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Devotional thoughts for Ist Sunday after the feast of Transfiguration - 8th Aug

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  • Jose Kurian Puliyeril
    Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 21: 28-32 Dear and Respected Brethren, A parable to teach the unavoidable and urgent need of real and genuine
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2004
      Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 21: 28-32

      Dear and Respected Brethren,

      A parable to teach the unavoidable and urgent need of real and
      genuine repentance is the sum of the reading for today. It is the
      parable of two sons of certain man, whom were asked by the father to
      assist him in the vineyard, and in fact both the sons responded to
      the father indifferently. It is needless to explain those as we all
      are so familiar with the parable. We read this portion after
      listening to the instances that lead the triumphant entry of our Lord
      to the Jerusalem temple. We are much fascinated by the events that
      took place in Jerusalem temple immediately after our Lord's arrival
      there. We all will be delighted to talk about those instances one
      after the other in a very victorious way. But could we imagine that
      our Lord is coming to our minds, as he entered the Jerusalem temple?
      The answer will be in fact a big `no,' as we haven't dreamed so.. We
      all like Jesus and we will confess about Him in a very beautiful way
      and style. But we must think how many of us are really interested to
      co-operate with Him in all our dealings. We all need His blessings
      and guidance. Are we willing to keep the doors of our hearts and
      minds wide open for him every now and then? Some might be saying "why
      not, we will open as soon as He is at our door step". But in fact he
      is waiting at the doorstep always and every day he is knocking the
      door. We are not listening and opening the doors for him.

      Even after the triumphant entry of our Lord, the Pharisees and
      Scribes were after our Lord in their routine style and manner. And He
      was trying to teach them about the Kingdom of God in the way of
      simple parables. Our Lord was so sure that the ones who opposed him
      and his teachings were short of repentance. So our Lord makes them to
      answer: "Who did the will of the father" and they answered
      correctly "the first one". We the Christians of the modern age are
      also behaving exactly same as the Jews of those days. The Jews were
      after Jesus. They were listening to Him and answering Him positively.
      But they had no real fruit in them, as they ignored His teachings.
      They did not give the due importance to the divine teachings and
      messages. We could claim that we are going to Church regularly and we
      are attending the activities of spiritual organizations, and we are
      conducting Convention Speeches and listening them. But where is our
      spirituality or whether we are concerned about the growth of
      spirituality in us? Are we having the tendency to repent every
      moment? We should not forget that our Lord's first message to the
      world was "repent and believe the Gospel". Unless and until we would
      repent, we could not enrich our spirituality. We should mould a mind
      of repentance. It must be life long process. When we understand that
      we are far from God we must repent. According to Orthodox Church
      Fathers, repentance means getting back from selfishness. We should
      not forget that the selfishness is the mother of all evils.

      When our Lord had the answer from his listeners, He said "Verily I
      say unto you. That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom
      of God before you". We must listen to this verse with more attention.
      We must have a desire not to hear such a saying from our Lord. If so
      we must have a total change in our lifestyle. We will have to avoid a
      lot of practices in our lives, which detach us from the closeness
      with our God. We must attain freedom from the binding of so many
      worldly attractions and influences. Otherwise we will also listen
      such a caution from our Lord, as we read in Verse 31. In St. Luke
      7:29 we read, "And all the people that heard him, and the publicans,
      justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John".

      Again our Lord is saying "For John came unto you in the way of
      righteousness and you did not believe him, but the publicans and the
      harlots believed him and you when you had seen it repented not
      afterward and you might believe him" (Verse 32) Here our Lord is
      mentioning about St. John the Baptist or the forerunner of our Lord.
      The message given by St. John the Baptist was also the same as that
      of our Lord's first message to the world. St. John also exhorted the
      world to repent. We are also well versed with the usage `repent' and
      repentance. Before concluding today's thoughts let us go through the
      prayer of the feast of transfiguration, which many of us must have
      listened in our Churches the other day. In the Promiyon of the feast
      we listened, "Kindly transform our hearts from the evils to the real
      goodness and from the darkness of evils to the brightness and pure
      light of righteousness on this day of the feast of Transfiguration,
      which is indeed the cause of all hope and glory. Lord make us shine
      in the true faith, virtues and everything good. Lord remove the dirty
      and filthy dress due to our evil desires from us. Kindly make our
      dresses and all activities shine better than the sunlight. Bless us
      to inherit your tents of brightness and glory". We must make use of
      the opportunities to repent and to have a more righteous and virtuous

      May God bless us all.
      Jose Kurian Puliyeril
      St. George Orthodox Church
      Abu Dhabi
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