Happy New Year
- Devotional thoughts for the Sunday of the circumcision of our Lord � Feast
of St. Basil and St. Gregory, the Great, New Year -2006
Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 15: 5-19
Dear and Respected Brethren,
Today is the remembrance day of two great Orthodox Church Fathers, St. Basil
the great and St. Gregory the great. More over it is the New Year day. All
must be in the thrill of the blessed Christmas celebrations and must be
waiting forward to welcome the New Year. The holy reading arranged for today
by the Holy Fathers is so significant and relevant. Our Lord and Redeemer is
explaining in very simple words, how a faithful could and must maintain his
or her relationship with Lord God. When we realize the inner meaning of the
given text, we will wonder how solemn is the tradition and faith of our
Church. Our relation with our Lord is not for a day or a few days, whereas
it is till eternity. Our Lord who introduces himself as the vine says that
we are the branches. Our Lord�s promise is that we could have more fruits,
if we would stay in Him. We all know very well that the branches which are
cut from the main stem lose the life immediately. It is true that we must
have a connection with the main stem to retain our lives. The life could be
provided by the main stem of the grape vine. We might wonder why our Lord
identified himself as the real vine. We all know that the wine is taken from
the grapes, the fruit produced on the branches of the vine. Our Lord took
the wine and converted it as the life giving blood of our Lord. He said
�this is my blood�. The blood of our Lord sanctifies the faithful and
retains the life eternal. Here our Lord is telling that the branches, which
produces the grapes, have been kept alive while abiding in our Lord. We the
faithful have to maintain real faith, true repentance, and loving obedience
to keep up our link with our Lord. If we keep these things in our personal
lives, we could have a solid life with our Lord God, who is the real vine.
King Solomon the wise advises, �The
fruit of the righteous is a tree of life�.(Proverbs 11: 30) So let us try to
obey the commandments of our Lord God and be righteous. In Hosea 14:8 we
read, I am like a green fig tree: From me is thy fruit found�. We read about
the tree which do not produce fruits in St. Luke 13: 6-9. Grace of God
enables the trees to bear fruits. The fruits of the Spirit are also
depending the Grace and will of God. It is because of our Lord�s own words
that we cannot do anything with him. Kindly see St. Matthew 5: 16 and
Philippians 1: 11.
In the 9th verse it is said that how much our Lord God loves us. How much
love was granted to the son by God the Father, the same amount of love is
granted to us by God the Son. Our Lord said �if you will obey my
commandments I will abide with you.� Our Lord has limited his commandments
to two. He wants us to love God and love our own brethren. It is His command
to love each other. St. Paul also stresses the need to love one another in I
Thessalonians 4:9. St. Peter also insists us to have mutual love. (I Peter
4:8) See the 16th verse of today�s reading. We all are entrusted to bear
fruits and to keep them for ever. Is it a hard job to love one another?
Kindly think. Our Lord wants us to love whom we don�t know and who doesn�t
love us. If our pride and stubbornness are not allowing us to love our
brethren, are we not breaking our link with our Lord God? Let us put an end
to our selfish thoughts and desires. Let us take a decision to obey our
Lord�s commands to love God and love our brethren. Let us take a decision on
this New Year day. May God strengthen us to do His will, rather than our own
wishes and desires. Let us try not to forget that we are not for this world.
Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. Let the Holy Spirit guide us and
lead us through the virtuous paths which are pleasing to our Lord God. May
the intercessions of the Great Church Fathers, St. Basil the great and St.
Gregory the great be a fort of protection for us. Let us try to imitate the
life style of these two Patron Saints. May God bless us.
WISH YOU ALL A VERY BRIGHT AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. MAY GOD SHOWER HIS CHOICEST
BLESSINGS THROUGHOUT THE COMING NEW YEAR AS WELL AS THE REST OF OUR LIVES.
With prayers and regards,
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.