10 February 2013

posted 7 Feb 2013, 04:20 by C S Paul

10 February 2013

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

1st Sunday of Fifty Days Lent

(Kothine Sunday - Pethrutha of the Great Lent)

Gospel Reading for this Sunday

John 2:1-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Water Turned to Wine

1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 

2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 

3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.

6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 

7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 

8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 

9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 

10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

Sermon for the First Sunday of Great Lent

by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Malankara World Board Member

"Do whatever He tells you." (John 2:5)

Are you ready to do what He tells you?

The way to a happy life here on earth and the world to come, is to listen to the word of God in attention. There is no other way. Jesus says, "I'm the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). The problem of the world is that we are not ready to bring the matter to Him and allow him to work in His time. We meddle with things that can't be solved with our human brains, but is possible only with the simple obedience to work things out as per his manuals and directions.

In Cana, Galilee, Jesus, his mother and disciples were in a marriage feast. Mary brought the problem of wine shortage to Jesus and she trusted him to do what was right. The servants followed his instruction of filling the 6 stone jars with water and distributing it. " So the servants followed his instructions" (John 2:8). Then the water became wine.

Life is also like a feast of marriage - a love feast of finding out the need, addressing the need at the appropriate place, sensibly solving and fulfilling the need. This can happen only to the genuine Christians who follow Him.

The Bible, without any doubt, speaks about the kingdom of heaven on earth and above and is for those who follow the will of God. "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my father in Heaven will enter" (Mathew 7:21). Again Christ says, "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is like a wise person who builds his house on solid rock" (Mathew 7:24).

The question everyone asks everyday is, 'Is it possible to do and live by the word of Jesus?" If Jesus is the God and Lord that you and I accept, then we should, will and can follow His ways. Otherwise, there is no meaning of worshipping, preaching or having churches and institutions bearing his name.

The established churches, Christian institutions and the majority of the so-called Christians are keeping away from Jesus and his teachings from our daily lives thinking that it will hurt their so-called smooth, prosperous and worldly life on this earth, thus revealing the 'real person' in them.

There are millions of unheard and unsung people who follow Jesus in their daily lives. Here is an example of a community that live by the sermon on the Mount and the words of Jesus for a happy Christian life. They live in a community in Denver, Colorado, and perhaps in all of the Rockies. It's a branch of a medieval experiment in Christian Communal Living, an international movement founded in France in 1973. There are more than 70 branches all over the world including Germany, Hungary, Lebanon, Peru, Djibouti, Zaire and News Land. This is what they do pretty much all day: work and pray as monks do. At 7.15 am, it's morning prayer followed by celebration of mass at 8. Then at 8.30 am, members read their Bibles. They work from 9 am to 11 am after which it's an adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. By noon, they again say their prayers and have lunch. The afternoons follow a similar pattern like the mornings and, finally, the day ends with night prayers at 8.30 p.m.

A distraught woman rang the bell late one night and said, "My nephew, Bobbie, is going to die. He's on artificial ventilation. He's going to die. Could you pray for him?" Community members sat with her in the chapel and prayed with her. The next night the woman came back and told them that her nephew was alright. They are daily witnesses to the possibility of having priorities and values for another purpose of living, another way of life. "Bearing the fruit for the Lord is what matters," says one member aged 30, a pensioner who attends the weekly devotion. "The way they treat the people spiritually and emotionally, they are an inspiration to a lot of people. From them I've learned the joy of resurrection."

The challenge that we have before entering the Great Lent of consecration, renewal, repentance and rejuvenation is 'Are we ready to keep the word of the Lord or are we ready to remove the mask of Christianity that fools the innocents?" Are we ready to follow Jesus' words as the servants did in Cana, Galilee, when water was turned into wine, which made people believe in Him as their Lord and God?

"This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him" (John 2:11).

Rev. Fr. V. V. Paulose is with the Jerusalem Christian Mission in Toronto, Canada.