My 2017 Easter Message


This video was made by ABBA, the Online Media working to spread the Gospel to the un-reached. My thanks to them.

Hasa Friday Meditation


 

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Question for a Value Judgement on Our Decisions and Actions (Originally Posted in ICON on April 14th, 2017)

When he came to the court, he never imagined that such a case would appear before him. This man who was brought before him looked weak and tired with eyes that carried marks of a sleepless night. He already was interrogated by the clergy and it seemed, they had reached a decision. An unruly crowd followed the clerics. They were much impatient. They wanted to hear the verdict even without a trial. But the judge was not ready for that. He asked the clerics, “what is the charge levied over him”? The answer was not a straight forward one, rather they gave a counter question: “If there was no charge over him do you think we would have brought him before you”? The judge again asked what was the charge, they said, “he was instigating the people to rebel against Rome saying, ‘he was the king”. They thought this will certainly make the judge convinced and will sentence him to death as a political criminal. But the judge was in no mood to finish it like that. He told them “why don’t you judge him by your own law”? They replied, “we do not have the authority to give capital punishment to a person”. Well, yes and no, strictly speaking under the agreement with Romans, the Jews did not have authority to sentence one to death. But then the question would be, ‘under which law they killed deacon Stephen’? But since this happened much later in time the judge could not ask this question. The intention of the clerics was clear. They wanted the accused to be labelled as a political criminal and wanted to save them from the guilt of killing an innocent person. The judge asked the accused, “are you the king”. The reply was not very much promising. He said, “My kingdom is not of this world”. The judge certainly thought he had a crazy fellow before him like many others who were brought before him in the past. So, he decided to send him away as there was no real case against him. But that was not the mood of the clerics and the crowd. Their faces and murmur certainly gave him the impression that they were up to some thing much more than that. So the judge asked, “what do you want me to do with this fellow”? The clerics suddenly turned toward the crowd and showed a sign. The crowd got the message and started shouting saying “crucify him, crucify him”. But still the judge was not inclined. He said, “I don’t see any thing wrong this person done that I sentence him to be hanged to death”. The people continued to should “crucify him, crucify him” even more violently. The clerics tried to reason with the judge saying, “we do not want this man as our king, rather want only Caesar as the king. I am not sure whether the clerics remembered the event, centuries back, when the leaders of the people of the time went to Samuel and asked for a king (1 Sam. 8). That day God told Samuel, ‘they were asking a human king instead of the Him their Lord who liberated them from Egyptian bondage, who saved them from extinction at the hands of the neighbouring people and gave them the land of prosperity as their inheritance’. Well, they never cared to remember that. All that they remembered from history was how can they turn the prescriptions of the Lord to cater to the vested interests of some of them, the prominent and the powerful. That was why Jesus had to say a couple of years back, “you may have heard this, but I tell you…” (Matt. 5:21 ff.; 15:5). They remembered only what suited to their selfish interests. They preferred a human oppressive king to a saving, caring, loving divine Lord. Here we have a question, who rules over the lives of we the new Israel, those material benefits we seek in our lives or the spiritual nourishment the Lord gives? The old Israel was clear on that, they preferred the material one.

It was at that time the judge’s wife sent him a note asking not to do any harm to the accused as she saw him as a divine person. Now the judge was confused. There were the Jewish clerics and the crowd on the one hand asking him to sentence the accused to death. On the other hand, his wife was asking him to release the accused. He knew that the clerics had no valid point against the accused. But he didn’t want to displease them hence he said, “I will let him go after few lashes”. But the crowd was adamant on getting what they wanted. He wanting to escape from the fault of sentencing a person in whom he found no crime, sent him to Herod, the governor of Galilee which was the region of the accused. Herod also did not find anything wrong with him. One good thing that happened with that event was, both Herod and Pilate became friends. That was probably the first peace making that happened with the suffering of Jesus, the accused. So the matter was brought back to Pilate to decide. The judge made a final attempt by giving a chance for the accusers to select between Jesus and a criminal, Barabbas. The people obviously chose Barabbas. They always did and that was why Jesus in one of his addressed had to say, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matt. 23:37). Pilate then asked the soldiers to give several lashes on Jesus and bring Him back. He thought seeing Jesus bleeding from his wounds the clerics and the crowd would leave satisfied. But he was wrong, they were far from being satisfied. They kept shouting, “crucify Him, crucify Him”. Pilate wanted to end the ordeal. He took some water and washed his hands saying, “I am guiltless of this innocent blood”. The crowd shouted, “let his blood be upon us and upon our future generations”. Here the original intention of the clerics became futile. They brought Jesus to Pilate thinking the guilt will be on the Romans. But now they themselves have accepted the blood guilt on them. They were caught in their own evil design.

Then came the verdict. Jesus was sentenced to death by hanging on the cross by Pilate. That was some judgement. It was not a democratic system that ruled the society of the time. Even if it was, Pilate did not take a vote of the whole population, rather he just acted on the shouting of a small section of the people. Pilate of course wanted to make a just decision. But more than that he wanted to safeguard his position. There was already a displeasure about his conduct as the governor in Judea with Rome. He did not want to have more of that on him. So he washed his hands and made the unjust decision.

Time and again questions for us to decide on matters would come before all of us in some form. What will be the basic principle with which we would make decisions on those questions? Many a time it would be our welfare, security and safeguarding of our interests. Of course there is nothing wrong in safeguarding our welfare, security and position. But when it conflicts with those of others and become a question of justice and love, what would be our response? There are leaders of countries who would justify any wrong decision they made saying, ‘it is for the best interest of the nation’. But they never care to say that it was a just decision. They would not care how many lives were adversely affected by their decision. There are people who would make decisions and say, with those decisions, the future of the family and kids would become secured. They would never care to see how many would unjustly suffer because of those decisions. Pilate never cared how his decision was going to affect Jesus’ mother, those hundreds of people who considered Jesus as their teacher and comforter, those twelve and seventy who became disciples and followed him. Of course God who created light out of darkness and fertile land out of chaotic water made that wrong decision of Pilate and it’s execution, a positive thing with resurrection of the unjustly killed Jesus. On our part, do we at any given time make a judgement on our own decisions and actions to see how they would affect other people? Of course, God may help those adversely affected ones and make some thing positive out of that for them. But what would be our justification for those wrong doings? Let us ponder over this question on this Friday of Hasa. I wish all ICON members an anticipatory Blessed Easter!

Metropolitan Mor Meletius Yuhanon

Good Friday Message


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This video was recorded by an Online Media “ABBA” working to spread the Gospel of the Lord to the un-reached lot.

 

Church Amidst Diversity: An Invitation to be Adam


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I have uploaded a video to my YouTube Channel with an audio file of my Key Note Address, with pictures from the day, delivered at the United Theological College, Bangalore for Indian Theological Student’s Conference organized by Carey Society of UTC on January 23rd 2017. The conference was from 23rd till 25th. The Title of the address was “Church Amidst Diversity: An Invitation to be Adam”.

For the text of the presentation, go to my site: https://yuhanonmeletius.org/videogallery/church-amidst-diversity-invitation-adam

 

Blessed New Year 2017


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This is an edited version of New Year (2017) Audio Greeting made to video, I sent to one of my congregations in the Desert Land.

 

Message of Nativity


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A Blessed Feast of Nativity to every one

(Originally posted in ICON)

Metropolitan Yuhanon Mor Meletius

Incarnation of the Lord is a past event, but also it need to be a present reality and a future hope. No one ever thought God could do it, to become one like human. Centuries old tradition and teaching in the community of Jesus conditioned people’s understanding about the nature of the divine. To them God was a god of hosts (army), a god of valour, a god who punishes and a god who kills. Hence they said, God has to be a fearful God. That sense of fear began in the very first generation itself. Adam said, “I am afraid…” (Gen. 3: 10). Fear came to this world with estrangement from God. That resulted in estrangement of human from one another and from nature. Cain said to God, “… who ever sees me will kill me” (Gen. 4: 14 Also see 3:15). There are people who say God is a God of vengeance and that was why He drove human out of the Garden of Eden. Yes, that is what is written in the book of Genesis 3:24 (… He drove them out…). But that is how human understood it to have happened. An Old Testament student like me can only say that, that was the only way Old Testament writers were able to understand what happened. What actually happened was even before God came to the Garden to walk with human, they had gone out of the presence of God and hid themselves behind the tree. God came to the garden as it was customary to Him. Whether in the garden or outside the garden human wanted to be out of the sight of God. So God let human out of the Garden, until human was made ready to come near to God without fear, was the only option before God. Breaking of relationship with God brings in fear. It was not because of God, but was because of human act fear came to human culture.

When human sees God as a fearful God, he cannot think of God becoming human. Jesus tried to teach people that God is love and the One who goes out in search of the lost one even if He had ninety-nine left with Him. This love made God become Human. Incarnation was the only way God found effective to save humanity. He had to understand human, go through each stage humans went through in the past history to take humanity and with it the whole creation back to where it belonged. So even though Peter called the Incarnate God, “Messiah the Son of God”, Jesus preferred to call Himself “Son of Man”. This helped Jesus identify Himself with human and with human situations. He was born as a destitute without much of a safety and protection. Human took leaves to protect himself in the Garden and there was only torn up cloth to hide Jesus’ nakedness in the cave where Mary gave birth to Him. He became a vagrant and wanderer in His early days as Cain became one after he killed his brother. He could not go to Judea the land of Jews where His people were when returned from Egypt, but to Nazareth in Galilee the land of the Gentiles. He had no money to pay the tax just as many among us who are poor and needy. He was hungry and thirsty like many of us are. He was abused and mocked at like many humans in several parts of the world even as we speak. He was tried and killed for no good reason like many innocent people in the world who are being tortured and killed only just for being human. This is what God did for humans for them to become humans.

Jesus said, “I am the way, truth and life”. Yes, for us today He is the way, the way to be human on our part. The fathers of the Church said, “God became human that human shall become one like God”. Jesus has set an effective example for us to be human. We can be human only if we get one with others.  Incarnation sets a possibility and model for us, that we can put ourselves in the shoes of others to help us and them what we all are to be and to become. Unfortunately instead, many of us want others to be what we think others must be. We fail to incarnate ourselves in to their situation. Parents want the children what all they think right for them instead of trying to see the world they grow up and will be living in. They many times do not see what they were created by God for. Husbands want their wives to be like what they think wife is to be instead of trying to see things through the eyes of the wife. This may happen the other way too on the part of the wives. Brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends all want others to be what they think others are to be without trying to understand them and their situation. The first human violated the identity of the fruit and ate it because they failed to understand the nature and purpose of the fruit. If one fails to incarnate in to the life and situation of another, that one will never understand the other and both will never be related. To be related is the only way of salvation or living in peace and joy. The world is becoming a difficult place for everyone and everything, as hatred, misunderstanding, rivalry and abuse of each other are live and active among us. This is because people are not related. Just as human were afraid of God, today human are afraid of one another. We are still in the generation of Cain who was afraid of his fellow beings. This calls to make incarnation a present reality in our daily life and a future hope to achieve. Each person trying to understand the other person and trying to be related without prejudice will only make this world a place for all of us to live in joy and peace. The feast of Christmas reminds us of the need to make incarnation not just a past event to be remembered and celebrated, but a present reality. We are called by this fest of nativity to try to understand others instead of seeing them through our coloured glass. This is what God did and we who were created in His image and likeness need to do this on our part in this world. Make incarnation a lifestyle and culture on our part and make our daily prayer saying “… Your Kingdom come” a sincere one. The King of the Kingdom came to us through incarnation and now we need to make it a present reality and a future hope in our midst. Once again Blessed Feast of Nativity and a New Year with God’s promises fulfilled to you all from my clergy, faithful and me in Thrissur Diocese. God bless!

(Nativity, 2016)

Inauguration of Parumala ICCC


This video shows part of my participation at the Parumala St. Gregorios International Cancer Care Centre Inauguration on November 23, 2016. HH. Baselius Marthoma Paulose II Catholicos and HH Patriarch Abune Mathias of Ethiopian Orthodox Church were leading the service. Along with other Metropolitans, I also consecrated part of the building. I must say, when it was a sick unit, a commission which was constituted by the Holy Episcopal Synod with H.G. Thomas Mar Athanasius of Chengannoor and me conducted an inquiry and several measures were suggested and HH implemented them to save the project and bring it to it’s completion.

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