Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 8 June 3, 2011
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Ascension of the Lord (June 2, 2011)

Ascension of the Lord

Table of Contents
Editor's Note

Bible Readings for This Sunday

Sermons for This Sunday

Prayer: ‘Passing over and coming back’

Journey Into Prayer

Humor - Who Will You Listen To?

Visa to Heaven?

Grace, Not the Place

About Malankara World

Editor's Note:
This is the period the Holy Church is awaiting anxiously like the Disciples did after Jesus left them for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. We are between the Ascension and the Pentecost in the church calendar. Next edition of Malankara World will be a special on Pentecost Feast and Trinity.

The prescribed Gospel reading this week is John 6:35-46. It is one of the "I am" Statements of our Lord Jesus Christ. "I am the bread of life." Bible commentaries and sermons are given to study this scripture. Hopefully, you will get a different perspective after the in-depth study with the resources we have provided with different perspectives.

We also have a bonus section covering John 17: 20-26. This is often called Lord's Prayer (We often associate Lord's Prayer with the prayer Jesus taught the disciples (Our father, who art in heaven,..) - a prayer that should be rightly called 'Disciple's Prayer.' John 17 should be the genuine Lord's Prayer. It is a high Priestly prayer. Jesus prays for himself, for his disciples, and for the world. It is a fine example of how we should pray. It is one of the most beautiful prayers in the bible. Our 5 commentaries and over a dozen sermons/articles describes this prayer in depth. It is a real treat!

When you examine the prayer carefully, you will see that Jesus prays for the unity of the church; this is so relevant today in our church.  One commentator said," In the name of God, people attack and murder. In the name of God, people cast aside or ignore those who are not like them. In the name of God, we destroy each other and blame each other. A few years ago, someone scribbled a chilling message on the side of a building in Washington, D.C. It read, 'Dear God, please save us from the people who believe in you.' It seems the forces of separation and destruction can take a variety of forms." Reflect on what Jesus prayed. We will have more to say about this in a future edition.

With the theme of prayer, we have an article by Bishop George V Murray about prayer. He describes prayer as 'Passing over and coming back.'. He says, "prayer is the way we speak with God and listen to God as he speaks with us."

Continued on the next column  --->

This Week in Church
Bible Readings for This Week
Sunday before Pentecost


  • St. Matthew 19 : 16 - 30


  • St. Mark 10 : 17 - 22

Before Holy Qurbana

  • Leviticus 25: 1 - 13
  • Joshua 1:5-9
  • Isaiah 44: 23-25

Holy Qurbana

  • Acts 21 : 7 - 9
  • I Corinthians 7: 1- 2, 25 - 34, 9: 1- 10
  • St. John 6:35-46

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 Sunday Before Pentecost

More Sermons

Editor's Note: Continued:

St. Therese of the Child Jesus explains prayer this way. “For me, prayer is an uplifting of the heart, a glance toward heaven, a cry of gratitude and of love in times of sorrow as well as of joy.” We get transformed while praying  experiencing God's presence and have to "come back" to the world at the end of prayer. I have never seen prayer described this way. Absolutely beautiful.

To Mother M. Angelica, "Prayer is the Union of Love: God's Love and your love; it is an awareness of God's love for you—His personal love." She has amble scripture lessons to reflect on the Journey to prayer.

Do we need a visa to go to heaven? Which path do we take from the myriads available. John Kunnath's article makes fascinating reading.

We will complete this edition with an article titled, "Grace, not the Place." Who has shown the greatest faith to Jesus? Disciples? Which one? The real answer may surprise you. Also, we often hear Jesus saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" That is strange, isn't it. Why did Jesus say that?

Enjoy this edition of Malankara World Journal.  Thank you for your support.

1  Prayer: ‘Passing over and coming back’

by Bishop George V Murray SJ
Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio

Let me begin by talking about a very important spiritual exercise: prayer. We often use the word, but what do we really mean by prayer? Prayer is how we communicate with God. Our goal in life is to be in communion with God so that we may share His life and live with Him forever. Prayer is the way we speak with God and listen to God as he speaks with us. St. Therese of the Child Jesus explains prayer this way. “For me, prayer is an uplifting of the heart, a glance toward heaven, a cry of gratitude and of love in times of sorrow as well as of joy” (“Story of a Soul”).

Although there are many kinds of prayers, including prayers of thanksgiving or petition or praise or healing, to name a few, each prayer strives to establish an intimate and personal connection between us and our loving Father.

A way of looking at prayer that I have found very helpful is to think of it as “passing over and coming back.” The paradigm for this description of prayer is the story of the Transfiguration. I am sure that you know the story. After sending the 12 disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick, Jesus takes Peter, John and James to the top of a mountain to pray. While there, Luke tells us, Jesus’ “face was changed and His clothing became brilliant as lightning” (Lk 9: 29). The apostles are awestruck and wanted to stay but the next day Jesus leads them down from the mountain and continues His ministry by curing a demoniac.

Prayer is similar to the action in this story. When we pray, we must first put aside all distractions and we must desire to be in the presence of God. Through His grace and because He loves us, God draws us to Himself. That is when we go up the mountain to God (passing over). Once in God’s presence, we have the opportunity to speak directly with our creator and experience a peace that is unlike anything we have known. Naturally, we will want to stay where we are, but the Lord sends us back to our earthly existence to continue His work of transforming the world into His Kingdom through the Church (coming back).

We do not come back, however, the same as when we went up to Him. The disciples were changed by the experience of seeing Jesus in His glory. We, also, are changed every time we are with the Lord. We are made stronger in our faith, more faithful in our discipleship, and more open to whatever He requires of us. That is why prayer is so important in our lives. It continually reforms us into the image of Christ.

I hope and pray that you will make time in your busy schedules to spend time with the Lord each day. He knew you from the time before you were born and wants you to know Him so He can guide you as you walk On the Road to Jerusalem.

2  Journey Into Prayer

Mother M. Angelica

Prayer—Realizing God's Love for Me.

The word "Prayer means many things to many people. To some it means asking for "things"—for health or success. To others, it means repentance, imploring God's Mercy for their sins and infidelities. Prayer is Praise and Thanksgiving to many and to the majority it is a cry in times of distress.

Prayer is all these things, but it is more. It is Union of Love: God's Love and your love; it is an awareness of God's love for you—His personal love. To understand this love, reflect a few moments on the following thoughts:

1. God loves me as if no one else existed.
2. His love for me is beyond description.
3. He knew me and loved me before He created anything.
4. I am important to God; therefore, He sent His Son to live and die for me.
5. He made me His dwelling place on earth at Baptism.
6. He nourishes my soul with His own Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
7.God dwells in me and longingly waits for my expressions of love.

Scripture Readings: (Read prayerfully)

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; so I am constant in My affection for you." Jer.31:3

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you; Do not be afraid, for I am with you to protect you." Jer. 1:1

"Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget I will never forget you. See, I have branded you on the palms of My hands, your walls are always under my eyes." Isaiah 49:15

"I have chosen you; stop being anxious and watchful, for I am your God. I give you strength, I bring you help, I uphold you with my victorious right hand. Yes, all those who rage against you shall be put to shame and confusion; they who fought against you shall be destroyed and perish. I am your God, I am holding you by the right hand; I tell you: Do not be afraid, I will help you." Isaiah 41:10)

"In your old age I shall still be the same; When your hair is gray I shall still support you. I have already done so, I have carried you, I shall still support and deliver you." Isaiah 46:4.

3  Humor - Who Will You Listen To?

An elderly man was traveling with a boy and a donkey. As they walked through a village, the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind. The townspeople said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed up on the animal's back.

When they came to the next village, the people said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride. So, to please them, he got off and set the boy on the animal's back and continued on his way.

In the third village, people accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk, and the suggestion was made that they both ride. So the man climbed on and they set off again.

In the fourth village, the townspeople were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people. The frustrated man was last seen carrying the donkey down the road.

4  Visa to Heaven?

When I was a child, I was told of heaven--
A golden city up there with a gate, and gatekeepers.

When I get there after I die, they’ll stop me at the gate,
And will check if I have a visa, a permit to enter.

If I have one, I will go in, and be with God, saints, and angels.
If not, I’ll be sent to hell, and be in fire with Satan, and demons.

As I grew up, I began searching for ways to obtain a visa.
I met several agencies that offered one.

Several guides did I meet who claimed to know
The true way to obtain the right visa.

But they all showed me different ways to obtain one.
A Rabbi told me to get circumcised; a pastor told me to get baptized;

An evangelist advised me to believe that Christ died for my sins;
An Adventist advised me to go to church on Saturdays;

An imam told me to believe in Allah and Mohammed;
A yogi advised me to practice yoga.

Baffled and bewildered, I wandered for months and years,
Knowing not whom to believe, and what advice to take.

My little mind began filling with fear, uncertainty, and rage.

I was going crazy!

Luckily, I found a little book at my home,
And it brought me back to sanity.

It was my passport,
And it said I am a citizen of heaven.

I sat there looking at it, I don’t know how long.
Slowly the truth dawned on me –I don’t need a visa.

If I am a citizen of heaven, heaven is mine, and I belong there!
Why do I need a permit to get there?

Why didn’t I know this earlier?
Why didn’t anyone tell me this?

Not only I am a citizen, but also I am a prince there.
For God, the king, is my father, and who can take away my birthright?

My heart was filled with joy, and I ran out to the streets calling EUREKA!
I met those visa agents, and told them what I found.

They said I was hallucinated, and my passport was fake,
And they called me crazy and stupid.

Since then, I’ve been passing this good news
That humans are the citizens of heaven, so we need no visa.

But no one believes me!

© John Kunnathu April 2005

5 Grace, Not the Place

by Greg Laurie

Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
—Matthew 15:28

Faith is often found in unlikely places. The Bible tells the story of a pagan woman whom Jesus commended for her great faith. She was not raised as a Jew, knowing the Scriptures. She certainly did not have the privilege of walking and talking with Jesus as the disciples had. This woman had been raised in a godless home, in a home filled with idols. But with what little she knew about Jesus, she applied dramatic faith. We could even describe it as amazing faith.

One would have thought that the strongest faith would have come from one of Jesus' disciples like Peter, James, or John. But it came from this pagan woman. The only other time Jesus called out someone's faith as an example was when a Roman centurion—another Gentile—asked Him to heal his servant.

Sometimes if you have been raised in church, especially if you have been raised in a Christian home or went to a Christian school, you can take it for granted. And in the very place where your heart should be transformed, it can become hardened. It all comes down to the way you listen.

This is why Jesus often would say, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" You decide how you will react to what you hear. I hope you don't go to church under duress or pressure, because your spouse wants you to or because your parents want you to. I hope you don't think that if you go to church or a Bible study, you will earn favor with God. If you come with that attitude in a place where your life should be transformed, then you can get a hard heart and miss the point.

It is by grace, not the place, that makes people believers.

Copyright ©2011 by Harvest Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

6 About Malankara World

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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: You can contact us via email at

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Malankara World Team

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