Message from Fr Gary - September - October 2020
Give Them Something to Eat: Fr. Gary’s Message
The New Ecclesiastical year begins September 1. The story of Christ feeding the five thousand will serve as the theme for our Parish Leadership during this new year. With two small fish and five loaves Jesus was able to feed a multitude of followers. The Disciples’ care for the crowd and discipline they show to Christ is a standard for us to follow.
In all four Gospel accounts the Lord requests that the loaves and the fish be brought to Him. He then proceeds to “give thanks,” multiplies the food and everyone is satisfied. Our Parish ministries and Her leadership should emulate the standard set forth by the 12 Disciples.
As Ministry leaders we are all disciples of Christ. Parish Council members, Sunday School Teachers, Committee and Event Chairpersons, etc. are disciples of our Lord, His Church and Her ministry to our congregation. Just as the Disciples demonstrated concern for the crowds, our Parish Ministry Leaders should be prepared to show that same care to all in our community. Even though most are volunteers, all are considered and called to be disciples.
In the miracle the Disciples show care for the crowds but seek a quick solution to the problem and discount their ability to help. Knowing that they would not be able to feed the multitude, because they were isolated and had limited food, they simply asked Christ to “send them away.” Although it may not seem like it, this is an amazing display of compassion. The Disciples knew their limitations and explain to Christ, “Look, there are too many of them and we don’t have enough. Please tell them to go find sustenance. ”Surprisingly, Christ commands them, “You give them something to eat.”
Rather than complaining and explaining that there is not enough to share, the Disciples are obedient to the command of Jesus. They bring what they have and layit in front of our Lord. Christ takes the offering, blesses it, multiplies it, and returns the bounty for the Disciples to distribute. The multitude is satisfied by the work of the Disciples.
Our ministries at St. Demetrios will prosper when we follow the example shown to us by the Disciples in this miracle. Applying these lessons to our work will be pleasing and edifying. By emulating the actions of the Disciples, the parish becomes a place where all can come to be made whole.
First, we must be kind and show compassion for one another. The Disciples looked beyond their desires and showed concern for the well-being of the crowd and sought to fulfill their needs. Understanding that it was about to get cold and dark, the Disciples understood the impending needs of the people. They knew what was going on and realized the challenge before them. Because of their love for the people they knew what type of care they needed. They had love for one another.
Next, we must be obedient to Christ. We should understand that we serve Christ and that the multitude, the congregation, the Church, belong to Him and to Him alone! We are present to assist in the implementation of His will. Our service at Church and in the life of the parish is not to satisfy our own wants and desires, but to fulfill the will of our Lord. The Disciples did what Christ commanded. He told them to bring the fish and loaves to Him and they did. Obedience to Christ is the basis of our faith in Him. We must be faithful and know that our Lord will shepherd and protect us.
Third, we must understand that everything belongs to Christ. All we have is His, it came from Him and we are stewards of the gifts He has given us. We have no personal ownership of the ministries we serve. Imagine if the young lad that had the fish and loaves selfishly said, “No. This is my food!” More readily, and generously, and with the assistance of Andrew and Philip he offered his possessions to Christ and his gift was used to satisfy the entire group. We should be willing to share what we have so that the ministry of our parish is fulfilled. The fish and loaves can serve as reminders of the talent we offer, the treasure we give and the time we contribute. In giving and sharing we are returning to God what He has blessed us with, so that it can be multiplied and experienced by all.
Lastly, do the work! The command given by Christ is “You give them something to eat.” The Disciples feed the people with what Christ has blessed and multiplied. Our ministries are to fulfill the needs of the congregation. Our work should satisfy our parishioners. The function of all ministries at St. Demetrios is to provide respite and nourishment for the souls of everyone we encounter.
As we embark the New Ecclesiastical Year, while navigating the current conditions of the pandemic, let’s all do what we can to emulate the care and compassion the Disciples showed to the multitude on that day. Our Parish ministries serve our spiritual well-being and provide nourishment for the soul. As we plan each event, meeting, and activity, consideration to the Lord’s command will be the driving pulse. As parishioners and participants of the community we will encourage one another with love and commitment to Christ. As disciples of the ministries of our parish, we are commanded by our Lord to, “Give them something to eat.”
In Christ’s Service,
Fr. Gary Kyriacou