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A Holy Week Message

by Rev. Fr. Alexander Kurien
St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church of Greater Washington DC

"Yes indeed I was, and I have been, and am with him, this very day "

The kind of person Jesus was, the kind of life he lived, and the way he embraced death, shows us, in human terms, what God is like. Jesus tells us that the whole purpose of his coming among us was that we too might share his way of being human, share that richness of life that he lived. "I have come", he says, and "that you might have life, life in all its fullness". In essence, Jesus is our window into God.

Jesus did more than just show us what God is like. He was what he proclaimed. In Jesus, we believe God was present to the human race in a unique way: "In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell", as St Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians. In Jesus we see what it means to be human; we see a human being totally at one with the will and purposes of God, so given over to God, so at one with God, that in him we see God in human form. One of the great mysteries and paradoxes of this Christian faith of ours: that in the death of Jesus we see something of the essential nature of God, and something of the very meaning of life itself. How can this be? St Paul tells us: "To those who believe, to us who are being saved, the word of the cross (the death of Jesus), is the power of God." In the death of Jesus, we see God at work. We must see the cross as the focal point of salvation history, because the life of Jesus is the working out of the purpose of God.

Jesus shows us that the ways of God are not what we expect. Through our human senses, we assume that God would achieve his purposes by dramatic displays of superior strength and power, as he is so often portrayed in the Old Testament. Jesus himself had been tempted by such expectations during his time in the wilderness. However, he was to learn that the will and purposes of God are fulfilled in being conformed to the Father's will, in drinking the cup of self-giving love. In addition, in his drinking of that cup Jesus show us that God is Love. When he cried from the cross, "It is finished!" Jesus declared that the new age of the rule of love had arrived. In Jesus, the human capacity for relationship with God had been restored and brought to fulfillment. Even the Roman soldier on duty at the foot of the cross could see: "Truly, this man was the son of God!" For Jesus' followers: "Jesus is Lord!" Jesus of Nazareth, champion of the poor and outcast, advocate of justice and peace for all, charismatic teacher who made faith believable, but who fell afoul of the religious authorities in the process. This Jesus is what God is really like, because all that Jesus taught was about the genuine enhancement of life - enhancement for everyone, not just one select group, or one particular people.

This is a new state of possibilities to be realized. It is a call to risk, to break free from pre-determined patterns of what it means to be "faithful". It is a call to full human maturity. It offers a way of living that requires faith and hope, rooted in love. For those with ears to hear, those who were and being saved, it was and is the message of life, a message embodied in a man. When all the powers that could be summoned had done their worst to rid themselves of him, it was realized that the life and love, which motivated him, were unquenchable. That life and that love are available to you and to me, who are baptized into the death of Jesus, that we might share his life. That is the news that makes the Good Friday Good.

For if, you have been baptized into Christ, then you are united to Christ, you are another Christ, a member of His Body in the world today. All of us who claim the name Christian, followers and friends of Jesus, we have died to the way of the world, and our life is united with Christ in God on Easter Sunday. That means we are members of the body of Christ, we are resurrection people, signed with the sign of the cross, we are now, because of Jesus, citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We are the ones who have the responsibility for bringing about the will of God here on earth as it is in heaven. We are the hands, feet, eyes, and lips of Jesus. He is present in the world today in and through us.

Therefore, we must understand that, Christianity is much more than just a value system. It is a way of daily living, it is a way of looking at the world and all that goes on in it and it is a way of being human that reflects the life-style of Jesus - the Jesus who comes alive for us in the pages of the Gospels. Therefore, we can say with all our hearts on Easter Sunday: "Christ is risen!" He is risen in us, he lives in you and in me. So to that question: "Were you there when they saw the risen Lord?" you can say, "Yes indeed I was, and I have been, and am with him, this very day!"

May you all have a truly blessed Holy Week, and may the risen Lord bless you in your living of the resurrection life today and always.

See Also:

Why Should We Observe the Lent and Fasting?
We should keenly look forward to the Lent- because the purpose of Prayer & Fasting is to defeat the Satan.

I am the bread of life
A sermon based on John 6:35.
St. John recorded seven statements by which Jesus Christ declared His deity that is; He was one with God the Father.

Easter Message-2006

An Overview of the Holy Week
Holy Week is the pinnacle of Great Lent. At no other time of the year will religious thought and practice be at such a high peak as during this sacred week, and no other family feast or festival should out rank that of Easter.

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