Devotional thoughts for Hoodosetho Sunday - 7th Nov 04
- Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 10: 22-38.
Dear and Respected Brethren,
We all are familiar with the term Hoodosetho, which literally means the dedication. The Church, which was sanctified on �Koodosetho� Sunday is dedicated or is to be dedicated on the next Sunday (Hoodosetho). �Enkainia� the similar term found in the Holy scriptures means dedication/renewal and consecration. St. Paul relates the dedication with the first covenant (without blood) in Hebrews 9:18 and dedication with the second covenant (with the blood of our savior) in Hebrews 10:20. It is believed that Judas Maccabaeus started the observation of the dedication in 164 BC, during the annual eight days feasting beginning on the 25th of Chisleu (mid of Dec). It was to commemorate the cleansing of the Jerusalem temple from the pollutions of Antiochus Epiphanes. Hence it was called the Feast of Dedication, as mentioned in St. John 10:22.
In verse 22 and 23, we read, �And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon�s porch. There is a reference about this porch in the Acts of the Apostles hapter 3:11) In verse 24 we find the Jews who surrounded our Lord asking Him to reveal whether he was Christ. They are asking how long would our Lord keep them in suspense. They requested, �If you are Christ, tell us plainly�. At many occasions of our lives, we do also hold a suspicious mood about our Lord. Aren�t we? We enjoy lots of blessings miraculously, many times without our own effort for them. Still we are not sure that the good blessings are received from our Lord God. Our Lord answered the Jews that he had told them plainly several times, but they did not believe. The works done by Him in His Father�s name do bear witnesses of Him. (Verse 25) Still they could not believe Him. We have learned about our Lord, we have studied how He saved us from the bondage of sins. Still are we in a position to identify our Lord God? With much grief in the heart our Lord told them, �You did not believe because you are not my sheep, as I said unto you�. We all have accepted our Lord Jesus as our savior and redeemer during our baptisms and we live, as we like. We ignore the fact that we must be loyal and sincere to our owner who purchased us and saved us offering His own blood as the ransom. If we do not live in Him and with Him, we cannot be obedient to Him. If we do not keep up obedience, we won�t be able to keep up the close fellowship with Him. In St. John 8:47 we read, He that is of God hear God�s words, you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God�. We must take extreme care to avoid such a saying from God Almighty. Again in I John 4:6 we read �We are of God, he that knows God hears us: he that is not of God not hears us. Hereby we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error�. Our Lord again says, �My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:� Our Lord told us that He is the good Shepherd. We have accepted Him as our shepherd. But why we cannot follow Him. Have we gone astray from our Lord? Isaiah tells �We all are like sheep which have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) Why a few of us could only go astray like the lost sheep or how our Shepherd would lose us as and when we are under His care and protection. The reason is very simple and common. When our shepherd would take us to the green pastures, a few at least will run fast, as we are guided by the selfish desires and wishes. A few would run fast ahead, with the intention to earn more wealth, or reputation. In the meantime we all would jump in to the tricks and traps of the Satan. This is what is happening in our midst. Thus we fall into the hands of the enemy. From our fallen state we will have to cry aloud to God for our salvation. The best prayer is the admittance of our grave mistake saying �Lord I have gone astray like the lost sheep, kindly forgive me�. When we would pray sincerely with tears of repentance, God would forgive us. We must have the repentance of the prodigal son. If and when we would shed tears of repentance, we could confess and proclaim loudly �Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want� along with the Psalmist, with great thrill and joy. We listen to our Lord�s promise in verse 28. �And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand� The next two sentences are declarations about the relation between the Father and the Son of the Holy Trinity. �My Father who gave them to me is greater than all: and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father�s hand. I and my Father are one.�
In a few of the next sentences we find a war of words between our Lord and the Jews. They could not absorb the truth and they got annoyed so soon. They took stones to stone our Lord and were of the opinion that our Lord was stablishing blasphemy. When we would analyze ourselves, we would find that we are not much better than those Jews. Are we not reluctant to accept the truth? Could we honor all those who might teach us the truth of heaven? We often try to find to fault with our clergy and Church Fathers. Aren�t we? Unless and until we would change our attitude we would not be saved. May God enable us to keep a staunch faith in God, the Holy Trinity. Let us make use of the dedication meaningfully. Let our dedication be pleasing to God Almighty.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church
Member ID # 0905