23 August 2020

posted 26 Aug 2020, 22:21 by C S Paul

23 August 2020


Scripture reading and Sermon


Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church 

Second Sunday after Shunoyo / the Assumption of St. Mary 


Reading from the Scripture for this Sunday


Evening


  • St. Luke 17:22-24
  • St. Luke 18:1-8


Morning


  • St. Luke 18:9-17
  • Before Holy Qurbana
  • Genesis 6:3-12
  • Ecclesiastes 7:1-3
  • Psalms 12:1-9


Holy Qurbana


  • II Peter 3:8-14
  • I Thessalonians 5:1-6
  • St. Luke 11:9-20


Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking


9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 


10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 


11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 


12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 


13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”


A House Divided Cannot Stand


14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 


15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”


16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 


17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 


18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 


19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 


20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.


Seeking God

by Dn. Sujith T. Thomas, NY


St. John Chrysostom states, "Prayer is a precious way of communicating with God, it gladdens the soul and gives repose to its affections. You should not think of prayer as being a matter of words. It is a desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not of human origin, but the gift of God's grace." We ought to have this earnest and deep desire for God. Our prayer should be to possess God. The Holy Gospel portion for the second Sunday after Assumption of St. Mary reminds us of this desire for God.


This particular Gospel portion (St. Luke 11:9-20) includes firstly Christ's teaching on prayer and secondly narrates the casting out of the demons from a mute person and the conversation surrounding the exorcism.


Firstly Christ reminds his listeners of the need to actively seek God. The three images of prayer that Jesus uses are asking, seeking and knocking. All three imply that prayer is an active process. The Psalmist speaks of the righteous one who 'seeks the face of God' (Psalm 24:6). The Lord looks down from heaven to see if there are any who seek after Him (Psalm 14:2). We seek God because of the earnest desire deep within our soul. The more we experience God, the more we desire God.


In our daily lives we are often busy chasing after many things. We are deceived by the illusions of this world and assume that we can find fulfillment in this world. The Blessed Augustine stated this condition of the soul in his famous work The Confessions. He stated, "Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace."


Ultimately Christ's promise to those who pray is that the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit. In other words God's response to our prayer is to give himself to us. What an amazing gift!


Secondly we ought to distinguish between good and evil and stand for good. In the second section of the narrative we read about an exorcism that Jesus performs and the reaction of the crowd. Some in the crowd said among themselves that he is casting out demons by the ruler of the demons. Christ the author of all things good had compassion on the mute person. However his enemies could not attribute any goodness to Christ. There are many who blur the distinction between good and evil. Even when we see something good there are many who stand aside and attempt to label it as evil. The reverse is common as well. Many try to disguise evil as good. The tendency to blur the distinction is prevalent in the world because it is the deceit of the evil one. When warning of the false apostles and deceitful workers within the Church, St. Paul reminded the Corinthian church, "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Christian life demands that we take a stand; we must position ourselves on the side of good. We hear the same message echoed in the Epistle reading as well. "For you are all children of light and children of day; we are not of the night or of darkness" (1 Thess. 5:5).


As we approach the feast of the Holy Cross, may the Holy Cross protect us from the evil one

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