Malankara World Journal Issue 45 (Dec 29, 2011) is online
- The Malankara World Journal Issue 45 (December 29, 2011) is now available online at:
Christmas is a season to be merry. We go around singing Christmas Carols such as "Joy to the World." The retailers are also happy because they sell more in Christmas Season than the rest of the year. The whole month of December is filled with Christmas Parties. It is hard to get any "real work" done during the Christmas Season in the west.
If you had been following our church's lectionary gospel readings, you know that during the advent season, we cover all the important events that leads to the birth of Jesus in 7-8 weeks. If you look at the lectionary readings on the week following the Christmas Day, you will notice that the joy and happiness suddenly turns to sorrow. Innocent kids get slaughtered. Joseph, Mary and infant Jesus had to run away to Egypt to prevent baby Jesus from getting murdered by a jealous mad man called Herod.
The star of the gospel reading this week is Joseph. If you analyze bible, you will find that not a single word uttered by Joseph is reported in the bible. Joseph was an obedient man. He followed instructions without questioning. He was the type of person David described in Psalm 51 as one possessing a 'contrite heart.' He knew that what pleases God is not sacrifice; but mercy. He showed mercy to Mary by the way he handled the situation when Mary got pregnant.
If you read St. Matthew's gospel, you will find that Matthew's purpose was to present Jesus as a King. He also wanted to point out that Jesus fulfilled all the prophesies of Old Testament regarding the arrival of Messiah. Matthew uses stories and imagery to make his point. For example, we cannot escape the similarities shown between Jesus and Moses in today's reading (Matthew 2:13-23).
"Like Moses, the baby Jesus is almost killed by a malicious ruler. Like Moses, Egypt becomes a place of exile, but also safety. Like Moses, the 'delivered one' becomes the deliverer; and God's power to save is greater than evil's power to destroy." - Rev. Dr. James Lamkin from 'The New Normal'
Another interesting parallel we discover in today's scripture is how St. Matthew compares Joseph with the Old Testament Joseph (son of Jacob in Genesis.) Joseph in the Christmas story is portrayed as a dreamer. Joseph of the Old Testament was a big dreamer too. He got into trouble from dreaming and got saved by dreaming too.
"A fifth and final dream led to Joseph's protection of the Christ child. There is an interesting parallel with the Joseph (son of Jacob / Israel) in the Genesis story. Joseph is the one who protects and saves Israel. It is his dreams that got him into Egypt. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph tells his brothers that even though they intended harm for him -- "God intended it for good..." The story of both Josephs gives an amazing account of the providence of God working through persons. One Joseph saved Israel and the other saved the One who would be for the salvation of Israel."
- John Jewell from 'Touched by an Angel'
There are several other lessons in this passage. For example, my friend Joykutty, Detroit, in his Christmas Message points out the importance of controlling the tongue. Joykutty points out that if the 'wise men' had not opened their mouth and declared that a king was born to Herod, those innocent babes would have been saved. He rightfully says that what comes out of our mouth can do lot of damage.
When the son of God incarnated as a human child, he needed protection and guidance from a loving human father and mother. God picked Mary and Joseph very carefully for his only begotten son. This shows the importance of family and the role played by parents in a child's upbringing. Mary was very vulnerable when she was pregnant; Joseph was there to protect her. Baby Jesus was very vulnerable when he was young. Both Joseph and Mary provided the necessary protection during this time.
"The role of Joseph as protector of the Holy Family is highlighted in the Matthew passage. Joseph is the one who receives guidance from the Lord and uses this guidance to protect and lead his family. The essential ingredient for Joseph is the fact that he is obedient to the guidance God gives. All of the messages in the world from angels of the Lord are pointless unless we actualize them with the energy of obedience.
One of the most powerful messages in all of scripture when it comes to family living, is the fact that once Joseph's protective, guiding, saving role is completed, we do not hear from him again except for the very brief episode in Luke's gospel when Jesus was separated from Joseph and Mary when he was 12." - John Jewell
I will conclude with a quote from Fr. Andrew on the importance of the Family in the development of children:
"God deliberately chose a family to rear, teach, and love the Son until He began His saving work at the age of thirty. God deliberately chose a frail human: body, mind and soul for His own in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel. This means there must be some higher good, some higher aim for us as human beings within human relationships. We know that our humanity is weak, we know that we are sinners and yet God chose that same humanity for Himself to show us what more we can desire from our human life."
All of us in Malankara World wish you all a Happy and Prosperous (spiritually) New Year 2012. Thank you for your continued support.
Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 45
1. Editor's Note
2. Bible Readings for This Sunday
3. Sermons for This Sunday
4. Inspiration for Today
5. Featured: Josephs Letter Home - A Christmas Story
6. Book Excerpt: With Christ In the School of Prayer - Lesson: 19: Power for Praying and Working
7. Ten Things About the Christmas Story You May Have Missed
8. Can Christmas Still Change the World?
9. Humor: A Christmas Cookie Recipe in the Style of the Revised Translation
10. Mini Retreat in Madison, WI on January 21, 2011
11. Teaching Children to Wait
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Jan 1)
First Sunday after Christmas (The Holy Family flee to Egypt )
St. Matthew 10:16-23
St. John 15:18-21
Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis 37:13 - 28
Zechariah 8: 3-8
I Corinthians 10:1- 13
St. Matthew 2:9-15, 19-23
New Year (January 1) Circumcision of our Lord, Feast of St. Basil and St. Gregory.
St. Luke 13:6-9
St. John 9:4-7
Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis 12:1- 9
I John 3:13-18
St. Luke 2:21
St. John 15:5-19
Sermons for This Sunday (Jan 1)
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.
Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the 1st Sunday after Christmas
Read the rest of articles in Malankara World Journal online.
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In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956