Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Devotional Thoughts for the 1st Sunday after Pentecost

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel Reading: St. John 6: 26-35

In the first verse of today's reading we find Him saying "verily verily, I say unto you, you seek me not because you saw the miracles but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled". There is no need for the explanation of the circumstances when and where He told so, as we all are quite aware of it. When we go to the Church for the weekly services and on week days for the prayer, our Lord is repeating the same question to each and every one of us. But we are not hearing such a talk from our Lord, as most of us are not interested to listen to Him, where as we are always there to submit our long lists of personal needs. All our needs are often granted by our good Lord. But we do not consider it as a gift from God; instead we consider that they were granted due to our prayer. In such occasions are we not taking the credit due to God Almighty for ourselves? For the same reason our Lord is repeating the question which was asked to the Jews who followed Him long time back. When we would approach our God and His presence, let us make sure that we are not submitting the long lists of our personal needs, about which He is always aware and caring.

In Verse 27 we read, "Labor not for the meat that perishes but for the meat which endures unto everlasting life; which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him God the Father has sealed." In the only prayer taught by our Lord, we are obliged to pray for the daily bread. We pray give us this day our daily bread. Many of us think that this is the daily food we need and hence when we pray in Malayalam, we say "Aaharam" instead of "appam". We must realize that Aaharam is food and Appam is the bread. We need not pray for our daily food, as it is His look out. He is well off and He could provide to the needy without a prayer for it. Let us realize that the daily food we consume is a perishable one. There is a very touching unique word in this verse, 'sealed'. God the Father has sealed the Son. What for? This is the symbol of the ownership, security and the destination. In Ezekiel 9:4 we read about a seal. In text books we find the seal of the author or the authorized publisher. God the Father sealed Lord Jesus to show the Father's ownership right on Him and to make us believe that the flesh is the only way to get into forgiveness and the everlasting life. When these two points are combined together we reach the destination of abiding in God Almighty. In Revelation 7:2 we read about "the seal of the living God". This seal indicates the freedom from destruction and promise to the reward of beyond words and explanations. We have to find the answer to the question why our Lord addressed Himself as the Son of man. The Cappadocian Fathers have interpreted the incarnation of Lord Jesus as "the incarnation of Son of God as Son of man to convert the sons of men as sons of God". St. Matthew 3:17, 17:5, St. Mark 1:11, St. Luke 3: 22, St. John 1: 33, 5: 37 vouch that He is the Son of God as we are confirmed by God the Father. Again in Acts 2:22 and 2 Peter 1; 17, it is confirmed by the Apostles that He is the Son of God.

When the listeners asked our Lord, "What shall we do that we might work the works of God" our Lord answered "This is the work of God that you believe on Him who He has sent". When we might listen some emotional sermons or so, we might also get emotional and offer our voluntary services for the work of God, saying 'You just tell me what I must do for His kingdom'. We often forget our Lord's words and teachings. He reminds us to believe in Him. Can we confess everyday before leaving our bed, "Lord I believe in you. You are my Lord, God and Savior"? We have to do in addition to leading a church life. The people of those days asked our Lord for a sign to believe Him. We are also not far from such people. We are indeed happy with the signs of miracles often claimed by the sectarian groups and we run after groups after groups to have a strong faith. Such people often ask "after all prayer is only there and what is the harm in attending a prayer". The agents of the sectarian groups often say "you just come and see what is happening there". When we hear this invitation, we often get privileged. We forget everything and follow them and as such we forsake the bread of heaven which promises everlasting life. Our Lord reminds in verse 33, "For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven; and gives life unto the world".

When we would approach Him, let it be our aim and desire to gain more spiritual life in us. Let us believe that our Lord is the bread of life. Let us not forget that the one who goes near Him to partakes His bread and drink will never hunger or thirst. Such a situation is the perfect state of being in God and with God. Let us long for it always and labor for the everlasting life with God and in God Almighty.

May God bless us all.

See Also:

The Bread of Life
by Rev. Russell B. Smith

The Bread of Life - Part 2
by Rev. Russell B. Smith

The Bread of Life Came Down From Heaven
by Tobin Pederson, MN

Understanding the Bible in its own time and in ours
by David Ewart

Homilies on the Gospel of John - John 6: 15-44
by St. Augustine

First Thoughts on John 6:24-35
by William Loader, Murdoch University, Australia

Then and Now
by Larry Broding

Devotional Thoughts for the 1st Sunday after Pentecost
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Lord, evermore give us this bread
by Rev. Fr. John Brian

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