Malankara World Journal Issue 19- August 19 2011- is online
- The Malankara World Journal Issue 19 (dated August 19, 2011) is now
available online at:
Next Sunday (August 21) is the first Sunday following Shunoyo Feast.
Coming after two consecutive weeks of major feasts, viz.,
transfiguration (on August 6) and Shunoyo (August 15), this weekend
provides a short breathing spell before the action picks up again for
the start of 8-day lent on September 1 and St. Mary's birthday on
September 8. It is worth mentioning that aside from that of Jesus
Christ, our church only celebrates the birthdays of two saints, viz.,
John the Baptist and St. Mary, the mother of God. Both these saints'
intercession are sought in the beginning of the public celebration of
our Holy Qurbana.
The Gospel reading for Sunday, August 21 is Mark chapter 10 vv. 35-45.
As the disciples walk along with Jesus, a couple of the disciples say,
"Lord, grant us to sit at your right and your left when you come into
your kingdom." Those who sit next to the chief are those who share power
with the chief. In other words, "Lord, when we get you elected Messiah
and your Kingdom is come, grant us to sit on your Cabinet!"
One of the reasons for the power and effectiveness of the Bible is that
the stories depicted in the bible are very realistic. We can feel quite
at home there even now centuries after it is written! This story of the
two brothers who just want to grab a seat of honor when Jesus Christ
establishes His kingdom, on the first glance, is not unreasonable. After
all, they have left everything and followed Jesus. They walked with
Jesus along his way. They believed that Jesus was the long-awaited
Messiah, the great leader who would come in, raise an army, kick out the
Romans out of Judea, and set up Israel again as the most powerful nation
in the world.
It had not been easy walking behind Jesus through Judea for miles and
miles of rough unpaved footpaths. So, what is wrong with asking Jesus,
"Lord, when you finally get everything together and win your kingdom,
let us sit beside you in ruling your realm."
Remember, the gospels were written many years after the death of Jesus.
The Mark's gospel is believed to be the oldest. The environment at that
time influenced the style of writing to some extent. For example, when
St. Mark was writing his Gospel, the early Church was having a lot of
trouble with its leaders who were at first very dedicated and
self-sacrificing, but whose human weaknesses were now beginning to show.
According to Father Gerry Pierse (Sundays Into Silence: Reflections on
the Sunday Gospels in the Light of Christian Meditation), "One of the
ways in which Mark responded to this situation was by portraying the
disciples in all of their human weakness in his Gospel story. The lesson
was this: if there was such human weakness amongst the disciples of
Jesus, should you be surprised to find the same weakness in our present
leadership - and within yourself? Then, if this weakness is ever
present, we need to learn to lean more on Jesus than on our own weak
We have the same issues with our leadership today, making Jesus'
response to the request by the two disciples quite relevant for us.
Father Gerry continues:
"The reaction of the other disciples is one of great indignation. Being
themselves most ambitious, they very much resented the two who tried to
get an inside track on them in the political race. This is a very human
story that is still being acted out where human beings work together. It
is to be found in the army, the government, business, the home and even
in the Church. The higher up one goes in all of these institutions, the
more subtle and the more ruthless the protagonists tend to get."
"Jesus brings them back to the realization that *kingship or authority
is not about wearing a crown but about carrying a cross.* This often
forgotten message, learned by Moses when he, the chosen one of God, had
to bear with such criticism and condemnation from the people, is still
being learned today by parents, politicians and managers.
Then Jesus really got to the point. *What is leadership all about? It is
not about self-glorification, but about the service of, and the
upliftment and empowerment of others. It is not for lording it over
others but for standing under others. *For Jesus that is not a
theoretical teaching; he himself lived it. "For the Son of Man himself
did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom
Jesus is teaching the disciples the principle known as '*Servant
Leadership*.' We had covered this topic a few times in the past. It is
the most important principle you learn from bible apart from the
principle of unconditional love. Damien Spikereit says that being a
servant is not sufficinet; the leaders should behave like slaves! He
explains the servant leaders as follows:
"But Jesus goes on to say... If you want to be first in my kingdom, then
you must become a slave. If you want to be great and powerful and be in
a high standing in my kingdom, you must be a servant, a slave to all.
Because if you want to go through what I am about to go through, then
you must serve instead of being served.
*After all, it's not just leaders who are called to be servants. All
Christians are called to serve others. All Christians are called to
think of the interests of others before their own interests. All
Christians are called to the difficult task of putting the needs of
others above their own needs. All of us must become servants. *
But, it is leaders who are to be the example. They are to lead the way.
They are the ones who are to demonstrate what it means to serve instead
of being served. To be quite frank, and open.... I am not sure it is
possible to be a Christian without being a servant. And, I certainly
know this without doubt.... *you can not be a leader in the church
without first being a servant*. It's impossible. Now don't misunderstand
me. I am not saying you can't attain a title, it's possible to have a
title without being a servant. I might be called a minister, you might
be called a teacher, or elder, or deacon. We may have the title, but
having a title doesn't make us a leader. Being a servant, makes us a
leader. And if we are not servants, then we are not leaders. And if we
are not servants, then we shouldn't be given the title of a leader.
Because it is the leaders of the church who are to be the examples of
In this week's Malankara World Journal we have several articles/sermons
and bible commentaries that describes this concept of servant
leadership. You can read about them here:
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 1st Sunday after the Shunoyo
We also have a classic sermon by Martin Luther king, Jr. (considered to
be one of the top 5 sermons given by MLK Jr.) that further illustrate
servant leadership. He calls this 'Drum Major Instinct.' I strongly
recommend that you read this article as it is quite relevant to our
Servant Leadership is also applicable in our family life as the article
by Erin Smalley, famous marriage counselor, notes. Drawing from her
personal experience as well as the experience of her patients, Erin says
that to have a healthy relationship, the partners should be willing to
serve each other (Just like our church tells them during the marriage
sacrament to love each other like Christ did for the church ultimately
dying for the church.) Erin says: "Honor [or service] is the single most
important principle I know of for building healthy relationships. It's
important for a husband and wife to begin applying it toward each other.
The results of allowing 'honor' to reign can be dramatic and
life-changing. Honoring your mate and serving your mate is the
prescription for a healthy marriage. As we serve our spouses, we make
them feel as if they're the most important thing to us. This is the
essence of the second greatest commandment, 'Love your neighbor as
yourself.' (Matthew 22:38). Serving our mate needs to be a decision that
we make every day." That is what the bible tells us too!
I recommend that you read all the articles and meditate on the message.
Read it again. Think of how you can apply these biblical principles in
your life. You will see a big difference in your life soon.
*Table of Contents (Issue 19)
Editor's Note <#Editors>
Bible Readings for This Sunday <#Bible_Readings>
Sermons for This Sunday <#Sermons>
Sage Advice from a Cherokee Elder <#inspiration>
Pope Recommends Bible For Vacation Reading <#featured>
The Drum Major Instinct by Martin Luther King Jr. <#article1>
Chicago's Incredible Floating Rosary <#article2>
To The Supreme Being <#article3>
Family/Relationship: Becoming a Great Date <#Health>
Serendipity: Unhappy people make stupid choices <#article4>
About Malankara World <#Malankara_World>
Please tell your friends and acquaintances about MW Journal and
Malankara World website. Thank you for your support and help.
In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956