Thank God It Is Good Friday - HG Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim.
- HG Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim reminded the Dubai Orthodox congregation of workers usual weekend muttering (prevalent in many other countries as well) - "Thank God it is a Friday" - as that is the day they get their wages with weekend ahead, and used the saying to drive home pointedly the essence of his message through the slogan "Thank God it is Good Friday".
HG took the thoughts of the congregation to the three crosses on the Calvary hill near Jerusalem and observed One innocent person being crucified in the middle who was sinless, Second person on Right who was sinful but repented and got saved and the Third on left who never repented and probably got doomed.
HG said the LOVE OF GOD was manifested in the cross. Christ atoned preceded by Passion and Suffering. It was the fulfillment of uncompromising, outreaching, unconditional love Godhead manifested to his beloved creation. This act brought the groping faithful from Darkness to Light. HG exhorted the faithful to deeply visualize in our inner heart with insight, the death of Christ on the CROSS for the atonement of our sins and feel the deep sharing of that moment of sacrifice with Jesus. HG reminded the faithful that 'bearing the Cross' is the cost of true discipleship.
HG mentioned the role of Simon the Cyrene who had the fortune to share the cross of Jesus. HG said when one gets a chance to share the cost of discipleship, it should be considered fortunate and blessed and the faithful should not detract from it.
HG further took the congregation's thoughts to Judas who betrayed Jesus. The meaning of 'Judas' is "God be glorified". Judas parents probably wanted him to glorify God in his life. However, love of money was his weakness and though he had enough he still wanted more due to his greediness. Finally the cost of betrayal , the 30 shekels of silver, was thrown in the church which the High Priests thought unworthy for the church coffers and was used to buy burying land for strangers who die in that land. HG drove home the following points here:
1. The Money that was earned by unjust means was not acceptable to the Church. We must ask ourselves whether we make money through just or unjust means.
2. The High Priests and the Pharisees who gave the money to Judas washed their hands off to their complicity in sharing the sin of betrayal by Judas by saying we do not want the blood money and Judas himself alone was responsible for his sin' though they prompted him to do it. HG warned the faithful to be beware of men who drag them to do unlawful things and later wash their hands off. HG compared it to the story of Valmiki who was initially a highway robber, due to circumstances, though a Brahmin by birth. When Ratnakar (Valmiki's initial name) tried to rob a sage from a group of seven sages who passed by, this sage asked Ratnakar why he was robbing and thus sinning? Ratnakar said he did this for his family livelihood. The sage also asked if he will entirely be responsible for the sins he is committing or will his family share the responsibility? Ratnakar immediately goes and asks his parents first who both totally dissociated from the sin he is committing. His wife also refused to be part of the sinful act. On return he realized his mistake and on self realisation went into penance and became Valmiki (person with an anthill on him). HG said one alone is responsible for acts of omission and commission. HG told the faithful to commit and prostrate in front of Christ's cross with repentance and total personal submission seeking God's Grace and Mercy.
Thousands of faithful had gathered with reverence at Saint Thomas Cathedral, Dubai to observe Good Friday. The service that began at 7.30 am and ended at 4 pm and was broadcasted by Orthodox TV
Dr. Vinu Thomas, Dubai