Devotional thougts for 4th Sunday after Pentecost - 27th June 04
- Reading: Gospel according to St. Luke 10:1-16
Dear and Respected Brethren,
Verse 1 says that our Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two
and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would
come. From the usage 70 also, it is clear that some one else were sent
before sending the 70. In St. Matthew 10:1 we find that our Lord had sent
the 12 Apostles to all the cities in search of the lost sheep of Israel. The
Holy Church still maintains the authority to serve the sacraments with the
appointed few. Now there are many who question such blessed traditions and
practices, which were maintained in our midst with much concern. Imitating
others has become a fashion among the faithful of the Episcopal churches
also. So they encourage the laymen to lead prayers even in the presence of
the clergy. The modern clergy also allow the laity to carry out prayers in
the prayer meetings and all. Such practices, which are against our
tradition, are to be abolished at the earliest, to maintain the discipline.
Verse 2 explains the statement of our Lord �The harvest truly is great, but
the laborers are few: you pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he
would send forth laborers into his harvest�. Our Lord�s same call could be
seen in St. Matthew 9:37-38. In St. John 4:35 we read, �say not you there
are yet four months, and then comes the Harvest. Behold, I say unto you,
lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to
harvest.� St. Paul is of the opinion that being a laborer is a right of the
children of God so he says in his first epistle to Corinthians (Ch. 4 Vs 9)
that, �For we are laborers together with God, you are God�s husbandry, you
are God�s building. In Jeremiah 3:15 we could find a promise from the Lord
God. There we read �And I will give you pastors according to mine heart,
which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding�. So we should not
forget that we all have got a duty to ask our Lord for the right
pastors/clergy. Now a days almost all of us are interested in criticizing
the clergy without seeking the help of Lord. St. Paul explains God�s
arrangement of the administrative system in the Holy church. In I
Corinthians 12: 28 we read, �And God has set some in the church, first
Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then
gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues�.
In verse 3 our Lord compares the laborers of Gospel as lamb. He says �Behold
I send you forth as lambs among wolves�. We know well that if a lamb would
appear before a wolf, immediately the wolf would eat the lamb. The goats and
sheep are very particular animals. They have so many peculiarities than many
similar animals. They are generally very humble, obedient and loving. Our
Lord expected and still expects the good qualities of a lamb from a laborer
of the gospel. A lamb will be very particular in obeying its
master/shepherd. It knows the voice of its shepherd. A loving lamb won�t run
away from its shepherd. So it will be near the presence of its shepherd. The
shepherd often takes out sheep and goats. So the laborer who is sent forward
must be bearing in mind that he/she is in the visibility of his or her
master. If the shepherd is with the sheep, no wolf could attack.
Verse 4 forbids the laborers from caring the personal belongings even while
going ahead with the mission. What is the attitude of the present day
laborers? We all maintain a certain standard for the clergy and if someone
is not up to that standard will we accept them?
Verse 5 instructs the laborers to wish the peace of God to the house wherein
they might enter. Peace is the gift of God. If someone accepts a worker of
God, he accepts God. So he would get the greatest blessing of peace.
Verse 6 In all houses prominence wont be there for God. The people of such
houses might be living, as they like without any sort of principles. In such
houses God�s peace and blessings wont stay long.
Verse 7 Our Lord reminds that the laborer is worthy for his food and drink
and allows him to have from the house of real faithful.
Verse 8 Our Lord entrust the laborer to stay in the city, which might accept
him and honor him.
Verse 9 empowers the laborer to heal the sick and to teach about the kingdom
Let us think in our minds that we have a responsibility regarding the
harvest. We must try to bring up good laborers from our midst and send them
forward for the task. We all have a great responsibility of praying for the
clergy who are serving the Holy Church. Our Holy Eucharist ends with the
request from the celebrant �pray for us for ever and ever�. We usually hear
through one ear and leaves out the same through the other ear. The clergy do
pray for the entire faithful. At the same time we must pray for the clergy.
Then only the prayers of the clergy would be meaningful and effective. We
are in the habit of talking in high pitch about the traditions and past
events, but usually we ignore the worthy things to be remembered. Our clergy
wear the black colored dress (Karutha Kuppayam) whenever they come for the
sacrament/common prayer. It is to show that they are representatives of our
Lord Jesus who carried the sins of the world. The clergy are supposed to
pray for the entire mankind in general and the congregation in particular.
Whenever a priest/Bishop is administering a sacrament or leading a prayer,
the congregation as a whole must support him with our prayers.
May God be pleased in our prayers and bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church