Weekly Thoughts

Dearly beloved,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Sunday May 09th, Fifth Sunday after Easter
Epistle Readings: 1 Peter 3:17-22, Hebrews 11:32-40
Holy Gospel: St Luke 9:51-62 RSV
9.51 When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; 53 but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them.56 And they went on to another village.
57 As they were going along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 But he said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Reflection:
Any authority or right should be executed for good and done responsibly. The disciples were upset about the repulsive attitude of the Samaritan villagers. They were aware about their charisma for prayer and the impact it could bring. Their fury prompted them into choosing of prayer as a destructive tool to which Christ responded by scolding them for their carelessness and ignorance. When religion becomes intolerant, there would be hatred which gives way to destructive actions. The world has suffered the worst of this attitude especially in recent years. All religions teach love and compassion. In spite of this ideology of love, there have been many instances where followers or leaders chose the path of extremism and terrorism. As Jesus said, they don’t know by which spirit they are guided.
Followers should be aware of their duties and responsibilities as well as their limitations. The text also narrates three responses of three people towards the call to discipleship among which none of them were in agreement with the terms and conditions. One had prioritised material benefits above following of Jesus. One was not willing to join immediately and had long term plan for his family needs. The third had kept the voice of the Lord below that of his family. Call to discipleship is a call for a higher purpose and not limited to one’s own minimal world. Discipleship of Christ demands sacrificing of personal comforts and profits. It is a call to cosmic living. We are not here to end up within the four walls of the dreams and needs of a few limited souls.

May 13, Feast of Ascension, Holy Liturgy on Wednesday May 12 06:30 pm
The Feast of Ascension will be on Thursday May 13. The Holy Liturgy shall be conducted on Wednesday May 12 with evening prayer starting at 06:30 pm. The service shall be live-streamed. Please join virtually.

Feasts:
HH Baselios Paulose I, 108th anniversary, entombed at Pampakuda Cheriyapally.
He was the first Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Church. He designed the order and style of the prayers and Holy Qurbana that is still followed in the Church. He established Malankara Suriani Suvishesha Sangham as well as Sunday Schools in the church. As Metropolitan he had built 17 churches in the Kandanad Diocese. He also started many schools, trained many priests and built the Aramana.  
May 04, Sabhakavi Sri C P Chandi, 16th anniversary, entombed at Basil Dayara Chapel Pathanamthitta. He was honoured with the titles, ‘Ephrem of Malankara’, ‘Sabhakavi’ and ‘Harp of Malankara’. He is revered as a non-clergy saint of the church. Without his name, we cannot think of our Liturgies. All hymns in the Texts of Holy Qurbana, Great Friday, Sacraments, Prayers of the Great Lent, Sheemo Prayer, Major Feasts, Holy Week, Funeral, Hoothommo are among the list to his credit. It was indeed a huge project he had taken over and accomplished with perfection. He was not only a poet but also a seeker of higher wisdom. He was an ascetic and an admirer of beauty. He had found the perfection and completion of all beauties in God. His hymns are translations of Syriac hymns. The way he used his literary and poetic profundity in the translation work made every hymn unique and original. May his soul rejoice in the Heavenly Court. The church would need more people of his calibre to carry out more translations and original lyrics with more contextual relevance.
May 08, St John the Evangelist. He is believed to be the author of the Gospel of John and the Epistles in his name.  He is also identified as the beloved disciple in the Gospel. The book of Revelation also attributed to him though its authorship is not agreed by scholars.
 
Mar Chrisostom Valiya Thirumeni enters Eternity
His Grace the Most Reverend Philipose Mar Chrisostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan, 104 years, has been taken for his heavenly abode. Thirumeni celebrated his 104th birthday a few days ago on April 27th. He always kept himself out of prejudice and denominational differences. His wise and humorous reflections on Holy Scriptures made him to be adored by all people irrespective of faith and ideologies. His words always conveyed new insights into the day to day problems of human life which helped people to view their life in a different perspective. He alerted on the need of preserving the healthy environment and emphasised on harmonious living closely connected with nature and fellow-beings. He was accepted by all due to his openness and ready wit. The Nation honoured him with ‘Padma Bhushan’, one of the highest civilian awards.  He was a highly successful preacher of human values and virtues. For him, living a human life by loving, caring and respecting everyone was following Christ. He was always a true friend of the Malankara Orthodox Church and a driving force for the Ecumenical Movement. The exemplary friendship between him and HH Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II (Angel Bava) was well known and highly elevated among all communities of faith. There will be a memorial service conducted at our church during the Holy Liturgy this Sunday. Holy Father, Go in Peace, Sel B’Slommo…
 
Virtual Meetings ahead
Thursday May 06, SS Liturgical Hymns Practice, 06:00 – 07:00 pm
Friday May 07, NEAD MMVS Retreat, 12:00 – 01:00 pm
Friday May 07, SS Liturgical Session for Seniors, 06:00 – 07:00 pm
Saturday May 08, SGOCT Choir, 04:30 – 06:30 pm
Saturday May 081, SGOCT Prayer, 07:00 – 08:30 pm
Sunday May 09, SGOCT MMVS, 06:00 – 07:30 pm
Monday May 10, Acolytes Meeting, 07:30- 09:30 pm
 
Mothers Day
Prophet Mohammed has said, “Heaven lies beneath the feet of your mother.” It means:
When a Muslim girl is born, she becomes a reason for her father to enter Jannah (paradise). When she grows up and gets marries a man, she completes half of his religion. When she becomes a mother, paradise lies under her feet. A Mother is one who sacrifices her entire life to her children till her death.
Mothers make this world. They make the world dearer and more lovable to everyone. They care us, correct, love, discipline, scold, hug, cook, teach, serve, ask us to clean, brush and groom, wash and iron, keep themselves awake for us to sleep undisturbed, sing to us lullabies, tell us stories, connect us to aunties, uncles, neighbours and community members, pray and fast for us, comfort and console, strengthen and motivate, they make us more presentable, and guide us to success. Nobody would be there in the world who has never tasted the love of a mother, either of their own or of any mother. When a child is born, a mother is also born. As Abraham Lincoln said, prayers of our mothers follow us and act as shields of protection. Salute to all our beloved Mothers!
 
Be Strong India!
O blessed nation, please don’t get depressed now. The whole world is with you. It is a nation that withstood many challenges and attacks. This is the time you should stay together strong. Fight this please. This virus infects only the weak and you are not. It is a land of glorious kings and queens who fought against invaders. It is a country of brave warriors and has a wonderful heritage and culture. Acquire strength. Keep yourself safe and secure. Please don’t get panic but be alert. Spread positivity. Together you will overcome. Prove that the nation wins over any enemy. We are with you in prayer and in spirit. God bless India!
 
May 06, World Password Day
How many of us know that there is a day for it? First Thursday of May has been observed as World Password Day. We all use passwords. We create it. It can give some light to our personality. If somebody breaks our password, they can use our personal info for their benefit. Please look at the passwords we use.  It could be funny if we take time to remember when we created them, for what, what was our mood and need, how we look at them now, how many times have we changed them, etc. Have we written down them in a book and kept for our use? Have we at times forgotten where we kept the book? Early church had certain passwords to keep their gatherings and identity hidden from the authorities. ‘IXTOUS’ was one among them. Do we know what it is? Try to find it please. Let us have some fun!
 
Liturgical Text for this Sunday
This Sunday we will be using the Taksa of St John Chrysostom. Beautiful, well edited and brief, please listen to the prayers.
 
Please see below the Link for Live Streaming    
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDT7tcyQw1yZ1_yCG9AWStA

May the Gracious Lord keep us from all harm and heal the entire world.

Yours in Christ,

Thomas John Achen
Fr Thomas P John
fr.thomaspjohn@gmail.com
+1 (416) 570 5610