Reflections on the Paschal season
Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache
Part Five: The Fifth Sunday
Recorded on 22 May 2020
Topic: The Gospel is for all, regardless of ethnic background and language
The Paschal Revolution: Beyond the Forty Days with the Risen Lord
Reflection on the festival’s scriptural readings: Acts 11:19–30. John 4:5–42.
Excerpt from Reading Scripture in the Orthodox Church: The Sunday Cycle (pp. 25-27)
Christianity is not a religiously sanctioned ethnicity. The truth which liberates (John 8:31–32) and brings about the fullness of life (John 10:10) cannot be confined to holy places or taken for the genetic inheritance of a given ethnicity. The truth which liberates—the paschal revolution—is not bound by categories such as location, sacred language, custom, or nation. We do not have to go to Jerusalem, Athos, or anywhere else in order to become Christians. We do not have to undergo blood transfusion and learn the language of the ancient gods in order to be Christians. To be a Christian one must be transformed in the light of the Gospel. The first missionaries sent out from Jerusalem sought to perpetuate the original Jewishness of Christianity and were shocked when they learned that in Antioch the Gospel was preached to the Gentiles. What happened in Antioch was crucial for the destiny of Christianity, namely, the dissemination of the Gospel as truth that liberates from cultural idiosyncrasies and ethnic pride. Saint Barnabas and Saint Paul understood that the Gospel was not the religion of a supposedly sacred genetic inheritance and its supposedly sacred language. Christ himself taught the Samaritan woman and his own disciples that what characterises Christianity is glorification of the Father in Christ (the Truth) and the Holy Spirit, not the outward signs of religion. The Gospel is for all and all are called to Christ regardless of who they are, where they come from, what cultural memory conditions them, and what language they speak. This is the perception of whoever adheres to the Good News—the paschal revolution which transforms one’s heart into a wellspring of living water.
Being atopic, transnational, transcultural, and metalinguistic, Christianity is about worshiping the Holy Trinity and personal transformation.
22 May 2020 © AIOCS
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