New Beginning: CHURCH Calendar begins today: the
First Sunday of the Liturgical Year (Falls on the Last
Sunday of October or the First Sunday of November).
Hanuka of Jews.
Misuse and Abuse: Antiochus Epipanus defiled
Jerusalem temple. Judah Maccabee recaptured,
consecrated and dedicated. Nehemiah came from Babylon,
built the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days and returned.
When he came back, found the temple unholy...instead
of incense in the cells, found things of Thobiah,
non-Jew who lead the opposition to rebuild. Power and
authority misused. So sanctification needed.
God's Qualities: God is holy (Holy art, Thou O,
God). God is immortal (Holy art Thou, Immortal).
Holiness leads to immortality. God created man in His
own image with reasoning (to know what is good or
evil) and will power.
God sanctifies the Church. Church is the extension
of the Incarnation. So it is holy. Church is also of
the redeemed society...sinners' group. So it is
unholy. Thus sanctification needed. Sanctification is
essential to see and to be with the holy God (Exodus
Holy and Unholy: Tabernacle was very beautiful
inwardly (Exodus 26:1ff), but the covering was of ram
skins (26:14). Even though we are holy, we are unholy
Sanctification and dedication of individuals and
families. Should know who Jesus is. Not of
intelligence, knowledge, or wisdom, but of personal
experience. We have to love our Lord (John 21:15-22).
We have to understand personally who He is (Matthew
16:13-23; Mark 8:27-33).
Sanctification: To set apart from the ordinary to
make holy as sacred...to radiate, emanate, illuminate
or transform. It is renewal and purification. The
temple of God is holy. We are the temples. We must be
the indwelling place of God...the state of holiness
given through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It
happens after justification. It is a process. It
happens through personal faith and submission to the
will of God. No more sinning (1 John 3:6). Sin is
subdued through Incarnation. Only those with oil in
the vessels will be selected. Church is holy. Holy
Spirit works in it. God works in holy hearts. We have
to eradicate all the evil and unrighteous thoughts and
actvities from our hearts (Ephesians 5:26-27). We have
to wash away all the dirt and dust. "Purge me with
hyssop, and I shall be clean" (Psalms 51:7). We attain
blessedness through baptism to grow with holiness in
Him. We have to continue that. Church has the
responsibility to attract the world to Almighty God.
Spiritual enlightenment is needed to attain this. We
should be purified day by day. The first step to
sanctification is confession that Jesus is Lord and
God and also of our sins. Jesus praised Peter at the
first confession; but he was scolded for the second.
When the dirt is removed from something, it becomes
clean. We pray and sanctify for spirituality. We are
created with love. We become sinners due to our
selfishness. When our sins are forgiven through
repentance and confession, we are cleansed and
sanctified (Ephesians 4:24). The love and unity in
Trinity is sanctity (John 17:21). We have to try to be
perfect (Matthew 5:48). The result is heavenly bliss
and happiness (Psalm 32:1). Do the will of God (John
4:34). Rejoice at the success of others.
Sanctification of the members of the Church:
(Ephesians 5:25-27). The goal of Incarnation and
Crucifixion was for the sanctification of the Church:
John 17:19-20. Sanctification is based on the heart:
Matthew 5:8; 12:34; 15:18-20. Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7; Luke 6:45. Serve Him (Deuteronomy
11:13) and obey Him (13:14) wholeheartedly. No peace
for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22). Humble before God
(James 4:8). Man was created in God's image. God is
love. We should be liberated from sin and be in love
in everything. Then we enjoy forgiveness (Psalm
32:1-5) and be happy (Galatians 5:22).
Positional sanctification: cleansed of past sins (1
Corinthians 6:11) and become a "new creation" in
Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Progressive sanctification: Being made holy by the
ongoing work of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Become holy day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Permanent sanctification: Becoming holy in all
aspects of life (1 Peter 1:15-16) by making all effort
(Hebrews 12:14). We have to work out our salvation
(Philippians 2: 12-13) by loving righteousness and
hating wickedness (Hebrews 1:9). Renew the mind
(Romans 12:2) and have "holy and godly conduct" (2
Peter 3:11). It is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Cleansed everythinmg (Nehemiah 13:30).
Prepare the Church for the Incarnation. It is the
beginning of the preparations for the birth of Jesus
Christ. Here on, all Scripture readings touch on the
same topic. Sanctification is necessary at the
beginning. We sanctify the church and the house before
we start using them. This day all members enter into
the new year with sanctification for the preparation
of the birth of Jesus Christ into our hearts...:
sanctification through the Holy God (none is holy,
except the one Holy Father, the one Holy Son, and the
one Holy Spirit), through tears of repentance,
confession and holy communion. All were sanctified
before receiving the Ten Commandments.
First fruits to help.
ST. MATTHEW 16:13-23: ST. PETER'S CONFESSION OF FAITH:
Peter (Greek): Stone or Rock (Cephas is Aramaic)
The question was asked at Caeceria Philippi,
geographically and historically a notable place.
Jesus is the Savior: Peter proclaimed during their
meeting that Jesus is the Savior (Daniel in his dream
saw as Son of God: 7:13)
Jesus was rejoiced to know that at least some knew
that He is Messiah.
What do we think of Jesus Christ? Jesus enquired
how ordinary people consider Him. God knows everything
and doesn't need anybody's testimony (John 2:25). But
God likes to know our views and impressions. What
others think of us? Neighbors, friends. What our own
people think of us? wife/husband, children, parents,
brothers, sister, in-laws?
Incomplete information: Do not know the facts: Some
think as John the Baptist, His fore-runner; others,
Elijah (Malachi 4:5: fiery prophet), or Jeremiah
(1:10; Maccabees 15:14). Incomplete information leads
Make use of the opportunity: The disciples got a
chance to testify who Jesus is. We should make use of
the opportunity to witness and preach the Lord.
No individual greatness: Peter's declaration of
faith came from God. The declaration of faith is the
foundation of the Church.
Jesus is the Rock: Pointing upon Himself, Jesus
said that the Church will be built; also that of the
faith Peter proclaimed. Church is not based on any
human being. Jesus is the corner stone; Prophets and
Apostles are foundation stones; faithful are the
building stones (1 Corithians 3:16; Ephesians 2:20; 1
Peter 2:6). The Lord is the builder (Zechariah
6:11-13; Isaiah 44:28) and the Church is built on the
faith of the Apostles.
The Builder: Jesus is the builder so that the
powers of evil will not be able to step on it.
Forgiveness of sins given to the Church: The key
to forgive sin helps enter to the kingdom of God.
To all disciples: Keys for the kingdom of heaven
were given to all disciples after the resurrection
(Luke 22:14-30; John 20:21-23; Matthew 28:19-20;
God is the authority: Only God can give this
authority to enter into the kingdom.
The Keys: The truths of the Gospel, the keys, are
given to St. Peter as well as to all the disciples.
Need Faith: We have to have faith to testify ours
(1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:5)
Rock/Stumbling Stone: When Peter confessed Jesus
as Christ, he was a rock; when he encouraged Jesus to
avoid suffering, he became a stumbling block.
Troubles and oppositions: There will be troubles
and oppositions for the spreading of the Gospel, but
will triumph at the end (2 Corinthians 4:9; 6:9;
Revelations 12:14). Face such troubles courageously.
Tell only at the right time: To prepare for the
kingdom of God, asked not to tell until His
resurrection. Preaching only after.
ST. MARK 8:27-33: ST. PETER'S CONFESSION OF JESUS AS CHRIST
Search Around: Search around to see who or what we
Find out from close Relatives who we are.
Affirm our faith: "You are the Christ": St. Peter
Wait till the time come: Jesus refused to tell any
one (1:44; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26, 30) until the right time
(9:9). Only at His Trial, Jesus claimed to be the
Face the consequences: Jesus rebuked Peter. We will
be too, if we "are not mindful of the things of God."
ST. JOHN 21: 15-19: SIMON PETER COMMISSIONED
Breakfast with the risen Lord: The first meal of
the first day of the week shall be the Lord's meal,
Holy Communion. If Sunday is a fun day, week days
shall be weak days.
Jesus' third appearance: In the second, Thomas was
convinced and here Peter was commissioned.
Sincere and serious conversation: After the meal,
spent some time together for a serious business. Not
joking or making funs: pious and sincere.
Jesus healed his disciple's wounds: Peter was
ashamed of denying Jesus. In the garden, Peter struck
the ear of the servant. Thereafter he followed Jesus,
but denied Jesus three times. Jesus looked at him
(Luke 22:61) to signify that He still loved him. Peter
repented. "Love is the positive side of penitence,
while sorrow is the negative." (Remorse or atrition is
self-love. Contrition is love of God).
"Do you love me more than these?"
The game we play with children using hand signals:
"How much do you love me? This much" and finally
asking: "Do you love Jesus this much?"
More than fishing (Mark 1:16-17.
More than these people (Mark 14:25-35): All human
beings or more than other disciples (Mark 14:27-31)
Pierced into the heart of Peter
Same question toward us: Do we love Him?
Peter says that he does: Can we say with the same
Feed the lamb: Importance of training and
entertaining our children.
Questioning 2nd time: Affirmative answer: "I love
Tend my sheep: "Shepherd my people" (Matthew 2:6).
"All the flock" (Acts 20:28). Lord is the great
Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20. Astrayed sheep to return (1
Peter 2:25). Shepherd the flock of God (1 Peter
5:2,4). Sheep of the pasture: Psalms 79:13; Sheep in
the midst of wolves: Matthew 10:16; Lost sheep:
Matthew 15:24. Divide sheep and goats: sheep on the
right hand: Matthew 25:32-33. Scattered sheep: Matthew
Asked third time: Peter was grieved for asking
again and again.
Why repetition?: To make sure; to strengthen the
faith and love.
Complete submission and dedication: Lord, you know
all things: You know all of my activities, dealings
and everything. Jesus knows everyone and every-thing
(John 2:24; 16:30).
Feed my sheep (goat): Not only children and women,
but also men.
Where are our lambs, sheep and goats? Do we feed
and tender them properly?
Reinstated: Earlier Peter said: Even though they
all fall away, I will not" (Mark 14:29). Then he
denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62). Jesus
foretold this (Luke 22:34). Here Peter was reinstated.
When young: Walk anywhere we want (Sometimes, we
should not go anywhere we want). Moses to lead Israel,
St. Thomas to India, St. Paul for all his works.
Christ gives us the courage to go.
When old: Others direct us. Have to depend upon
some one else.
Suffering helps for goodness: Peter was warned
about suffering and persecution.
Glorify death: Peter did.
Keep His word: If we love Him, we have to keep His
word: John 14:23. God loves everyone. No
Follow Him: When Peter was reinstated, called to
What do we love most? Money? (the root of all
evil). Health? still get sick. Food? Diet; Clothes?
For selfishness and prestige? When we have everything,
forget God. Happened to Solomon that led to immoral
Love Jesus: Calvary and His love towards us. God
blesses us daily. Live our best. Children follow the
footsteps of parents. God want us to follow His will
and be saved. Went out to look for the lost sheep.
Also said to lay one's life for the sheep. We have to
attract people to save by preaching the Gospel (Mark
16:16) and by teaching Christ's precepts (Matthew
28:20). We are ordained to and appointed to lead in
faith, in Christ's knowledge, and to grow to the
fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13). The
responsibility of the Church lies in individuals,
families and parishes.
1 PETER 2: 1-12: WE BELONG TO GOD
Lay aside all our bad traits and habits
Grow in God's grace
The foundation stone of the Church, the spiritual
house, is Jesus. We are the stones built upon Him.
We are a chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy
nation and His special people (Exodus 19:5-6)
We should be model. Others should glorify God by
seeing our good works.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:16-17; 6:15-20: FLEE FROM IMMORALITY
Be careful: We are the temple of God: The Church
Think and act according to God's will: John
Flee away from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians
6:9-11): Homosexuals could repent and come to grace
(Matthew 11:23-24). It would be easy for them to come
to judgement than any others (Revelations 20:11-12).
We have to hate sin and love sinners who repent
(Matthew 5:44-46; John 13:34-35). We have to forgive
the trespasses of others (Matthew 6:14-15). We also
need forgiveness (Romans 6:23). Some willingly and
willfully choose this sinful life-style. Some are
victims. Unhappy and broken marriages and dyfunctional
family life are the root causes. They still have hope
in the kingdom of God.
We are bought with a price: Death of Christ on the
Have complete surrender: Romans 12:1-2
EXODUS 33:7-11; 40:17-38: GOD'S GLORY
Moses prayed to God for His presence and God talked
to him as a friend.
All the people worshipped God.
Young Joshua stayed at the tabernacle
The tabernacle was completed as God commanded.
They experienced God's presence in their
ISAIAH 6:1-8: ISAIAH'S VISION AND CALL
Isaiah saw God in a vision: John 12:41; Revelations
4:2-3; 20:11. Isaiah was desperate and disappointed.
King Uziah died. Went to temple in search of God to
lay down all his sorrows before Him. Repented and
confessed. Forgiveness and challenge. Do we get such
experiences through our worship services?
Isaiah saw angels praising the Lord God: We see the
glory of Jesus when we begin our prayer. Jesus is God,
holy, mighty and immortal crucified for us. We declare
this faith. We realize our sinfulness and like Isaiah,
we pray: "Lord, have mercy upon us". Need complete
dedication, submission and commitment.
Isaiah felt that he is unclean. We have to realize
our sins and transgressions.
Holy Communion: The live coal touched his lips to
take away the iniquity and to purge the sin.
Trinitarian: "US": The Father, Son and the Holy
Who will go for Him? Big challenge! Big call! "I
say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the
fields; for they are white already to harvest." (John
4:35). Thousands of people have been evangelized
throuhout the past twenty centuries all over the
world. There are hundreds of villages still in India
to reach the good news of the Gospel.
Send me; here I am: Are we ready?
NOTE: HALLOWEEN: Eve of Hallow (sanctify): "Hallowed
be Thy Name" (from the Lord's prayer). From the 4th
century onwards, all the dead (ghosts) were allowed to
visit...thus HALLOWEEN on the 31st evening of
October... the tradition goes on. November 1st is ALL
SAINTS' DAY...so the eve of the sanctification day.