Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

by Rev. Dn Aju Philip Mathews

Gospel: St. Luke 10 : 1 - 16

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Dearly Beloved in Christ our Risen Lord,

In the days following the Feast of Pentecost in the Church, we are reminded time and time again through the Gospel, of our calling to minister to the People of God and to realize that the source of the ministry and the source of the Gospel we preach, is none other than the Bread of Life, the one Lord Jesus Christ. Those who will hear this Good News and receive Christ will never hunger or thirst.

In this Sunday's Gospel, we hear the story of the commissioning of the 70 Apostles, who were "sent out" (apostolon) during Christ's ministry on the Earth. They are given specific orders and a particular mission to a particular group of people.

1. From the Gospel reading on the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost (St. Matthew 10:5-16), we hear the disciples sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and not to Samaria or the Gentiles. Those who have no faith, like Samaritans or Gentiles, should see the good works that the disciples/apostles do and then come to faith and join the flock of God. Then they will be ministered to.

2. From the Gospels readings on the 1st and 3rd Sundays (St. John 6:26-35 & St. John 6:35-46) after Pentecost, we read about Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life. That is the Gospel/ Good News that is to be preached to each home that the disciples/apostles enter, along with the customary "Peace Be to this house" (Lk. 10:5). In our ministry of being Christian in a non-Christian world, do we give the peace of the Lord to those whom we encounter? How about even those people in the Flock of God, i.e. , the Church that we attend every Sunday?

3. The ministry is not about our comfort, but rather the mission that is entrusted to us. "Take no purse, no bag, no sandals, and greet no one on the road... Do not move from house to house..." (Lk. 10:4,7) The Lord commands in the Gospel from the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost that we are to give freely what has been given to us freely, that is to not charge for preaching the Gospel. However, it is clear that the Lord wants people to provide for the ministers of the Lord, as it was the OT practice, as well as in St. Luke 10: 7-8, we read that the disciples who are sent out, shoudl eat and drink as they are provided those things, for "the laborer deserves to be paid." The Lord will provide for us, via the faithful whom we visit.

4. For Christ, it seems that there is no middle ground in terms of the Gospel. Whether you accept the Gospel or not, if the peace that you bring does not stay in that house, then that house becomes cursed, like the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, who had the Gospel come to them and yet they rejected it. That is why they are better off than Sodom and Gomorrah. The Gospel was never preached to Sodom and Gomorrah, but Christ himself went to Chorazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, and Sidon. The peace of the Lord must be spread through the ministry, and yet the Churches of today resemble those cities that are cursed. For every Sunday, the Gospel is read and it is preached upon from the pulpit, and yet there is no peace of Christ visible in the relations among priest and people, or people and people within the Church community, let alone the inter-faith community.

5. We preach on behalf of Christ in the midst of wolves. Therefore, we must be prepared to suffer like Christ, and die like Him, not expecting any reward, but that of the Kingdom of Heaven (v. 16). But our ministry is the work of the Lord, in that we are reaping the Harvest for the coming of the Lord. What we sow, that is Christ, among the people, must be reaped by us, which is Love and Peace, and Truth.

This is a hard calling for us as Christians, but it must be taken up in some capacity in our regular lives. We, at work, at school, in play or whatever circumstance, must learn to reflect Christ to others. St. Matthew 5:16 says, "So let your light shine so before men, that they may see the good work that you do, and give glory to your Father in Heaven." In doing this, we are not just bringing the lost sheep of Israel to the flock, but we are also changing the hearts of those people who are not of this flock, to come and join the flock.

Lord, help us to preach your Gospel, and reflect your love and peace. Amen

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost

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