Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Devotional thoughts for the First Sunday after Pentecost

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel Reading: St. John 6:26-35

In today’s reading 6 points are significant and I would like to share a few thoughts on those points.

1) You seek me not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. During the public mission of our Lord, many had followed our Lord. Our Lord’s public mission, our Lord had undertaken three types of missions. A) Teaching mission, b) Healing mission and c) Feeding mission. During the public mission, our Lord was teaching a practical lesson for the Christian Church. Unfortunately the people who followed Lord Jesus on that particular day were interested in only one thing. So our Lord is telling the multitude about their intention of following him. In other words, they were not interested to learn about the kingdom of God or such divine teaching. Let us think whether there is any change in the attitude of the people of those days and our attitude. In my thinking there is no change because we are also not at all acknowledging the miracles. In our daily lives, how many miracles are granted to us daily by God Almighty? Do we count them or acknowledge them? If so how we could claim that we are different from the people of those days. Whenever we go to Church, are we not praying only for our own perishable worldly needs? We must pray for our needs and we must seek intercession of Mother of God as well as the saints. But our intention should not be world oriented, where as our prayers and supplications must be God oriented. We must long and pray for the life in God and life with God. Priority must be given for this purpose than the worldly needs.

2) “Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him God the Father has sealed” verse-27. See our Lord’s promise of the everlasting life in St. John 4:14. St. Paul makes it clear that eternal life is a gift of our Savior and Lord. In Romans 623 we read, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. We all are supposed to long for the spiritual growth by making use of the nourishment we receive through the Church. Spiritual nourishment could be attained through the Church only and no other place or event could provide it. The sectarian groups only teach that they could provide salvation. The Holy Church guides the faithful in the right path and leads him or her to the final process of salvation. Salvation is a long and lengthy process. Our prayers, Sacraments, Lent, fasting, almsgiving etc help us in our way to salvation. Our ultimate aim must be to achieve the perfect abideness with our Lord God. We must ask for the abundant supply of the Holy Spirit in us. We must pray for the abideness of our Lord in us. Every one could repeat the Jesus prayer (Lord have mercy on this sinner = Kurielaison) every now and then, at least in our minds. Our Church Fathers had a practice of saying this smallest prayer continuously in mind, even when they were sleeping. We must build up a habit of saying this prayer as many times as we could.

3) What shall we do that we might work the works of God? (Verse 28) Many of us also retain such a thought in us. We also might pretend to be ready to anything for the glory of God. While attending the exhortations we all get attracted and immediately feel to do the possible for the kingdom of God. But after a while we all forget what we think. Let us give heed to the answer given by our Lord.

4) “This is the work of God that you believe on him whom he has sent” (Verse 29) In the first epistle of St. John, chapter 3 verse 23 we read “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us the commandment”. We must realize who Lord Jesus is for you and me. We must acknowledge daily at least two times, that he is our Lord, God and savior. If so only we could love him and follow him. We should not forget that the greatest of the commandment or the summary of the commandments are: Love God and Love other human beings. Let us think ourselves and find an answer to the question, how far we are sincere in loving God and others. If we cannot love our own brothers, we cannot love God. Let us take a decision that we would love one another. Let us practice this great habit in our lives.

5) “What sign you would show so that we might believe you” Verse 30. The people who had followed Lord Jesus had asked for signs previously also at several occasions. See St. Mathew 12:38, St. Mark 8:12, St. Luke 11:16, St. John 2: 18. That is why St. Paul is saying in I Corinthians 1:22, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom”. The Jews ignored all the miracles of our Lord. Like wise we are also ignoring all the merciful miracles of our Lord. Everyday, before going to bed, will everyone count all the mercies of God, what all miracles through which He has reared us and say a word of thanks to our Lord.

6) “Verily verily I say unto you, Moses did not give the bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven. I am the true bread of life. (Verse 32 and 35) Instead of giving praise to God for all his mercies, we give praises to somebody else. Many of us forget the mercy of God and praise their own or somebody else’s prayers. Due honor and adoration must be given to God at the exact time, before praising or appreciating any body or anything else.

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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