Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Aneede Sunday (Departed Faithful Sunday)
Volume 7 No. 398 February 17, 2017
This Sunday is one of three days in a year the Holy Church remembers and prays for all of our departed faithful. On this Sunday (Aneede Sunday - 2nd Sunday after Nineve Lent or 3-day lent), and the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, we remember and pray for all the departed faithful. We also remember and pray for them on the anniversary of their death. Of course, we remember them during all our prayers.

Why we pray for dead people? We do not pray for dead people; we pray for departed people. 'Departed' means that these faithful are not dead, they are physically separated from us. They have gone to Jesus' presence ahead of us. They have departed this world to their final home - in another world.

We make a qualification of 'departed faithful'. Only those who believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Savior will be resurrected. Jesus made it very clear during the raising of Lazarus described in the Gospel of John, chapter 11. Please refer to the following issues of Malankara World Journal to learn more:

Volume 4 No 209: April 9, 2014

Volume 6 No 337 March 16 2016

The concept can be examined by reading John 11: 23-27 - a discourse between Jesus and Martha, sister of Lazar:

23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

24 Martha said to Him (Jesus), "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
John 11:24-27 (NKJV)

Without discussing this in detail (which is done issues 209 and 337 referred above), the promise of afterlife comes in verse 25.

"He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die."

God originally created mankind in his own image; he was made to live forever like angels. But due to sin, we inherited death. But Jesus came to die for us, as a ransom for our sins. The action of Jesus means that those who believe in Jesus will be raised after physical death and we will live for ever with God. Note also that Jesus makes it clear that 'whoever lives and believes in Me'. This gift is only available to those who believe in Jesus. He is the way. To make sure that we understand the believing part, Jesus asks Martha, "Do you believe this?"

This is why we call our physically dead people as "departed faithful". They are eligible for the resurrection and life after physical death. This is also the reason we pray for our departed.

The article

Praying for the Living and the Dead - A Spiritual Work of Mercy

discusses why we pray for the departed faithful.

The life after death is discussed in

I'm Gonna Ride the Chariot in the Morning, Lord! Homily on Resurrection and Heaven

Jesus reinforces the promise of life after death in the following bible passage:

14 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many mansions (dwellings); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

It is OK to grieve the death (temporary physical separation) of our loved. Even Jesus wept when He went to Lazar's grave. (John 11:35) Jesus was weeping at the grief of the mourners and knew that this happened only because of the sin of Adam and Eve that separated us from God and brought death to this world. In a very short time Jesus Himself will die on the cross as a ransom for our sins, and rise from death (resurrect) on 3rd day conquering death and bringing the resurrection and life to all who believe in Him.

This is the last Sunday before the Great Lent begins on the eve of Sunday, February 26. Sunday, February 26 is Kothne Sunday or Pethrutha of Lent. Our Malankara World Journal Issue 400 will be published on March 1.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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