16 February 2014

posted 13 Feb 2014, 19:43 by C S Paul
16 February 2014

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Kohne Sunday - For all the departed Clergy

Gospel Reading for this Sunday - Matthew 24: 42-51
New 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 Sunday of the Departed Clergy

by Rev. Fr. Thomas Oommen, Malaysia

This is the first Sunday after the 3-day Fast. We remember all our departed spiritual leaders on this day. During the fortnight preceding the opening of the great lent, the church remembers in a special way all its departed ones.

The Orthodox church upholds that Christ is the only mediator between God and man. The clergy are also human beings, but they have been entrusted, called to handle and dispense the mysteries of God. They are holy unto God standing as mediator between man and God. The priesthood has not been granted to individuals, but to the church as a whole. The Church gathers together for the celebration and acceptance of the Holy Communion, as a priest mediates for the whole creation before God the Creator.

Priesthood is the sacrament through which Christ's mission continues. They are ordained and given authority for divine worship and sanctification of souls. The purpose is to build up the body of Christ. Priesthood is the work of directing people towards the likeness of God. It consists of complete surrender as a sacrifice and a life of mediation between God and the whole world and also between creator and creations. The duty of the clergy is not temporal, they are set by God as guardians of the souls. They lead the congregation spiritually.

A priest is a representative of Christ, he is a role model, and mentor, a teacher, a preacher and a good counselor. The priest has to present before God the grievances, the joy, the fears the complaints, and anxieties, the praises and the extolments of the whole mankind and thereby fulfill the will of God. The Church offers their memory before God as a great offering, in gratefulness. The Church prays on their behalf, entreating that they may be given the share of the blessed and the elect. The church values and cherishes the services and sacrifices of the clergy. Let us uphold our clergy, living and the departed, in every way. As St. Paul says "Remember your leaders those who spoke to you the word of God, consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith."

1. For the Sunday's meditation Jesus tells us about the necessity for constant watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy through our sins.

2. Lack of vigilance would invite disaster for those who are unprepared to keep their treasure and their lives secure at all times. Thief strikes when he is least expected. So we should be watchful and vigilant in our lives.

3. It is important to be vigilant, whether in the evening ie. in one's youth; or in the middle of the night ie. at human life's darkest hour, or when the cock crows ie. at full maturity; or in the morning ie. well advanced in old age. So, when the appointed time comes & brings an end to the progress of this life, Christ will gather up the one who gave no sleep to his eyes, nor slumber to his eye lids, and kept his commandment of the one said be vigilant at all times for the son of man comes to the soul of the one who no longer lives for sin or for the world.

4. Jesus also says about a master and his servants. The master suddenly returns home unexpectedly. He rewards one servant for faithfulness to his master. He also punishes another servant who behaved wickedly. Those who are faithfull will be rewarded with promotion, honor, and privilege, and the unfaithful will be dishonored and imprisoned. Jesus calls each and every one to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet when he calls us. The Holy Spirit in us will guide and may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God's way of love, justice and holiness. Those who are vigilant, watchful and prayful, their reward is God himself, the source of love, truth, goodness and everlasting life. So let us all be vigilant and pray for the coming of His kingdom. God bless.