December 2020 Pastoral Message
My dear Sts. Constantine and Helen family,
This Pandemic is getting old, don’t you agree? Though we are hearing there is a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations being promised for the new year, we are seeing an up-swing in the number of cases and deaths around most of the state of Pennsylvania, the United States and in a large portion of the world. We are continuing to have to socially distance (and quarantine if we have been around those who have contracted the virus) and our Christmas celebrations and gatherings are being cancelled or greatly curtailed. More significantly, many are still without work, our seniors are still shut in their homes or living facilities, our youth are being kept from school, and this isolation and financial insecurity is plaguing us with loneliness, fear, and depression. And some of us are just plain annoyed. What we need is some good news.
Thankfully, there is Good News. It is actually the greatest news ever proclaimed and announced to mankind. God is with us! He has come and with His coming we see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that Light is Christ. The Good News is that He has given us His Church, as a refuge and spiritual intensive care center, where we can continue to be protected, comforted, healed, and rejuvenated. As Orthodox Christians, when we put on Christ, we become a new creation. the old has passed away. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! [2 Cor. 5:17].
We do not need to live in fear, but in love and service (see Fr. Jim's article pgs. 4,5). This is how we put on Christ. We do not need to prepare for the worst but to be prepared for His coming, once again, into the world--with His Nativity--so that He enters into our hearts and lives. (see Dino's article pgs. 6,7). This is how we put on Christ. As Met. Anthony tells us in his Christmas sermon (see pgs. 1,10), "... the world is no longer the same. We live in a world into which God has come, in which He is the living power, the inspiration, Life itself..." Glory to God!
I want to thank all of you, my dear family in Christ, for your continued acts of faith and love as we as stay united and focused on fulfilling the Lord's will for us during these trying times. As 2020 comes to an end, we end this year knowing that our vision of who we are and why we are here has been made more clear by all of the challenging events of this past year. We have acquired 20/20 vision. We are Christ's Body, His chosen people, His family. We serve and suffer along with each and every other of the least of His brethren revealing to them the Hope He gives us that there will be an end of all the pain, sorrow, and suffering, when He comes again for all those who have welcomed His Coming. Wishing all of you a blessed period of preparation and celebration of our Lord’s Birth,
Rev. Fr. Theodore Petrides