Next service: February 11, 16:30

THE NATIVITY FAST


...In the Orthodox tradition, Advent is the time of the Nativity Fast. Advent is preparation time. Preparations for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Preparations for the Holiday. To the triumph of spirit, soul, and body. The image of the supper, the wedding feast and the celebration is very dear to the Lord. He speaks of him more than once in his parables. So, in the 14th chapter of the Gospel of Luke (Lk.14; 16-24) the Savior tells about the gentleman who made a big supper.

When the time came, that is, the Hour of the Supper, the master commanded his servant to call those who were invited. But “they all, as if by agreement, began to apologize” (14:18). "I bought land, I bought oxen, I got married...". Ordinary, human, real, and in this human authenticity, undoubtedly worthy of accepting justification.

But the Lord, learning about this, became angry and said to his servant: “Go quickly through the streets and alleys of the city and bring here the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind” (21). "Fulfilled as you ordered, and there is still room" (22). Then the Lord said to the servant: “Go along the roads and the hedges and persuade me to come so that my house will be filled. For I tell you, none of those called will taste my supper, for many are called, but few are chosen” (23-24).

The anger came in response to real, fully scripturally justified excuses for those who couldn't come. Then the Lord sovereignly called those who had not previously had anything to do with the supper. His predestination determined "to persuade to come."

The words "for I say to you", that is, in fact, "Amen", in response to their own words, inherent in the Gospel, and in general in Scripture, exclusively to the Lord Jesus, speak of the divinity of the Lord in the Parable. They also speak of the eschatological character of this parable. Recall that eschatology is what theology calls the word about the end times.

There is another image of the supper in Scripture. At the very end of the Book of the Apocalypse, “An angel standing in the sun exclaimed with a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying in the middle of the sky: fly, assemble for the great supper of God to devour the corpses of kings, horses and those who sit on it, the corpses of all free and slaves small and great” (Rev. 19:17-18). The Supper to which the Lord calls the birds of the air...

The poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind - all of us, or, better, the whole Church, as the Society of Believers, an assembly of spiritual and moral cripples, consecrated by God to Himself from all peoples. Those who were not called were guests at the Gospel Supper. The called ones, who previously seemed to be chosen, the mighty of this world, became outcasts by the biblical word, and, at the same time, guests, or, better, participants, of a terrible apocalyptic supper.

The combination of these two images of the supper, from the Gospel and the Apocalypse, is extremely important in our evil time. It is extremely important at this moment of waiting for the New Year and Christmas. Today we are living through a time that is somewhat reminiscent of an invitation. This invitation by the powerful of this world is unclear where. An invitation from all directions. May it not drown out the Voice of the Lord, who calls His Church and His World to the true Supper, which is, first of all, His very Life. Life of God. From the pages of the Gospel, God gives us a new, New Testament definition of Himself as the Future of every Man.

“For from His divine power everything that is necessary for life and godliness has been given to us, through the knowledge of Him who called us with glory and goodness, by which great and precious promises have been given to us, so that through them you may become partakers of the Divine Nature,” writes the Apostle Peter (2 Pet.1 ;3-4).

The approach to the Holy of Holies of the divine life here on earth in the Eucharist must become the realization of an unconditional ready determination to participate in the Supper of God - the only way to avoid the supper of judgment that begins here and now from the divine words of the Apocalypse.

Fr.Dr.Augustin Sokolovsky

Share: