Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Seeking God

by Dn. Sujith T. Thomas, NY

Second Sunday after Assumption of St. Mary, the Mother of God

Gospel Reading: St. Luke 11:9-20

St. John Chrysostom states, "Prayer is a precious way of communicating with God, it gladdens the soul and gives repose to its affections. You should not think of prayer as being a matter of words. It is a desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not of human origin, but the gift of God's grace." We ought to have this earnest and deep desire for God. Our prayer should be to possess God. The Holy Gospel portion for the second Sunday after Assumption of St. Mary reminds us of this desire for God.

This particular Gospel portion (St. Luke 11:9-20) includes firstly Christ's teaching on prayer and secondly narrates the casting out of the demons from a mute person and the conversation surrounding the exorcism.

Firstly Christ reminds his listeners of the need to actively seek God. The three images of prayer that Jesus uses are asking, seeking and knocking. All three imply that prayer is an active process. The Psalmist speaks of the righteous one who 'seeks the face of God' (Psalm 24:6). The Lord looks down from heaven to see if there are any who seek after Him (Psalm 14:2). We seek God because of the earnest desire deep within our soul. The more we experience God, the more we desire God.

In our daily lives we are often busy chasing after many things. We are deceived by the illusions of this world and assume that we can find fulfillment in this world. The Blessed Augustine stated this condition of the soul in his famous work The Confessions. He stated, "Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

Ultimately Christ's promise to those who pray is that the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit. In other words God's response to our prayer is to give himself to us. What an amazing gift!

Secondly we ought to distinguish between good and evil and stand for good. In the second section of the narrative we read about an exorcism that Jesus performs and the reaction of the crowd. Some in the crowd said among themselves that he is casting out demons by the ruler of the demons. Christ the author of all things good had compassion on the mute person. However his enemies could not attribute any goodness to Christ. There are many who blur the distinction between good and evil. Even when we see something good there are many who stand aside and attempt to label it as evil. The reverse is common as well. Many try to disguise evil as good. The tendency to blur the distinction is prevalent in the world because it is the deceit of the evil one. When warning of the false apostles and deceitful workers within the Church, St. Paul reminded the Corinthian church, "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Christian life demands that we take a stand; we must position ourselves on the side of good. We hear the same message echoed in the Epistle reading as well. "For you are all children of light and children of day; we are not of the night or of darkness" (1 Thess. 5:5).

As we approach the feast of the Holy Cross, may the Holy Cross protect us from the evil one. Let us look to the cross to the see the symbol of goodness and the triumph of good over evil.

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