12 February 2017

posted 10 Feb 2017, 23:14 by C S Paul

12 February 2017

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Kohne - All Departed Clergy

Readings from the Scripture

Matthew 24:42-51New King James Version (NKJV)

42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 

43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant

45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 

46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 

47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 

48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 

49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 

50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 

51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Devotional Thoughts for Kohne - Remembering Our Spiritual Fathers

by Rev. Fr. Dr Varghese M Daniel, PhD, Yale University

We are blessed with two Sundays in between the 3 days lent and 50 days lent. As we approach the great lent, these two Sundays are dedicated to the reminiscence of our departed people. Therefore this Sunday we remember all our Spiritual Fathers who guide us in our spiritual journey. St. Paul reminds us "Remember your leaders, ('those who have gone before you') who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." (Heb.13.7). Lent, fasting and prayer are the source of energy for our spiritual fathers and they have revealed that the same will motivate and inspire us in fulfilling and accomplishing a complete journey of life.

Gospel reading: St. Mathew. 24:42-51

This Gospel passage is the part of eschatological discourse (Second coming of Jesus Christ - Mt. 24 and 25) and it enlightens us on the characteristics and signs of His second coming. All the three Gospel readings of this Sunday (Evening, Morning and Qurbana) and the Pauline Epistle (IThes.4.11-5.11) reflects the teachings of Jesus pertaining to the second coming of Jesus Christ. These readings not only present to us the nature and conduct of a right servant of the Lord, but also play high relevance in remembering the day of our departed priests. This particular passage associates us to a servant who has been put in charge of the house while the master is away. We sing this unique passage in most of the Sundays in our liturgy (Yejamanan varumannerathu…). Two pertinent points to be noted here are:

1. Status of the Steward

"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?" (Vs.45)

According to modern medicine, consumption of proper food at a proper time is very significant, thereby assuring us of good health and mental supremacy. Hence the steward, who provides the appropriate food at the right time, has a vital role in an individual's life. The Steward must also be acquainted with the condition of the individual (pertaining to any imminent illnesses or ailments). Priests are called as Stewards to administrate the mysteries and offer spiritual food for the individual, who needs it at the right time. That's why we sing, Thannejamaanan thandivyareha... (O priest come in peace who by his right hand divides and gives to the holy mysteries of his master so that they may have life.)

It is essential for the steward to be inquisitive and to have a clear understanding of the spiritual condition of the individual, who are being placed under their care and also to be accessible to deliver the spiritual food. Trust and vigilance formulates the qualities of an eminent Steward. We could clearly distinguish these qualities in the stewardship in Abraham's servant (Eliezer? Gen.24:10) and Elisha's steward, Gehazi (2 Kings.5.20). One who was an example of trust and the other, one of mistrust. In the Old Testament readings (Numbers 20:23-29 and Deuteronomy 34.1-8, Deu.32.50) we also read the stories of Moses and Aaron. In spite of being great stewards of the Lord, their mistrust was taken into account by the Lord, which in turn prohibited them to enjoy the promise of the Lord. Often in our life, we may have been the recipient of these various admirable services of stewards (priests). However, very often we forget the service of our priests who have inspired us at different ages of our life. The priests and bishops who served in our Church, who blessed our marriage, who baptized us, who did the funeral services for our beloved ones, undoubtedly deserve to be remembered in our daily prayers.

2. State of the Steward

When we reflect upon the stewardship, it is important to consider the state of the stewards as well. Many people are feeble in the presence of food. If they fail to acquire the food which they like and to their liking, they are infuriated towards the steward. Some of them are indifferent and show restrictions, others tolerant, and many others swear by the stewards. This is also true in the spiritual atmosphere. Few years ago, a priest noticed one of his parishioners being drunk and abusive to others on the street. The following day, the same parishioner came to the Church seeking Holy Qurbana. The priest courageously mentioned to him, that he needed to seek confession before receiving the Holy Qurbana. Not only did the parishioner refuse confession, but instead started an allegation against the priest and even succeeded in expelling the priest from the parish. But the priest believed in the central verse of the Bible "It is better take refuge in the Lord than to trust in human" (Ps.118.8)

We, in general, expect stewards to always remain cheerful; irrespective of their mental or physical agony. We always assume stewards to be jovial and good-humored and fail to understand them, regardless of the fact that his child or wife may be ailing with a dreadful disease or they may be enduring an agonizing situation. When we remember our priests on this Sunday, we need to understand these Lord's stewards and their diligent services, before we turn into being their hurtful critics. Today's epistle also emphasizes this (Acts.20.28-38). Let us remember the services of all our Lord's stewards and pray for them to be present as faithful stewards in the second coming of Jesus Christ.


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