Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 15 July 22, 2011

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http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNews_15-July-22-2011.htm

St. Mary Butterfly art. Picture of St. Mary made with butterfly wings by an African artist.
Our Lady of the Butterflies
An image of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child by an African artist. It is made out of African butterfly wings.

(Donít worry, there are millions of colorful butterflies that migrate over Central Africa. When they die, the wings are collected by people in villages to be used in their artwork. The Carmelites give the images to donors who support their mission work).

Table of Contents
Editor's Note
This week's cover picture is truly different. It is a picture of St. Mary made with butterfly wings by an African artist. Amazing art!

This Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost. The gospel reading is from St. Matthew 15:32-39. It is the miracle of feeding 4000+ people by Jesus Christ. Many people confuse this miracle with the miracle of feeding 5000+ people plus with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish we had been reading about in the past two weeks. But these are distinctly different miracles. Here are a few major differences you see by perusing through the Bible Analysis, Commentaries and Sermons provided in Malankara World. ( The full list of sermons and commentary can be found at:
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/library/sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_6th-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm )

1. The number of people mentioned: 5000 men vs. 4000 men.

2. The number of fish and the number of loaves (5 loaves of bread plus 2 fish vs. 7 loaves of bread plus few little fish)

3. The number of baskets of left over food. (12 baskets vs. 7 baskets)

4. The type of baskets used to collect left over food was different.

In the feeding of the five thousand, the Greek word used for the basket was cofinos. This was a small basket with a narrow neck with a small opening on the top.

In the miracle of feeding 4000 we study this week, the Greek word for the basket used is spureze. It refers to a hamper-sized basket, a big basket. These generally had two handles. These baskets are used predominantly in the Gentile territories by Gentiles.

When we read the bible, we may have the impression that there was more food left over in the earlier miracle as the leftovers filled 12 baskets. So itís possible that actually thereís more bread left over in the second miracle (4000), considerably more than in the other one, because, although only 7 baskets were used to collect the leftovers, the actual baskets were much bigger than the earlier Jewish baskets.

5. Location of the miracle. The miracle happened on different sides of the Sea of Galilee. The earlier miracle took place near Bethsaida, the later miracle happened in the area of the Decapolis.

6. The time of year when the miracle took place is also different. The miracle of feeding 5000 took place earlier in the year/season, possibly at springtime or early summer when the grass was green. No mention of green grass here, itís a little bit later in time. So the hot sun has killed the grass.

7. The crowdís response is also different. After the earlier miracle, the crowd wanted to make Christ their King right there. You donít see that here at all, thereís not that type of response.

8. The composition or the ethnicity of the crowd is different too. Before, on the western side of the Sea of Galilee, it was a predominantly Jewish crowd. Here it appears, for a good reason, that it is predominantly a Gentile crowd.

9. In the miracle of feeding 5000, the bread and fish were supplied by a little boy. In the feeding of 4000, the fish and the bread seems to have been supplied by the disciples themselves; no mention of any boy.

These differences in the two miracles also signifies an important paradigm shift. The early work of Jesus and the disciples was done among the Jews. The left over food was collected in 12 baskets, perhaps symbolically showing the twelve tribes of Israel, the most important number for the Jews. The work of Jesus slowly expanded to the Gentiles. The most important work in the New Testament period was done in Gentile territories. In New Testament the most important number is 7. Seven is used in New Testament to represent the church. For instance, thereís the seven letters to the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. So, it is possible that there is more to the collection of the remnant food in 7 baskets in the second miracle than meets the eye first.

We had been publishing the trip reports from the recently concluded MGSOSA faith mission to Dominican Republic. This week we have included the trip report for July 5-6. I have included an article by Varghese Monai Karuthalackal titled 'True Beauty' as the focus of this week's journal. Monai was moved by what he learned when he visited an orphanage in Dominican Republic. He realizes that all the blessings in his life comes from God. He shares what he learned from reading a book gifted by his mother. It is a very moving article. (He also mentions one of my favorite gospel song, "Ethratholam Yehovah Sahayichu".) We have a companion article "How to Find God's Mercy Amidst Suffering." The two articles will give you a different perspective on life.

Archbishop Chaput writes about how what we do will shape our eternity. We spend more time watching TV than reading bible or spending time in Church. So, TV and the media is what shapes our morality more than what we read in bible. Are we ready to make some changes in our lifestyle for our eternity?

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (July 24, 2011)
  • Evening
    • St. Luke 17: 1-10
  • Morning
    • St. Mark 6: 30- 52
  • Before Holy Qurbana
    • Exodus 3-: 34-38
    • Psalms 20
    • Isaiah 14: 22-27
  • Holy Qurbana
    • Acts 1:15 - 20
    • 1 Corinthians 8: 1-6
    • St. Matthew 15: 32-39

 Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermons for This Sunday
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_6th-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

More Sermons

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1

"This is easy!" I thought when I first became a Christian. Trust Jesus, He takes away the penalty of your sin, and thatís it. Then a Sunday school teacher explained Christian behavior. "This is hard," I concluded. I discovered concepts like unlimited forgiveness, turning the other cheek and going the second mile. "This is impossible!" I thought. So I passed through the "easy," "hard," and "impossible" stages of Christian growth and arrived at a fourthóemptiness. Thatís the point at which the Good Shepherd can fill you up. You have to come to the empty stage before you "want," and you have to "want" before you can be filled.

Source: Daily Strength Devotional

Featured This Week: MGSOSA - Dominican Outreach Mission Trip 2011 Memories

True Beauty

by Varghese Monai Karuthalackal

At times, lessons in life are learned from kids. We had the great privilege to go to an orphanage that Fr. Dale helped build. As we walked through the property we saw many hand prints on the wall which I came to find were the signature of the orphans in residence.

MGSOSA-Dominican Mission-Orphanage

I stood there in that orphanage. Itís a place of inner peace and shows the true beauty of this world. From my personal stand point, I felt sad for these kids. It really hit my heart that the disappointments in my own life were nothing when compared to the experience of these little ones.

I saw the joy and happiness in the kids when we entered the room. I was not afraid to go up to these strangers whom I now count as friends. The quality of love and nurture they receive from their caregivers is a gift that I wish I too could offer. We sang songs with them and any language barrier was no longer there. You can see the priceless smiles on their faces.

As soon as we started singing and clapping, a little girl extended her hand to me and I extended my hands to her. She then stood up and walked over and hugged Lispin. You could see the love, happiness, protection, and the acceptance that was given through that heartfelt hug.

MGSOSA-Dominican Mission-Orphan Girl

As we stood there and praised God, I realized there is no absolute difference between these orphans and other human beings. We are all indeed children of God. There is a song that comes to mind that I sing through my own days of weakness that I will share:

Ithratholam yehova sahaayichu
Ithratholam dhaivamenne nadatthi
Onnumillaimayil ninnenne uyartthi
Ithratholam yehova sahaayichu

This song is telling us that the Lord Jesus Christ has helped us walk through the tough days. I do not have anything to offer to God, but He compelled us through every difficulty. God helps these helpless children and I have witnessed God move through these kids.

To conclude, my mother gave me a book (1) before I came to Dominican Republic and here is a little quote from it:

ďThe Romans of old used to say, ĎThere is nothing more useful than sun and salt.í In the time of Jesus salt held significance. He did not hesitate to tell his followers ĎYou are the salt of the earth.í Salt lends flavor to things. And He also said, ĎYou are the light of the world.í He demanded nothing else but that they should shineĒ (pg. 128).

As I leave from this great island, the memories and experiences will have a place in my small heart. There are a lot of needs in this orphanage, but there is something each of us can do - a simple task - keep these kids in our prayer!

1. Maurus, J. Living the Marvel of Life. Mumbai: Better Yourself Books, 2006.

Source: MGSOSA - Dominican Mission Trip Report 4. Other reports of this trip are available at Malankara World MGSOSA section.

How to Find God's Mercy Amidst Suffering

by Whitney Hopler

Suffering is all around you in this fallen world, and sometimes itís so tragic that itís heartbreaking. Yet God promises that He is loving and merciful. How can you reconcile these two realities that seem like they compete against each other?

The key is to look for Godís mercy, even when it seems like it canít coexist with the suffering you encounter. Godís mercy is a stronger force than even the worst suffering, and when you look for it, youíll find it.

Hereís how you can find Godís mercy in the midst of suffering:

Look for God beside you.

God promises to be close to you when you feel brokenhearted. Remember that when God came to Earth as Jesus, He experienced what a broken human heart felt like as He endured suffering firsthand in our fallen world. Nothing can ever separate you from Godís deep, unconditional love; He cares about what youíre going through. If you canít sense His presence with you, pray, asking God to comfort you by making you aware of His Spirit nearby.

Realize that some parts of faith only grow in the dark.

God uses the darkness of suffering to teach you valuable spiritual lessons that you couldnít learn in the bright light of good times. When you must travel through dark circumstances, be confident that you wonít emerge from them the same as you were before. Expect to grow into a stronger person as Godís redemptive purposes unfold in your life through suffering. Ask God to show you specific ways in which He wants to bring good out of your pain.

Ask God for the help you need to overcome sin.

Face the reality that much of the suffering in our fallen world is caused by human sin. But count on the fact that God is merciful toward all sinners. Whenever you recognize a situation in which some of your own sin has contributed to your suffering, pray for help, and God will give you the strength you need to overcome sin. Stop holding onto any sinful secrets that have been causing guilt, shame, and bitterness in your soul. Confess your sins specifically, repent of them, accept the forgiveness that God offers you, and embrace the power that God gives you to move forward into a better life.

Listen for God speaking in the silence.

When your suffering becomes so painful that you canít make any sense of it or figure out how to endure it, you may feel as if youíre trapped in silence, since nothing that other people say or do to try to help actually breaks through to you. But when youíre at the point where you donít hear anything else, you can actually hear God best, since youíre less likely to get distracted by the worldís noise around you. In the silence, pour out your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer, and then listen to what He has to say to you. God wonít shout, but He will whisper, to encourage you to keep drawing closer to Him.

Ask God for the faith to move forward even when youíre afraid.

Itís natural to feel fear when youíre going through suffering, but God will give you the faith you need to do whatever you need to do, even while youíll struggling with fear. Rather than asking God to take away your fear, ask Him to give you the faith you need to overcome it. View each crisis you go through as an opportunity to express your faith in Godís power to sustain you.

Simplify your life.

Sometimes suffering makes you aware of the need to clear clutter out of your schedule and surroundings so you can experience more of the peace that God wants to give you in all circumstances. Devote more time to your relationship with God. Eliminate activities from your life that donít reflect your highest priorities, and use the free time left from cutting them out to pursue a deeper relationship with God.

Participate in Godís plan to end injustice in the world.

When the suffering you see around you disturbs you, do something about it if at all possible. Recognize that all Christians have a crucial role to play in Godís plan to free people the suffering caused by injustices such as addiction, oppression, disease, poverty, racism, and debt. Ask God to give you compassion for people who are suffering from injustice. Realize that you and your efforts have tremendous value in Godís kingdom, and that God wants to express His mercy for suffering people by working through your life to help them. Pray for the wisdom to know what specific ways God wants you to serve others to help bring more justice to our fallen world Ė and then take action to do so! Choose to do one small thing at a time instead of becoming overwhelmed by the immensity of the needs surrounding you. Trust that God will use you to touch one personís life at a time to accomplish something great even from small efforts.

Donít let suffering keep you from living fully.

If suffering has discouraged you to the point where you no longer take the risks you sense God calling you take to live a full life, pray for encouragement. Donít settle for anything less than doing what God leads you to do every day, and donít quit when suffering causes discouragement to creep back into your soul. Instead, keep praying, and you can count on God to keep encouraging you.

Forgive, so your suffering wonít poison your soul with bitterness.

Rely on Godís help to forgive the people who have caused you to suffer. Keep in mind that God will help you every step of the way if youíre faithful to respond to His call to forgive others as He has forgiven you for your own sins.

Look forward to heaven.

Remind yourself often that God will replace the ugliness of suffering in this fallen world with the beauty of holiness in heaven. Hold onto the real hope that you have in Christ of living free of suffering when you get to heaven.

Source: Adapted from God Canít Sleep: Waiting for Daylight on Lifeís Dark Nights, copyright 2011 by Palmer Chinchen. Published by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Co., www.davidccook.com.

Source: Spiritual Life, crosswalk.com

Our Choices Shape Our Eternity

by Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.

In Muslim countries like Pakistan, many of the young men begin studying the Koran as soon as they can read. In fact, many of them learn to read using the Koran. They read and discuss the Koran every day, for hours each day, every day of the week until they know it by heart. Many of them can recite whole sections of the Koran without thinking. Little by little, like water dripping on a stone, it shapes their whole view of the worldówhatís right and whatís wrong; whatís important and whatís not.

Here in America, we have a similar kind of training. Itís called television. The typical American spends between three and seven hours a day watching TV and sees well over 2 million commercials in the course of a lifetime.

Thatís a form of education. And most of what we see on TV teaches us that buying a lot of products makes us happy; that young is good and old is bad; that we should eat whatever we want but that we also need to be thin; that suffering doesnít have any meaning; that relationships never last; that most families are dysfunctional; that authority is dangerous; and that religious people are hypocritical.

None of us lives forever. Or rather, all of us live forever, but only for a very short time in this world. If we lose our money, we can often earn it back. But if we misuse our time, we can never get it back. Where we put our time shows the world what we really value and believe. What we really believe shapes our choices. And our choices shape our eternity.

Muslims didnít develop their admirable piety in a vacuum. They borrowed their reverence from Jews and early Christians, who had a profound love for the written Word of God in the Old and New Testaments. The lesson for us today is simple. Christians have the one true Word of God in the Bible. If we took just one hour of the time we waste on television every day and used it to study and pray over the Gospels, weíd be fundamentally different people, and our country and our world would be transformed.

We were made for better things than silver and gold. Weíre more than what we own or think we want. Weíre children of God bought back from slavery by the blood of Godís son. Somebody infinitely good, willingly died to make us free. Thatís how precious we are in the eyes of God. God loves us infinitely. Thatís the source of our faith and hope.

Godís love is not something anyone can buy. Itís a free gift. But it comes with consequences. If we really believe that God raised his son from the dead in order to raise us along with him, then we need to act like it. We need to submit our time and our actions to what we claim to believe. A meaningful life is a life conformed to imperishable things. And a futile life is a life that puts its time in the wrong placesóinto things that perish; things that lead us away from conforming our lives to Jesus Christ.

Those are the two options. We get to choose.

Source: Denver Catholic Register, July 13. 2011.
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. is the Catholic archbishop of Denver.

Obedience, Listening

His Master's Voice

During the mid-twentieth century, one of the most recognizable brand icons in America was a dog sitting in front of an old-time gramophone, head cocked, listening to the sound. That iconic image, owned by the RCA Victor record company, was taken from a painting by English artist Francis Barraud. The dog, Nipper, had been owned by Barraud's brother who had recorded his voice on early phonograph records. After the brother died, Barraud inherited Nipper and the gramophone and records. Whenever the records with Nipper's master's voice were played, the dog would sit in front of the gramophone listening to his master's voice.

That's a beautiful image of the relationship between Jesus Christ and us. He has gone away from earth, so we can no longer hear His physical voice. But we sit in front of His Word, and kneel before Him in prayer, and listen for our Master's voice. The Bible was given to be the voice of the Lord until He returns, and prayer is how we confirm what we believe He has spoken to our hearts. How easily can you pick out the Master's voice from all others?

Listening for the Master's voice is a sign of loyalty and longing -- an indication that we are eager to hear and obey.

Source: Turning Point Devotional by Dr. David Jeremiah

Health Tip: 5 Foods that Keep You Thin

By: Kristin McGrath

Take a look around any book store, and you'll find dozens of diet books lining the shelves. Despite their bright and cheerful covers, with their positive, upbeat claims, many of them are filled with information that promotes all the wrong messages.

"The word 'diet' is negative and implies people can go on and off them," said Jane Korsberg, a senior instructor in the department of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Korsberg is one nutritionist who thinks it would be better to re-think the whole concept of dieting.

"'Diet foods' are confusing to many people," she explained. "What diet is the 'diet food' geared for? Is it low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar, gluten-free, et cetera?"

Besides, many of the foods that specifically target dieters seem to rarely satisfy. Take those 100-calorie snack packs, for example, made to help people control calories. Those often don't even work, Korsberg says. After all, few people actually stop at only one pack.

You don't need fancy plans or complicated point systems to be thin. All you need to do is make smart food choices, watch your portion sizes and stay active.

"Learning to eat properly for a lifetime is more beneficial," Korsberg said. "The emphasis should be on choosing healthful foods every day and changing lifestyles for the better."

So instead of sticking to diet fare, fill up on nutritious, wholesome foods. And if you need some recommendations, you can start with these five options, which are among the many delicious foods that make a good addition to healthy eating while keeping you slender.

Apples

Apples are a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber not only contributes to a healthy digestive system and reduced cholesterol, but it also benefits smart eaters by yielding no calories while keeping them satisfied.

And there's something else about the fruit that might help you feel full. A study in the journal "Appetite" found that when women added either three apples or three pears to their daily meals, they lost more weight than people who added three oat cookies to their diets -- even though the fruit and the cookies contained the exact same amount of dietary fiber.

Although the reason behind this finding may be a mystery, there is something to be said for the findings. According to Alan Aragon, a nutritionist and author of "Girth Control: The Science of Fat Loss & Muscle Gain," crunchy foods in particular can trick a person into feeling fuller. The act of chewing may send satiety signals to your body, he says, making you think you've eaten more than you really have and keeping hunger at bay.

Almonds

If you're looking for a tasty midday snack, a handful of almonds are a well-regarded option. A study in 2009 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that women who ate nuts at least two times a week were more successful at keeping weight off than those who didn't eat this food.

One particular favorite among some nutritionists is almonds, says Aragon. One ounce of this food contains only 167 calories, plus it packs roughly 6 g of protein and 3 g of fiber, both nutrients that can make you feel full. Furthermore, like apples, almonds are crunchy and require a lot of chewing, so they, too, can make you feel like you've eaten more than you actually did and keep you fuller longer.

Salmon

If you're uncertain about fish, there's no need to fear. Seafood can be part of a healthy diet. And there's some evidence that the fat in foods such as salmon can boost satiety levels, says Aragon. For example, a study published in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that when dieters ate salmon a few times a week, they lost about two more pounds than those who didn't include seafood in their meals.

And in spite of the mention of salmon's fat content, the food is relatively low in calories. One 3-oz. serving has just 175 calories. Salmon is a good source of protein as well.

Eggs

There's no doubt that protein, like fiber, has impressive satiating powers. And while eggs seem to have a bad reputation in some circles, there can be no contesting their ability to help keep your weight in check.

Research has shown that eating eggs at breakfast can help you fight weight gain all day long. A study reported in 2008 in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that when dieters ate two eggs for breakfast for five days out of the week, they lost 65 percent more weight than dieters who consumed a bagel in the morning. Although protein is likely to fill you up whenever you eat it, some scientists suspect that having more in the morning can keep you feeling fuller all day long.

Tomatoes

It's true that most veggies make for great diet fare. Non-starchy vegetables in particular, such as carrots, celery and spinach, are filled with fiber. Like other foods high in fiber, they can help keep you feeling satiated.

Plus, they're pretty self-regulating, says Aragon. You can't really overeat with non-starchy vegetables. After all, how many baby carrots can a person eat without needing to dunk them in some ranch dressing?

So while there are many veggies that can help you stay slim, tomatoes might be a particularly good option because they're so tasty. And, besides, with that whole a-tomato-is-a-vegetable-no-it's-a-fruit argument, you might have forgotten all about eating them. One cup of cooked, red tomatoes contains just 43 calories, but tastes just as delicious as any number of high-calorie foods.

And that's at least half the secret, finding foods that are both healthy and tasty. The good thing is, they do exist. Over time, you'll discover what wholesome, filling foods you prefer, expanding your choices while shrinking your waistline.

Source: 5 Foods That Keep You Thin courtesy of Livestrong.com

References:

"The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Nuts and weight; Maira Bes-Rastrollo

"Obesity"; Eggs and bagel study: 2008

"Nutrition":Green tea supplementation: Arpita Basu

Read more health tips in Malankara World Health Section

Cafe - Recipe: Cabbage Salad - Indian Style
2 cups thinly shredded cabbage
2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/4 cup peanut oil ( Olive oil or salad oil can be substituted.)
1 hot green chilli chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. honey
lemon juice and salt to taste

Mix everything except salt and lemon - add them only when ready to eat.

More Recipes/ Cooking Tips at Malankara World Cafe

Humor: Confusion, Records
A woman meant to call a record store, but dialed the wrong number and got a private home instead.

"Do you have 'Eyes of Blue' and 'A Love Supreme?'" she asked.

"Well, no," answered the puzzled homeowner. "But I have a wife and eleven children."

"Is that a record?" she inquired, puzzled in her turn.

"I don't think so," replied the man, "but it's as close as I want to get."

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Tell Your Friends about Malankara World

Malankara World is different. Malankara World's focus is on our families. Our mission is to help every member of our families. Since family is a microcosm of church, it will have everything that a church focused website will have. But there will be more. We will cover issues that are important to families. What are the things that keep our members awake at night? Is that about their children? taking care of old aged parents? Relationship with their spouses? Breakdown of marriage? Health issues? Balancing work, family and spiritual life? Managing stress?

We will use a combination of technology and harnessing the resources of our people within our church to do that. What we hope to do with Malankara World is to strengthen our families. First, we want to teach them about our faith. What is different about Orthodoxy? We want to start bible and Sunday school classes for all ages through Malankara World and a series on our qurbana. Later we will have support groups for different age and interest groups.

So, please tell your friends about us and ask them to sign up. Since we need a minimum number of people in a geographic region to start a support group and local events, we need to have a large involvement. The only way to make that happen is by your telling us about your friends or asking your friends to register with us. We do not send spam or sell the list. (We hate spam than you do!). Again, to register, Please click here: http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Register/news_regn.asp

You can contact us via email at mail@malankaraworld.com

Thank you for your help and support.

Malankara World Team

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