15 February 2015

posted 12 Feb 2015, 23:03 by C S Paul

15 February 2015

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

First Sunday of Great Lent (Kothne Sunday) (Pethurtha of the Great Lent)

Scripture Reading for this Sunday

The Great Lent starts by commemorating the first miracle performed by Jesus i.e. turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee. The Gospel reading for each Sunday of the Great Lent is about a miracle performed by Jesus.

Gospel Reading John 2:1-11King James Version (KJV)

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on 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.