SERMON OF THE WEEK 2010 - November 7
Next Sunday is known as Hoodosh Eetho Sunday. 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."
Next Sunday is what is referred to in Syriac as Hoodosh Eetho, the day set apart for the dedication of the Church. 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.
Prepared by Rev. Dr. V KurianThomas Valiyaparambil