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'YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH'
We are called to preserve the values of the Kingdom of God. For this, we should be well aware of the Kingdom values and then should strive to implement that in this world. We can see the moral degradation all around. The world is desperately looking for models but unfortunately we too have lost our witness because of the mask that we put.
July 30, 2002
Jesus said "You are the salt of the earth, You are the Light of the world" (Matthew 5: 13ff). It talks about the uniqueness of God's people and also their responsibilities. We are precious to God and we are called to participate in God's work. We are chosen not to remain as an exclusive community to enjoy certain privileges but to facilitate the realization of God's Kingdom in this world.
Salt is used to add taste; it gives zest to the things it is added. Likewise we are called to add taste to any given situation. Jesus changed very ordinary things and situations into very powerful experience. He was borne in a manger, a lowly thing on earth but it was made something very significant. He opted to travel on a donkey, an animal we looked down. But Jesus could transform its status. We are ordinary people called to influence ordinary situations to make them relevant and authentic.
Salt is used to preserve, it act as a preservative. This is one of the major tasks assigned to His people. We are called to preserve the values of the Kingdom of God. For this, we should be well aware of the Kingdom values and then should strive to implement that in this world. We can see the moral degradation all around. Often we feel that we also should identify ourselves with the trends of the world for recognition and acceptance. The world is desperately looking for models but unfortunately we too have lost our witness because of the mask that we put. Our children blindly copy the trends and fashions of the world and lost their potential to witness. In the midst of such corrosion we are called to preserve God's eternal values and truth.
Salt though highly essential for giving taste and preservation are placed among ordinary things in very ordinary vessels. Likewise Christians are ordinary people placed in ordinary unassuming situations but the effect can be very powerful. We don't have to complain about the simple and ordinary place where we were borne. Jesus was borne at the lowliest of all places but he could transform the whole world. As salt of the earth this is a reality of all of us. It is my wish and prayer that we will pay heed to Jesus' expectation of every believer and lead an authentic life bringing glory to His name.
May God bless you all
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PRAYER AND PRAYERFUL LIFE
Prayer is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Prayers are for the honour and glory of God alone. Continuous Prayers and a Prayerful life establish an intimate spiritual relationship with God.
Prayer is defined as 'Raising our heart to heaven and communicating with God'. From the creation itself, man had the very high inquisitiveness and the need to communicate with his creator, the Power that he experience all around or the Power that he feels he cannot do without. Even before the coming of Christ, human beings always felt the need for a Divine and compassionate Providence whom they can approach for help in time of need. Through prayer God's will is discerned and greater clarity is gained for our journey. Prayer is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Prayers are for the honour and glory of God alone. (Eph 1:6,12,14; 1 Cor 10:31)
PRAYER BUILDS UP INTIMACY WITH GOD:
PRAYERFUL LIFE ENABLES TO MAINTAIN PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD:
PRAYERFUL LIFE KEEPS US AWAY FROM SATANIC TEMPTATIONS:
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MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
Jerusalem is the holiest place for Christians as well, as Jesus, the Son of God, took his birth in Bethlehem for redemptive mission of humanity. While Jews and Muslims wage a war against each other for subjugating the sacred sites and monuments of their fathers, Christians also have been embarking on a perpetual war in conquering as many souls.
The whole humanity is engulfed as a victim of a religious war (holy war) enraged between the Palestinians (Muslims) and Israelis (Jews), the religions who preach and teach the monotheistic nature of God. They don't believe in the concept of the Holy Trinity, thereby rejecting God's Son ship in Jesus Christ and His redemptive scheme of mankind through His life sacrifice. As these two religions accept the Mosaic laws as their tenet, they carve out their destiny by 'an eye for eye and tooth for tooth' philosophy. The wailing wall, a remnant of King Solomon's Temple, King David's Zion city and the cradle of the Tabernacle in Jerusalem, is the place where the Jews come and pray to Jehovah their God, as they don't have any other Temple for worship. The Muslims built a Mosque, known as Aqsa (Golden Dome) on the same site, believing that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, flew to heaven from there. Both claim that Jerusalem should be their headquarters for their futue states and should fall within their jurisdiction.
Jerusalem is the holiest place for Christians as well, as Jesus, the Son of God, took his birth in Bethlehem for redemptive mission of humanity. Thus Jerusalem, the geocentric location of the earth, is the most sacred location for the trinity of religious. While Jews and Muslims wage a war against each other for subjugating the sacred sites and monuments of their fathers, Christians also have been embarking on a perpetual war in conquering as many souls and holy sites by not killing one another but by pummeling against their own body lust. The earthly figurehead of these three religions have many vital things in common, yet they are induced to fight against one another for temporal things because the blind (fanatical minority) is leading the blind. Even though Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism, the genealogy of Christians is a broken one after Christ, where a, apparently, it is continuous one for both of them from Father Abraham. Ishmael was the first son of Patriarch Abraham's slave, Hagar, and it is believed that the Arabs are the descendants. The Jews are believed to be the offspring of Abraham's promised son Isaac (Rom 9: 7-8) Gal. 4:6-7, 27-30)
Rejected by embrace of the Spirit of Christ, the Jews claim that they are the heirs of father Abraham to inherit the Promised Land (Palestine and the neighboring areas) But listen to the assertions of Palestinian extremists, "From our ideological point of view it is not allowed to recognize that Israel control one square meter of historic Palestine." (The Age 5 April , 2002) They have many things in common, including the sign of the covenant of circumcision, as their pedigree is same. The same blood stream is running through the descendants of the twin brothers Esau and Jacob. "Two nations are in your womb, and two people, born of you, shall be divided, the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger" Genesis 25:23) Rom 9:12-13) The rivalry which started between the elder and younger brothers will have to continue till the close of the age. Jacob, the promised son of Isaac, was blessed to be the father of 12 patriarchs (the fathers of Hebrew race) and the descendants of Ishmael and Esau are the fathers of 12 Princes. The Middle East is the breeding ground for both of these races as well as the theatre of exhibiting the hostility and hatred. Thus father Abraham is the figurehead of the twelve Patriarch (Gen. 17:16) and 12 Princes (Gen 17:20), yet the land of Canaan (Palestine), in tune with the blessings as they ascribe, is the Promised land (Gen 15:7-21) of the Promised Children (Patriarchs). It has been portraying all along the biblical narrative that the consummation of the world will be by a raging war between the progeny of these two races or religions. Most of the wars or battles fought in the last two decades are either on the ground of religious intolerance or tribal conflict or ethnic hatred.
In order to redeem mankind from Satanic pang the Son of God came in the midst of them, but "the stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, resisted the Spirit" (Act 7:51) and crucified Him. He rejected the Jewish Temple (Lk.13:55) and chose the Christian Church in it's place. It is likely that God has appointed 7 days or 7 millennia (7000 Years) for the restoration of man who was driven out from the garden of Eden. (2 Pet. 3:8) Embracing Christian Church as his bride, the groom may restore her after the six days (Dan 12:7; Is 37:30) Jesus comes down to take the Bride to the heavenly abode after 6000 Years (BC 4000 and AD 2000 Years) ... As it is not easy to segregate the sheep from the goats, world will have to pass through a period of 7 years through tribulation and great tribulation. "The new heaven and new earth" on earth of Satan will pluck away even the Elects of the Spirit from the fold while the dark powers which do not believe in the Holy Trinity wage a holy war (Religious war). While mankind is horrified by terror, cataclysms and heavenly portents, the King of Kings will come down to gather the Elects of the Spirit. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for who ever enters God's rest also ceases from his labours as God did from his" (Heb 4:9-10); Gen 2: 2-3). The ensuing agonizing period of thousand years on earth the Jews and other unrighteous ones (Ps 95: 10-11) will have to confront with tumultuous crises and cataclysmic effects of cosmic maladies, whereas the redeemed ones will rest in the "midair" with Lamb (1 Thess. 4:16-17) " And I will give portents in the heaven and earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great terrible day of Lord's coming... (Joel 2:30-3:21)'Zeph 1:15-18) Hence, apparently there are three epochs embroiled in the period of 4000 years, the second one the 2000 years of Christ's era, and the third one the final era of 1000 years when the redeemed one enjoying their fruits in the bridal chamber and the wicked wailing and moaning in their afflictions on earth. At the end of the third epoch the Jews "shall look on him whom they have pierced (Jesus) and shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born," (Zech. 13:9)
The portrayal of the events of the second and third epochs are intertwined together and it is impossible to read the sequence of the chronological advances by human intellect. " And when the 1000 years are ended, Satan will be loosened from his prison.... sea (Rev.20:7) They will be consumed by fire " and the devil who had deceived was thrown into the lake of fire and sulpher.....ever (Rev 20:10) Then we are lead to the scene of Last Judgment (Rev 20 :11-15)
WW live at the blossoming of the final chapter of the second epoch. Man is utterly thrown into a dilemma of organized chaos of the present social backgrounds we are living with. The old values and ethics are jettisoned with perversions of all kinds and Epicureanism of the subculture. Every religion is politicized and our common denominator (religious fanaticism shrouded in religious fundamentalism) has metamorphosed ourselves as mere human bombs. Are we better than our cousins, the apes ? Diamond cuts down diamond itself. In spite of this we grumble against God, the Provider of everything, as if all our miseries and untold sufferings were inflicted by the loving Heavenly Father. Electricity (scientific and technological miracles) is the mother of the annihilation of mankind and the nature just as our devoted mothers abort their own embryos, which they have implanted in their own wombs for sinister aims. "The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant" (Is 24:5) Give ears to the wailing of the Father Who formed us with His own hands, adding each cell in its own right places, and synchronizing with His own Spirit. "Sons have reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against..... Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evil doers, sons who deal corruptly! .....(Is 1:2-9) Israel, therefore, should be burnt with fire and desolation because they have been betraying their own Lord all along. "Bring no more vain offering; incense is an abomination to me... I can not endure iniquity and solemn assembly" (Is 1:13) He is no longer able to endure the pain of "The wounds I received in the house of my friends." The final outcome of our depravity is this. "Awake, oh sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me. Strike the shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered; I will turn my hands against the little ones." (Zech 13:6-7) The Holy Trinity is struck and made a victim of our profligacies and cravings. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas the Holy Trinity was struck and the sheep scattered; the same scenario reiterates at the end of the time when the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Holy Trinity and the Comforter of the church will be struck and the faithful believers scattered and hunted.
Prior to striking the Shepherd once again and scattering the flock and desecration of the Holy Church, (Dan 8:23-26) certain ominous events will have to take place. "As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation but with his power." (Dan 8:22) The Babylonian horn represents either Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan. How ever, Afghanistan is already destroyed and is under the reign of four powerful pressure groups (1) The Northern Alliance headed by the old President of Rabbani (2) The group headed by the O\old king Sahir Shah (3) The Cypreus group supported by Iran (4) The Pakistan based Peshawar group. But my observation detailed in my book "the Unholy Betrothal The Abomination of Desolation (12 Volumes) published in 1991 and my other subsequent books suggest that Iran or Iraq may be divided into four parts and "a king of bold countenance, one who understands riddle" may appear on the world stage from either of them. As diamond cuts down diamond itself, are there sufficient means and willingness of manufacturing as many human bombs to quell the might and robustness of the opposite side ? What happens in Middle East is only a birth pang of the King of bold Countenance..." for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of Lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called God or Object of Worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, Proclaiming himself to be God" (Thes2:3-4) He will destroy the Sanctuary and continual burnt offering (H.Echarist, Jewish worship and other rituals, Dan 9:27;11:30-40) His mission first is to trample over Jerusalem " and destroy men and the people of the Saints" (Dan 8:13,24) "Daniels's vision is for the time of the end" (Dan 8:17,20) The antichrist will be given dominion over the whole world at the close of the age for seven years. The New York carnage and the horror of terrorism is likely to be the stepping stone to a period of tribulation and great tribulation (Rev 7:14) "...his dominions shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion.... shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High... (Dan 7:26-27). In unison with the prophecy in Dan 9:24-27, I have calculated that the close of this action may take place in 2006 A.D;, but the great mathematicians prove that we now live in year 2001, not 2002. My observations are only deductions made on the basis of some biblical Prophecies. only God alone is aware of the many sidedness of His meticulous approbation
The Middle East crisis is not an isolated one. It is a conglomeration of so many crisis merged together. Even if a temporary truce between Israel and Palestine is bartered out by the intervention of world powers (1 Thes. 5:3), it may be only a calm before a deadly universal storm. "Humanity must perforce prey on itself like monsters of the deep" (Shakespeare)
Does the formation of four pressure groups in Afghanistan accomplish the prophecy of Dan 8:22 or the inevitability of the division of Iran or Iraq a Divine itinerary?
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Because of the very occult nature we apply numerous symbolisms to understand a mystery and yet, we rely more on faith than on logic though more often than not faith is also logical. For example, regeneration or rebirth takes place in Baptism when priest pours blessed water invoking Triune God on the candidate.
Mooron means perfumed oil. Mooron Koodoso means anointing with holy oil. Same terminology applies for consecrating the Holy Oil. It is, 'sweet smelling fragrance of Jesus Christ.' Mooron is holy unguent used to anoint baptizing candidate immediately after Holy Baptism. It is also used to anoint Tablitho (portable Madbaho), Madbaho and Church building. Anointing with Holy oil is one of the basic mysteries of the Holy Church.
What is Holy mystery? The word mystery is derived from Greek root, 'mysterion.' Its Syriac equivalent is, "roso." This means, something which has hidden meaning or beyond human understanding. Because of the very occult nature we apply numerous symbolisms to understand a mystery and yet, we rely more on faith than on logic though more often than not faith is also logical. For example, regeneration or rebirth takes place in Baptism when priest pours blessed water invoking Triune God on the candidate. When the priest anoints with the Holy oil the Holy Spirit seals the candidate as son of the living God and counts him to be brother of Christ. This immediate transformation invisible to outward senses could be understood only by faith, not by logic. The very word 'mystery' implies certain amount of technicality.
The faithful are more familiar with the word 'sacrament' or 'Koodoso' another term purporting similar, but at any rate not equal, meaning. Western churches use the term sacrament which means, pledge, assurance, etc. Koodoso means to sanctify, dedicate, etc. Pertinently, these words convey same or similar idea though they had different original meanings. However, mystery is more apt, biblical and meaningful usage than the other words. St Augustine defined, sacrament as 'visible signs for receiving invisible grace' and it was universally accepted later.
Mystery in the Bible: St Paul uses the term 'mystery' to expound inexplicability and inexorability of Gospel. "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory," 1Cor 2:7. He refers to Jesus Christ as mystery. "To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory," Col 1:27. Whole mystery is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Thus mystery is something that which partakes in the mystery revealed or manifested in Jesus Christ. Intimate relationship between Christ and the Church is explained as mystery and equated to the intimacy between husband and wife. "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church," Eph 5:32. Marriage itself is explained as a vehicle to share in the mystery of God. The whole Church being the mystical body of Christ is a great mystery. The venerable fathers of the Church understood the Holy Eucharistic elements namely consecrated bread and wine as mystical body and blood of Christ. They festooned it with adjectives like, Heavenly, Divine, Holy, etc. While the mystery of Holy Baptism enables one to become member of the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church the mystery of Holy Eucharist enables one to commune with the person of Christ through His Holy body and blood.
Seven Mysteries or Sacraments? There are seven sacraments as generally understood, which is not the official orthodox position. Roman Catholic scholars deliberated differently and variously about the number of sacraments for a long time. For example, Peter Damien listed about 12 sacraments. Hugo of Saint Victor said there are more than 12 and divided it into two types, which are essential and nonessential to salvation. Peter Lombard and Thomas Aquinas said there are only seven sacraments. The general consensus was for seven sacraments. Martin Luther, champion of reformation, rejected the concept of seven sacraments and instead, propounded the theory of 'two sacraments' namely, Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist. It was felt necessary to counter his heresy and put an end to the centuries' old discord about the number of sacraments. Thus Trent council (1565) of the Roman Catholics officially declared seven sacraments namely, 1, Baptism, 2, Confirmation, which is different in our tradition, 3, Confession, 4, Holy Eucharist, 5, Priesthood, 6, Matrimony and 7, Anointing of the sick.
The proponents of seven sacraments justified their claim arguing that number Seven is sum-total of three that represents Triune God, four that represents four quarters of the earth and thus seven represents amity between God and universe. It also symbolizes sevenfold powers of Holy Spirit, seven branched lamps in Jerusalem temple, seven seals that the Lamb broke, seven words which our Lord spoke on the Cross, seven acts of mercies and seven deadly sins, etc.
St. Dionysius of Areopagite talks about six sacraments and he calls them 'perfections'. Certain fathers think in line with Roman Catholic position and endorse seven sacraments. If we restrict number of sacraments to seven, or differentiate as essential and non-essential, it will be an indirect erroneous admission that the grace of God is limited only through seven sacraments. Liturgies of house blessing, burial of the dead, entry into monastery, church/tablitho dedication, blessing of water, etc are not yet considered as sacraments though they also are undoubtedly channels of grace. Mor Bar Ebraya, in "Salge and Nareskudise" respectively, considers the consecration of the church and burial of the dead as sacraments. I hold that he is fully justified. Thus limiting the number of sacraments to seven is neither logical nor true orthodoxy.
Since this is not a treatise on sacraments I would go back to my subject, Mooron and I would use the term 'sacrament' for easy understanding. In our tradition sacrament of mooron is administered along with baptism. Roman tradition is that it is administered separately at the age of 12-13. The candidate is required to undergo a course of catechism before administering Mooron and they call it 'confirmation.' They give Holy Eucharist to the candidate only after such confirmation and they call it, "First Communion," arguing that children are unable to understand the mystery involved in the Holy Eucharist. Certain Protestants follow Roman tradition. But that was not the ancient practice. Baptism and Mooron were together administered on the faithful then. Should one know how digestive system works in order to digest food? Food digestion is not dependant on whether or not one knows how the digestive system functions. Abraham at the age 99 and Ishmael at the age 13 received Circumcision on the same day as a mark of covenant but Isaac received it on the 8th day. How can an eight-days' old child make a covenant? Jeremiah was sanctified and ordained as prophet while in his mother's womb. John the Baptist was filled with Holy Spirit while in the womb. There is no age barrier for receiving God's blessings. Many Protestant scholars after extensive researches concluded that our practice is authentic. Thus it is not necessary that children should intellectually understand various aspects of it, ipso facto, no one can ever fully comprehend the mysteries concerning holy Eucharist. Biological parents, Godfather, Godmother, Grand parents, etc are obligated to teach, nurture and make sure that the children grow in Lord's discipline.
Seal of the Holy Spirit: Baptism and Mooron are twin sacraments, it can be said, for, Mooron is the completion of Baptism. While Baptism results in spiritual birth Mooron is the seal of the Holy Spirit. Mooron confers 'apostolic laying of hands' on the faithful. It also symbolizes vesting of Christ's authority on the faithful. The 'laying of hands' is a fundamental apostolic doctrine and elementary principle of Christ, which should not be altered or taught differently under any circumstances. Other fundamental principles of similar value are baptism, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, Heb 6:1-2. Baptism in water alone is not sufficient to receive Holy Spirit. Evangelist, and one of the seven deacons, Phillip preached the Word of God in Samaria. Hearing his speech unclean spirits cried aloud and came out, lame and paralyzed were healed, and many wonders and signs took place. Seeing all these, multitude of people believed and received Christ and Phillip baptized them. But the Holy Spirit did not come upon them. Peter and John went there and upon laying their hands on them that were baptized, they received Holy Spirit, Acts 8:4-17. St Paul laid hands on the people of Ephesus at the time of baptizing and they received Holy Spirit, Acts 19:5-6. This is very clear proof that certain degree of authority by laying of hands is necessary to conduct sacraments and certain other functions. That is why orthodox consider the unbroken chain of apostolic line of descend very important.
Did Jesus command apostles to anoint with oil at the time of baptizing? Or did the apostles anoint with oil when they baptized? Why would we require anointing with oil at the time of baptizing if Jesus did not command to do so? Jesus sent His disciples with the same authority and power He had. By this, Jesus empowered the disciples to teach, guide, interpret and define doctrinal issues, and set rules, regulations and issue directives that were necessary for the growth and sustenance of the Church from time to time. During His ministry He taught them various matters pertaining to the kingdom of God but not all things for, they were unable to bear all. He assured them that He would send the comforter, Holy Spirit who will guide them in all truth. "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into the truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come," John16: 12-13. Again after resurrection, Jesus was with them alive for forty days and taught them the things pertaining to kingdom of God, Acts 1:3. Luke does not elaborate what were the things He taught. The disciples having received infallible authority to teach passed on the same authority to their disciples by laying hands and appointing them as bishops, priests and deacons and thus to this day the apostle's teachings and guidance of Holy Spirit continue in the Church.
Anointing with oil is very old practice and impossible to trace its date of origin. In the Old Testament period the priest, the prophet and the king were to be anointed with fragrance oil. They were 'Jehovah's anointed.' As soon as they were anointed they were filled with Holy Spirit, example David, 1 Sam 16:13. Anointing was symbolic of sanctifying and commissioning individuals for specific functions such as priest, prophet and king. These anointments were only shadow of which the substance is Christ for, priesthood, prophecy and kingship culminated in Him. This is true when considering the word "Christos' which in Greek means anointed. Faithful share in Christ's anointment and hence called 'Christian'. But He was not anointed with perishable oil but with imperishable Spirit and Power of God, Acts 10:38. Jesus began His public ministry soon after anointing by the Holy Spirit in River Jordan. St John the Baptist baptized those who repented of their sins and hence known as "Baptism of repentance." Jesus was sinless and hence required neither repentance nor baptism. His baptism was to sanctify the water so to revert it to the original order. John testified that he had revelation from heaven that upon whom the Holy Spirit descends shall be the Messiah and thus it was preordained. It was also a public testimony before commencing His public ministry.
This does not mean that Holy Spirit newly came, dwelt in and made Jesus, His temple at the age of 30 as the heretic Nestore said. Holy Spirit was the very cause of Jesus' birth. Infant Jesus grew strong in Holy Spirit, Lk 2:20. Holy Spirit was with Jesus through out the public ministry. He cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mat 12:28. Holy Spirit was with Him on the Cross, in the tomb and when resurrected, Rom 1:5.
The Mosaic law demanded that Tent of Meeting, the Arc of Covenant and the furniture used in the tent were to be anointed with holy oil to make them sacred, Ex 30:26-30. The degree of sacredness ascribed to the anointed furniture was so high that no unclean man was ever allowed to touch them. Verses 22-25 explain how to prepare the holy oil. Anointing them with oil symbolizes that such items are set apart exclusively for worship.
Apostles anointed the sick with oil and they got healed, Mk 6:13. Jesus did neither specifically command to do so nor demur what disciples did. Obviously, this practice was already prevalent on those days. Jesus never changed any of the then existed good customs. Apostle James advised that the priest should pray and anoint the sick with oil so that he will be healed, Jas 5:14. Here oil is a medium through which Holy Spirit works rather, oil is a visible medium for invisible Holy Spirit. So it is logical and apt that the apostles maintained the tradition of anointing the faithful with oil at the time of baptizing as token of bearing Christ.
Another symbolic shadow can be seen in Ezekiel, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst," 9:4. Hebrew text has the mark "thav", which is the last letter of Hebrew alphabet. "Thav" in Hebrew, resembles the sign of Cross. Anointing with oil in the sign of cross is the protective seal for Christians against the snares of Satan. Believer is sealed with Holy Spirit, Eph 1:13. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, Eph 4:30. St Ignatius says in his letter to Ephesians, 'Our Lord was anointed with oil of gladness (Ps 45:7) in order that the church would receive imperishable fragrance." Believer, by the anointment, partakes in the glory of Jesus Christ and thus becomes member of the "royal priesthood, 1 Pe 1: 9." Seal is a positive mark of identification. It shows to whom the subject belongs. The owner seals his cattle or sheep with a distinct mark of identification. Shepherds gave special marks of identification for sheep reserved as tithe according to Law of Moses. Kings used to seal his soldiers with special mark, which was forerunner of wearing badge in these days. It is in this sense St Paul claimed, "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," Gal 6:17. It is also seal of true faith. The celebrant prays "Let him/her not be caught by evil forces but become the child of light" and then anoints the oil on the brows of the candidate in the shape of cross saying, "Sealed in the name of the Holy Father, the Holy Son and the Holy Spirit, the Fragrance of Christ, Sign of true faith and perfection of gifts of the Holy Spirit." Reference to fragrance invokes the relationship of Church and Christ as bride and bridegroom. "Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee," Songs 1:3. Believer ought to transcend the fragrance of Jesus Christ through benevolent deeds and dedication even as St Paul says, "We are to God, the fragrance of Christ," 2 Cor. 2:15. Every believer who is baptized and anointed in to the family of Christ is vested with heavy but happy responsibility to study, grow, defend, stay steadfast and bring in others in the true and undefiled faith which is also the gift of the Holy Spirit for, St Paul says, "No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 12:3. Those who take this aspect lightly and carelessly, fall into heresies, forsake the authentic apostolic faith and distance from the grace of God. The anointment enables the believer to resist devil and his evil designs, for Christian life is a perennial struggle against sin and the forces of Satan.
Preparation: Chapter 3 of Hudaya Canon extensively deals with how to prepare the Holy Mooron but it does not impose time restriction. Holy Mooron can be consecrated at any time as needed but in ancient times it was done on Passover Thursdays. Patriarch and Catholicos only are empowered to consecrate Holy Mooron under normal circumstances. Under exigent situations archbishop may consecrate it with express consent from the patriarch.
It is made of ten different perfumery ingredients, which are, 1, 400 measure pure olive oil, 2, 60 measure spikenard, 3, 60 measure Cinnamon skin, 20 measure each of, 4, saffron, 5, dry ginger, 6, pepper, 7, nutmeg, 8, clove, 9, 60 measure green Njerinjil (thistle) and 10, balsam. Items 2 to 8 are powered and mixed with olive oil and poured in a glass jar. A big copper vessel filled with water is put on the stove. The jar containing mixed oil is hanged in the center of the water vessel by means of a tie-rod. Water is boiled for three hours and then item # nine is added to oil and allowed one hour additional boiling after which the mixture is allowed to cool and settle down. Then the oil is filtered and poured into clean vessel, for consecration.
Chief celebrant is Patriarch or Catholicos. Baptized believers with sober mind only are allowed to be present. Consecration liturgy has two parts. Part 1, Partakers are arranged in three rows covering the area of holy of holies and the sanctuary. Chief celebrant sits on the throne with full vestments at the eastern side of the holy of holies. Bishop leads the prayer and holding the staff of the chief celebrant and the chancel accompanied by others go round the sanctuary in procession and re-enters the holy of holies to continue the liturgy. Chief celebrant himself then mixes balsam into the oil and covers it under his vestments and holds it tightly close to his chest. The second procession to the sanctuary follows accompanied by liturgical chants, 12 sub-deacons holding lighted candles, 12 full-deacons holding marvah'so, and 12 priests holding chancels and bishops and re-enters the holy of holies and places the vessel containing oil on the Tablitho.
Part 2, Deacons and priests position themselves in an orderly manner in the holy of holies and the chief celebrant assisted by others conducts the long liturgy that blesses the oil. He then distributes the blessed oil to the needy bishops and priests. Canon forbids priests from pouring it from one vessel to another or to distribute from it to others.
I think this is sufficient for the general understanding of the importance of Holy Mooron.
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We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? - Because we respect the freedom of others. That is why my first vision is that of freedom' -Abdul Kalam
JANANI JANMABHUMISCHA SWARGADAPI GARIYASI|
DR. APJ Abdul Kalaam, the missile man, the man elected as the 'First Citizen of India', delivered this speech in Hyderabad. A MUST read for every Indian.
ABDUL KALAAM's 3 VISIONS for INDIA:
ABDUL KALAAM's 3 VISIONS for INDIA:
Quote: I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history people from
all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our
minds. From Alexander onwards; the Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the
Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us,
took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation.
Lets do what India needs from us!
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Assencion Marthoma Church, Philadelphia Annual Convention - 2002 was conducted at Philadelphia Assencion Church, North East Street on 12-14 July 2002 under the leadership of Rev. Alexander Thomas, Vicar of the Church. Renowned Evangelist and Maramaon Convention Speaker Rev.Dr.Valsan Thampu proclaimed the Word of God on both days. Rev.Dr.Valsan Thampu is one of the
prominent contemporary Convention Speaker of this Era.
He was a Professor in St.Stephan's College, Delhi and now full time serving God for the proclamation of the Word of Lord. He is one of the most attended and heard Speaker of our time through the Conventions, News Papers, Magazines etc. He was the speaker in the Maramon Convention for the last 2 years.
JULY 12, 2002 FRIDAY
THE TOWER OF BABEL
Parable on Immigrant Christians?
SCRIPTURE REF: GENESIS 11: 1-9 'And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another' s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.'
The Tower of Babel is one of the most evocative and prophetic episodes
in the Old Testament. The life and adventure of the people of Babel read like a parable on the human predicament at the present time. It embodies an
insight of undying significance and is especially relevant to those who migrate to prosperous and technologically sophisticated cultures. Immigrant Indian
Christians could read this episode with much profit.
It began with a migration. And that too from the east! The migrants
did exceptionally well in the land of Shinar, as immigrants have done all through the history of the United States of America. In due course they
attained considerable affluence and technological sophistication ("brick
for stone, and bitumen for mortar"). Why shouldn't they, then, engineer
a marvel of human achievement? They began well and made impressive
progress. There it stood: the Tower of towers. It looked so splendidly secure:
gigantic and invulnerable. Not unlikely, an admirer would have remarked,
like someone did millennia later leering at the Titanic, "Not even God
can bring it down". But it did come down. And its debris still lies in a
nebulous heap, smoldering somewhere at the root of our shared
It looks rather odd that this massive monument of human capabilities
had to come to such a miserable pass. After all, this Tower was meant to
symbolize and safeguard the unity of the people. And see what came of it! They
were scattered on the face of the earth. Why did it have to be this way? And
what does the Tower of Babel have to say to us today?
The attractiveness in this option is that man would be, as the
Renaissance humanists said, the measure of all things. In that event, it makes
sense that we do everything only to be seen by men; for God has become
irrelevant. Or, we have outgrown God and we don't have to say any longer, "So help
me God." The crucial question that the Tower of Babel raises is, "What is
the shaping principle or consideration in our life?" Is it the attention of
man or the affection of God? In building our homes and in running our
church life, are we more eager to impress people than to honor God? If we are,
we could well be living in the land of Shinar, working hard on the dream
Towers of our eventual nightmares.
Let us return to the Tower of Babel. The irony of the Tower is that it
symbolizes not only the craving of the people for unity, but also their
alienation from God. One inevitable outcome of our alienation from God
is the subversion of the integrity of creation, of which human solidarity
is the decisive factor. Unity originates from God and is, for that reason,
integral to creation. It is vital for the human species; hence the
creation of mankind through Adam. This principle is consolidated further through
the "oneflesh-ness" of Adam and Eve and, later, by founding the Church as
the body of Christ. The importance that Jesus attached to the unity of his
followers is tellingly evident from his high priestly prayer in St.
John 17: 15-23. Given this, the gathering together of the scattered people of
God, and their re-constitution as an embryonic church though the outpouring
of the Spirit, was a logical necessity.
From a spiritual perspective, disunity is a deadly disease. Disunity is
to the Church what sickness (especially paralysis) is to the individual
human body. It locks up the spirit of the church inside a cracked body of
routine activities, crippling the life of the church and of individual
Christians. Vertical (between God and human beings) and horizontal (between human
beings) inter-dependence is the secret of fruitfulness, as Jesus
explains in St. John 15: 1-6. Through our interdependence with Jesus ("Abide in Me,
and I in you"), we get integrated both with God and with our fellow human
beings, who are the branches of the same vine. Disunity, in contrast,
severs the branches from the vine and causes them to wither away into
fruitlessness. Biblical spirituality insists on fruitfulness.
Fruitlessness, hence, points to spiritual ill health. The question that Jesus asked
the chronic invalid beside Bethesda is relevant to us too, "Do you want to
be healed?" (Jn. 5:6). Disunity eventuates from our spiritual
alienation. Hence it is that the Psalmist asserts, "Unless the Lord builds the
house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the
watchmen stand guard in vain." (Ps. 127: 1)
Let us return to the Tower. Why did it become necessary for the
immigrants to Shinar to build this temple? They seem to have progressively drifted
away from God, even as they marched towards material prosperity and
technological advancement. Alienation from God breeds fear and anxiety. In this
instance, it is the fear of being scattered. Adam to was overwhelmed by fear in a
state of alienation. It has never been different any time thereafter.
Fear awakens the spirit of negativity. And negativity corrupts
understanding. The inability to understand is also the ability to misunderstand. The
inability to understand and empathize with each other is the sickness and pain of
our existence today. Between parent and child (generation gap), between
husband and wife (gender gap), and between neighbor and neighbour (a variety of
gaps) there stands the iron curtain of alienation and misunderstanding.
Who can understand whom? Did the rich man in the parable know the needs and
pains of Lazar who lay rotting and dying at his gate? No neighbor can
get closer than Lazar did, but he was invisible and unintelligible to the
man who lived behind the iron curtain of affluence (Lk. 16).
The modern way of life makes light of the duty to know and to
understand each other. Many factors contribute to this existential poverty: the
superficiality of life and culture, the sick hurry and restless of our
life, the decline in the art of communication, and so on. But all these stem
from one source: the loveless ness that results from our alienation from
God. God is love and He is the source of the love that wells up from within us.
When this fountain spring dries up, we become a self-contradiction. As a
result, even our well-meaning efforts produce results that are disastrous. It
was only natural and logical that the Tower of Babel collapsed into
confusion, and the secular quest for unity degenerated into disunity, as it has
happened in the past and continues to happen even to this day.
Munity also calls for communication. Communication is an integral part
of communion. Holy Communion is not something to be confined either to the
Sundays or to the Church. It is in homes, above all, that this Holy
Communion and Holy Communication are most needed. The words and food
that we share must be holy. The whole of life is a sacrament. But this belongs
to the order of "hidden treasures' (Mtt. 13: 44). They are bound to be
overlooked when homes are envisaged as impressive Towers rather than as
Temples where God dwells with His people.
Second question that the Tower of Babel poses is, "Are our homes
Towers or Temples? In creating and preserving the culture and identity of our
homes, are we driven by the desire to be "seen by men" (shall we call this the
"tower syndrome"?) or to be approved by God? Remember Martha and Mary
in the house in Bethany? Though it was Martha who opened the door to
Jesus, she almost forgot the presence of Jesus in the house thereafter! Both
Martha and Mary wanted to be perfect hostesses. Martha's idea of hospitality
belonged to the Tower syndrome; whereas Mary's hospitality turned the
house into a Temple!
The sinister warning in the story of Babel should not be lost on us.
God alone endures. To build anything –identity, home, nation, culture,
children-on any other foundation is to risk its inevitable collapse. The ironic
pathos of our predicament is that it is not our inability or defeat
that goes against us. In the long run, we are crushed by our achievements
and defeated by our victories. It is our affluence that makes us bankrupt.
It is not that prosperity is evil in itself. Prosperity is preferable to
poverty. But prosperity without God can only make our collapse more calamitous
and dramatic. Except the Lord builds the house, it is in vain that we labor
all day long and all through our lives.
JULY 13, 2002 SATURDAY
FAMILY : THE NEW JERUSALEM
SCRIPTURE REF: GENESIS 11: 1-9 'Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates there of are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach'
The era in which we are living abounds in controversies and culture
This reflects the spirit of this age. The distance between hell and
is very narrow and is made up, often, of minute and subtle
distinctions. We are falling into very big troubles in a very gradual way. Another
aspect of this age is that it is the age of great and rapid changes. At the same
time, change of a certain type is not acceptable to this age: change for the
better, in the moral and spiritual sense. To the extent that God is
kept out of human life and culture such changes would continue to seem
impossible. But for believers everything is possible. This should be our vision. In
the scripture verse under reference we read that Nehemiah had seen the fall
of Israel. But the people of Israel could not recognize their state
themselves. Ironically, some one at a distance sees the problem more clearly than
those who are caught up within the process of decay itself. We get used to
our degradation and see it for what it is only when we see through the eyes
of Jesus. This is the "discernment of the Holy Spirit".
Distance. When something at a great distance it remains invisible. But the range of visibility is not uniform. The short-sighted fail to see what others with normal vision can see. Materialism comes loaded with spiritual shortsightedness. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is one such example.
If something too close to our eyeball, it cannot be seen clearly. If we cannot see God, it is not because God is not at a great distance but because He is too close to us. He is within us. The Kingdom of God also is. Familiarity is a subset of this proximity.
We don't see because do not want see. This is because we are not strong enough to face the truth. This is one of the reasons Christ was rejected by many. They did not want to receive Christ as Christ was the truth (Jn. 14:6).
God's people should be eager to know the truth of their state, without which repentance is impossible. The Kingdom of God starts with repentance because it is the Kingdom of truth. Spirituality is the discipline of seeing and responding in truth. Many a times our eyes are away from the truth we are supposed to see, because seeing the truth brings us under the obligation to respond. Also, if our eyes are filled with fiction and fantasy, we cannot see truth. Eve could not see God as she got fixated on the fruit. Those who allow their eyes to be filled with seeing evil, become blind to what is good and glorious in the world God has created.
Nehemiah had a great quality. He had the great gift 'to see' and 'to respond'. So he could see the state of Israel. Israelites who lived inside could not see the state of Israel all that clearly. Many neither want to see nor hear God. Our Lord is knocking at the door. We are not ready to hear Him, or to respond to Him.
Family is the modern counterpart to Nehemiah's ruined Jerusalem, with its walls broken and gate burned down. Our Jerusalem 'Family' is also fallen; we are unable to see its true state. Family is the first and most basic institution God has created. This was the most important piece in God's Plan. As per God's plan man and woman who are supposed to be one body is split now. The death of companionship and conversation in the personal depth are symptoms of this disease. The beauty of caring and sharing is lost in our family. Satan holds sway over the first institution. God had created man woman as one body because family is a missional institution. Eve was created as a 'proper help' for Adam. By man himself was insufficient to undertake the mission given by God. If we do not emphasize the mission given by God in all our relationships and in the culture of our family life the walls of our Jerusalem will remain in ruins. That is the reason Children are getting separated from the family. Satan is trying to weaken the basis of the family. The very basis of the family institution is the joint communion with God. As per Genesis 3:16 there are aspects to the degeneration in husband-wife relationship.
The will on the part of man to 'dominate'
The desire on the part of the woman to use her man as an instrument for self-validation. Both of these render true companionship impossible.
Alienated from God, humankind thus fell a prey to the "desire-domination syndrome". The man ness in fallen ness is the man ness of dominance. Nature of male is to shake with power. The more powerful you become, the more you become insecure. Every male is insecure. Punishment of dominion is insecurity. St.Paul exhorts to obey your husband. Once wife obey the husband , he should grow to respond the obedience with delight. Obedience is not only a privilege but also a responsibility. Paul next exhorts husbands to love their wives. Loving is more difficult than obeying. None separated from God can love in a selfless way. God, being love, is committed to our worth and endeavors to safeguard and restore our worth when lost. In comparative terms, low self-worth is the universal epidemic of women. Real worth can be seen only if we look though the eyes of love. Love builds up freedom in the relationships. God's word is to be proclaimed in love only. Love builds up from the root.
We should know the truth of our state. The Holy Spirit will help us to understand our state in truth.
Return to the one who is able to help. Help is needed and the One who can help is both willing and eager to help. Miraculous possibilities stand knocking at the door of our lives.
We should be ready to accept the changes needed to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In this journey we need changes. This journey of repentance and mission will transform us unawares. This is the day of deliverance and this is the day of salvation. We must act now. There is no point in crying over what we are, if we are not willing to do what we can to become who we ought to be.
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Bible Word to by heart:
A little that a righteous man have is
Naomi decided to return back to her native place as she came to know that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food. So she left the place where they lived with her two daughters-in-law with her and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, "Please go to your mother's house and get married again. Then she kissed them, and wept loudly. They told "No, we will also surely return with you to your place and people ." But Naomi insisted them, "Return, my daughters. Why are you oming with me? I donot have any more sons to give you as husbands." They embraced and wept again.Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth firmly decided to go with her. Naomi told her younger daughter-in-law Ruth "Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her mothers place; so you also go back to your mother." But Ruth told her, "Do not force me to leave you or to change my mind; for where you go, I will go, and where you live , I will live. Your people shall be my people , and your God, my God." "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. So say me anything but seperating you and me."
When she found that she was determined to come with her, she did not force her further. They both started the journey to Bethlehem. When they reached Bethlehem, her people were excited receive Naomi and said, "Is this Naomi ?" She told them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, as God treated me bitterly with me. I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?" So Naomi returned back to her place with her daughter-in-law Ruth, the Moabitess, who returned from the land of Moab and they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
TO BE CONTINUED
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LIGHT OF LIFE
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