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Passion Week Thoughts

by Rev. Fr. Alexander, Vattackattu

We have approached towards the end of the Great Lent of the current year. In this week we commemorate the Passions and sufferings of our Lord Jesus in redeeming mankind from the bondage of sins. We are passing through the great sacrifice of our Lord. 

I would like to lead a meditation based on the reading from St. Luke Chapter 5 verses 1-11. There we find how St. Peter, the blessed Apostle identified himself soon on meeting our Lord.

The reading informs that St. Peter was able to identify himself in four ways. Let us think about those four ways. Firstly he identified the deep love of Lord Jesus. There were two boats near the shore and our Lord selected the boat owned by St. Peter and entered it. St. Peter was sure that Lord had loved him much and that is why He had selected his boat. We all must earnestly pray to God Almighty ďO Lord Jesus, you please come to my life, which is as good as the boat of St. Peter.Ē In St. John 3:16 we read, how our God loved the world. We must remember that what we posses in this world are only because of the love of God. No one should say that he/she has earned the wisdom or the wealth or any such blessings. We must count our earnings, whatever it might be, as the gifts and blessings from our Lord God. We are reading the same message in Titus 1: 4-5. St. John declares Godís nature as Love in his first epistle chapter 4 Vs, 16. We are convinced to understand the love of God. In Romans 8: 36-38 we could find the conviction of St. Paul.

During the Lents we do so many spiritual exercises, like the fasting, prostration, alms giving etc. Our Godís love could be seen in different ways. Firstly it will be looking for the lost one. In St. Lukeís gospel chapter 19 we could read about the lost sheep. 

Second type of our Lordís love is for the enemies. Our Lord prayed for the enemies in the midst of His agonies on the cross. St. Luke 27:23 gives a good description of it. 

Thirdly he gave us himself. That is what we are reading in Galatians 2:28. 

And fourthly He died for us. 

Our Lord taught that the Ten Commandments could be summarized as two: 

1) to love God and 

2) love your fellowmen. 

Let try to be filled with the love of God. We must taste God and experience Him. Our Lord is a good shepherd. A good shepherd will be moving ahead of his sheep and he could call each of his sheep by the name. Our Lord is our good shepherd.

St. Peter was confident that the sufferings were the means of salvation. We should not forget that the sufferings and blessings would be reaching us hand in hand. The success of lives depends the management of sufferings. Sufferings might be useful for us at certain occasions. For example the blankets and Room Heaters would be useful during winter, whereas they are of no use in the summer. When we eat oranges, we peel out the skins and take the juice from inside. Likewise we must go the deepness of our relationship with our Lord. If so our experience would be sweet and attractive. 

Dear and Near are two terms familiar to all. We could see the fishes and frogs near the lotus in the ponds. The nearness to the beautiful flower do not make any change in the fishes/frogs. When we think of our deep relation with our God, we must see that it is deep and dear. 

Simon Peter had tried the whole night but all in vain. He suffered a lot during the night. When he threw the net as per the will of God, he had to seek the fellowship of his colleagues. We should not forget that all our attempts without the consultation with our God would be in vain. So whenever we have sufferings, we must enjoy them says St. Paul. It will be always for our good. God does everything for His glory. What we have to do is to identify with the sufferings of our Lord God. That is the lesson granted to us by the incident where the blind man was healed. (refer St. John 9: 1-3) In Psalms 119:71 we read about the glory of God. We must pray for Godís guidance during our sufferings. St. Paul tells about this experience in 2 Cori.12:7. 

Thirdly St. Peter came to be confident of his limitations. We are always not sure of our limitations. One who doesnít love the sufferings, will be far away from God. (refer I John 2:4, Romans 5:6) When we would look through a mirror only we could see our face. If we look into an ordinary glass, we could not see ourselves. An ordinary glass will become a mirror when mercury would be applied on one side. We must apply the mercury of faith on the glass. Then only we could see us. We must try to imitate Christ in our lives. 

Fourthly St. Peter understood himself as a sinner. When we would have more blessings, we must be willing to share among our neighbors, as St. Peter did. When we will have the feeling of being a sinner, we could try for a reformation in ourselves. We could try for the sanctification as we read in I Thessalonians 4:3-4. During the great Lent we must repent well and we must sanctify ourselves. We must long to live in Jesus and with Jesus.

May God bless us.

Source: IOIF

See Also:

Meaning of Passion Week
What does passion week mean to us? It is more than just an annual remembrance of the passion - the pain and suffering, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of our Lord - for all of us.

The Meaning of the Cross
Although the cross reveals the ugliness of human heart, it also reveals God's grace and forgiveness. It was on the cross God himself laid upon our sins upon His own dear Son, Jesus Christ. On that cross, Jesus paid the penalty of our sins.

About The Author:

Fr. Alexander Vattackattu is the Asst. Vicar, Puthiyacavu Church, Kerala, India. This article is based on a Holy Week Sermon delivered at St. George Orthodox Church, Abu dhabi

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