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The Feast Of The Ascension Of Our Lord

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Reading: From the Gospel according to. St.Luke24:36-53

Today’s reading is the continuation of our Lord’s appearance to the two Apostles that went to Emmaus. As soon as the two realized the great and exciting experience of being with the risen Lord, they rushed back to their colleagues and shared what they saw and what they experienced. When the eleven were together our Lord appeared among them for one more time. But they were terrified and affrighted. Realizing this great truth, our Lord said “let peace be unto you”. He is the one who had offered: “I leave my peace unto you. My peace is not like the peace of the world”.

Our Lord is present among all of us during the times of sorrows as well as happiness. But we often do not realize Him or His magnificent presence. The Apostles could experience the presence of our Lord, though they suspected Him to be a spirit. It is a pity that we neither realize His presence nor even as a spirit. We often forget or ignore about the presence of God among us. Unless we do not submit ourselves to Him at every moment, our prayers and worships will be of no use.

In verse 38 we listen the kind verses of our Lord and Savior. “Why are you troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your mind?

We all know and believe that Lord Jesus is the truth, way and light. Still at times of troubles we often get upset and worried. Instead of seeking the compassion of our Lord God, we often think of many other sources to get peace and comfort. At such occasions our Lord is asking to each and every one of us so gently: why are you troubled and why are you thinking so much in your hearts? At times of difficulties, worries and tensions, let us seek His mercy and compassion, instead of getting much tensed and depressed. We must try to listen and to identify the voice of our Lord God, who often speaks to us. We must give heed to the soft, loving, caring and sweet voice of our Lord in our daily lives. He is there with the offer “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee”. Let us follow Him and His soft and touching voice.

In verse 41 we read: “And when they yet believed not for joy, he said unto them, have you here any meat?”

He is asking us the same question. He is still continuing the same to us all who claim that we are his true followers. Our Lord is not asking for himself, but for the ones who are longing for a piece of bread among us. Our Lord is asking to feed the hungry and thirsty around us. If we feed the needy around us, it is as good as feeding our Lord God. We often close our eyes against the ones who are in need. Our prayers during the Lenten season remind us to go after the poor and needy to feed them, instead of the poor or needy might ask us. Let us take a decision to take care of the poor and needy among or around us. If we could love them as our brethren, it would be easy to care them.

May this day of Ascension of our Lord grant us more peace and comfort. Let His everlasting peace be with us all. May God bless us all.

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Columns Humor

A Very Faithful Woman

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An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout “PRAISE THE LORD!”

Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, “There ain’t no Lord!!”

Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for GOD to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted “PRAISE THE LORD. GOD I NEED FOOD!! I AM HAVING A HARD TIME. PLEASE LORD, SEND ME SOME GROCERIES!!”

The next morning the lady went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD.”

The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.”

The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD. He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Praise the Lord!”

Offer made to Adam

God looks down and notices that Adam is all alone while all the animals have companions, so he decides to create a companion for man as well. He comes to see Adam and says to him, “Adam, you are my greatest creation and therefore, I am going to create for you the ultimate companion. She will worship the very ground you walk on, she will long for you and no other, she will be highly intelligent, she will wait on you hand and foot and obey your every command, she will be beautiful, and all it will cost you is an arm and a leg.” Thinking for a few moments, Adam replies, “What could I get for a rib?”

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Editorial

Christ Is Risen, Indeed He Is Risen

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The Orthodox Churches, both Eastern and Oriental, celebrate the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus this year on April 12. Unfortunately the Orthodox Church of Malankara and the Armenian Church in the Middle East are the only Churches that permit the observance of Easter according to the Gregorian calendar of the Roman Church. This writer has written against this practice quoting from the canons of the Nicene Synod in the pages of Voice of Orthodoxy many years ago. This practice was introduced in India due to great pressures from western Christian communities, whose argument was to show some kind of solidarity in faith in a land where the majority of the population was Hindu. This writer again pleads to the Holy Episcopal Synods of the Orthodox Church in India and of the Armenian Church in the Middle East to reconsider this matter, and vindicate true Orthodoxy. Otherwise this practice will remain a permanent scar on the face of Orthodoxy, and might tarnish Orthodox character of these churches in the sight of other orthodox churches in the world.

Recently a United Methodist bishop was reprimanded by his church for his heretic view that Christ did not resurrect from His tomb. In recent times there were many western theologians, who had proposed that the resurrection of Christ was just a myth. We wonder why these so-called theologians and liberal clergyman are speculating against resurrection when Paul clearly says that our faith has no meaning without resurrection. If a theologian attacks the virgin birth of Christ and His resurrection what else is there for a theologian to theologize! If Christ is stripped from His virgin birth and resurrection, what else is there for us to BELIEVE in!

Friends, the empty tomb of Christ is a historical reality for every orthodox. The four gospels were written by four different men on different occasions and for different purposes. All of them clearly certify that Jesus rose from the dead without any doubt. The apostles of Christ were terrified of what had happened in connection with the crucifixion of Christ. They were even afraid of getting out, because they thought that they lost their leader and His movement. They were a defeated group. Even after the resurrection of Christ, which was reported by some lady-disciples of Christ, they were still afraid of getting out. Jesus Himself had to appear to them in order to convince them of His resurrection when they were hiding in a basement. But it took a mighty wind blown by the Holy Spirit to power them for preaching the resurrected Jesus. All, but one, were martyred for this faith. Who is going to show his neck to the sharp edges of a sword if he does not have a convincing reason to die! Who is going to stretch his hands for crucifixion, if he does not have Master, who conquered the cross and death on it! Yes, the suffering of all apostles demands a convincing reason behind it. The reason is that unique event in the history of mankind: Christ conquered death by His resurrection. That is what gave them hope.

Our Christian life is meaningless without our resurrected Lord. It is also meaningless without a resurrected life. We are all buried under our sins, our voluptuous desires, our carnality, and our selfishness. Our resurrection takes place through true repentance. It is not enough that we are sorry about our fallen lives. It is important that we convert to Christ, by rejecting our sinful and carnal way of life. It requires determination and resolution; the determination for conversion to Christ, and resolution not to sin again. Then only can we be sure of our own resurrected life.

In our Liturgy of Resurrection, there is a moving component, which is the announcement of resurrection to the public. Immediately after the announcement the faithful attending the liturgy greet each other with the following: Christos Aneste (Christ Is Risen)! The response is also suggestive of the great joy every Orthodox experiences when listening to this glad news: Alithos Aneste (Indeed He Is Risen)!

WE WISH ALL OUR READERS A VERY BLESSED EASTER AND A JOYFUL SPRING SEASON!

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Articles We Believe

St. Mary The Mother Of God

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Among all the saints of the Church, St. Mary occupies a preeminent position. This prominence is the consequence of her role as the Mother of God (Theotokos), a title that was underscored by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) and firmly establishing it in the spirituality of the Church. St. Mary thus appears not only as the person who was favoured to bear the Son of God, but because of her acquiescence to God’s offer, she represents the pinnacle of synergy, the process by which human beings cooperate with God for the advancement of the salvific plan. Thus, she represents the reversal of the fatal fall of Eve in the Garden of Eden, and so is also given the designation “the second Eve.” The concept and role of St. Mary in the Malankara Orthodox Church can be appreciated only in the connection with its Christology and ecclesiology.

While the Holy Scriptures do not contain this information, the Church tradition names St.Mary’s parents as Joachim and Anna, information contained in the Protevangelium of St.James. Her early years are shrouded in silence, except for the generalized picture that she was resident in the Jerusalem Temple. From this point the New Testament informs us that she received the annunciation of the birth of the Son of God (Lk 1: 2ff ), a point obliquely stated in St. Matthew’s infancy narrative (Mt.1:20) St.Luke very succinctly suggests that many of St.Mary’s experiences went past her comprehension, and it was only the passage of time that unpacked their significance for her (Lk 2:19, 50-51). Both St.Matthew and St.Luke record that she was affianced to Joseph who belonged to David’s family. It is in this way that Jesus’ ancestry is ultimately traced to the Davidic line.  St.Matthew’s narrative St.Mt 2:1ff) has King Herod making an attempt on the life of the young Jesus, occasioned by the arrival and query of the Wise Men. Operating through a divine revelation, St.Joseph takes the mother Mary and the little Jesus and flees to Egypt. A revelation in a dream at a later stage conveys the death of those who sought the life of  Jesus and so St.Joseph returns with St.Mary and the child to their native country and opt to settle in Nazareth for fear of Herod’s son who now controlled Judea. St.Luke alone records the event of St.Joseph and St.Mary taking the young Jesus to Jerusalem to attend the Passover and is somehow lost. After three days the parents return to find Jesus discussing with the teachers.

We do not glimpse too many occasions when St.Mary is sighted during Jesus’ public ministry. There is the anecdote of how she, accompanied by other family members, attempt to obtain a meeting with him, which Jesus supposedly does not acquiesce to. St.John, however, has the narrative of Jesus, along with his disciples and St.Mary attending a marriage feast at Cana and during the course of which the wine runs out. St. Mary intercedes with her Son Jesus, the consequence of which leads to the transformation of the water held in six stone jars into the most qualitatively superlative wine. We then find references to St.Mary only during the last hours of Jesus when she is numbered among the women who watch his crucifixion. St.John has the poignant story of committing her to the care of his Beloved Disciple, an indication that by this time she had no family to look after her.