Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Evangelism, 3rd Sun After Pentecost
Volume 7 No. 422 June 23, 2017
Today (I am writing this on June 21, 2017) is the longest day (Daytime hours) in Northern Hemisphere. It is also the first day of Summer in North America. The Sun is at the northernmost point in its trajectory (called Summer Solstice). From now on the sun will slowly travel south. As a result, the days will get shorter. On September 22 (called Autumn Equinox) as the sun will reach the equator. On this day, the daytime and nighttime will be exactly equal. The sun will continue its journey to South and will reach its southernmost trajectory on December 21 (called Winter Solstice). On this day, the people in Southern hemisphere (like Australia, Chile, etc.) will have the longest day and people in the Northern hemisphere will have the shortest day. Now the sun starts its northern movement. Days will get longer for people in North and shorter for people in South. Sun reaches equator again on March 20 (vernal Equinox) and the day and night will be equal again. The sun continues its travel north and will reach the northern point on June 21 (summer solstice) completing the year. The cycle is repeated.

Of course, people who live near equator, like in Kerala, wonder what all the fuss is about. For them, the length of the day does not change much. (Only seasons change.) In Kerala, it is good all year. We take things for granted. When you live in Northern or Southern hemisphere, we start appreciating good days and good season. The growing season is short, so you have to plan your garden carefully. In Kerala, they are worried mostly about rainfall.

In North America, the schools are closed for the summer vacation. They will open in Late August. This is the family vacation time. Last two months were the graduation season. Many convocation speeches advising young graduates about life ahead. I am not sure anyone of the graduates were listening. They were too excited about finishing school and graduating. (I cannot recall what was said in any of my graduation ceremonies.) But the parents listen. I can recall quite vividly what was said in my daughter's graduation from Kenyon College. (It was about various forms of love, such as agape, ..)

This is also true of marriage ceremonies. The bride and groom towards whom the ceremonies are focused, either will be too exhausted or too excited to listen to anything the priest or bishop says. But after they are married, they will listen carefully what the priest/bishop says (At least I do.) How true what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

How true it is, isn't it? The only problem is that, when is the proper season for anything is not controlled by us, human beings. It is controlled by God. We may think we know the appropriate season. We could be badly mistaken. For example, in spite of all the scientific advances, we still do not know when a pregnant woman is going to deliver the baby. It can be few days to few weeks off from the 'expected date.' Only God knows.

This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel reading is John 6:35-46. Jesus is talking about how important it is to eat his 'flesh' and drink his 'blood' to have eternal life. It is a vivid reference to the importance of our Eucharist - do not just attend our qurbano/Eucharist as 'observers' as many of us do; we should be 'full participants' - not only actively participate in the service but also partake in the qurbana/mass; not just once a year on Maundy Thursday, but on every Sunday you go to Church.

Since "I am the Bread of Life" statement of Jesus was discussed in detail in previous weeks, we look at the alternate bible readings for this week. They are Mark 6:4-13 and Luke 9:1-11. Jesus is commissioning his disciples for evangelism or mission work. So, this week, we will discuss evangelism as the theme of MWJ. It is one of the commandments of Jesus to spread the word of the Good News to the rest of the world.

June 29 is the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul and on June 30 we celebrate the feast of all 12 apostles. So, we have a special supplement in this issue to discuss St. Peter and St. Paul. More on the archived issues referred in this issue.

We wish all a great summer/or winter as the case may be. Enjoy your family vacations.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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