Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday before Pentecost - 4th May 08
- Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 17: 13- 26.
Dear and Respected Brethren,
The seventeenth chapter of St. John is revered as Our Lord's High priest's prayer and hence this portion of the Holy Scripture is the selection reading when High Priests are consecrated in our Holy Church. This Sunday is separated by the Holy Church for the honor of the Monks and Nuns of the Holy Church.
Our Lord is submitting the Christian Church as a whole, to God the Father beseeching to fill one and all with the Son's Joy. What is Son's joy? The unique state of abideness is the thrill and joy of Son. Our Lord is confirming once again that He has achieved His goal by offering His blood and flesh as the routine drink and food of His children. In verse 14 our Lord says, "I have given them thy word: and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world". It is very clear that the so called "His Children" must live on earth with the feeling that they are not from the world and the world would hate them. Instead, are we living on the earth likewise? Are we not having more liking and connection to the world than to our redeemer and Lord? We all say that we are Orthodox Christians but we forget many truths always. Instead of thinking of being in the abiding state
with our Lord God, are we not find happiness in the worldly pleasures and treasures? Again our Lord reminds that we cannot serve God and Satan alike. St. John exhorts us "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (I John 3:13)
Our Lord's prayer in verse 15 is so touching and praise worthy. "I pray not that you should take them out of this world, but that you should keep them from the evil". In Galatians 1: 3-4, St. Paul exhorts us, "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from out Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father". St. Paul grants us another promise in 2 Thessalonians 3: 3, "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stabilize you and keep you from evil". It is a fact that there is evil in this world, but we are supposed to identify what it is. The Holy Spirit will definitely tell us always which are good and what is bad. But we will have to listen to His guidance and intimations. Often we offer ourselves to the evil forces as we find friendship with the evil pleasures and desires. Let us try to put an end to our friendship with the evil. Our good Lord is happy indeed to keep us safe in His communion.
In verse 16 our Lord once again confirms "they are not from this world, even as I am not of the world." Let us give special attention to His saying in verse 17, where He is praying "Sanctify them through the truth, thy word is truth." We may doubt what truth is. But our Lord says that the word of God is the truth. The word of God took flesh and incarnated. This is the truth. God offered and is still offering the flesh and blood of the incarnated word of God for the sanctification of those who believe in Him. This is the reason why Lord Jesus, the incarnated word of God spoke to the world for the
first time, "Repent and believe the Gospel". We are sure that the offer of His own flesh and blood is the Gospel. As and when we would partake our Lord's flesh and blood from the Holy Eucharist, we all will be sanctified. We should not forget the fact that sanctification is a process which is continued every now and often. It is not a process for once. It is to be repeated every now and often.
In verse 18 we read, "As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." When God the Father sent His only begotten son into the world, He lived aloof from the worldly attractions. He always maintained His allegiance to the one who sent Him; where as we often forget the very truth that we have been sent into the world. We often pretend that the world is ours and we have got something or the other as our own in this world. The one who sent us into the world is providing something or the other for our survival in this world for a certain period. We forget the truth and behave as if we have obtained something or the other due to our own effort. This feeling is wrong against the truth of God Almighty.
In verse 19 our Lord is beseeching to the Father "And for their sakes I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth." Remember that we would be benefited only if we might remain in Him. So again and again the need to have a regular sacramental life is emphasized here. We all must have the Holy confession and we must partake the flesh and blood of our Savior through the Holy Eucharist.
In verses 22-23, our Lord's long desire to see us united together is
expressed. "And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one and that the world may know that you have sent me, and has loved them as you have loved me." What we are doing now? Instead of loving and caring our own brethren in the other denominations, are we not hating them and spreading the message of evil spirits? How far it will be fair in the presence of our Lord? We, as Church of Lord Jesus Christ should not abuse others, if not we cannot love them and recognize them. Other wise our prayers and worships will be null and void in our Lord God's view.
In verse 25 our Lord says: "O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that you have sent me." The present generation of Christians forgets the fact that Lord Jesus was sent by God the Father, other wise they would have remained more devoted to the teachings and guidance of Lord Jesus. Let us pray for the forgiveness of our iniquities. May God bless everyone.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.