Sermon of the Week from Malankara World - Aneede Sunday
- Sermon of the Week from Malankara World - Aneede Sunday
Sermon for Aneede Sunday Sunday For all the Departed Faithful.
by Rev. Fr. V. V. Paulose, Malankara World Board Member
Gospel - St. Luke 12: 38-45)
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning." - (St. Luke 12:35)
Life after - The truth.
"I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live even after dying." (John 11:25)
The life beyond death is guaranteed for those who are in Jesus. So be ready with fruits of holy spirit "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." (Galatians 5:22) That is the oil for burning the lamps of our life towards eternity, our onward journey.
Death is the only reality on earth. We may be pretending that we are not concerned about death but really we should. Let science and technology invent the techniques to circumvent death. Till then, we should not ambush the reality of death and its beauty, fairness, light, justice, and reward in eternity. Otherwise, our soul will miss the grand finale of our final journey towards heaven with Jesus, his angels and our beloved ones. Death is actually the journey and departure from this earth towards heaven. It is just like a home sickness on this earth. If we have the clear conscience we could foresee our death and experience the presence of Jesus with his angels near our death bed and even the onlookers can see the angelic royal bright journey of the soul.
We are made of 5 elements of earth that are destructible. But the soul of each human being is given by God as immortal. Actually, death is a separation of the immortality and mortality. "And the dust returns to the ground where it came from, and the spirit go backs to God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:7) Those who contemplated and meditated on their own death is the best soul on earth to live the most vibrant life for others and Christ. So the best bet on this earth is to hold the hands of Jesus and live in him as he said, "Love one another." Before she died Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "Pray for me that I may not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor." Her words are insightful here, for we live "loosening our grip on the hands of Jesus," we have lost everything and fear comes as a constant reminder of death.
Christians tame death in the midst of all the sufferings and injustice of this world by believing and exclaiming: "Thank God, we shall not live here always." "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning." (Luke 12:35) They are longing for the world beyond as an alternate reality; an unseen world as real visible world around us, where life begins again and fairness reigns.
Cuthberts Cave is in Northumberland in UK. In 651, a shepherd boy Cuthbert used this cave as a shelter for the night as he watched over his sheep. One night he saw a stream of light piercing the darkness and choirs of the heavenly host coming down on earth and taking with them a soul of great brightness. The next morning Cuthbert learned that Aiden, the saintly Bishop at Lindisfarne, had died at the exact hour he had his astonishing vision. Immediately Cuthbert left his shepherd duties and set out for the monastery at Melrose where he offered himself for training for Christian ministry.
This experience of taking bright soul should be a reality of all Christians who die in Jesus. This is not different from Mar Baseliose Bava of Kothamangalam when a large gathering circled Bava at the time of his death on September 29, 1685 (Kanni 19) inside the Marthoman Cheria Pally. He told the onlookers, "You will see my departure on the cross in front of the church." When he breathed his last, a bright light encircled the cross in front of the church and stood still for a while and faded - exactly at the time the soul departed from the body.
All our great fathers have died in peace and joined their ancestors. "When Jacob had finished this charge to the sons, he drew his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and joined his ancestors in death." (Genesis 49:33) We should also follow them by living a Christian life and fulfilling our mission of love to get the reward arranged for us in eternity. That "No eye has seen no ear has heard and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him - but God has revealed it to us by his spirit." (1 Corinthian 2:9, 10) Daniel says, "You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you." (Daniel 12:13) The closing chapter in the bible concludes, "Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them." (Revelation 14:13)
[Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose is with the Jerusalem Christian Mission, Toronto, Canada]