November 6, 2011

posted 4 Nov 2011, 06:01 by C S Paul   [ updated 5 Nov 2011, 18:18 ]
November 6, 2011

SERMON OF THE WEEK 
                                        (Prepared by: Rev. Dr. V KurianThomas Valiyaparambil)

Provided by Mr. K. Kuriakose

This Sunday is known as Hoodosh Eetho Sunday. It refers to the custom of dedicating the place of our worship to God again.

The Feast of Dedication was a Jewish festival in commomoration of the second destruction of the Jerualem Temple. This rededication is an annual event during the beginning of the Jewish calendar year.

The gospel reading is from John 10:22-30.

Gospel Reading: (Luke 10:22-30)

"22Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. 24The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."

 Message: Next Sunday is Hoodosh Eetho day, the day set apart for the dedication of our churches. Last Sunday, Koodosh Eatho, we were called upon for purification. On this Sunday, the Church along with each and every one of us is called upon for dedication.

The first line in today's gospel reads, "Then came the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter." For the Jews at that time, the Feast of Dedication commemorated how the Jerusalem Temple, the most holy and revered place of worship, had been dedicated to the God of Israel after having been desecrated by the pagans as recorded in the First Book of Maccabees.

For a thousand years the glorious Jerusalem temple, built by King Solomon, stood as the central focal point of the Jewish world, dedicated each year to make their offerings to God fresh. Even though the Temple was glorious and beautiful, the sacrifices offered there was incomplete. It was incomplete for the reason that the blood of animals did not cleanse the people's hearts.

The Temple is perceived as a foreshadow of the Church that Jesus built. As people began to turn away their hearts from what God has prized more than any sacrifices, that their sacrifices became a broken spirit. But the mysterious body of the Church that Jesus built would never perish as Jesus promised, "The gates of hell shall never prevail against it."

All that was incomplete in the Old Testament became filled by Jesus in the New Covenant. Christ offered his own blood for the atonement and renewal of man. Thus the blood offerings made in the Temple were no longer necessary as they had been the shadow of things to come. In the Old Testament, forefathers celebrated the Feast of Dedication to commit the Temple to God. In remembering that dedication, the Holy Church of Jesus Christ considers the death and resurrection of Christ fulfilled and completed all that was being anticipated in the Temple. The one true offering for our sins was offered up on the cross at Calvary. When that is completed, the Church becomes complete, but the people in the church still remains incomplete. The Church, like the Temple, is filled with fallen people. We dedicate ourselves to God as we come together to worship on this Sunday. In dedicating ourselves to God, we offer up to Jesus as we were commanded with the Cross in our hearts and submit to the Church that Jesus established. Let's listen to today's gospel passage. Jesus says (in versus. 27-28), "My sheep, hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

Let's give ourselves completely to Jesus as sheep to a shepherd. That's Hoodosh Eetho.



Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ 

Author: Lew Wallace

PART ONE

Biblical references: Matt. 2:1-12, Luke 2:1-20

Three Magi have come from the East. One, Balthasar, sets up a tent in the desert. Melchior, a Hindu, and Gaspar from Athens join him and as the three men each tell their stories and they realize they have been brought together by their common goal. As they prepare for the journey to come, they see a bright star shining over the region, and they take it as a sign that they are to leave. They follow the star through the desert towards the province of Judaea.

At the Joppa Gate in Jerusalem Mary and Joseph are traveling through on their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They stop at the inn at the entrance to the city but there is no room. Mary is pregnant and, as labor begins, they head to a cave on a hillside behind the inn and here Jesus is born.

In the pasturelands outside the city, a group of seven shepherds are keeping watch over their flocks. Angels from heaven announce the Christ's birth. The shepherds hurry towards the city. They are rebuked by one of the men supervising the khan but nevertheless, inspired by the angels' message, they enter the caves on the hillside and worship Christ.

They spread the news of the Christ's birth and many come to see him. The Magi arrive in Jerusalem and inquire for news of the Christ. Herod the Great is angry to hear of another king challenging his rule and asks the Sanhedrin to find information for him. The Sanhedrin brings out a prophecy, written by Micah, telling of a ruler to come from Bethlehem Ephrathah, interpreting it to signify the Christ's birthplace.

CHAPTER  IX Continued

The appeal was not without effect. The keeper of the gate slid down from the cedar block, and, laying his hand upon his beard, said, respectfully, "Rabbi, I cannot tell you when this door first opened in welcome to the traveller, but it was more than a thousand years ago; and in all that time there is no known instance of a good man turned away, save when there was no room to rest him in. If it has been so with the stranger, just cause must the steward have who says no to one of the line of David. Wherefore, I salute you again; and, if you care to go with me, I will show you that there is not a lodging-place left in the house; neither in the chambers, nor in the lewens, nor in the court--not even on the roof. May I ask when you came?"

"But now."

The keeper smiled.

"'The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.' Is not that the law, Rabbi?"

Joseph was silent.

"If it be the law, can I say to one a long time come, 'Go thy way; another is here to take thy place?'"

Yet Joseph held his peace.

"And, if I said so, to whom would the place belong? See the many that have been waiting, some of them since noon."

"Who are all these people?" asked Joseph, turning to the crowd. "And why are they here at this time?"

"That which doubtless brought you, Rabbi--the decree of the Caesar"--the keeper threw an interrogative glance at the Nazarene, then continued--"brought most of those who have lodging in the house.

And yesterday the caravan passing from Damascus to Arabia and Lower Egypt arrived. These you see here belong to it--men and camels."

Still Joseph persisted.

"The court is large," he said.

"Yes, but it is heaped with cargoes--with bales of silk, and pockets of spices, and goods of every kind."

Then for a moment the face of the applicant lost its stolidity; the lustreless, staring eyes dropped. With some warmth he next said, "I do not care for myself, but I have with me my wife, and the night is cold--colder on these heights than in Nazareth. She cannot live in the open air. Is there not room in the town?"

"These people"--the keeper waved his hand to the throng before the door--"have all besought the town, and they report its accommodations all engaged."

Again Joseph studied the ground, saying, half to himself, "She is so young! if I make her bed on the hill, the frosts will kill her."

Then he spoke to the keeper again.

"It may be you knew her parents, Joachim and Anna, once of Bethlehem, and, like myself, of the line of David."

"Yes, I knew them. They were good people. That was in my youth."

This time the keeper's eyes sought the ground in thought. Suddenly he raised his head.

"If I cannot make room for you," he said, "I cannot turn you away.

Rabbi, I will do the best I can for you. How many are of your party?"

Joseph reflected, then replied, "My wife and a friend with his family, from Beth-Dagon, a little town over by Joppa; in all, six of us."

"Very well. You shall not lie out on the ridge. Bring your people, and hasten; for, when the sun goes down behind the mountain, you know the night comes quickly, and it is nearly there now."

"I give you the blessing of the houseless traveller; that of the sojourner will follow."

So saying, the Nazarene went back joyfully to Mary and the Beth-Dagonite. In a little while the latter brought up his family, the women mounted on donkeys. The wife was matronly, the daughters were images of what she must have been in youth; and as they drew nigh the door, the keeper knew them to be of the humble class.

"This is she of whom I spoke," said the Nazarene; "and these are our friends."

Mary's veil was raised.

"Blue eyes and hair of gold," muttered the steward to himself, seeing but her. "So looked the young king when he went to sing before Saul."

Then he took the leading-strap from Joseph, and said to Mary, "Peace to you, O daughter of David!" Then to the others, "Peace to you all!" Then to Joseph, "Rabbi, follow me."

The party were conducted into a wide passage paved with stone, from which they entered the court of the khan. To a stranger the scene would have been curious; but they noticed the lewens that yawned darkly upon them from all sides, and the court itself, only to remark how crowded they were. By a lane reserved in the stowage of the cargoes, and thence by a passage similar to the one at the entrance, they emerged into the enclosure adjoining the house, and came upon camels, horses, and donkeys, tethered and dozing in close groups; among them were the keepers, men of many lands; and they, too, slept or kept silent watch. They went down the slope of the crowded yard slowly, for the dull carriers of the women had wills of their own. At length they turned into a path running towards the gray limestone bluff overlooking the khan on the west.

"We are going to the cave," said Joseph, laconically.

The guide lingered till Mary came to his side.

"The cave to which we are going," he said to her, "must have been a resort of your ancestor David. From the field below us, and from the well down in the valley, he used to drive his flocks to it for safety; and afterwards, when he was king, he came back to the old house here for rest and health, bringing great trains of animals.

The mangers yet remain as they were in his day. Better a bed on the floor where he has slept than one in the court-yard or out by the roadside. Ah, here is the house before the cave!"

This speech must not be taken as an apology for the lodging offered. There was no need of apology. The place was the best then at disposal. The guests were simple folks, by habits of life easily satisfied.

To the Jew of that period, moreover, abode in caverns was a familiar idea, made so by every-day occurrences, and by what he heard of Sabbaths in the synagogues. How much of Jewish history, how many of the many exciting incidents in that history, had transpired in caves! Yet further, these people were Jews of Bethlehem, with whom the idea was especially commonplace; for their locality abounded with caves great and small, some of which had been dwelling-places from the time of the Emim and Horites. No more was there offence to them in the fact that the cavern to which they were being taken had been, or was, a stable. They were the descendants of a race of herdsmen, whose flocks habitually shared both their habitations and wanderings. In keeping with a custom derived from Abraham, the tent of the Bedawin yet shelters his horses and children alike. So they obeyed the keeper cheerfully, and gazed at the house, feeling only a natural curiosity. Everything associated with the history of David was interesting to them.

The building was low and narrow, projecting but a little from the rock to which it was joined at the rear, and wholly without a window. In its blank front there was a door, swung on enormous hinges, and thickly daubed with ochreous clay. While the wooden bolt of the lock was being pushed back, the women were assisted from their pillions.  Upon the opening of the door, the keeper called out, "Come in!"

The guests entered, and stared about them. It became apparent immediately that the house was but a mask or covering for the mouth of a natural cave or grotto, probably forty feet long, nine or ten high, and twelve or fifteen in width. The light streamed through the doorway, over an uneven floor, falling upon piles of grain and fodder, and earthenware and household property, occupying the centre of the chamber. Along the sides were mangers, low enough for sheep, and built of stones laid in cement. There were no stalls or partitions of any kind. Dust and chaff yellowed the floor, filled all the crevices and hollows, and thickened the spider-webs, which dropped from the ceiling like bits of dirty linen; otherwise the place was cleanly, and, to appearance, as comfortable as any of the arched lewens of the khan proper. In fact, a cave was the model and first suggestion of the lewen.

"Come in!" said the guide. "These piles upon the floor are for travellers like yourselves. Take what of them you need."

Then he spoke to Mary.

"Can you rest here?"

"The place is sanctified," she answered.

"I leave you then. Peace be with you all!"

When he was gone, they busied themselves making the cave habitable.


The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 3 continued

The body is designed to produce all needed energy over an amazingly long period of time. If the individual takes reasonable care of his body from the standpoint of proper diet, exercise, sleep, no physical abuse, the body will produce and maintain astonishing energy and sustain itself in good health. If he gives similar attention to a well-balanced emotional life, energy will be conserved. But if he allows energy leaks caused by hereditary or self-imposed emotional reaction of a debilitating nature, he will be lacking in vital force. The natural state of the individual when body, mind, and spirit work harmoniously is that of a continuous replacement of necessary energy.

Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, with whom I often discussed the habits and characteristics of her famous husband, the world's greatest inventive wizard, told me that it was Mr. Edison's custom to come into the house from his laboratory after many hours of labor and lie down on his old couch. She said he would fall asleep as naturally as a child, in perfect relaxation, sinking into a deep and untroubled slumber.

Afterthree or four, or sometimes five hours he would become instantly wide awake, completely refreshed, and eager to return to his work.

Mrs. Edison, in answer to my request that she analyze her husband's ability to rest in a manner so natural and complete, said, "He was nature's man," by which she meant that he was completely in harmony with nature and with God. In him there were no obsessions, no disorganizations, no conflicts, no mental quirks, no emotional instability. He worked until he needed to sleep, then he slept soundly and arose and returned to his work. He lived for many years, and was in many respects the most creative mind ever to appear on the American continent. He drew his energy from emotional self-mastery, the ability to relax completely. His amazingly harmonious relationship with the universe caused nature to reveal to him its inscrutable secrets.

Every great personality I have ever known, and I have known many, who has demonstrated the capacity for prodigious work has been a person in tune with the Infinite.

Every such person seems in harmony with nature and in contact with the Divine energy. They have not necessarily been pious people, but invariably they have been extraordinarily well organized from an emotional and psychological point of view. It is fear, resentment, the projection of parental faults upon people when they are children, inner conflicts and obsessions that throw off balance the finely equated nature, thus causing undue expenditure of natural force.

The longer I live the more I am convinced that neither age nor circumstance needs to deprive us of energy and vitality.

We are at last awakening to the close relationship between religion and health. We are beginning to comprehend a basic truth hitherto neglected, that our physical condition is determined very largely by our emotional condition, and our emotional life is profoundly regulated by our thought life.

All through its pages, the Bible talks about vitality and force and life. The supreme over-all word of the Bible is life, and life means vitality—to be filled with energy. Jesus stated the key expression, "...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) This does not rule out pain or suffering or difficulty, but the clear implication is that if a person practices the creative and re-creative principles of Christianity he can live with power and energy.

The practice ot the above-mentioned principles will serve to bring a person into the proper tempo of living. Our energies are destroyed because of the high tempo, the abnormal pace at which we go. The conservation of energy depends upon getting your personality speed synchronized with the rate of God's movement. God is in you. It you are going at one rate and God at another, you are tearing yourself apart. "Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small." The mills of most of us grind very rapidly, and so they grind poorly. When we become attuned to God's rhythm we develop a normal tempo within ourselves and energy flows freely.

The hectic habits of this age have many disastrous effects. A friend of mine commented upon an observation made by her aged father. He said that in early days when a young man came courting in the evening he sat with his intended in the parlor. Time in those days was measured by the deliberate, ponderous strokes of the grandfather clock, which has a very long pendulum. It seemed to say, "There—is—plenty—of—time. There—is—plenty—of—time. There—is—plenty—of—time." But modern clocks, having a shorter pendulum with a swifter stroke, seem to say, "Time to get busy! Time to get busy! Time to get busy! Time to get busy!"

Everything is speeded up, and for that reason many people are tired. The solution is to get into the time synchronization of Almighty God. One way to do this is by going out some warm day and lying down on the earth. Get your ear close down to the ground and listen. You will hear all manner of sounds. You will hear the sound of the wind in the trees and the murmur of insects, and you will discover presently that there is in all these sounds a well-regulated tempo. You cannot get that tempo by listening to traffic in the city streets, for it is lost in the confusion of sound. You can get it in church where you hear the word of God and the great hymns.

Truth vibrates to God's tempo in a church. But you can also find it in a factory if you have a mind to. A friend of mine, an industrialist in a large plant in Ohio, told me that the best workmen in his plant are those who get into harmony with the rhythm of the machine on which they are working. He declares that if a worker will work in harmony with the rhythm of his machine he will not be tired at the end of the day. He points out that the machine is an assembling of parts according to the law of God. When you love a machine and get to know it, you will be aware that it has a rhythm. It is one with the rhythm of the body, of the nerves, of the soul. It is in God's rhythm, and you can work with that machine and not get tired if you are in harmony with it. There is a rhythm of the stove, a rhythm of the typewriter, a rhythm of the office, a rhythm of an automobile, a rhythm of your job. So to avoid tiredness and to have energy, feel your way into the essential rhythm of Almighty God and all His works.

To accomplish this, relax physically. Then conceive of your mind as likewise relaxing. Follow this mentally by visualizing the soul as becoming quiescent, then pray as follows: "Dear God, You are the source of all energy. You are the source of the energy in the sun, in the atom, in all flesh, in the bloodstream, in the mind. I hereby draw energy from You as from an illimitable source." Then practice believing that you receive energy. Keep in tune with the Infinite.

Of course many people are tired simply because they are not interested in anything. Nothing ever moves them deeply. To some people it makes no difference what's going on or how things go. Their personal concerns are superior even to all crises in human history. Nothing makes any real difference

to them except their own little worries, their desires, and their hates. They wear themselves out stewing around about a lot of inconsequential things that amount to nothing. So they become tired. They even become sick. The surest way not to become tired is to lose yourself in something in which you have a profound conviction.

          

                                Did You Know ? 

  • Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to watch TV for 3 hours.
  • America once issued a 5-cent bill.
  • Baby robins eat 14 feet of earthworms every day.
  • In 2003, there were 86 days of below-freezing weather in Hell, Michigan.
  • The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.
  • Between 1942 and 1944, Academy Awards were made of plaster.
  • One of Hewlett Packard's first ideas was an automatic urinal flusher.
  • Alexander Graham Bell (who invented the telephone) also set a world water-speed record of over seventy miles an hour at the age of 72. 
  • There is enough fuel in a full tank of a jumbo jet to drive an average car four times around the world.
  • Chimps are the only animals that can recognize themselves in a mirro


Just For Laughs             

Ever-Laughing Life

A three-year-old boy listened attentively to the Sunday morning sermon. When questioned afterward, the boy proudly told what he had learned: Jesus died so that we could have ever-laughing life.

 

Prize Pig

While working on a sermon the pastor heard a knock at his office door. "Come in," he invited. A contrite-looking man in threadbare clothes came in, pulling a large pig on a rope. .

"Can I talk to you for a minute?" asked the man with his hat in his hand. Wordlessly, the pastor indicated the chair and the man sat down in it gingerly. The pig proceeded to sniff around the office. With one eye on the animal and one on the man, the pastor folded his hands on his desk and leaned forward, curious to hear the fellow's story.

"What can I do for you?" "My family is hungry," started the man. "So I stole this pig. But I feel that I have sinned. Would you please take it?" "Certainly not," said the minister. "Then what should I do with it?" asked the man. "Give it back to the man you stole it from, of course!" the pastor explained. "I offered it to him, but he refused to take it. Now what should I do?" "In that case," the minister said, "It would be all right for you to keep it and feed your family." That seemed to settle things as far as the man was concerned. "Thank you for your help, sir."

With a lighter step, he walked out of the office, leading the pig on the rope behind him. It was only later that afternoon when the minister returned home, that he discovered that somebody had stolen his prize pig!

 

Adam And Eve And...

Sometimes women are overly suspicious of their husbands. When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset.

"You're running around with other women," she told her mate.

"Eve, honey, you're being unreasonable," Adam responded. "You know you're the only woman on earth."

The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by a strange pain in the chest. It was his darling Eve poking him rather vigorously about the torso.

"What do you think you're doing?" Adam demanded.

"Counting your ribs," said Eve. 


Story Of The Week


Heaven's Grocery Store

Read this story, and follow the recommendation at the end......

As I was walking down life's highway many years ago I came upon a sign that read, Heavens Grocery Store. When I got a little closer the doors swung open wide and I found myself stepping inside. I saw a host of angels; they were standing everywhere, one handed me a basket and said, "My child shop with care." Everything a human being needed was in that grocery store and what you could not carry, you could come back for.

First I got some Patience; Love was in that same row. Further down was Understanding, you need that everywhere you go. I got a box or two of Wisdom and a bag or two of Faith and Charity. Of course, I would need some of that too. I couldn't miss the Holy Ghost, It was all over the place. Then I found some Strength and Courage to help me run this race. My basket was getting full but I remembered I needed Grace, and then I I chose Salvation for Salvation was for free. I tried to get enough of that to do for you and me.

Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill, for I thought I had everything to do the Masters will. As I went up the aisle I saw Prayer and put that in, for I knew when I stepped outside I would surely run into sin. Peace and Joy were plentiful, the last things on the shelf. Song and Praise were hanging near so I just helped myself.

Then I said to the angel "How how much do I owe?" He smiled and said "Just take them everywhere you go." Again I asked, "Really now, how much do I owe?" "My child" he said, "God paid your bill a long, long time ago."

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

 

No One Is too Poor to Give

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts When Teresa, a widow with four young children, saw a notice that members of her church would gather to deliver presents and food to a needy family, she took $10 out of her savings jar and bought the ingredients to make three dozen cookies. She got to the church parking lot just in time to join a convoy going to the home that was to receive the congregation's help.

The route was familiar, and she was stunned when the cars pulled up in front of her house. When the pastor saw her, he said, "We never expected you to join us, Teresa. We know it's been a great struggle since your husband died, and we all wanted to support you."

Although she was uncomfortable being thought of as the object of charity, Teresa didn't want to embarrass anyone so she cheerfully said, "Well, at least I can share these cookies with our friends."

This parable teaches us that no one is too poor to help others and that true charity is rooted in love and compassion. Poverty of spirit is worse than economic distress. Teresa's story reminds us that very few of us give as much as we could and should.

My friend Larry Rosen, president of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, introduced me to the concept of "sacrificial giving"—giving in abundance to a point where one must sacrifice something one desires.

You can start out easy. Take whatever amount you were thinking of giving to charity, then double it. If that's too much, increase it by 50 percent instead. The idea is to stretch yourself. It will mean a lot to those you help, but it will mean as much to your heart.

 

 


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