4 January 2015

posted 1 Jan 2015, 20:43 by C S Paul

4 January 2015

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Second Sunday after Christmas (Yeldo)

Gospel Reading for this Sunday - John 15:5-19
New King James Version (NKJV)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[a] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 

14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 

15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 

19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Sermon for the Second Sunday after Christmas

by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose

"When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. "Get up. Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel." (Mathew 2: 19, 20)

There is an imminent end for all the bad that you are facing in your present life.

Evil is a reality. Evil never ever wins over truth and good. Sometimes, it seems that the evil is in control but that is an illusion. Good will come with more vigour and fury to destroy the evil forever. Protection and preparation are what we need to save the truth.

Herod is the embodiment and personification of all the evils in the world. Even his children used to say that it is better to be born as a child of a swine than to be a child of Herod. He killed all the boys less than two years of age in an obsessive attempt to kill Jesus. He stained his hands with the blood of the innocents. He died in 4 B.C. in a horrendous way - reports say that visible worms and putrefaction or decomposition was seen in his final days of life. This is the justice of God and the rule of nature; evil has its own terrific extinct. "For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity" (Proverbs 24:16).

For the time being, we have to hide from evil eyes otherwise, we will be consumed by its fire of fury. Till the death of Herod, Jesus and his parents fled to Egypt and escaped from the death knell of the evil king. We should not resist evil, evil will die in its own course. Don’t panic by the apparent victory of evil because it is only temporary and its end is imminent. We should not be tempted to retaliate to evil; the vengeance is not for us but to God. So leave it to Him.

Masada is a hill fortress and a base in Israel. This is from where the guerrillas struck against the Romans under the leadership of Eleazer ben Yair in A.D.70. It was an anti-thesis of Christianity. After the failure of resistance, there was a mass suicide of 960 people who had decided to die by their own hands rather than surrender to their enemies. Now the remnants of the great Roman Empire cannot be traced out even in the hay stack. For the last 1700 years, Rome has been the seat of Christianity. The Bible says, "But I tell you, do not resist evil person" (Mathew 5:19).

A village girl became an unwed mother and, after several beatings, revealed who the father was: a holy man living on the outskirts of the village. The villagers called him a hypocrite, despised and handled him very badly. He picked the baby up and made arrangements with the woman next door to look after it at his expense. When this had gone for a year, the girl could bear it no longer and confessed that she had lied. The actual father was the boy next door. The villagers bowed profoundly to the holy man to beg his pardon and wanted to take the baby back. All that the holy man said as he handed back the child was, "Very well. Very Well."

Isaiah, the great prophet prophesied about Jesus, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, he did not open his mouth" (Isaiah 53"7).

We should not collaborate or be an accomplice with any evil source in our life. We should be the refugees for the victims of all the dark evil forces of this world. Our common name Nazarenes cannot be wiped out from our foreheads by anybody. We are the proud descendants of Jesus from Nazareth who follow his footsteps. The Bible speaks. "He will be called a Nazarene" (Mathew 2:23).