Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: 1st Sunday After New Sunday
Volume 6 No. 343 April 8, 2016
This Sunday is the 1st Sunday after New Sunday (2nd Sunday after Easter). The lectionary reading is from John 21:1-14. It is the last chapter of John. Many scholars think that this chapter was added at a later date.

The scene is Jesus appearing to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. This episode is reminiscent of the first miraculous draught of fish (cf. Luke 5:1- 11), where our Lord promised Peter He would make him a 'fisher of men'; now Jesus is going to confirm Peter's mission as the visible head of the Church. One of the main agenda of Jesus was to reinstall Peter and assure him that he still holds the "keys" to his church. Peter had denied Jesus three times on Good Friday. He repented; but is still heartbroken and perhaps a little ashamed too to face Jesus and fellow disciples. He certainly lost the standing among the disciples, but not to Jesus. Jesus knew this was going to happen. But now he needs to assure Peter that he forgives him for his indiscretion. Peter need to be reinstalled in front of the other disciples so that he can be effective in future ministry as the 'leader of the pack' - one who holds the 'keys to the kingdom'. Later in the chapter we see Jesus asking Peter three times if he love him, one for each time he denied him. Most importantly, He didn't tell Peter that he is disappointed. He simply wanted to know if he loves him. Love forgives. Love is the answer to all. More importantly, God is love.

The way Jesus confronts someone who had done wrong to him, has applications in our lives too. To those who crucified him, he prays to his father to forgive them. To someone (Peter) who denied Jesus at a critical time when Jesus needed the support, Jesus simply forgive him. Like Joseph of the old testament who kept no grudge against his brothers who have sold him to slavery, Jesus is telling us that love keep no grudges. We can use the same strategies Jesus used when we deal with a loved one as is shown in the article by Dr. Pritchard. It is a must read article and is one of my favorites.

Easter is all about Jesus defeating death. Jesus has earned us eternity in the process. Our featured articles explain what is special about Easter.

Talking about death, during passion week, we lost two remarkable persons. Both these people had a great influence on my life. One was a nun called Mother Angelica. She has single-handedly started a TV ministry called EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). She was broke and nearly on the verge of liquidation by her creditors several times; but somehow stayed on by trusting God. Today, EWTN transmits 24-hour-a-day programming to more than 264 million homes in 144 countries. They have state-of-the-art professional recording studios. What began with approximately 20 employees has now grown to nearly 400. The religious network broadcasts terrestrial and shortwave radio around the world, operates a religious goods catalog and publishes the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, among other publishing ventures. I wish our church can do something like that. I had read many articles and books written by Mother Angelica in the early days of founding the Malankara World. They were a great inspiration to me. Mother Angelica said:

"If you want to be holy, if you seek meaning in your life, start looking into your own life and attacking your pride in all of its many forms. God will give you extraordinary light and the ultimate reward of holiness. For your holiness relies not on what you do, but on what you allow God to do through you. Have courage. God will perfect you."
 - Mother Angelica

The other person we remember this week is Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Cor Episcopa. He visited Cleveland, Ohio about 20+ years ago to visit his son Jijo and family. During his summer stay, he conducted several services in our church. What was noteworthy about him was his sermons. They were very well prepared (thoroughly researched) and delivered like perhaps Jesus did with his parables. As a story teller, he kept us captivated. These gave me inspiration as to what to look for in a good sermon for Malankara World. A few years ago, we (myself and my wife Shila) visited him at his home in Kothamangalam and I was amazed by the variety of things he did. He experimented with many fields. In art, he tried oil and watercolor; then he tried furniture making and wood carving. He then moved on building construction building churches and rebuilding/remodeling existing ones. He was a modern day Da Vinci. These were in addition to his main career as a reputed educationist and priest. He excelled in every field he has set his eyes on. He was an example of what we can do if we let God work through us. He left a big legacy for us to follow.

Mother Angelica and V Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Cor Episcopa are examples of Ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God. Yes we can all do the same if we let God work through us.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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