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

Devotional Thoughts for The Sunday for All Departed Priests

by Rev. Fr. Paulose T. Peter, NY

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come"
Matt. 24:42

The second coming of our Lord is one of the cardinal principles of our faith and the scriptures are replete with references to it. Though scriptures do not offer a clear idea as to when exactly it will happen, we do get a preview of how it may happen (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). The writer of the Gospel in today's passage instructs us how to prepare ourselves for that 'day'. The punch phrase Matthew uses to best express his thought is "keep watch" or "Be alert". Here are a few points to ponder.

1. Anticipate the unexpected:

Our own lives are full of ups and downs, twists and turns and most of them happen in the most unexpected ways. Our lives are subject to change with or without notice. Moses spent the first 40 years of his life as a prince in the royal court of Egypt (Acts 7:22, 23), enjoying all the comfort and luxury such a life offered. He grew up with good education, power and affluence. Scanning his early years, we would not have guessed that he would spend the next several years as a poor shepherd and herdsman (Acts 7:29, 30). We would have thought that at the age of 80, Moses would probably spend the rest of his life as a shepherd. Not a chance. He lived another 40 years as a prophet, receiving the Ten Commandments from God and becoming the undisputed leader to lead the nation of Israel from slavery to freedom. He lived three lives prince, shepherd, prophet - in one lifetime. With all the glamour he received during the third lap of his life, even the end did not happen the way he may have planned or hoped for. God said to him that he can see the promised land but not cross over Jordan to enter it. (Deut. 3:27). Lesson: Never rush to believe that our lives are settled and that future is secured and etched in stone. The life of Moses took many unexpected turns. Nevertheless, he remained faithful regardless of what happened. We should also do the same.

2. Never rely on our own strength:

Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites from slavery to freedom. He thought God made the wrong choice because he had very poor communication skills (Ex. 4:10-13). Moreover, he was asked to take on the powerful Pharaoh when he was already old in years. Moses would have ventured to meet that challenge if he was a young man. He had no army and every tide was against him to accomplish such a formidable task. Moses thought he had all the good arguments not to go for the job God commissioned him with. Yet he was a winner. Lesson: Let us not underestimate Gods power. We should not discount our ability to serve God. When we put our trust in God, we are given the ability and the tools to step up to the challenge. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it labour in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Ps. 127).

3. Gods time table is different from ours:

As a young man, Moses killed an Egyptian (Acts 7:24). He was seething with the strength of his youth. That was the right time he would have willingly ventured into unchartered waters. But he was called to deliver Israel at a time when he was not at all fit to take up such a risky job. When certain things happen in our lives, dont we sometimes ask why now? When Lazarus died, his sister's complaint to Jesus was, where were you all this time? If you had come earlier her brother would not have died, she said. God does not follow our time schedule. Lesson: Never question Gods timing. He knows what He is doing. Many plans are made by men, but it is the purpose of God that prevails (Prov. 19:21).

4. Keep watch so that our life after death is better than the life on this earth:

All our dreams in life do not necessarily come true. A wife builds her dreams around the husband and suddenly the husband is taken away. A husband builds his dreams around his wife and suddenly the wife is taken way. Things do not always happen the way we want them to be. Moses led the Israelites into the promised land but he himself could not enter it. Moses may not have entered the promised land during his lifetime but I firmly believe that he entered the promised places God has prepared in the heavenly abode for all those who love him because Moses was faithful and steadfast in God's service.

Let us pray that all those departed priests whom we remember today and who faithfully served in the Lord's vineyard be given a place of rest and peace in the heavenly country. We need to keep watch. We need to be alerted to the fact that we are not like evergreen trees. More than ever, we need to regulate our lives now, not later. Learn to anticipate the unexpected, never rely on our own strength, know that Gods timetable is different from ours and keep watch so that our next life is better than the present one.

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for Kohne Sunday

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