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Devotional Thoughts for Sunday Sep 15th 2013 - First Sunday after Sleeba Perunnal

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    Devotional Thoughts for First Sunday after the Festival of the Holy Cross Bible Reading: Mark 13:28-37 We read about the second coming of Jesus Christ in Mark
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 24, 2013
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      Devotional Thoughts for First Sunday after the

      Festival of the Holy Cross


      Bible Reading: Mark 13:28-37


      We read about the second coming of Jesus Christ in Mark 13:

      28-37, Mathew 24: 36-44 and Luke 21: 25-33. Jesus says that

      even He doesn?t know when the second coming will happen. Today,

      many are hiding this truth and profess about the second coming

      and about resurrection.


      What is the purpose of our creation? Why is He coming again? We

      realize the relationship between God and man when we try to

      find the answers to these questions. Man is created to keep a

      loving relationship with God who is the Father of all and

      creator of everything. When we love our God with whole heart and

      whole spirit, He lives with us and in us. Let's have this faith

      so that we can submit ourselves to the will of God. Such a life

      of perfect submission is what God envisage. When we attempt to

      lead such a life, we maintain a divine relationship with God,

      which in turn leads to holiness in life.


      In order to lead a sinless life, we need the desire and

      willingness to seek God?s help. Only when we are in a divine

      relationship with God, we can be awake. In the Gospels, we see

      12 times Jesus telling us to be awake. In Mathew 24:42, Jesus

      says, ?Watch therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord

      doth come.? Being awake symbolizes sinless life. When we are at

      work, when we are at prayer, the Lord is always trying to enter

      our heart. Due to our sinful nature, being slaves to Satan, we

      may not hear His call. (1 John 2:15). Like water to fish and air

      for man, Christians need the awareness of God?s presence for

      spiritual growth. We need to remind ourselves that God lives in

      us so that we can be awake, alert and lead a prayerful life.


      Many among us wait to repent until we reach the deathbed. Death

      will be frightening to those who get immersed in the pleasures

      of this world. Many will have to depart this world without

      repentance. Even though we have the opportunity, the Satan may

      tempt us not to repent. When we are awake and alert, we need to

      repent and return to God. Just as we don't know when Jesus would

      come, our end also is uncertain. So be prepared with repentance;

      lead a prayerful life in God's presence so that we can face the

      physical death and receive God with joy. Those who receive God

      with joy will receive eternal life.


      Jesus tells us, 'Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with

      me, to give every man according as his work shall be.'

      (Revelations 22:12). Be awake to receive God and enter His

      Kingdom. The sinner does not know about eternal life or

      salvation. Sleep symbolizes sin. ?Let?s not sleep, let?s watch

      and be sober.? (1 Thessalonians 5:6) May God bless us all so

      that we can be awake and alert in order to receive God.


      Fr. Cherian Mundackal

      ------------------------------------------

      This sermon has been reposted from the archives.

    • ICON Moderators
      This Sunday we are celebrating the first Sunday after the feast of the Holy Cross. The reading is taken from St. Mark 13:28-37. In this portion Christ warns
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 24, 2013
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        This Sunday we are celebrating the first Sunday after the feast of the Holy Cross. The reading is taken from St. Mark 13:28-37. In this portion Christ warns his listeners to be on guard for the ??????????????????owner of the house?????????????????? will return.???????????? The Sundays following the feast of the Holy Cross remind us of the second coming of the Lord.???????????? This season is the conclusion of the liturgical year and so we are reminded of the ??????????????????end of times?????????????????? which occurs with the coming of our Lord. The liturgical year is centered on the life of our Lord.


        Christ gives one central warning regarding his second coming ?????????????????? ??????????????????Watch!??????????????????. Christ emphasizes the need for his followers to be vigilant. To illustrate the point Christ gives the parable of a master who leaves his house in charge of his servants. The servants are entrusted with certain tasks and ordered to keep watch and are not informed about the hour when the master will return. This parable speaks to us as our responsibility as an ??????????????????awaiting?????????????????? people. We are a people waiting for the coming one.


        Many of the practices and prayers in the life of the Church remind us of this central faith in the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every time we rise to pray we face East for we are orienting ourselves to the direction from which our Lord promised he would come (St. Matt 24:27). Our prayers constantly remind us that ??????????????????Blessed is he who has come and is to come.?????????????????? Similarly the hymn after the reading of the gospel (??????????????????Blessed are the servants good??????????????????) is based on the parable of the master who entrusts his house to the servants. The first prayer of the midnight hours pleads to the Lord to ??????????????????awaken us from our slumber who are immersed in sin, that we may extol Thy watchfulness.?????????????????? One the prayers of the early Church was ??????????????????maranatha?????????????????? (Lord Come!) (1 Cor 16:22).


        As Christians we have special privilege living between the ??????????????????comings??????????????????.???????????? As such privileged followers of our Lord our primary responsibility is to be vigilant servants in the Lord??????????????????s house. We must faithfully fulfill our task in the Lord??????????????????s house. I find it particularly interesting that our Lord has assigned a particular task to each of his servants. We only have to be faithful to that task. We are not entrusted the whole house ?????????????????? just our assigned task.


        In order to remain vigilant in the assigned task we must be constantly awake.???????????? Jesus warns that the master must not find his servants sleeping. The spiritual sleep which lulls us into spiritual lethargy must be avoided. St. Peter warns us, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour?????????????????? (1 Peter 5:8). The vigilance that we must possess should lead us to lead holy lives. St. Paul reminds us "Awake to righteousness, and do not sin" (1 Cor. 15:34).


        As we consider the second coming of the Lord we must ask ourselves are we awake? Are we working in the Lord??????????????????s house? Are we faithful to the task that has been entrusted to us?


        In this season of the Holy Cross may the Holy Spirit awaken us from our slumber.


        Fr. Sujit Thomas,

        Vicar, St. Paul's Orthodox Church, Albany, NY

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