Friday, January 20, 2017

Homily Notes - 3rd Week after Danaha Perunaal

From 2003 onwards , ICON discussion group have tried to post notes on homilies for the upcoming Sunday Liturgy or Feast day . This week, It was an old repost from one of our Deacon Daniel Mathai who has been serving  for many  years with HG Nicholovas  in our North East Diocese . Shared here with prayer it edify and help us as we go to upcoming liturgy in our respective parishes.
January 20, 2016
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, One God forever Amen +

On the 3rd Sunday after Theophany, the Church reads to us the Gospel of St. John 3:1-12.
This passage invites us the faithful, to participate in a conversation between Nicodemus, a member of the Pharisees, and Jesus.

During this conversation at night, we see Nicodemus sitting in a state of confusion by one of the most profound theological mysteries spoken by the Lord – the regeneration of man through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

Christ tries to offer an explanation to Nicodemus, however, the ignorance of Nicodemus causes him to be deaf to the words of the Lord and he remains ‘in the dark'. Nicodemus is indeed a biblical character however; the character in this passage is none other than ourselves.

Many of us often sit in the darkness of our own ignorance, specifically in relation to our Faith in Christ and being active members in His Body – The Church. As many times we may or may not be willing to admit, we remain in a state of ignorance or darkness like Nicodemus, by our refusal to acknowledge or participate in that Truth offered to us by Christ.

About one month ago we celebrated and participated in the Incarnation of Truth – Christ our God. Churches were filled beyond capacity as they invited Her faithful to have this precious Messiah be born in our hearts and have Him shine through the darkness of this world through our words, deeds and ultimately with our entire lives.

We participated in the ‘Thejwala Sushroosha’, where we chanted the very hymn of the Angelic Hosts, to the God who destroys all darkness. Hopefully we were engulfed in that glorious light of Christ who inspires us to change our ways and not to be confused in dark ignorant state like Nicodemus. What a wonderful Truth!

More that two weeks ago the Church invited us to come to the river Jordan and participate in the Feast of Theophany or Denaha. We participated and experienced through those divine services, Truth Himself – Christ, who was revealed to Israel as the Messiah. The Church prayed that her faithful may confess the same words of St. John the Baptist – ‘…I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God’ (St. John 1:34). Just as the world was illumined on this Feast, by the Light of lights - Christ, we too were hopefully illumined from our confused and ignorant state of darkness as Nicodemus was in. What a wonderful Truth!

What a wonderful Truth indeed! Our souls rejoiced at Truth offered to us on those two glorious Feasts of the Orthodox Christian Church, but, where is this Truth now, specifically in our lives? Have we left Truth in the Manger of Bethlehem or in river Jordan?

St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Do not deceive yourselves...” (1 Corinthians 3:18). How many times have we deceived ourselves by offering promises on Christmas that we will come more often to Church? How many times have we offered resolutions or promises to God in the spirit of the holy days that we will pray more, fast more, confess our sins, read the Holy Scriptures more, tithe more – all divine acts of virtue which help us on the continuous journey of being ‘born in the Spirit’?

Have we become ignorant or numb, to the words of Christ? This sermon is not to make one feel like there is no hope, because there is hope. Hope however does not lie in our own ignorance; it lies in the virtue of humility. It is in the virtue of humility that we are able to be born again in the Spirit. It is the virtue of humility that brings us before God and it is His Spirit that inspires us to confess our ignorance and the horrible fruits of it.

It is through this virtue of humility Nicodemus is able to comprehend the words of the Lord and not remain in his own Pharisaical shadow of ignorance. It is through this virtue of humility, this ignorant Pharisee dies and resurrects to as one of the most celebrated saints of Christendom.

Through his saintly example, let us not die in ignorance, but rather live up to our baptismal promise every day – to be born and to live in the Spirit, for the salvation of our souls!
-Dn. Daniel Mathai (Dennis)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Philosophies and a Cry

Today I stand to request even beg to to Clergy and those within Church not to take so much from the world ,other philosophies and so much intellectualism and bring it to the Church . 

Orthodox Christianity that has been shown by our Fathers primarily as simple and they have stressed the need to make it a matter of heart and not so much a matter of the head . 

It is true in time the Fathers of the Church ex: ApologIists fathers had to step up intellectually to explain to those within the Church the heretical teachings that crept in from members of the Church using philosophies . Unlike the modernist approach to search these philosophies out , the Apologist fathers were very particularly to highlight that this was for those in the Church and the intention was to help those within the Church to not lose their faith and real perception of our Lord and our Encounter with Him.

In my mind if we don't listen to these and curtain ourselves from indulging in these philosophies, we will be on a quick and speedy path to disaster and stand ashamed before the question raised by our Lord in St. Luke " When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith ?"

While the posting was done in haste , Please keep in Prayer and in His mercy enlighten us as we approach to commemorate the Theophany of our Lord

January 4, 2017
Calgary, Canada