Weekly Thoughts

Dearly Beloved,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
 
Sunday, November 22, Annunciation to St Mary
Epistle Readings:1 John 3:2-17, Galatians 4:1-7, Hebrews 2:14-18
Gospel Reading, St Luke 1:26-38 RSV
 
 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35 And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
 
Reflections
Here the text starts with ‘In the sixth month…’ which points to something connected to the past. Throughout the Bible, everything is connected. Adam & Eve’s sin is connected to the birth of Christ. God giving Ten Commandments is connected to Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. The exodus from Egypt is connected to the Church’s journey from bondage to salvation lead by Christ. Abraham offering tithe to Melchizedek is connected to the Church offering worship to Christ the Eternal King. Jesus choosing the twelve disciples is connected to the twelve sons of Jacob and their tribes. Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac is connected to God the Father sacrificing His Only Begotten Son on the Cross. St. Mary’s conception is connected to that of St. Elizabeth. St. John the Baptist’s birth is connected to the ministry of Jesus the Messiah.
 
In life, every incident is connected to each other: past to the future, celestial to terrestrial, heaven to earth, dawn to dusk, stone to dust. We experience this in the present life. Our birth is connected to events in the past and prophecies of future. In science, art, culture, philosophy, literature, technology and in all fields of life, nothing is disconnected. Disconnection is death. The angel visited St. Mary as a fulfilment of the expectations of the world. Hearing good news, getting engaged to someone, starting family life, giving birth to a child, starting a job or business, getting ill or getting healed, travelling from one place to another: everything has a reason and purpose. Life becomes successful only when we realize this and arrange life accordingly.
 
St. Mary did realize her role and offered herself to that purpose. In every woman, there is a St. Mary, in every man, a St. Joseph, in every child, a Saviour. Humans tend to look unto themselves on the bases of their physical grounds. What the Archangel Gabriel said to St. Mary is relevant to every human: “You have the Grace of God upon you” (Luke 1:30). When we look at life in that perspective, we would be able to bring out Christ. It is the challenge of the Nativity, the challenge of the Incarnation, the challenge of discipleship. Let us conceive and deliver Christ by listening to God’s message and submitting to His will.
 

Feasts 
November 20: HG Job Mar Philexinos Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese, 9th anniversary, entombed at Tabore Dayara Chapel, Pathanapuram.
 
SGOCT Parish Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, November 22, 2020
Please join the meeting which is meant for all our members. Let us see and greet each other in the love of Christ. May this meeting further strengthen our fellowship and bring more closeness to the Apostolic fraternity. Please be aware that God shall be in our midst and His Grace will be the ground of our unity. In the same way He had called Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He has called us to this world for His mission and service. We are the current heirs to listen to Him and to respond in Holy Spirit.
 
The virtual Town Hall meeting will be held this Sunday, November 22 starting at 3:00 pm on Webex. The link will be sent closer to the meeting day. Please pray for our coming together. Feel free and keep the sense of being one single body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Christmas Area Carol Service & Celebration
Our Parish will be organizing a carol service at church on three consecutive Sundays starting on November 29th. Each Sunday will be for a specific area. We will be following the past practice of dedicating carol singing to area members. The carol singing will be done at Church after the Holy Liturgy. We can suggest carol songs. Donations are welcome and highly appreciated.
 
Christmas celebration shall be conducted on December 19th in the evening starting with evening prayer at 6:00 pm. Sunday School and other spiritual organizations could either sing or do presentations while maintaining COVID-19 protocols. I do believe that all organizations have started practicing for their presentations. If we cannot make it on stage, there is possibility to do it virtually. Most probably this could be the first and last Covidian Christmas! Let us not miss it. We have reasons to praise and thank the Lord for His dwelling with us! Hallelujah!!!
 
Virtual Meetings
Friday, November 20, NE American Diocese MMVS Retreat, 12:00- 01:00 pm
Friday, November 20, Sunday School Liturgical Session for Seniors, 06:00- 07:00 pm
Saturday, November 21, SGOCT Prayer Meeting, 07:00- 08:30 pm
Sunday November 22, Parish Virtual Town Hall Meeting, 03:00- 05:00 pm
Thursday November 26, Gregorian Seniors Forum, 08:00- 10:00 pm
Friday, November 27, Divyabodhanam, 07:00- 09:00 pm
 
Invite from St Thomas OC Toronto
Please find an invitation from St Thomas Orthodox Church Toronto. It would be beneficial for our members. Please respond if convenient.
 
The FOCUS group of the St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Toronto will be hosting a one-day virtual conference exploring the family unit and how it can be considered as a living church. The event is geared towards young couples, as well as individuals who are considering marriage.
 
Our guest speaker will be Rev. Fr. Anoop Thomas, vicar of St. Barnabas Indian Orthodox Mission, Washington D.C. Please join us on Saturday, November 21, 2020, at 11 AM for online interactive discussions, Q&A, and liturgical prayer.
 
Please click on the following link to register:
http://bit.ly/focusconference2020
 
MMVS Canada Region Virtual Annual Conference: Saturday December 12, 2020
North East American Diocese Canada region MMVS is conducting Virtual Annual Regional Conference and Bible Study through Google Meet on Saturday, December 12, 2020 starting at 09:15am to finish by 12:30pm. Please find time for this meeting and straightaway block your diary.
 
Parish Directory
The Parish Directory will be delivered to our members soon in a feasible manner.
 
Plaque of Contributors
As we have planned earlier, the names of those who have contributed towards the Church Renovation Project shall be exhibited on plaques in the Church basement area. We have different categories based on the total amount given, starting with a $5000 contribution. It may be feasible for those who have already contributed below $5000 to pay the rest and get into the list. Those who wish to upgrade could make the rest of the payment corresponding to the category they wish to be in. For those who haven’t contributed yet, there is still time to contribute and have their names inscribed on the plaque. November 30, 2020 will be the deadline for finishing the payment. It would be a great support to our parish especially during this prolonged pandemic period. Each dollar will be carefully spent for the best of purposes. Please make use of this opportunity to declare our love, dedication, and solidarity towards our Parish.
 
The list of eligible members whose names will be inscribed on the plaque has been posted on the parish notice board in the basement. For any clarification, please check and contact the Treasurer at (647) 887 4010.
 
 Articles required for the church
We are in process of buying articles required in the Church. Because of the Covid restrictions, there could be delays in getting things delivered. We do hope that the articles shall be ready to use for us soon. I am really glad about the inquiries made by a few of our members after sending the request to buy church articles. We have purchased a Baptismal Font, Crystal Containers, Candle Wick Holder, and Taksa Stand. We have also placed orders for Chalice and Paten, Arulikka etc.  Those who wish to donate, please call or text the vicar on (416) 570 5610.
 
Welcome New Born!
Baiju and Jiny (Dir Ref: B 12) have been blessed with a baby boy! Praises and thanks to God for His Graces and Blessings. Joshua and Joanna are thrilled to see their new play mate! They will both be a wonderful big brother and sister to the newcomer! Hearty congrats to the parents, grandparents and Joshua Chettan & Joanne Chechi! God bless!
 
Liturgical Text for this Sunday, in English
We will be using the Taksa of Holy Fathers (M’Kanastha). It has short prayers. Easy to listen to and grasp. Please make sure to attend to the prayers.
           
Please find the Link for Live Streaming
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDT7tcyQw1yZ1_yCG9AWStA
 
COVID-19 Guidelines
It is highly disappointing to see Ontario is entering the Red Zone with COVID-19’s rising numbers. Let us be more cautious while keeping ourselves without losing confidence. Please be assured that God shall be our protector and guardian. As our ancestors always tend to say, we could also say: ‘Let His Will be Done’. He will spread His wings to keep us safe.
 
May the Gracious Lord keep us from harm and heal the whole world.
 
Yours in Christ
Thomas John Achen
Fr Thomas P John
fr.thomaspjohn@gmail.com
Mobile: (416) 570 5610