Malankara World Journal Pes'ho (Maundy Thursday); Love
Volume 4 No. 211 April 15, 2014
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Foreword by Dr. Jacob Mathew
4. What is 'Maundy Thursday'? by Mel Lawrenz
5. Featured: Sermon For Holy Thursday - Last Supper by Pope Benedict XVI
6. The Last Supper and the Forgiveness of Sins by Michael Barber
7. The Foot Washing by Fr Eric Simmons
8. Sharing the Truth of Orthodoxy by Our Love by Abbot Tryphon, All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
9. A New Commandment: Love One Another As I Have Loved You by Saint Augustine
11. Maundy Thursday Poem: The Birthday of the Chalice by Dom Mark Daniel Kirby
"For us, no boasting,
12. Fourth Servant Song in Isaiah - Part VI: He Was Oppressed and afflicted by Bill Randles
The outstanding truth shining through this part of the prophecy is that the Messiah, the suffering servant of Jahweh, took the full responsibility and liability for our sins, he co-signed our note, and offered himself as a payment for our sins. Like a meek lamb, led to the slaughter, so the Servant, who truly could have testified to his own innocence and successful acquittal, refused to open his mouth in his own defense. He took our place in judgment. ...
14. Family Special: Passing on the Gift of Love by Abbot Tryphon, All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
Happy Birthday Malankara World Journal
Born April 15, 2011
Today, April 15, we celebrate the third birthday of Malankara World Journal (In Kerala, they call it fourth birthday.) MWJ started as a small newsletter for Easter and grew to become a spiritual staple for our families. In three years, we published 211 issues. That comes out to 70 issues/year - 52 weekly issues and about 18 special supplements in each year of publication. We never missed a weekly issue, in spite of other major commitments. Our special supplements have become collector's editions: especially the issue on LL Zakka I bava, Issue 100 and Issue 200, Special Edition on Women in Church, etc. etc. Please pray that we can maintain this momentum. We had a minor glitch in the hyperlink to issue 210 (Palm Sunday Edition). Although the issue is accessible if you used cut and paste, the actual hyperlink was incomplete. It was due to a software glitch. I apologize for this error. For those who could not access edition, here is the link:
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWJ_210.htm Also, depending on when you read the issue, you may have missed an article written by Rev. Fr. Jose Daniel Paitel titled: 'Palm Sunday Devotional Thoughts' This article will give you a new perspective on Palm Sunday. You can read the article by clicking the link below:
http://www.malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Passion/Passion_palm-sunday-devotional-fr-Jose-Daniel.htm With Pes'ho we are entering the holiest of the Holy Week, sometimes referred to as the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Gospel Saturday) leading ultimately to the Easter Sunday. What is special about Tridum? Read on. ...
"The Triduum begins: From light to darkness - a symbolic darkness in which the better we understand the significance of the rubrics, the closer we grow to Christ in this world of darkness. "We sadly recall that the Apostles one by one gradually left Him on this night, and that the earth was covered by darkness at His death. The single candle left burning, which is hidden behind the altar to be brought forth again when prayers are finished, causes us to remember that Christ came forth from the grave on the third day as the true light of the world. At the end of the Tenebrae, a noise is made with clappers signifying the earthquake which took place at Christ's death. All arise and depart in silence." ...The Sacred Triduum, the three most holy days of Holy Week present us with a marvelous opportunity to dig into the depths of all that the Church tries to convey to us mortals on our pilgrimage to the Resurrection. Hoping for a fruitful participation in this "Week of Lamentation," let us prepare for Maundy Thursday."The Mandatum of Love by by Catherine LambOrthodox Liturgy can be seen in its full beauty and glory during these days. We experience what Jesus went through in Passion Week. His ups and downs. The high point of his being received as a King on Palm Sunday and the low point of his being crucified like a common criminal on Good Friday. We wave the palms and join him on Palm Sunday; we participate in the Holy Qurbana on Pessaha and will never forget the theme song, "Rehasyam .. Rehasyam" (mystery - mystery) telling us that to really understand our liturgy, we need to realize that there are mysteries behind the scenes and behind the veil. We pray with Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. We walk with the crowd watching Jesus carry the cross to Calvary. We cry with Mother Mary when she is laments, "Why did you allow yourself to be in the hands of these people who are abusing and torturing you?" We watch as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take the dead body of Jesus for burial. We taste the bitter "chorukka" like Jesus did on that day. Mission of Jesus is accomplished. The God's plan for redeeming mankind is executed. The Death and Satan are defeated when Jesus rise on the Third Day - Easter Sunday. We go though our own emotional ups and downs. That is the beauty of Orthodox Liturgy - the best there is. Holy Thursday is often referred to as Maundy Thursday. The word Maundy derives from Mandatum, the Latin word for Commandment. This is the day Jesus gave us a new commandment:
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another,Love is very important to God, because God is Love. It is His nature. Since we are made in the image of God, we should reflect God's Love. Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you." How did Jesus loved us? Read on. ...
Love Like Jesusby Woodrow Kroll, Back to the BibleYears ago, a man walked the earth and revealed a life so unique it became the central point in human history. A man, who, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-8).Though He was human and divine, the Son of Man had nothing in the natural that would have attracted others to him. Yet in three years, He healed the sick, fed the poor, ministered to the brokenhearted, cast out evil spirits, brought sight to the blind and gave hope to the hopeless. His message was radical and His love, unparalleled. Prostitutes, politicians, beggars and kings all were the same to Him and equally deserving of love - not because of their worthiness but because God, being the very definition of Love, could do no less. He told us to live simply, to give generously and to love unconditionally."Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13), Jesus told His disciples. We need to remind ourselves that in those terrible hours Jesus hung on the cross, it was all about love. We can't comprehend that kind of all consuming, all-powerful Love, but we can spend the rest of our lives living in wholehearted response to it.How do we do that? "Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10, emphases added].It's clear we please Jesus by bearing fruit. But what kind of fruit? The fruit that comes from every good work. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works...that we should walk in them." This is our purpose, one we have been gloriously restored to by the Resurrection and which flows naturally from our restored identity. Works cannot save us, but without the fruit of good works, we lack the evidence that identifies us as new creations in Christ! Just as God's nature is revealed in what He does, we reveal His nature in what we do.What are these good works? While feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the needy are expressions of the Christian life, they represent only a partial "list" of the works Jesus performed. For a complete list, read the Word with the sole intent of identifying every action verb - those "good works" that both Jesus and His disciples practiced; then pray that His Holy Spirit will empower you to "go and do likewise!" Halleluiah!Pessaha is a day full of mysteries and meanings. Please read the articles below to get an appreciation for its importance in our lives. Dr. Jacob Mathew
Editor-in-Chief, Malankara World
Maundy Thursday in Church
Bible Readings For Pes'ho (Maundy Thursday)
This Week's Features
by Mel LawrenzJesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
(John 13:31-35) On this day around the world Christians remember that tense, sensitive time Jesus spent with his disciples in the upper room and the last supper he shared with them. Many refer to this day as "Maundy Thursday." The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin word for commandment (mandatum), which Jesus talked about when he told his disciples that he was leaving them "a new commandment," that they "love one another." There were probably so many things going on in the disciples' minds in that upper room where they had their last supper together, including fear and bewilderment from Jesus telling them that someone in that very room would betray him. Jesus handed the betrayer a piece of bread, just as he had been feeding all his disciples all along. Always giving, always gracing. Jesus fed thousands of people with fish and loaves, and every word that came out of his mouth was spiritual food for those who listened and understood. But on this night he fed them differently. Passing the bread, and then the wine, he spoke ominous, comforting words: "this is my body… this is my blood." This was not an ordinary supper, not even an ordinary Passover. His words connected with what he had said on the shores of far-away Galilee "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…. whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (Jn. 6:35, 54). Jesus told them to repeat this unique meal in the future, and then it was time to go out into the chilly night. In a quiet garden among olive trees, quiet but for the deep night sounds of dogs barking in the distance, Jesus prayed. In agony he prayed. The specter of shameful execution and of bearing the curse of sin tore into the human consciousness of Jesus. And in the end it was sheer obedience to the divine plan that carried Jesus into the hands of the conspirators waiting for him. Did the disciples remember "the new command"? Ponder This: What would have been going on in your mind had you been one of the disciples at the last supper or in the garden of Gethsemane?
by Pope Benedict XVI
[Editor's Note:This is Pope Benedict's sermon for the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf added some explanatory comments within square brackets.]Dear Brothers and Sisters!
"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Lk 22:15).With these words Jesus began the celebration of his final meal and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus approached that hour with eager desire. In his heart he awaited the moment when he would give himself to his own under the appearance of bread and wine. He awaited that moment which would in some sense be the true messianic wedding feast: when he would transform the gifts of this world and become one with his own, so as to transform them and thus inaugurate the transformation of the world. In this eager desire of Jesus we can recognize the desire of God himself - his expectant love for mankind, for his creation. A love which awaits the moment of union, a love which wants to draw mankind to itself and thereby fulfil the desire of all creation, for creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:19). [You are by now seeing the nuptial, wedding, procreative language with which the Pope begins. Setting a theme.] Jesus desires us, he awaits us. But what about ourselves? Do we really desire him? Are we anxious to meet him? Do we desire to encounter him, to become one with him, to receive the gifts he offers us in the Holy Eucharist? Or are we indifferent, distracted, busy about other things? From Jesus' banquet parables we realize that he knows all about empty places at table, invitations refused, lack of interest in him and his closeness. [What jumped into my mind at this point was the fact that many places are empty at many tables because of abortion. And we are all the worse and the more wounded because of them.] For us, the empty places at the table of the Lord's wedding feast, whether excusable or not, are no longer a parable but a reality, in those very countries to which he had revealed his closeness in a special way. [Surely this suggests the Pope's desire for a "New Evangelization", or "REevagelization" of previously Christian countries, especially all of Europe.] Jesus also knew about guests who come to the banquet without being robed in the wedding garment - they come not to rejoice in his presence but merely out of habit, since their hearts are elsewhere. In one of his homilies Saint Gregory the Great asks: Who are these people who enter without the wedding garment? What is this garment and how does one acquire it? He replies that those who are invited and enter do in some way have faith. It is faith which opens the door to them. But they lack the wedding garment of love. Those who do not live their faith as love are not ready for the banquet and are cast out. Eucharistic communion requires faith, but faith requires love; otherwise, even as faith, it is dead. [But Holy Father! But Holy Father! People go to Communion all the time without the wedding garment you are talking about!] From all four Gospels we know that Jesus' final meal before his passion was also a teaching moment. [Not only about Jesus Himself, but about us as well.] Once again, Jesus urgently set forth the heart of his message. Word and sacrament, message and gift are inseparably linked. Yet at his final meal, more than anything else, Jesus prayed. [He has shifted away from the nuptial language now...] Matthew, Mark and Luke use two words in describing Jesus' prayer at the culmination of the meal: "eucharístesas" and "eulógesas" - the verbs "to give thanks" and "to bless". The upward movement of thanking and the downward movement of blessing go together. The words of transubstantiation are part of this prayer of Jesus. They are themselves words of prayer. Jesus turns his suffering into prayer, into an offering to the Father for the sake of mankind. This transformation of his suffering into love has the power to transform the gifts in which he now gives himself. He gives those gifts to us, so that we, and our world, may be transformed. [NB:] The ultimate purpose of Eucharistic transformation is our own transformation in communion with Christ. The Eucharist is directed to the new man, the new world, which can only come about from God, through the ministry of God's Servant. From Luke, and especially from John, we know that Jesus, during the Last Supper, also prayed to the Father - prayers which also contain a plea to his disciples of that time and of all times. Here I would simply like to take one of these which, as John tells us, Jesus repeated four times in his Priestly Prayer. How deeply it must have concerned him! It remains his constant prayer to the Father on our behalf: the prayer for unity. Jesus explicitly states that this prayer is not meant simply for the disciples then present, but for all who would believe in him (cf. Jn 17:20). He prays that all may be one "as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe" (Jn 17:21). Christian unity can exist only if Christians are deeply united to him, to Jesus. [I would add... as a starting point, a sine qua non. But that is not the stopping point. There are other points we must share as well.] Faith and love for Jesus, faith in his being one with the Father and openness to becoming one with him, are essential. This unity, then, is not something purely interior or mystical. It must become visible, [For example, in a Church with visible marks.] so visible as to prove before the world that Jesus was sent by the Father. Consequently, Jesus' prayer has an underlying Eucharistic meaning which Paul clearly brings out in the First Letter to the Corinthians: "The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor 10:16ff.). With the Eucharist, the Church is born. All of us eat the one bread and receive the one body of the Lord; this means that he opens each of us up to something above and beyond us. He makes all of us one. [Let us be in the state of grace.] The Eucharist is the mystery of the profound closeness and communion of each individual with the Lord and, at the same time, of visible union between all. The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity. It reaches the very mystery of the Trinity and thus creates visible unity. Let me say it again: [PAY ATTENTION] it is an extremely personal encounter with the Lord and yet never simply an act of individual piety. [We do this in the context of the Church He founded.] Of necessity, we celebrate it together. In each community the Lord is totally present. Yet in all the communities he is but one. Hence the words "una cum Papa nostro et cum episcopo nostro" are a requisite part of the Church's Eucharistic Prayer. These words are not an addendum of sorts, but a necessary expression of what the Eucharist really is. [The Petrine dimension of the Church is one those things we must have for unity.] Furthermore, we mention the Pope and the Bishop by name: unity is something utterly concrete, it has names. In this way unity becomes visible; it becomes a sign for the world and a concrete criterion for ourselves. Saint Luke has preserved for us one concrete element of Jesus' prayer for unity: [And this is about all the Successors of Peter as well...] "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:31). Today we are once more painfully aware that Satan has been permitted to sift the disciples before the whole world. And we know that Jesus prays for the faith of Peter and his successors. [Is the Holy Father speaking about his own feelings and thoughts in this next part?] We know that Peter, who walks towards the Lord upon the stormy waters of history and is in danger of sinking, is sustained ever anew by the Lord's hand and guided over the waves. But Jesus continues with a prediction and a mandate. "When you have turned again…". Every human being, save Mary, [OOH-RAH!] has constant need of conversion. Jesus tells Peter beforehand of his coming betrayal and conversion. But what did Peter need to be converted from? When first called, terrified by the Lord's divine power and his own weakness, Peter had said: "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" (Lk 5:8). In the light of the Lord, he recognizes his own inadequacy. Precisely in this way, in the humility of one who knows that he is a sinner, is he called. He must discover this humility ever anew. At Caesarea Philippi Peter could not accept that Jesus would have to suffer and be crucified: it did not fit his image of God and the Messiah. In the Upper Room he did not want Jesus to wash his feet: it did not fit his image of the dignity of the Master. In the Garden of Olives he wielded his sword. He wanted to show his courage. Yet before the servant girl he declared that he did not know Jesus. At the time he considered it a little lie which would let him stay close to Jesus. All his heroism collapsed in a shabby bid to be at the centre of things. We too, all of us, need to learn again to accept God and Jesus Christ as he is, and not the way we want him to be. We too find it hard to accept that he bound himself to the limitations of his Church and her ministers. We too do not want to accept that he is powerless in this world. We too find excuses when being his disciples starts becoming too costly, too dangerous. All of us need the conversion which enables us to accept Jesus in his reality as God and man. We need the humility of the disciple who follows the will of his Master. Tonight we want to ask Jesus to look to us, as with kindly eyes he looked to Peter when the time was right, and to convert us. ["Amen."] After Peter was converted, he was called to strengthen his brethren. It is not irrelevant that this task was entrusted to him in the Upper Room. The ministry of unity has its visible place in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Dear friends, it is a great consolation for the Pope to know that at each Eucharistic celebration everyone prays for him, and that our prayer is joined to the Lord's prayer for Peter. Only by the prayer of the Lord and of the Church can the Pope fulfil his task of strengthening his brethren - of feeding the flock of Christ and of becoming the guarantor of that unity which becomes a visible witness to the mission which Jesus received from the Father. "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you". Lord, you desire us, you desire me. You eagerly desire to share yourself with us in the Holy Eucharist, to be one with us. Lord, awaken in us the desire for you. Strengthen us in unity with you and with one another. Grant unity to your Church, so that the world may believe. Amen.
by Michael Barber"The Last Supper is what transforms Jesus' execution into a sacrifice." So Scott Hahn frequently tells audiences. He is right of course. As he frequently observes, no one standing at the foot of the cross would have described what was going on as a sacrificial offering. They would have described it as an execution. What reveals the true meaning of Jesus' death? The Last Supper. In light of that, here I want to revisit a topic I've looked at before, namely, the imagery of "atonement" at the Last Supper. As Jesus makes clear--in multiple ways, in fact!--his death is what accomplishes the "forgiveness of sins". His Blood is "Poured Out" Jesus' language of his blood being "poured out"-- something found in all three Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper--evokes the Levitical law code. Not only does it call to mind the language of Leviticus 17, but also the fact that the blood of the sacrificial animals brought for atonement had to be "poured out" (cf. Lev 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34). Notably, the ritual of pouring out blood is also linked with the Day of Atonement in the Dead Sea Scrolls (cf. 11Q19 15:3; 23:13). These texts provide strong support for the antiquity of the traditions found in the Mishna which also link the pouring out of blood to the Yom Kippur liturgy (cf. m. Yoma 5:4, 7; cf. also b. Yoma 56b). In fact, strikingly, certain sources explain that the blood was poured from cups. This is especially apparent in the Talmud (cf. b. Yoma 57b), though this is a much later source. However, there is a particularly striking parallel between Jesus’ Eucharistic words and Sirach 50:15, which explains that on the Day of Atonement the duties of the high priest apparently involved "pouring out" (ἐξέχεεν) the "blood of the grape" (αἵματος σταφυλῆς) from a "cup" (σπονδείου) (cf. Sir 50:15). That Jesus has spoken of his "blood" being "poured out" in connection with the wine in the "cup" is strikingly evocative of this text. Jesus as the Suffering Servant In Isaiah 53 we read about the Suffering Servant who "poured out his soul to death. . . he bore the sin of many" (Isa 53:12). The Suffering Servant is clearly linked to atonement imagery. He is explicitly described as a "sin-offering," who, like the scapegoat of Yom Kippur, is said to "bear iniquities" and "he bore the sin of many" (Isa 53:10, 12). Of course, it is widely accepted that Jesus' saying about his blood being "poured out for many" in Matthew and Mark (cf. Matt 26:27//Mark 14:24) is drawing on this prophecy. The Account of the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians In the account of the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul does not mention Jesus’ blood being "poured out." But this does not mean that he does not see it as having atoning value! First, it is possible that the very image of Jesus' "blood" would have evoked such imagery for Paul. Expiation is typically associated with Jesus' blood throughout the New Testament books, including in other Pauline letters (cf. Rom 3:25; 5:9; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Col 1:20; Heb 9:12, 14; 10:19, 29, 12:24; 13:12; 1 Pet 1:2, 19; 1 John 1:7; 5:6, 8; Rev 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11). Confirmation that Paul has this in mind may be seen in the following. "Given For You" That Jesus dies for others is explicitly stated in the Lukan version of the bread-saying: "This is my body which is given for you" (τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διδόμενον; Luke 22:19). While Paul simply has "for you" (ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν), omitting "given" (διδόμενον), most commentators rightly note that he probably intends the same meaning―Jesus is giving his life for others. Indeed, elsewhere Paul uses the preposition ὑπὲρ (="for") to describe Christ’s death as an expiatory sacrifice (e.g., 1 Cor 15:3; Rom 5:6, 8). An allusion to atonement imagery is thus likely present in his account. Matthew: 'For the Forgiveness of Sins' Of course, Matthew specifically has Jesus' describing his blood being poured out "for the forgiveness of sins". Some have seen here a reference to Isaiah 53, others to Jeremiah 31, and still others think both are in mind. An Atoning Sacrificial Feast It may be significant that Jesus describes himself not only as a sacrifice but also as an edible offering (i.e., he gives his "body" to be eaten). In this scholars we might have an allusion to the Passover sacrifice, which was a kind of peace-offering. That would be significant because Jesus' sacrifice would then be linked with the same kinds of sacrifice offered in Exodus 24--a passage clearly evoked by his words which link his "blood" to "covenant". However, there is another kind of offering which might also be mentioned: the sin-offering. Leviticus 10:17 seems to suggest that the priest's eating of the sin-offering was intrinsically linked to atonement. After Aaron and the priests fail to eat of the sacrifices, Moses states: "Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is a thing most holy and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord?" (Lev 10:17). That eating of the sacrifice was an essential part of making atonement is thus recognized by many scholars of Israel's cultic laws [e.g., Milgrom (Leviticus 1-16, 638), Gane (Cult and Character, 96), and Levine (Leviticus, 62)]. By themselves imagery of "blood" being "poured out" and the eating of the sacrifice are merely possible points of contact with atonement terminology. However their appearance alongside each other within a passage containing allusions to the Suffering Servant (=a sin-offering) and the "covenant" ceremony of Exodus 24 makes an allusion to the eating of sin-offerings highly probable. Source: The Sacred Page
by Fr Eric SimmonsHe had said that He had 'power to lay down His life and power to take it again', and so it was that until He was ready, and freely allowed it, no-one could act against Him. And now the hour had come, the hour for which He had waited: His hour. 'And it was night'. And because He chose it to be so, allowed it to be so, it was also their 'hour, and the power of darkness'. St John's Gospel does not recount for us the Passover meal which at the Last Supper with His friends Jesus celebrated in bread and wine as the sign of his death for us, and of the new Covenant which that death would inaugurate. Rather, the Evangelist gives us a different scene from the same occasion - Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. '[...] Knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands'; knowing also that it was in 'the heart of Judas Iscariot [...] to betray Him [...] Jesus rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.' He undertook the task which might have been done by one or other of them, but which they had either failed to notice had not been done, or were not prepared to do anything about themselves. In their excitement and their ambitious fantasies about what they hoped to get out of the Kingdom (which they believed was imminent) they overlooked the fact, or forgot that something needed to be done. So He did it. It was more than Simon Peter could bear, and he protested vigorously, being once again the spokesman for the rest of them. They could not cope with this kind of Messiah; they could not tolerate a King who would demean Himself so far as to do what was normally left for the lowest slave in the household to do. They could only cope with a Christ who behaved in ways which they thought appropriate and fitting. They could only cope with a GOD who remained GOD in the way they wanted GOD to be, and not with a subversive GOD, an outrageous and scandalous GOD, who 'emptied Himself taking the form of a servant'. But, says Jesus to Peter, 'Unless I wash you, you have no share in me'. If you do not allow me to care for you, to do what needs to be done for you, to be a GOD who stoops down to serve you, then you can have no part with me, 'no share in me'. There is no other way of my being man for you and GOD for you except by washing your feet, with you prepared to have them washed by me. It is only as we are prepared to be humble enough to recognise our need and allow Jesus to minister to us that we can have part with Him. And so it is that the foot-washing is all of a piece with our sacramental life in Christ. It was at the font - where Jesus was waiting for us, as He waited for the Woman of Samaria at Jacob's well - that we were served by Him, washed by Him and made clean from sin, and so were given part with Him, made sharers of His life - He in us; we in Him - children of GOD by adoption and grace. And that is how it is with all the covenants of grace. In all the Sacraments Christ is present in order to come to us, to meet us and to serve us in our need. The Sacraments are there for us, they are for our sake, for the building up of the body of the Church and of the human family. In them Christ is present - whether to reconcile us to the Father and to one another; whether to equip us for ministry and service, or for the commitments and responsibilities of marriage; whether to heal us and strengthen us in sickness and frailty. And it is in the Eucharist above all that He puts Himself without reservation at our disposal, places Himself without safeguard into our hands. Here most clearly and unambiguously Love bids us welcome and insists that, as His guests, we sit and eat the food of His providing. In whatever way we choose to think of GOD and of the ways in which He relates to us - whether as Creator or Lawgiver or Judge - the fact is that in Jesus He has shown that He wants to be with us and for us, washing our feet and serving our need. And Faith means (among other things) our being prepared to let Him serve us with His love and forgiveness. It means, on our part, being prepared to acknowledge our need, and accept that in Jesus GOD comes to us, welcomes us, giving us part and share with His Son, as beloved sons and daughters. Source: LSM
by Abbot Tryphon, All-Merciful Saviour MonasteryIf you wish to share the truth of the Orthodox Faith, and Christ Who is her head, you must give witness to the love of Christ by loving everyone. Without Christ, Orthodoxy is just another religion, devoid of the power to transform and deify the human heart. Without Christ the Church is nothing but a human institution, no different than a political party. For the Church to be herself, Christ must be visible in the love of her bishops and priests. Christ must be seen in the love of her people, and the charity and kindness that is displayed by all who call themselves Orthodox. Without Christ our world is devoid of hope, and for others to know this Christ, they must be able to see Him in us. The light of this very Christ must shine forth through the love of His Church and be made manifest in the works of His people. Without this love there is only darkness upon the face of our world, and the world will remain without hope Others can not know they need Christ if they do not see Him in us. They do not know this Christ fills hearts and transforms lives if they do not see transformation in us. If we are fearful, angry, judgmental, arrogant or aloof, the world will see nothing in our Christian faith worthy seeking. If others do not see in you a forgiving heart, how will they know there is forgiveness in Christ? If others do not see in you a heart filled with joy, how will they know they need the very Christ whom you proclaim as your Lord and Savior? If others see in you a judgmental, narrow minded, unhappy person, why would they be drawn to the Orthodoxy you claim is the true faith? With love in Christ,
by Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa)
"As I have loved you, so you also should love one another" - John 13:34"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another"... Love renews those who hear, or rather those who obey; but not any love, only that love which the Lord distinguished from natural love by adding the words: "As I have loved you"... "All the members of the body are concerned for one another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with him; if one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with him" (1Cor 12,25-26). For they hear the Lord's words and keep them: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another"; not as people love only to spoil one another, nor as human beings love one another simply because they are human, but as people love one another because they are all "gods" (Jn 10,34) and "children of the Most High" (Lk 6,35), and so brothers of his only Son. These love one another with the love with which he loved them so much that he will lead them to the end which will bring them fulfillment and the true satisfaction of their desires. For when God is "all in all" (1Cor 15,28), no desire will be left unfulfilled... For what do they love, those who love their neighbor with a pure, spiritual love, if not God? This is the love the Lord wants to distinguish from a purely natural affection when he adds: "As I have loved you". What has he loved in us if not God? Not God as we possess him now but as he wants us to possess him where "God will be all in all". Doctors love their patients because of the health they want to give them, not because of their sickness. "Love one another as I have loved you". This is why he has loved us: so that we, in our turn, might love one another. Source: Sermons on Saint John's Gospel, no.65
by Fr. Silvester O'FlynnGospel: Lk 22:14-23:56 (Lk 23:1-49) Luke's pages teem with people. He was a person-centered writer rather than one who dealt with truth in the abstract. He was a theologian in story who proclaimed the great deeds of God through describing the actions of Jesus and the reactions of people. Luke was ever sensitive to the inner movements of mind and heart. In the Passion narrative it is important to reflect upon the various people whose paths are intertwined with the journey of Jesus to the cross. The institution of the Eucharist is an essential part of the Passion. As the Jewish Passover meal remembered God's deeds in the Exodus and His covenant with Moses, by the time Luke was writing the Eucharist had come to be recognized as Christians' way of remembering the saving deeds of Jesus and the new covenant which was sealed by His blood. The Eucharist represents the ideal of total love in the way that Jesus gave up His life in sacrifice for others. However, Luke is aware the lives of Christians fall far short of that ideal. Two of the apostles, Judas and Peter, are highlighted for their behavior represents the sins of later generations. Linked up with the betrayal of Judas is the dispute among the disciples as to which of them was to be reckoned the greatest. That sort of mentality about power and self-importance would be a betrayal of the mind of Jesus just as bad as that of Judas. Then Jesus spoke of the denial of Peter. Although he was specially chosen and Jesus had prayed particularly for him, yet Peter would fail the testing before his recovery by the grace of God. This testing of Peter in the face of opposition prefigured the later testing of Christians in hostile conditions. The early simplicity of travelling about without purse or haversack among a supporting people would have to change as the disciples faced hostility and persecution.
"If you have no sword," Jesus warned them, "Sell your cloak and buy one." It is most unlikely that Jesus was literally encouraging the use of violence. Rather, "buying the sword" was a symbolic way of telling them to prepare for times of hostility and testing." Interestingly, the early ideal of utter poverty and uneducated preaching in the early days of the Franciscan movement also had to accept hard reality when the friars moved beyond the hospitable confines of Italy. Francis then accepted the need for education, books and houses. Luke captures a beautiful moment of divine mercy for Peter. Jesus was being led down the outside stairs into the courtyard when He turned and looked straight at Peter. Words were not necessary. Peter remembered – remembered the Lord's words predicting his denial …… remembered the humble of great days and the spiral of insights …… that morning on the lake …… the day on the mountain. He went outside and wept bitterly. That's one of Luke's great themes – divine mercy and human repentance. On many mediaeval crucifixes the cock is depicted as a warning against pride and presumption. I feel Luke would have little in common with those so-called "born again" Christians who fancy they are saved and beyond sin. Some of them will not recite the Hail Mary because in it we call ourselves sinners. Nor do they like the mention of "the poor banished children of Eve" in the Hail, Holy Queen. The church of Luke's writing was founded on the rock of Peter, vulnerable and sinful, severely tested and sifted by Satan, but strengthened in the prayer of Jesus. As a sinner, I find myself at home and with hope in that sort of church. On the road to Calvary Jesus was helped by Simon from Cyrene who represents every follower of Jesus who lends a shoulder to anybody struggling with the crosses of life. Large numbers followed, among them the women who sympathized with Jesus and came forward to comfort Him. "Weep for yourselves and your children," Jesus told them, for His journey to Calvary would be repeated in the sufferings of every generation of followers. Christians came to see their own sufferings as a share in the Passion of Jesus. Simeon has predicted that Jesus would bring about the fall and the rising of many in Israel. On Calvary the reactions of people were polarized. The two criminals represent each side. One becomes more hardened in bitterness and mockery. But the other is moved by the innocence of Jesus to turn to Him in prayer. It is the first and only time in the Gospel when somebody addresses Him as Jesus. For only in the name of Jesus can salvation be found. Luke gives us the reactions of people to the death of Jesus. The centurion was moved to praise God as he recognized in Jesus "a great and good man." And all the people, Luke tells us, went home beating their breasts in repentance. The well-known Negro spiritual asks: "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" In Luke's Passion narrative we meet with many people and their reactions to the events of the day. We are invited to put ourselves into the story and to see where we stand – with Jesus or Peter, with helpful Simon or the compassionate women, with those who mock or those who repent? Were you there? Is the story of the Passion going on around us and in us today? Source: Fr. Silvester O'Flynn OFMCap., THE GOOD NEWS OF LUKE'S YEAR, Dublin, Ireland: CATHEDRAL BOOKS, 1994, pages 66-68.
by Dom Mark Daniel KirbyWe enter singing a humble song:
"For us, no boasting" (Gal 6:14).
No boasting, that is, of anything that is ours.
For who am I and who are you to boast
in the presence of the Mystery? Who am I and who are you to boast
on this the night of God's doing,
the night of the covenant? "Father," says the deacon to the priest
at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy,
"it is time for the Lord to act!"
And so, it is all his doing, not ours.
It is time for the Lord to act! "For us, no boasting,
but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is health and life and resurrection to us,
by whom we are saved and set free (cf. Gal 6:14). If you are sick; he is health.
If you are in the grip of death; he is life.
If you have stumbled and fallen low,
once, twice, three times or more,
he is resurrection. If you are bound up and fettered,
if you are pushed down, or held back,
or laden with burdens too heavy to bear,
he is deliverance and freedom. If you are oppressed in sin's narrow place,
he takes you by the hand
and tonight, yes, tonight,
he leads you out into the vast and spacious place
of his prayer to the Father. "This Father, is my desire,
that all those whom thou hast entrusted to me
may be with me where I am,
so as to see my glory, thy gift made to me,
in that love which thou didst bestow upon me
before the foundation of the world" (Jn 17:24). This is the birthnight of Eucharistic adoration,
the night of a hushed amazement,
the night of believing disbelief
and of wordless wonder. This is the night of God at table with man.
Not only does this Companion-God
sit at our board to share our bread:
he becomes Bread in every mouth. This is the night of the Blood of the Lamb:
the birthday of the Chalice,
the first wave of that immense crimson tide
that tomorrow will flow gushing from the pierced side. This is the night of the astonishing humility of God.
the night of God bending low
to perfume the very feet
will run from the fearful garden in the night,
and from the proud praetorium,
and from the Cross terrible against dark and heavy skies. "Before you run from me,
O you whom I have chosen to run after me,
let me wash your feet
and mark them sweetly with the imprint of my kiss.
You did not choose me, but I chose you" (Jn 15:16). This kiss to your feet is the pledge of my paschal absolution.
My feet, you will see them pierced by a nail;
yours, I would pierce them with a kiss,
that turning, you would come back to me
who have come so far in search of you.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn back,
turn back to the Lord your God!" Tonight our Priest begins his ascent:
the solemn procession to the high place of his preaching:
to the noble Tree
from which his voice will go out through all the earth. Tonight our Priest, without leaving us,
goes into the hidden sanctuary beyond the veil (Heb 6:19);
he appears in the presence of God on our behalf (Heb 9:23),
taking not the blood of goats and calves
but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Heb 9:12). Tonight the Lamb without blemish is set before us.
Tonight his Blood is given,
not to be smeared on doorposts and lintels,
but to sanctify our lips
and moisten every parched tongue; to warm every heart grown cold
with a libation of fire;
to give sweetness for bitterness,
and boldness for fear. Those marked by the Blood of Lamb,
those with the Blood of the Lamb wet upon their lips
and fragrant on their breath
have passed from death to life. Every mouth sanctified by the Blood
is, in the Father's eyes, the mouth of the First-Born Son.
Every prayer uttered from Blood-blessed lips,
every kiss offered,
every sigh and every groan,
the Father receives
as coming from the Son.
"In that day you will know
that I am in the Father,
and you in me, and I in you" (Jn 14:20). The psalmist too sang of the Chalice and of the Blood:
"I will lift up the chalice of salvation,
and call upon the name of the Lord" (Ps 115:13).
Lifted up, it is our thanksgiving: a sun blazing red against the sky.
Pressed to our lips, it is our salvation: the antidote, the remedy,
one drop of which is enough to cure this weary world of every ill. The Apostle handed on to us
what had had been handed on to him.
O humble and glorious Tradition!
Ours it is to receive what he received,
(to transmit and not to betray,)
to cherish what he cherished,
to obey the commandment he obeyed,
to adore the mystery he adored. "This is my body which is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me. . . .
This chalice is the new covenant in my Blood.
Do this, as often, as you drink it, in memory of me" (1 Cor 11:24-25). This is the night of the new priesthood.
Awed they are, not quite understanding and not quite misunderstanding
the fearful spectacle of God bent prostrate at their feet. He, sinless, kneels to absolve the sinner
while the sinner, seated,
has nought to offer but two bare journey-worn feet
and the story they tell. "What I am doing you do not know now,
but afterward you will understand . . . .
For I have given you an example,
that you also should do as I have done to you" (Jn 13:7, 15). Feet they will wash, kneeling before them,
but more than feet,
hearts caked with the hard crust of sin,
and polluted souls,
and faces bearing the traces of blood and tears. Then we did not know what he was doing,
but now we understand the mystic absolution.
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven;
if you retain the sins of any they are retained" (Jn 20:22-23). For us, no boasting but in what Love has left us:
the Bread and the Chalice
making present His Sacrifice;
and priests with feet washed clean and anointed hands
to pronounce the Absolution,
to lift high the Oblation. And behind the sacramental veils
shines the Face for which we yearn:
the Face of immolated Purity,
the Face of Beauty humbled,
the Face of the Priest,
the Face of the Victim,
the Face of Holiness,
the Face of Crucified and Triumphant Love. In looking, adore Him.
In adoring, look at Him.
And so, pass over
from what is old to what is new,
from the land of heavy burdens to the land of freedom,
from darkness to life,
from sin to holiness,
from groans to jubilations,
from tears to laughter,
from sorrow to bliss,
from combat to peace,
from struggle to rest,
from death to life
It is the Passover of the Lord (Ex 12:11). Scriptures: Exodus 12:1-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15 Source: Vultus Christi
by Bill RandlesScripture: Isaiah 52:12-53
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:We are looking at the fourth Servant Song of Isaiah's prophecy, (Isaiah 52:12-53). The first part of the prophecy (Isaiah 52:13-15) is the LORD's introduction of His Servant, "Behold my servant… ." The middle section, (Isaiah 53:1-9) comes in the form of a mournful confession, offered by a chastened and recently enlightened Israel. The Holy Nation has been made to see the suffering servant in an entirely different light. This has forced them to see themselves also and the long, painful history of Israel completely differently than they had previously. The one whom the nation had long "despised and rejected" turned out to be the Messiah whom Israel had long-awaited! This ignominious figure in Jewish history, whom they had assumed to have suffered and died as a false prophet, and as a blasphemer under the judgment of God Himself, is now revealed to be the chosen One of God. This man Jesus, of whom Israel had reckoned to have been the cause of so much suffering and hatred of Israel through the centuries, is in fact revealed to be the greatest lover of Israel;
In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.Our passage in Isaiah 53 considers the civil trials of Jesus, with the emphasis the compliance of the Saviour, even at the patently sham trial, and the false condemnation which followed it. The King James renders it, He was oppressed, and he was afflicted; and He opened not his mouth… But the Hebrew scholar Delitzsch translates the passage
"He was ill-treated, whilst he bowed himself…" ie "suffered voluntarily".David Baron notes that a rendering by a Bishop Lowth, in agreement with Cyril and other ancient expositors, rendered this passage thusly,
"It was exacted, and He was made answerable, and He opened not his mouth…".The outstanding truth shining through this part of the prophecy is that the Messiah, the suffering servant of Jahweh, took the full responsibility and liability for our sins, he co-signed our note, and offered himself as a payment for our sins. Like a meek lamb, led to the slaughter, so the Servant, who truly could have testified to his own innocence and successful acquittal, refused to open his mouth in his own defense. He took our place in judgment. He was taken from prison and from judgment…(KJV) The idea is that he was violently denied due process, the Hebrew word "taken" , luqqach, means to be snatched or hurried away, an accurate prediction of the unlawful and hurried conditions of Jesus' trials and condemnation before religious and Civil authorities. And Who Shall declare His generation? This is possibly a prophetic allusion to the custom of the Jews to call for anyone to plead on behalf of the one condemned to death, to declare anything in favor of the defendant; innocence or any mitigating factors. Who among Jesus' contemporaries, stood up for him at his trial, or registered a complaint at the manifestly unjust treatment he was receiving? …for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. The expression "cut off" implies violence, and also implies being stopped short of fulness, a prediction that the Servant would die at the prime of life. But once again the confession of the nation reverts to the theme of vicarious suffering and death. Israel has always known that Jesus of Nazareth died a violent death and in relative youth. But now they know and ruefully acknowledge that the Servant was "stricken" , "plagued by God" and "cut off" from life, for the transgressions of God's people, as a substitute for them. He made his grave with the wicked, but now they see that contrary to the Talmud and other Jewish legends, the Servant himself wasn't wicked, though he died on a cross. He died between two thieves, but "He did no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth". But with the rich in his death... The custom of the times was to degrade the condemned even beyond death, by denying them so much as a a dignified burial. Crucified ones were often thrown in unmarked communal graves, or even thrown out into the open. But as the Psalm says of the Messiah "the LORD would not allow his holy one to see corruption". Thus to honor him, the LORD put him into the unused tomb of a rich man. This prediction was remarkable fulfilled in the case of Joseph of Arimathea, a Senator of Israel, who lent his family tomb to Jesus. But it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, he hath put him to grief… Here we come to the deepest mystery of this prophecy. The LORD wants us to realize that the sufferings of the Servant spring not primarily from wicked men, neither the Jewish nation or the Gentile Romans. Nor do these sufferings come from Satan and the hosts of hell. Now the penitential confessors see the deepest meaning of the tragic life of the LORD's Servant. The Servant is being bruised ,(lit crushed) because of the pleasure of the LORD himself! It pleased the Holy God to crush the servant and to "Put him to grief", (lit "make him sick") because He knew, in His Sovereign wisdom that this is what it was going to take to bring about our salvation. What a mystery! We could fathom some malevolent evil, crushing the innocent sufferer, but here in the confession of Israel, we stand in awe and horror, and ask ourselves, is this what had to be?. For we behold the truth that the Servant, whose whole life was a none but a demonstration of fidelity to God, sincerity, compassion, truth , and holy love, is crushed at the hands of The LORD of love, holiness and glory, . As Baron put it,
"Here is not only the mystery of suffering innocence; but of innocent suffering at the hands of righteousness and perfect love".How could it be? Why did it have to be so? The Righteous God had to make a Righteous way to accept you and I, unrighteous sinners, into his presence. For So God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son… Source: Pastor Bill Randles Blog
Malankara World has a supplement that provides detailed information about Passion Week including articles, prayers, sermons, etc. You will find it here:
Malankara World has developed a daily plan of bible readings, meditations, reflections, and prayers for Passion Week. Please click on the link below for the day to read the reflection for that day.
by Abbot TryphonMy father was a golf pro in Spokane, Washington, during my grade and early middle school years, and the country club was the center of our family's social life. My brother, Dwayne, and I use to play an average of 18 to 36 holes of golf every day, during the summer months (when we weren't fly fishing in the Spokane River). Our whole family golfed together, although my mother's primary love was music. She was a church organist and choir director, and eventually became a piano and organ teacher. My first job was to fill the coin operated water cooler, with bottles of soda pop. When we moved from Spokane, Washington, to Sandpoint, Idaho, where my dad became the pro for a small country club, I took on my second job, at the age of sixteen, driving the large tractor that was used to cut the grass for the fairways. Those early years were wonderful, and I often think of how lucky I was to have been blessed with such wonderful, loving, parents. Our home in Sandpoint, was on the lake, with views of forested mountains off in the distance. Is it any wonder I am so happy living on an island, surrounded by forest, for the forests and lakes of Northern Idaho were so prominent a part of the environment of my youth. I was fortunate to have had a close relationship with both my father and mother during the last years of their lives. As an adult, I was gifted with enough time to have let both my parents know how much I loved them, and how I was a product of both their lives. I was able to tell my dad that I saw much of him, within myself. His humor, comfortableness with all kinds of people, joy of life, love of history, and, even his size (he was a big man), have been inherited by me, his son. My mother's love of music, architecture and interior design, are also a part of me, leaving me with the skills to work with our architect on the design of this monastery, and to personally design all the interiors of our monastic buildings. I am clearly the inheritor of the best that my parents displayed in their lives, and I will forever be grateful to them. Yet, the most important gift I received from my parents, was the gift of love. They loved me, and demonstrated their love for me throughout their lives. They also showed me how to love others, and that ability to be willing to be open to love, and to demonstrate love, eventually allowed me to love God. It was from my parents that I discovered that God was not simply there as a cosmic problem solver, or gift giver, or but was, like them, One Who loved me. God, like my parents, first loved me, and the lessons of love that I learned from my parents, enabled me to be open to the love of God. In turn, the gift of love that came from my parents, allowed me to see God as not my own private possession, but One Whom I wanted to share with others. I often think how wonderful it would be if I were able to share a glass of wine in our monastery's library/commons, with my beloved parents. There is a truism that says, "no matter how old you are, when you lose your parents, you become an orphan". Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon, All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
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