Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Devotional thoughts for First Sunday after Denaha

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 4:12-22

Today's reading begins with the statement of St. Matthew that the prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 9 verses 1-2 has been fulfilled as and when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ departed from Nazareth and settled at Capernaum and started His blessed public mission. The Prophecy says that the who were in darkness and the dimness were able to enjoy the brightness of God and they abandoned all the practices they had till then of the effects of darkness. Though they were gentiles, after the transformation they were no longer children of darkness. They sought entire freedom from the darkness and its influence. They became the children of the bright light and the spokesmen of the brightness. In verse 15 we could find the statement of St. Matthew, where we read "The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphthalim by way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles, the people which sat in darkness saw great light and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."

We are indeed bound to subject this scriptural portion for our earnest study and thorough thinking. Since our birth we all are brought up in the Christian atmosphere and we all are keen in following a religious life and of course a virtuous life. Still could we claim that we are free from the influence of darkness? Are we not searching in the darkness and its after effects, though we speak highly of our Church life and religious practices? The people of Galilee, Naphthali and Zebulun were able to identify Lord Jesus as the Savior of the entire mankind and the creation. Why we cannot accept Him as our personal Savior? Though we remain so close to our Lord, do we recognize Him and His blessed presence very near to us? If not we must realize that there is a serious mistake in the style of our lives. We have to confess every day and if possible at every moment in our minds at least: "Lord thou art my God and Savior". We have to create such a warm and sweet personal relationship with our Lord.

"In Him was life and the life was the light of man" St. John remarks so in his Gospel chapter 1:4. Again he says "And that light has come into the world" (St. John 3:19) And when the light came to the world the gentiles got benefited. We all are supposed to reserve the light from God in us and to reflect them to the fellowmen who are in darkness, precisely like the moon who do reserve sunlight and reflects the same at night. Then only our Lords words that we are the light of the world would come true. (Please see St. Matthew 5:14 and St. John 8: 12) Let us make a decision now that we would reserve the brightness and light of God in us and would reflect the same to the needy people and places.

Verse 17 says about our Lord's first and most important message to the world: to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. The kingdom of God or the heaven, the dwelling place of God is to be realized as a spiritual experience with the triune God rather than a place. Our Lord wants one and all of us to be with Him in His blessed Kingdom. Remember the importance He has given to pray for the kingdoms arrival. In Lord's Prayer He insists us to pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". We are familiar with the term 'repentance' and many of us consider that it is a pre- condition to have the sacrament of H. Confession. That is true as it is. But we must realize that repentance is a pre-condition for establishing a contact with our Lord God. Without repentance we cannot gain any of the blessings from our Lord God. Kindly remember that the repentance is the freedom from selfish thoughts, deeds and words. Selfishness is the root cause of all sins which distracts us from God and the heavenly experiences.

In Verse 18 and 19 our Lord called St. Peter and his brother St. Andrew who were engaged in their profession of fishing. They were attracted by the call "follow me, I shall make you fishers of men". They followed Him leaving away all their belongings and earnings which they had till then. Lord Jesus called all the Apostles alike to continue His deeds on earth. Our Lord's aim was to earn all the mankind for His kingdom. Lord Jesus is calling each and everyone of us also. It is generally assumed by many of us that the call is only for the priests or the candidates for priesthood. Realize that the call is for everyone. It doesn't mean that all of us must spend 24 hours of the day for the mission works. God is calling you and me to witness Him wherever we are. To witness Christ, we must be guided by the Holy Spirit in our lives. So let us ask for the renewal of the Holy Spirit in us so that we could respond to God's call and we could witness Him substantially.

In verses 21 and 22 we hear the call of our Lord again to St. James and St. John who were repairing the fishing net with their father. They also followed Christ without conditions. They also left the worldly riches they had in addition to their moral obligations to their father.

May the continued intercession of the blessed Apostles be a fort of protection for all of us. May God bless us all.

See Also:

Follow Me, Devotional Thoughts for 1st Sunday after Danaha
by Rev. Fr. Dr. V Kurian Thomas

Turn Your Life Around
by Rev. Fr V.V.Paulose

Repent - The Kingdom of Heaven is Near
by Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew C. Chacko

Following Jesus
by Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew C. Chacko

Rakkuli Perunnal (Feast of Brightness)
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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