Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday before Pentecost

by Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose

Gospel: St. John 17: 13-26

The passage is part of the High Priestly Prayer of our Lord. Prior to His suffering and death our Lord uttered this solemn prayer. A true prayer of the Son of God that could be adapted as a model for those who intercede for others. This prayer has not only some appeals but also some affirmative statements. In fact a true intercession includes confessions or affirmations and appeals. Those affirmations are indicative of the Father's relationship with His Son and the people. Some of the statements are indicative of the nature of the human world and its relationship to the disciples of Christ. Each sentence is extremely carefully said in this passage. Some of the fundamental teachings of our Lord on God-Man relationship are seen here. The following are some of the reflections:

1. Our Lord prays for redemption from the adversary. The Lord knew that when He is gone the disciples needed protection from the enemy. The influence of the enemy in our life is a reality. In this world we have too many attacks from this enemy. This world is the place where we have to live in faith. We cannot escape from this world. Living in this world we should be able to overcome the adversary. This is a huge challenge. We can overcome the world only through the power of the Lord. In the absence of the Lord, one cannot do the fight against the adversary and defeat him. This is an ideal prayer that the parents can do for their children.

2. Sanctification through Truth of the Word of God (v. 17-20). Without proper knowledge of the Word of God one cannot understand truth in its fullness. Without the knowledge of truth sanctity cannot be acquired. Therefore, the Lord says that He is sanctifying Himself for the sake of his followers. Sanctity or holiness is the fundamental attribute of God to which the creation is called. We humans are invited to share this sanctity in its fullness. All efforts in this world should be to come closer to this holiness everyday.

3. Unity with God and with people. In the Ecumenical world these verse (v. 21, 26) are often quoted. Also when talk about unity in the Church all denominations use this verse fluently but never understood or practiced. Unity among the children of God is God's priority. This unity begins with His elected ones that is the Church. Unfortunately the Church itself is in disarray and unable to unite the minds of various Christians who ostensibly make the claim that each of them is the "perfect Church". When the Church fails in uniting itself, how much can we expect the world to be united? It is nearly impossible.

4. The purpose of Unity is not seen as a political motto. Normally that is what we humans do. We have different kinds of unities or unions that are politically oriented. Each Church calls for unity when it faces crisis within. There is only ONE MOTTO for this unity. That is nothing but the glorification of God's name in this world. The world will come to know of His presence in the world through the unity of the Church. This is why the Christian Church became a scandal today. In the Early Church non-Christians (the term used was pagan) used to commend, "see how these Christians love one another!" Unless we lose our ego and make an all-out effort to lose our ego and get united with rest of our separated brethren, we can never bring glory to the name of God. Today who would call us "children of God?"

5. Unity in the Godhead is the ONLY model. The way the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are untied, we are to be united. The book on "Classless Society" of Mar Osthathios, one of our present senior bishops and known theologian, based his theory on the Holy Trinity. The perfect understanding among the persons of the Holy Trinity is therefore the model for us. Unfortunately in our structures classlessness is impossible. How can I preach classlessness when I, as a priest, live in a `clergy class' unwilling to lose my false identity ( I call this `Achanism' with apology to my colleague achens)? We have the theories but much less in practice. No matter who we are, from top to bottom we live in a `class society'. Most of us are happy with this system. Who can change this? Only Jesus can. There is severe Impact for a classless society. There you can see each person caring for the other. Therefore, there will be no poverty, no discrimination, hatred, war, etc. The Early Church lived this faith not just preached.

6. Finally vs. 26 "the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them". Ultimately the love of Christ is the factor that can unite all of us. Indeed when our Lord said this to the Apostles at that time, He meant the unity and love of the Apostles but today it is much more deeper and wider a meaning and implication for the Church, the society and the whole world. That is the purpose of the prayer, "Thy Kingdom come"!

It is time for us to rethink about the earnest prayer of our Lord as we remember the "waiting upon the Holy Spirit" for the next 10 days beginning from Ascension and ending on the Day of Pentecost. If we wait upon the Holy Spirit with these humble thoughts, He will empower us to walk in the words of our Lord.

See Also:

Lord Jesusí High-Priestly Prayer
by Very Rev. K. Mathai Cor-Episcopa

Devotional Thoughts for The Sunday before Pentecost
by Very Rev. Dr. Yohannan Sankarathil Cor-Episcopa

Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday before Pentecost
by Rev. Dn. Sujit T Thomas

Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday before Pentecost
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

A Prayer for Mankind
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for Sunday Before Pentecost

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