In Luke 14:7-14 Jesus’s states that when you are invited to a wedding banquet not to sit in the place of honour but to sit at the lowest table. Additionally, be inclusive of everyone not just celebrate with your family and friends.
Last Sunday, I was invited by the Adelaide Northern Syro-Malabar Community to celebrate the Feast of Saint Euphrasia. When I arrived I was welcomed and ushered to go to the place of honour. Immediately I felt part of their community even though I was not familiar with the story of Saint Euphrasia, did not share their cultural heritage and speak or understand their language that they spoke in the mass.
What struck me was the Syro-Malabar Community’s transformation of our school hall with their sacred statue of Saint Euphrasia behind a glass statue with adorning lights, the sanctuary covered in red fabric, the altar decorated with an ornamental cloth and on the other side of the sanctuary a a beautiful statue of Mary. Immediately it was clearly visible that this was a mass dedicated to Feast of Saint Euphrasia. Moreover, I felt their acceptance of me as a stranger but also of each other. For example, a baby was crying throughout the ceremony but no one frowned or commented the mass just continued as though this didn’t happen.
Furthermore, when I looked out in the assembled in the gathering I saw a sea of colour of families singing and praying. Then the mass evolved into acknowledging those who contributed to the community through gift giving, followed by a procession around the school grounds and concluded in a shared meal.
They were just like the Early Christian Communities, Acts 2:46 “Day by day in the temple, they broke bread, ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all people. Perhaps the Adelaide Northern Syro-Malabar Community are not only a model of the Early Church but a signpost to the Church of the future.