Two Sundays before the celebration of Christmas, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited St. Mary Church of Berkley, Michigan
, which he found to be energetic, enthusiastic and eager to work.
The pastor, Fr. Boulos Moussa, and the faithful welcomed His Eminence and His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest for their annual anniversary gala on the weekend of December 11-12, 2021.
On Saturday morning, Sayidna Joseph visited the church, and met with the parish council, the Antiochian Women and Teen SOYO. The parish council then hosted a delicious lunch. That night, following Great Vespers, the church hosted a banquet with more than 300 people present from the Detroit area.
On Sunday morning, His Eminence presided at Orthros and celebrated the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. On the second Sunday before Christmas, the Orthodox Church hears the Lord’s parable of the man who gave a great banquet, and invited many guests, only to be rejected with their various excuses (Luke 14:16-24). In other words, they rejected our Lord’s invitation to the mystical banquet – holy communion.
“If we decline the invitation of the priest, it is fine. If we decline the invitation of the bishop, it is fine,” Sayidna Joseph preached. “But we cannot decline the invitation of Christ when the priest proclaims ‘with fear of God, faith and love, draw near.’
“Let us spend the next few days of this holy season with fasting and teaching our loved ones the true meaning of this feast. Do not let this feast just pass.
“The church exists to help people live a virtuous life in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It does not exist to be a social club.”