14 July 2013

posted 12 Jul 2013, 06:55 by C S Paul

14 July 2013

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost 

Gospel Reading for this Sunday

Mark 8:1-10 & John 6:47-59 - New King James Version (NKJV)

Mark 8: 1-10

In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

John 6:47-59

47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 

48 I am the bread of life. 

49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 

50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 

54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 

56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 5

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 

58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Miracle of 7 Loaves of Bread

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel Reading: St. Mark 8:1-10

In today's reading we find the incident which we have meditated two weeks back. In the first sentence of today's reading we listen "In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him and said unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days and have nothing to eat". Here our Lord is taking care and the initiative to feed the multitude. (It is not recorded that they were murmuring or shouting for their food. They did not agitate or make a disturbance. We must watch them carefully and see what they were doing. They were learning about the Kingdom of God and they were so thrilled for three days together. They were not willing to care their worldly basic needs and they were fully engaged in learning the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Let us think what would have been our attitude, if we were in their place. We know what would be our attitude if and when the sermon of a week might prolong for 10 more minutes. Why it is so? When we go to church on Sundays, we plan a lot of things to do immediately after the church service. That is why we could not concentrate on the Holy Eucharist or any other important worship. When the celebrant would exhort us to send our minds to the heavenly place, where our Lord is seated on the right hand side of God the Father, we would send our minds to the places, where we are supposed to go after the service. This is a pity condition. We have to rearrange our priorities.

In the third verse we read, "And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way, for divers of them came from far." Our Lord while teaching them about the kingdom of Heaven, he learned about them too. What they did? They simply came to Lord Jesus to hear and study from Him. Likewise if we would attend the divine services, our good Lord will see us and He will make a note of our needs, without a formal request or supplication. The Pentecostal and sectarian churches are always inviting multitudes from the Episcopal churches saying: "you all will be blessed here, you will get more and more riches". Our Lord is quite sure about our needs. He will grant all our needs without asking him.

Our Lord asked the Disciples how many loaves you have, when they complained: "how a man satisfy these men, with bread here in the wilderness?"

When the disciples told our Lord that they had seven, he collected them with him and blessed, broke and served along with the few small fishes. They all ate and were satisfied. When our Lord taught the only one prayer, He insisted to pray for the daily bread. Our Lord wanted us to have a "come-in-union" (It became communion later) with Lord God on all possible occasions. So He insisted and taught us to pray for the daily bread or to get the bread every day. When we say this prayer in Malayalam, many use the term "Ahaaram" instead of "appam". We should not forget that the ahaaram is for the worldly life and the appam is for the spiritual life. So kindly use "njangalkku aavasyamulla appam innum tharaname".

Our Lord says that He is the bread that came from heaven and differentiates himself with Manna, a sort of bread which was granted to the children of Abraham during the days of their pilgrimage through the wilderness. Our Lord establishes that the heavenly bread is good enough to grant us eternal life.

The Holy Church honors the sacrament of Holy Eucharist as the crown of all sacraments and it is taught that unless and until the Holy Eucharist is administered, all other sacraments would not be complete. Let us examine our usual response to the Holy Eucharist. Let us analyze how far we are trustworthy to the divine blessing. May God bless us to make use of the heavenly bread always.

I am the Bread of Life

by Rev. Fr. Mammen Mathew, Houston, Texas

Gospel Reading : St. John 6:47-59

Jesus is the Bread of our Spiritual Life

He gave his spiritual body in the form of physical bread and gave His life giving blood in the form of wine.

God the Father gave the Israelites Manna during their journey to the Promised Land in the desert to nourish their physical body. Manna was perishable, but it was the foreshadow of the non-perishable food of God from Heaven to come. This food of Jesus is for everlasting life. When we receive Jesus’ body and blood, our perishable body gets everlasting life and resurrection. Our body becomes His. His everlasting blood flows through our spiritual veins.

This heavenly body came to us through St. Mary. The Holy Spirit made visible the invisible God, the second person in the Trinity, to us as a human being. The Word became flesh so that we can see, hear, feel, and believe. The Father sent His only begotten Son to this world to save the world, and show us the path to the Father. Like a farmer Gabriel sowed God’s seed in the womb of St. Mary, Mary received that seed like a good ground of earth. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary brought the Son to the world. The Son took all the sins of the world on Himself, and sacrificed His body to the Father as atonement for us. He broke his body and shed his blood for the world to receive as life giving food. He wanted us to partake that food as often as possible. He instituted the Holy Eucharist on the day of Passover and wanted us to continue to celebrate that feast till His second coming. He wanted us to participate in that feast whenever we gather to worship or have fellowship. During our heavenly pilgrimage, He wanted us to refresh and refill from his body and blood as often as possible.

His body and blood nourishes our weary body, mind and soul.

It refreshes us and strengthens us.

It gives us peace, comfort and joy.

It takes away our fear, worries, sorrow and tears.

It gives new direction and hope in our journey.

Partaking His body and blood removes our emptiness and unworthiness.

It equips us with God’s strength, grace, and protection.

All these benefits we will only receive if we truly believe in His words and accept them as He meant. When we come to Him in His holy sanctuary with humility, brokenness, and repentance, and faithfully receive the Holy Eucharist as His true Body and Blood, we will benefit all those things that are mentioned above.

Jesus wants us to be partakers of His body and blood, not as on-lookers. Those who participate in consuming them with very good preparation and full faith will get everlasting life as He had promised.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us receive Him with full faith, with utmost preparation, and partake in the Heavenly feast every time, when we participate in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus is inviting everyone on this planet earth to join in His heavenly banquet. Let us join Him every Sunday and on all festive occasions to eat and drink from His table for everlasting life.