by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 24: 42-51
It is a fact known to many of us that the Holy Church has separated 120 days together, almost 1/3 of an year for the nourishment and growth of our spirituality, starting from the first day of the three day's Lent till the day of the feast of Pentecost. As we are aware, the three day's Lent is meant for our repentance and hence the period set apart by the Church start with the days of repentance and ends on the day on which the early Church members were blessed with the abundant supply of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Church is expecting a true repentance from her children so that they all will be qualified to have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In fact the three days fasting is fore-runner of the 50 days fast during which we could pass through the public mission of our Lord and Savior as well as Holy Week when and where we live with the sufferings and passions of our Lord and Savior. We all are supposed to enjoy the greatness of our Lord's victory over Satan as well as death through His blessed resurrection. Our Lord taught us to have fasting and Lent to fight Satan. Our Church Fathers have separated 18 days from the end of three days lent and the beginning of the 50 days Lent. This period is known as 18 days gap. (In Malayalam we call it Pathinettida). Really these days are meant for our spiritual preparation to observe the great Lent. In the 18 days gap there comes two Sundays and these Sundays are dedicated for the departed Clergy as well as our departed fellowmen.
The Holy Church is composed of the Heavenly group, departed as well as the living. The Lents and fasting are undertaken by the Holy Church. Holy Church declares the fasting and her children do join her in observing it with due importance and reverence. We the living group seek the support and co-operation of our departed ones to enter the great event of the fight with our enemy, the Satan, who is very clever and cunning. We must be well equipped to have an open fight with Satan and his evil forces. We have to get prepared like an Army, which might prepare for a worldly war against their enemy. We must have the mental and physical preparation.. In addition to our own preparation, we seek the help and support of our beloved departed ones. This Sunday we seek the help and support of all the departed Clergy who had offered a very noble and humble life to God Almighty.
In today's reading our Lord mentions about the qualities to be possessed by a Minister of His Church. A minister of the Church is supposed to undertake and execute the works done by our Lord on the world during His blessed Public Mission. In verse 42 we listen to our Lord' exhortation to watch therefore. Exhortations to watch could be seen in St. Matthew 24:43, 25:13, St. Mark 13:35,St. Luke 21:36, Acts29:31 etc. We find the exhortation to watch and pray in St. Matthew26:41, St. Mark 13: 33, 14:38 etc. St. Paul advises many times in all along his epistles to watch and to be sober. The Ministers are supposed to watch their God and Savior to gain strength to guide the sheep in the green pastures of spirituality. We consider our departed priests and High priests were really good enough in being trust worthy to their call and assignment.
In verse 44 our Lord advises to be ready. A minister could get ready only after fulfilling all his assignments and duties. In our Pampakkuda Prayer book we do pray for the priests like this: O God enable our clergy always to announce publicly with due cleanliness that God who cares His Church is blessed. We believe that all our departed clergy had a very strong faith and belief in God. In verse 45and 46 we hear about the blessedness, which a minister could have. In St. Matthew 7: 21 our Lord says; "Not every one who says unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father, which is in Heaven."
Let us sincerely pray for the departed and living clergy. May God be pleased with them all and forgive their trespasses if any in the notice of God Almighty. May God enable us and strengthen us to observe the coming great Lent with due importance, reverence and humbleness.
Kohanae Sunday - Being Ready for the Kingdom of God
by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil
Devotional Thoughts for Sunday of the Departed Clergy
by Rev. Fr. Thomas Oommen
Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday of Departed Clergy
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
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