Meditation on Kothine Sunday Reading

Meditation on the Reading for Kothine Sunday (John 2:1-11- Originally posted in ICON Digest No. 4468)

There are two major acts of Jesus in the 2nd chapter of John’s Gospel. Both of them are in a way signs. The first is a sign of the fulfillment of his mission and the second is a sign of what happens when the fulfillment occurs. The first talks about the transformation and the second about casting out of all that is unwanted and evil. Both taken together become sign of the establishment of the Kingdom – temple – abode- of God. When Jesus establishes the Kingdom of God through the shedding (of blood), the sharing (of body) and rejoicing (in resurrection), all the evil elements will be cast out and a cleansed and perfected Kingdom of God will be established.
It is in this context we are called to meditate on the word ‘kairos’ used in the passage prescribed for the day. This Greek word can be translated as ‘appointed time (hour)’. The first response of Jesus to his mother regarding her statement about shortage of wine at the marriage feast was ‘my time has not come’. But then he does what she indirectly asked him to do. So we may assume that he was not referring to what specifically he did at that situation when he said ‘my time has not come’. Here both ‘my’ and ‘time’ have to be read together. This is where our attention is drawn to John 17:1 where he says, ‘Father my kairros has come …’. With this we are assured that the time he was mentioning was ‘the appointed time to glorify the Father’ and not the time to do what he did at the house of feast (there are other instances too that support this presumption (eg. 5:25, 28; 7:30; 8:20 etc.). Of course what was to be done at the feast-house had to be done. But that time was only a pre-taste of ‘the time’- ‘the time’ to glorify the Father. What happens after Ch. 17 gives an idea of the process of mutual glorification. That is the cross, the tomb and the resurrection. In a symbolic way or in sign language we may say, ‘being drawn from the well, poured in to the empty jar and drawn out for sharing and for immense joy and satisfaction’. Jesus was separated from the rest of his people as a servant of God, but to humans he was singled out as a criminal (water drawn from the well – Isa. 53:1-4). He was buried in the tomb like a lifeless dead body (water to wash feet in the jar), but when shared by the governor and others at the feast it was superb and fine wine to make them extremely pleased (at resurrection his disciples and the women at the tomb were astonished and were filled with joy). This was a time of glorification of the Son by the Father and consequently glorification of the Father too.

So ‘the time (hour)’ is the time of transformation. First self-transformation and then transforming others from despair to joy. We may remember that we are about to start a new season of transformation experience with Kothine Sunday. In Christ and in participation with his humanity, a humanity of all ages and all places, that was joined in incarnation with his Godhead, we also need to go through the same experience. We need to be separated from the rest as we were called out (Matt. 4:19; Rom. 1:6,7) by God (1 Pet. 2:9). Further we have to go through the dying or poured in to the jar/tomb experience (John 3:5; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). Many of us interpret the trouble of being poured out as temptations we experience in life and talked about in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6: 9ff; Luke 11:2ff) and try to avoid them. Mind that these are two different things. Temptations come from outside, but pouring in to done by self. This is the suffering that we take up to take out the worldliness that is evil, deadly and carnal tendencies in us (Rom. 7:4,5; 1 Cor. 3:3). It is a painful thing to take away the carnal in us. This is what is expected of us through our observance of the lent (see what happens in the case of Jesus himself. Of course it is given in the gospels as some external force came from outside to test him. But in every human, craving for livelihood, fame and power at any cost is there internally and do not have to come from outside). Abstinence from certain food and from some daily routine is simply symbols of this suffering and hence is not final in itself. So we do not have to be too much proud when we say we have observed lent strictly. Unless it becomes a sign of our transformation experience, it is of no value, but something like following a prescription by a dietician or a medical doctor who is advising us of our health.

When the water came out of the jar the guests were happy and pleased. In turn when the Lord came out of the tomb the Father was glorified and the disciples and the ladies were pleased. The transformation, hence, is not aimed primarily for the glory or benefit of the wine or of the transformed one. We do not get transformed so that we will be better honored by others. Here a question may be raised. Why then in John 17:1 Jesus asked his Father to glorify him? The glorification of the Son was effected by strengthening him to face the suffering, death and the tomb. Again this glory helps the Son to be resurrected through which the Father shall be glorified. This shall be a matter of hope and joy for others. Our observance of the lent is, hence, for two purposes; for us to be transformed and for us to become a blessing for others as in the case of Abraham (Gen. 12:3). Our commitment to the world God created and its growth to its fullness becomes our primary concern. Without self transformation no one can transform another. Without self transformation no one can make another person happy. Our mission in this world is to make others happy and for that we have to be transformed. Jesus’ words testify this. He said, “I spoke this that your joy may be multiplied …” (John 15:11; Rom. 12:2). His purpose in coming in to this world was to transform the world and everything in here including humans. Same is the purpose of us being born in to this world and being strengthened through observance of lent. This strength is the glory our Lord gives us, and that is the glory with which we make our God glorified. Through our love towards others the world will know that we are a transformed lot (John 13:35). As said earlier, the wine’s taste and fineness was not for the wine, rather was for the sake of those who tasted it. When everyone tastes the fineness of us, the disciples of Christ, who observe lent, the Kingdom of God shall be established. This is ‘the time (kairos)’ Jesus talked about and this is the ‘time (hour)’ we are waiting for in Parusia. This is the time we are trying to bring in through our observance of the lent. God be with us through this season of Great Lent and ever since.

Anther Keralam: My Article

Sastra Sahitya Parishat has launched a new campaign on “Mattoru Keralam” (Another Keralam). They have included a note from me in the book with collection of articles from various quarters to explain the point.

Mar Osthatheos Entered Eternal Rest

My respectful homage to H.G. Dr. Gevarghese Mar Osthatheos Metropolitan. Thirumeni was a great inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world and I am one among them.

On the day I was ordained a deacon in 1973, a family friend gifted me with one of Thirumeni’s books, “Njangal Viswasikkunnu” (We believe). I tried to read and understand, but did not understand much of it. That was one reason for me to do advanced theological study.I wanted to have education enough at least to understand what was in that book.

Even while we were in two groups in the Church, we used to interact and have dialogue as ecumenical colleges even while I was a deacon and theological student. He was very happy and expressed it when I became a bishop. After the Supreme court verdict on the Church case, and when I took a decision to work for the unity of the Church, I wrote an encyclical to my people explaining my position and asking them to think about it and pray for the unity of the Church. When Thirumeni learned about it he visited me at my place and expressed his joy. We had evening prayer together and later thirumeni published my letter in his diocesan publication. At several other occasions we shared our common sentiments. He was a great humanitarian and was passionate about working for the welfare of the less fortunate. He was an apostle of social justice. He translated his faith in to action among the oppressed and marginalized. He lived a simple life and preached the gospel of sharing. May God comfort him in His heavenly abode and may his prayers be a help to me.

Question on H. Qurbana


എല്‍ദോ മാര്‍ ബെസെലിഒസ് ബാവ 10  മിനിറ്റ് കുര്‍ബാന പള്ളിവാസല്‍ സ്ഥലത്ത് ചൊല്ലി എന്നത് ശരിയാണോ.കുക്കിലിഒനും  തുബ്ടെനും കുര്‍ബാനയില്‍ ഉള്ളതല്ലേ .യചിക്കെണ്ടും സമയം എന്നാ ഗീതം മുതലേ anthiochian  സുറിയാനി സഭ ക്രമത്തില്‍ കുര്‍ബാന യില്‍ ഉള്ളോ.സുറിയാനി ഓര്‍ത്തഡോക്‍സ്‌ സഭയില്‍ ഒരു സൈറ്റില്‍ കണ്ടതാണ്.ഞങ്ങള്‍ സണ്‍‌ഡേ സ്കൂളില്‍ പഠിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളത് വെളിവുനിരന്ജോരീശോ മുതല്‍ പരസ്യമായ വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബനയെന്നാണ് .സുറിയാനി പുരാതന തകസ 10 മിനിറ്റ് ആണെന്ന് ആ സഭയിലെ ഡോക്ടറേറ്റ്  ഉള്ള ഒരു തിരുമേനി എഴുതിയിട്ടുന്ടരുന്നു. യാക്കോബ  സഭയുടെ manarcad  പള്ളിയിലും മറ്റും3 മണിക്കൂര്‍ കുര്ബാനയനുള്ളത് .എല്‍ദോ ബാവ യഥാര്‍ത്ഥത്തില്‍

പത്രിയര്‍ക്കിസ്  ആയിരുന്നോ- Thirumeni please explain our douts,we r confused

Dear Sherli
When people do some thing wrong, it is quite natural that they want to hide it by finding some excuse. There is no rite with which one can finish H. Qurbana in ten minutes in the West Syriac liturgical tradition. Of course Tubden (except first and sixth) and Dhoopa prardhana are options. Still you need three to five minutes to put on the vestments and three minutes to take it off. Both combined at-least six minutes for dressing. Then you have the preparation or Thuyobo which requires at least 15 minutes. Again you need five minutes for post communion service. I have no clue where in the world one can finish H. Qurbana in the West Syriac liturgical tradition in ten minutes? May be the bishop you mentioned has a doctorate in fast forwarding H. Qurbana.

No Yeldo bava was a maprian or catholicos under the jurisdiction of the patriarch. Not catholicos of the east. H. Qurbana begins with the reading of the Old Testament lesson.
Regards and prayers

dear thirumeni
one doubt

why the altar assistant who is taking the incense during holy qurbana is insisted to read the first and 6th diptych in our Syrian liturgy…is there any particular meaning for that…

Dear Mathew
Sorry for the delay. I was really busy.
Actually the first Tubden has to be read by the senior most person in the altar and not the one who takes the censor.
These days the senior person reads the fifth one thinking that that is the most important one since it is the longest one. That is our wrong notion that the biggest and the longest are more important. Actually all except first and sixth are optional. The first represents the whole Church of the living and the sixth represents the departed including the departed saints.
Regards and prayers

My Favorite Singer … But … !

Witney Houston is one of my favorite singers. But she got introduced to drugs and lost her voice and all charm. It is reported that her husband introduced her to drugs. Relationship should help people grow in understanding and wisdom. But look what happened here! Listen to these all time best songs from her.

On Pazhanji Chapel

Why This … … … di?

It seems there is a photo exhibition in Thiruvanandapuram in connection with the state meet of C.P.I.M. Every one is upset about it. I wonder why?

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