THE FEAST OF FEASTS

“The angel then said to me: ‘Write this down: Happy are they who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ ” —Revelation 19:9

In the USA, today is Thanksgiving Day. Many of us will be enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving feast with our families. We hope that this feast will prefigure the ultimate feast, “the wedding feast of the Lamb” in heaven.
To accept the Lord’s invitation to His wedding feast, we must make a covenant of love with Him, completely give our lives to the Lord, and have a relationship with Him which transcends marriage.
This wedding feast is the feast of Jesus, called the Lamb. To come to the wedding feast, we need the weakness of the slain Lamb of God. We must have the weakness of the cross (see 2 Cor 13:4) by which God’s power is brought to perfection (2 Cor 12:9).
Furthermore, all those at the heavenly wedding feast “have survived the great period of trial; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rv 7:14). At the everlasting, ultimate wedding feast, all present have a purified, crucified, covenant-love for the Lamb of God.
At Holy Communion, the priest proclaims: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” Live a life of love and daily Communion. Accept the invitation to the heavenly wedding feast of the Lamb.

Prayer: Father, thank You for inviting me to celebrate with You forever in heaven. I accept Your invitation.
Promise: “When these things begin to happen, stand erect and hold your heads high, for your deliverance is near at hand.” —Lk 21:28
Praise: Clara’s home-based community gets together several times monthly for fellowship, thanksgiving, and faith-building.

If we are sheep, we overcome; if wolves, we are overcome

A homily by St John Chrysostom

As long as we are sheep, we overcome and, though surrounded by countless wolves, we emerge victorious; but if we turn into wolves, we are overcome, for we lose the shepherd’s help. He, after all, feeds the sheep not wolves, and will abandon you if you do not let him show his power in you.
What he says is this: “Do not be upset that, as I send you out among the wolves, I bid you be as sheep and doves. I could have managed things quite differently and sent you, not to suffer evil nor to yield like sheep to the wolves, but to be fiercer than lions. But the way I have chosen is right. It will bring you greater praise and at the same time manifest my power.” That is what he told Paul: My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power is made perfect. “I intend,” he says, “to deal in the same way with you.” For, when he says, I am sending you out like sheep, he implies: “But do not therefore lose heart, for I know and am certain that no one will be able to overcome you.”
The Lord, however, does want them to contribute something, lest everything seem to be the work of grace, and they seem to win their reward without deserving it. Therefore he adds: You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. But, they may object, what good is our cleverness amid so many dangers? How can we be clever when tossed about by so many waves? However great the cleverness of the sheep as he stands among the wolves – so many wolves! – what can it accomplish? However great the innocence of the dove, what good does it do him, with so many hawks swooping upon him? To all this I say: Cleverness and innocence admittedly do these irrational creatures no good, but they can help you greatly.
What cleverness is the Lord requiring here? The cleverness of a snake. A snake will surrender everything and will put up no great resistance even if its body is being cut in pieces, provided it can save its head. So you, the Lord is saying, must surrender everything but your faith: money, body, even life itself. For faith is the head and the root; keep that, and though you lose all else, you will get it back in abundance. The Lord therefore counselled the disciples to be not simply clever or innocent; rather he joined the two qualities so that they become a genuine virtue. He insisted on the cleverness of the snake so that deadly wounds might be avoided, and he insisted on the innocence of the dove so that revenge might not be taken on those who injure or lay traps for you. Cleverness is useless without innocence.
Do not believe that this precept is beyond your power. More than anyone else, the Lord knows the true natures of created things; he knows that moderation, not a fierce defence, beats back a fierce attack.

THANKSGIVING ALL TOGETHER AND FOREVER

“You will be delivered up even by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death.” —Luke 21:16

Many of you in the USA will be spending Thanksgiving with your families and relatives. As you visit with the family, pray that none of them will betray you and turn you over to the police to be executed for your faith in Jesus. Pray also that you yourself will not turn them in to the authorities when persecution rages against the disciples of Jesus.
If we and our families are committed 100% to the Lord, we will not persecute each other. Instead, we will support one another in the coming times of persecution. If our families pray together this Thanksgiving (not just before meal prayers), we may well stay together and resist the pressures to betray our Christian brothers and sisters.
Then we will have the greatest family reunion ever and forever. Each member of our families will have won the victory over the evil one and His forces (see Rv 15:2). Each member of our families will be standing on “something like a sea of glass mingled with fire” (Rv 15:2). Our whole family will be worshipping God and singing: “Mighty and wonderful are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Righteous and true are Your ways, O King of the nations!” (Rv 15:3)
Tomorrow, pray with your family for a happy Thanksgiving all together and forever.

Prayer: Father, make my family holy and happy together forever.
Promise: “Since You alone are holy, all nations shall come and worship in Your presence. Your mighty deeds are clearly seen.” —Rv 15:4
Praise: When in session, several Christian legislators gather for a weekly prayer meeting in seeking God’s wisdom concerning the current debated issues.

Woe to the souls where Christ does not dwell!

A sermon said to be by St Macarius

When God was displeased with the Jews, he delivered Jerusalem to the enemy, and they were conquered by those who hated them; there were no more sacrifices or feasts. Likewise angered at a soul who had broken his commands, God handed it over to its enemies, who corrupted and totally dishonoured it. When a house has no master living in it, it becomes dark, vile and contemptible, choked with filth and disgusting refuse. So too is a soul which has lost its master, who once rejoiced there with his angels. This soul is darkened with sin, its desires are degraded, and it knows nothing but shame.
Woe to the path that is not walked on, or along which the voices of men are not heard, for then it becomes the haunt of wild animals. Woe to the soul if the Lord does not walk within it to banish with his voice the spiritual beasts of sin. Woe to the house where no master dwells, to the field where no farmer works, to the pilotless ship, storm-tossed and sinking. Woe to the soul without Christ as its true pilot; drifting in the darkness, buffeted by the waves of passion, storm-tossed at the mercy of evil spirits, its end is destruction. Woe to the soul that does not have Christ to cultivate it with care to produce the good fruit of the Holy Spirit. Left to itself, it is choked with thorns and thistles; instead of fruit it produces only what is fit for burning. Woe to the soul that does not have Christ dwelling in it; deserted and foul with the filth of the passions, it becomes a haven for all the vices. When a farmer prepares to till the soil he must put on clothing and use tools that are suitable. So Christ, our heavenly king, came to till the soil of mankind devastated by sin. He assumed a body and, using the cross as his ploughshare, cultivated the barren soul of man. He removed the thorns and thistles which are the evil spirits and pulled up the weeds of sin. Into the fire he cast the straw of wickedness. And when he had ploughed the soul with the wood of the cross, he planted in it a most lovely garden of the Spirit, that could produce for its Lord and God the sweetest and most pleasant fruit of every kind.