Weekly Thoughts

Dearly beloved,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! June 19, Second Sunday after the Feast of PentecostEpistle Readings: Acts 5:33-42, 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3Holy Evangelion: St Matthew 16:5-12When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Reflections:Teachings have played a considerable role in significantly changing the world and the course of history too. New ideas can impact people’s minds thus paving the way to social transformation. Through years of teaching, many evil practices in India such as Sati got abolished. It was a practice in ancient India that when a husband died, his grieving widow would voluntary throw herself onto the pyre as a sign of devotion to him; however, later, it turned out to be a forced practice where she would meet her death. Untouchability was another social evil which was legally addressed by authorities as a result of continued public speaking by various reformers.Good teaching can change a society for its best whereas bad teachings can rot it. Religio-political teachings of hatred and fanaticism in certain areas have sown seeds of polarization in the world, thus affecting the harmony of life. Mutual trust has started giving way to suspicion.In Jesus’ times too, there were signs of social disruption due to pollutant ideas by leaders of fanatic stance. The apostles were entrusted with the commission of preaching the gospel until the end of the earth. They had to be trained and equipped for spiritual warfare. Jesus was concerned about the likely influence that the Pharisees and Sadducees could have on them. He reminded the disciples of the miracles that they had witnessed and used the example of leaven with much thought. In its size and quantity, leaven (similar to yeast) is quite negligible. It can be a tiny spark of thought, that is initially unnoticeable. However, when it starts working, it will permeate and ferment the whole substance or situation to the extent that it is unrecognizable from its initial form.We must watch what we speak, as our direct approach or indirect inducing of thoughts can catalyze the leavening process. Listeners in vulnerable situations can be easily influenced and get carried away. There are reports of vulnerable youth from various desperate situations getting drawn into extreme acts for the sake of eternal life (as taught in the respective tradition), monetary benefits, fame or for hyped heroism. Manipulative messages may demolish a system built on the foundation of mutual trust and the progress achieved over many years is thus lost. Parishes, faith communities, extended families, cultural groups, political movements or any system of social relevance can suffer for its worst if we yield to messages of influence without discernment.We are called – to be on our guard, to stay vigilant and to remain alert in all situations, lest we fall prey to the devil and his ways. Feasts:June 19, St James the Apostle June 16-29, Apostles LentWe are in the Sleeha Nompu. Intercession of the apostles is powerful. Their life can be really inspirational if we seek to learn from them. They were ordinary people before they met Jesus. After joining the Lord, they learned how every word and act could become preaching of the Kingdom. Wherever they knocked, heaven got opened. They earned souls for Christ. Their words inspired by the Holy Spirit changed hearts. We can also similarly transform hearts and lives. CondolenceWe share the deep grief of Philip Shiby George and family (Dir Ref: P 06) on the passing away of their beloved mother Ponnamma George (84 years), Puthenpeediakail House, Kurampala South PO, Pandalam. She was the beloved wife of Late P. Philip George and is survived by Philip Shiby George, Bindu Philip, Sharon Philip and Hayden Philip & Ann Sheena George, Ashlyn Shaji, Angel Shaji & Irene Shaji. Funeral service will be conducted on Saturday, June 18 at 01:00 pm at the residence followed by the fourth order at St George Orthodox Aramanappally, Paranthal. May the comforting presence of the Lord be with the family, relatives and friends at this time of bereavement. May the departed soul find eternal peace in the heavenly court. MMVS Bake Sale – Sunday, June 12The bake sale was a grand success. We sincerely thank all our members who have made and brought food, and whoever has contributed and supported in their own way. ‘Ponds’- not cosmetic, but sustainingA walk through our local village roads can be revelatory. While we walk, we not only burn calories but also harmonize with nature. We get connected to everything. We encounter chirping birds, changing aromas, a soft breeze, nodding branches, drifting leaves and local tea shop scenes where discussions on matters arising from the morning newspaper take place over a glass of tea or coffee (local shops serve tea/coffee in glass tumblers). Cups are banned! As we grab the tumbler, our fingers feel the real warmth of the chaayakkada tea! It will be hot, tasty and foamy after being poured many a time from the mug to the glass, holding it a meter high! It’s a skill! It won’t spill out while pouring from that high! A stranger might feel that tea is measured in meters and served!On the walk, we come across small brooks; at some point there will be a Banyan tree with pitching around. There can be a temple adjacent. Banyan trees always invite the passerby to calmly sit beneath it and to get enlightened. Simply put, nature can illumine and transform – if we pause to engage with it.Nowadays, a pond can be found within the premise of many houses. In erstwhile days, it was meant for bathing, watering plants and cultivating fish. As the agrarian life tapered off, it became more convenient to fill the plot where-once-stood-a-pond and use it too for house construction or expansion. Now, after an awareness of water existence has spread, people have realized the significance of such co-existence and thus, ponds are finding their way back into our homes! This reformation is a perfect ecosystem that every house could keep. We are from nature and will one day return to it; by synchronizing with nature, let our nature be transformed. Church Picnic on Saturday, July 09Our Church picnic will be on Saturday July 9, 2022, at Heart Lake Conservation Park, 10818 Heart Lake Rd, Brampton, ON L6Z 0B3. The location is nice and beautiful. It provides the best in outdoor entertainment. Our parish members and friends are welcomed. Everyone will have a great time to rejoice and spend memorable time together. There will be a variety of sporting events, as well as food and BBQ.The cost per family will be $40 and individuals $15, which includes entrance fee for all confirmations received online. Please register by visiting the link given below:  Link to the sign up form : https://forms.gle/EQZZ56PL18VGfgEz9  Link to the flyer : https://mcusercontent.com/4b0245a10b23c3826466d9a97/files/65f47ce9-bde0-016b-ce73-3117677867bf/SGOCT_Picnic_2022.pdfLet us be ready for a great time together.  KCEF St Thomas Day Celebration on Saturday, July 16KCEF has scheduled to celebrate St. Thomas Day on Saturday, July 16, 2022. The event will take place in hybrid mode from CSI Church, Toronto starting at 6.00 pm. The program will be livestreamed via YouTube, a link to which will be made available a few days before the event. KCEF coordinators have invited us to the event. A video presentation can be made by our parish. The last date to receive the program video will be 5th July, 2022.  Please find below-updates from the Sunday School PrincipalOVBS 2022 is planned for August 10, 11, and 12th.  Requesting the participation of all students. Vicar’s travel to India, May 30 – June 30The parish vicar is away on holidays in India – May 30 to June 30. Arrangements have been made to cover Sundays and other days. For any pastoral needs, please contact the parish office, Thomas Joshua, Treasurer on (647) 887 4010 and Gijo Peter, Secretary on (647) 778 2119. The vicar can be reached through WhatsApp or Email: fr.thomaspjohn@gmail.comPlease find the Local Indian contact: +91 9188 634833.Requesting prayers from all our beloved members.   Ordination of Acolytes We may have members – adults or children – willing to join the Altar Assistance Service. Whoever wishes to join the Acolytes, please feel free to reach out to the Vicar at (416) 570 5610. We will conduct the training sessions and fix a date for ordination.  SGOCT Parish Library and Book ClubWe expect books or contributions from voluntary supporters.  ‘Urava’- OCYM Journal Vol 2 release on August 14In connection with the Soonoyo Feast, the second volume of Urava will be released on Sunday, August 14. We invite all organizations of our parish to contribute articles to be featured in the Journal. The articles are expected to reflect the theme selected for this issue “Theotokos – The Second Eve”. The last date for submission of articles will be 30th June 2022.Please find below – the subthemes selected for each organization:1. Sunday School i) Life of Saint Mary ii) “Behold, Thy Mother.”2. MGOCSM i) “Here I am” ii) Intercession of Mother Mary3. OCYM i)‘Joseph’, a Male Model for Women Empowerment ii) ‘Mary’, More than a shell4. MMVS i) Women Leadership towards Salvation ii) Sword through the Heart5. Senior Forum i) “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” ii) Mary – An Initiator of Miracles6. Choir i) Magnificat – A Revolutionary Anthem ii) St. Mary in the Orthodox Liturgical Hymns7. Acolytes i) Various Symbols of St Mary in the Temple ii) Model for Diakonia – from Altar to StreetPlease send the articles to below email id with the subject line ‘Urava Volume 2 – Article – Organization Name’. Email id: ocymtoronto@yahoo.com Spiritual Organizations and WhatsApp GroupsAll the spiritual organizations of our parish have created WhatsApp groups for regular communication and updates. We request all our members to join corresponding groups. If you are not already in, please reach out to organizational secretaries:

  1. Gregorian Seniors Forum, G George: (416) 738 7765
  2. MMVS, Beena Mathew: (647) 835 1521
  3. OCYM, Suna Cherian: (647) 818 9376
  4. Choir, Anand Joseph: (416) 276 5021
  5. Acolytes, Cleemis Vaidhyan: (647) 308 2135, Anish Mathew: (647) 818 6125
  6. MGOCSM, Emil Mathew: (647) 877 9272, Sandra Shaji: (647) 551 6563
  7. Sunday School, Santosh Varughese: (416) 937 8595

MGOCSM Alumni Our parish MGOCSM would like to reach all members who have had any association with MGOCSM in India or elsewhere. Please let us know if you have previously worked with MGOCSM. You can either send an email to mgocsm.sgoct@gmail.com copying to the vicar at fr.thomaspjohn@gmail.com or send a message/call to (416) 570 5610. Communicants Counting Machine: Wave your hand ‘ONCE’ pleaseAll Sunday participants are requested to register their names at the entrance and as we enter the church interior. Please wave your hand once between the sensor poles of the counting machine if you have come prepared for Holy Communion. Please do not wave if you are not taking Holy Communion. Thanks to everyone for your cooperation. Upcoming Meetings: In-Person & Virtual• June 18, Saturday, SGOCT Choir & Acolytes joint practice, 05:00 – 07:00 pm• June 18, Saturday, Evening Prayer at Church, 07:00 – 08:00 pm• June 19, Sunday, OCYM Monthly Meeting – after Holy Qurbana• June 19, Sunday, MMVS Monthly Meeting, 06:00 – 08:00 pmLink to Sunday Holy LiturgyPlease 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 Achenfr.thomaspjohn@gmail.comMobile: (416) 570 5610