeatable and inexplicable, but we believe them without needing logical arguments.
When the Apostle Thomas asked for evidence in order to accept the inexplicable event of Christ’s incarnation, Christ presented him with the evidence of His palms and body pierced by nails and spear. Thomas realized that the resurrection was real and surrendered. Christ used this experience to teach Thomas the definition of faith and the difference between faith and evidence-based findings.
3. The Incarnation of the Savior is evident in the experience of His contemporaries. Messiah’s disciples and the thousands in His generation that were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ would not have chosen to give their lives for Him if they had not been convinced that all those things were true. We have no opportunity to verify the authenticity of His incarnation, death, resurrection, but they had this possibility, because these events happened among them, in front of their eyes.
Our grandparents and perhaps even our parents are no longer alive this Christmas. They cannot choose to celebrate or to ignore. They had dozens upon dozens of chances, just as we do today… what did they do with those chances? What do we do with these opportunities? We wish to celebrate alongside the Celebrated, in His honor, and for His glory.
We wish you a Merry Christmas, a calm one, filled with joy and peace!

 

 

 December 29

Specialists in the fields of education, neuropsychology, sociology and theology try to decipher the mystery of successfully raising up a child. Since we are in the context of celebrating the incarnation of our Savior Jesus Christ, we easily can remark a few significant details of His childhood and adolescence:
I. The baby Jesus WAS BROUGHT BY His parents to the Temple.
On the eight day, His parents named Him Jesus, according to the command given by the angel (Luke 1:31) and they circumcised him (Luke 2:21), according to the commandment given by God in Genesis 17:12. The eighth day corresponded to the end of a woman’s first cleansing period after giving birth (Leviticus 12:2). This period of cleansing closed entirely after thirty-three days if the child was a boy and after sixty-six days if the newborn was a girl (Leviticus 12:3-5). Only after this period of time the child was to be brought to the Temple and consecrated to the Lord, alongside other sacrifices demanded by the Law (Luke 2:21-24).
II. At the age of twelve, the adolescent Jesus CAME WITH His parents to the temple.
With a single verse (2:42), the evangelist Luke covers twelve years of Jesus’ childhood. At the age of thirteen, a Jewish boy entered the ranks of adulthood through the Bar-Mitzvah ritual. From that moment on, the young Jew was required to obey the Law and was held responsible for every violation of it. The responsibility for spiritual growth was his own and became much more serious. Perhaps Jesus was taken by Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem precisely in order to prepare Him for that moment of “early accountability”. Luke does not mention anything about the performance of the temple ritual but presents the incident that took place at the end of the feast. His parents had begun their journey home, alongside others in their area and after they had travelled for a day, they realized their Son was not with them, reason for which they returned to look for Him in the temple. “After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46-47). When His parents asked Him to explain His actions, they understood from His answer where He belonged and His identity: “‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ “(Luke 2:49). How strange this answer must have seemed to Joseph’s ears, his adoptive father! The Bible mentions that they “did not understand what He was saying to them. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them…”. He was obedient. There are two short comments that Luke makes in reference to Jesus, comments that are made in two transitions:
1. “The child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him”. This transition links the incarnation and His’ going with His parents to the temple.
2. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”. This transition links the time when Jesus was twelve and went with His parents to the temple with His entry into public ministry.
III. When He became an adult, and for the rest of His earthly life, Jesus went to the temple WITHOUT His parents.
Jesus’ example, as a child, adolescent and adult is an ideal model for every pair of parents.