Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Kohne - All Departed Clergy (Priests/Fathers)

Sermon / Homily on Matthew 24:42-51

Meditation on Sunday of All Departed Clergy

by Rev. Fr. Laby George Panackamattom

"Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

Our departed clergy stand as a strong hold for us believers in our spiritual journey. The letter to Hebrews reminds us to remember them, the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. We are blessed to be part of a profound faith and tradition.

But have we ever felt the real essence of our tradition, and the depth of the spirituality that was handed over to us by our ancestors? It is not possible for us to measure it in this life time. The most precious treasure of the Church was guarded and handed over by our departed clergy, for us to enjoy its serenity and richness, and be blessed. It is our responsibility to handover this treasure to our next generation with utmost care. We are answerable to what we have received. This is a day for us to reflect on what we have received from our ancestors, and how we are handling it in remembrance of our Holy fathers and departed clergy.

In the Eastern tradition

it is customary for one to seek the blessings of the elders or teachers when starting any great journey or a new phase in life. Our tradition/culture teaches us to seek the blessings so that the outcome may be fruitful and blessed. Very soon, as a Church and as individuals, we will be starting a new spiritual journey, 'the Great Lent'. Before beginning the journey, our tradition asks us to remember our departed clergy and all our departed souls; that their prayers may accompany and strengthen us in our journey to defeat the evil forces that watch and wait to conquer us at the earliest possible opportunity. Our prayers, fasting, prostrations, charity, and the blessings and prayers of our ancestors, are all weapons for us believers to fight against Satan and his forces.

The Gospel reading for the day is St. Mathew 24:42-51.

1. Expect at the unexpected time.

Many a time we face unforeseen circumstances in life. Based on the outcome of the situation, we call it our fate if it ends on a difficult note or a blessing if it is something that ends happily, and try to move on in life as we have to deal with it without choice. But the coming of the Lord can never be explained in the same way because our Lord Jesus Christ clearly gives us the hint, to be prepared always as 'the Lord is coming'. When the gospel writer says, 'the Lord is coming', that means the journey is all set and what we are unaware is only the time of arrival. If He had asked us to be prepared always, and if we have not taken it seriously, then the fault is only on our side. He clearly gives us the hint to be prepared even at the hour we do not expect.

To live in this world in anticipation of our Lord's coming will definitely help us scrutinize our daily life and live accordingly. We will be more cautious in our words, deeds, and thoughts. Even after the advance notice, if He finds us unprepared, it will be an insult and injustice towards our Lord and Master. To live every moment in our life, in anticipation of meeting our Lord makes us more and more spiritual and closer to our God. Our forefathers remembered the Lord with their every breath. They used to say, 'my Lord and my God' many times in a day. How often do we remember and call upon our God? It is something to be evaluated seriously in our life.

2. Prove your honesty towards the Lord.

Honesty is an important quality in any generation. How honest are we in our lives? We may be honest to many things in our lives, but honesty towards our Lord is something we have ignored and set aside most of the time. The quality of our lives is hindered by this act. We try to prove and show off our honesty in various areas of life. All these show offs are to create a fake impression before others. It will never give us a perfect permanent satisfaction in life.

The honesty towards Lord makes a man perfect and valuable in the eyes of our God. The eternal reward is only for such people. If we are honest towards Lord, by default we will be honest in each and every sector of life. Such people will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will be provided the courage to face anything that comes across in their lives, be it good or bad. The invisible protective hand of God will be upon them forever. Our life style and priorities should change from pleasing others, to pleasing God.

3. Beware of the self-set boundaries of spiritual hypocrisy.

We all are prone to set our boundaries of spiritual hypocrisy. It is not something new; it started from the time of creation, from the first parents itself. That was the reason why Eve followed the instruction of the Serpent, disregarding and overruling the command of God. The same seed of disregard or disobedience is in each one of us. We decide and conclude with the pros and cons of divinity. It simply makes us a sinner in the eyes of God, when it is for the cover up of our unhuman deeds.

Here in the passage, Jesus mentions about the evil servant who says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming', and begins to beat his fellow servants. The reward for him is to cut him in two and appointing his portion with the hypocrites. A 'cut' and 'cut in two' are two different things. A 'cut' has always a possibility to rejoin and get cured, but 'cut in two' shows a clear separation which is unrepairable.

The evil servant dishonors his Master and is permanently separated from his Master. He acted against his master's expectation and trust. His act adversely affected the faith of his Master in him. Our God too has an expectation and trust in each one of us. How well can we prove ourselves to our God? How far are we justifiable to His trust in us?

Let us reflect and respond.

God Bless.

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for Kohne Sunday

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