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GREETING By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America At the Metropolis of New Jersey Christmas Open House

GREETING

By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

At the Metropolis of New Jersey Christmas Open House

Metropolis Headquarters

Westfield, New Jersey

December 20, 2022

 

My dear friends,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to your Metropolis this evening for our Christmas Open House. As you know, Bethlehem means “House of Bread,” which is an image of our Lord’s humanity that we celebrate at Christmas. But it is also an image of warmth, of care, of hearth and of home.

Here at the Metropolis, this is your home. This is your hearth. This is the beating heart of the Metropolis, from which your various ministries issue forth to nourish the faithful.

Tonight, the open doors of the Metropolis of New Jersey affirm our welcome to all. And as Greeks, we know there will be enough to feed everyone! But the nourishment that we so deeply need is the emotional and spiritual sustenance that our Lord Himself represents as He lays in the Manger. He came to the world to feed the world with Himself, that we might become strong enough to feed one another. The Eucharist is the Bread that truly sustains the soul.

My beloved friends, as we enjoy our fellowship this evening, let us all reflect on the “House of Bread” that Bethlehem became for the whole world.

Let us each ask ourselves: “How can I make this Metropolis, and my own community, the most welcoming and nourishing place it can be?”

In opening our doors for this reception tonight, we manifest a deeper truth about the Church – one reflected in the Book of Revelation in the description of New Jerusalem:

All the day long Her gates will never be shut – and thus it will always be, since there is no night there![1]

The gates of our hearts, the portals to our love and compassion, are called to be open! Just as the New Jerusalem is open because the Light of Christ – the unwaning Light of the Resurrection – never ceases to spread His brilliant rays, so also shall our doors remain open as long as we reflect the light of Christ in our lives.

It all started with the Star that guided the Shepherds and Magi. But it ends with the Sun of Righteousness rising over the world and filling everything with light.

Our inspiration will always be the Mother of God – who, like the moon, receives light from the sun and sheds this light in the dark corners of the world. And we, too, can receive this light and reflect it back to our troubled world – if we are open to it, of course.

Therefore, on this Christmas, may the doors of our hearts swing open to the world – without fear or worry – and offer the very best of our Church to all who come to us. His light always shines on through the darkness, and the darkness will never overwhelm it. [2]

May God grant unto you and your families to arrive in safety and peace at the glorious Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and may you enjoy a happy and healthy New Year of 2023!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα!

 

[1] Revelation 21:25.

[2] Cf. John 1:5.