Let the Peace of our Lord Prevail


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https://yuhanonmeletius.org/article/let-peace-our-lord-prevail

(This is a meditative note I presented before the students of St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur after the evening prayer to commemorate the UN declared International Day of Peace.)
 
The 21st day of September was declared by UN as the day of peace in 1981.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. Mtt. 5:12 (9).
 
Jesus may have talked about peace with his understanding of the Hebrew word Shalom.
One of the early occurrences of the word in Jdg. 6:24 suggests that it is time of freedom from oppression or slavery. Gideon received the message of peace from the messenger.
‘Lom is the basic root of the word which may mean ‘paid’. So when it is paid for, there is shalom. When due is paid, there shall be peace. What is due to another is respect. Only when what is due to another is paid there will be peace.
 
This is a world of diversity. God created each according to its kind and set them in the garden or in the world.
 
Terry McGonial, a New Testament theologian, comments that, to have Shalom is to leave “the universe the way God designed it to be”. A consumerist attitude was expressed in the garden, fear, breaking of relationships, rivalry and killing entered the world.
 
We understand that the situation prevailed in the garden was of mutual respect. There was a call to accept trees and fruits as they are and not as things “for me”. This was violated or peace was broken. God had set things in proper order and in place.
 
Then we have the creation of human which is primarily related to God as human shared the image and likeness of God himself (Gn. 1:26-27). The animals were created and a different kind of relationship is established but not of ruling over rather for peaceful co-existence. In the second creation story God sees that to be alone is not good and decides to create a community among humans (Gn. 2:18).
 
God further establishes peace between human and the rest of the creation in the garden. The two words used are till and keep. Till to keep earth’s productive and dynamism. To keep means to keep each one’s identity and selfhood.
 
God always wanted to keep it that way. Human consumeristic tendency broke peace in the garden.
This dream of God was jeopardised by human. But continued His dream alive as reflected in the words of Isaiah 11:2 ff.
 
Jesus said, “I leave with you my peace” (John 14:27). He on His part established peace between God and humans and human and human. Paul talks at various occasions about peace. He says, Christ has broken down the dividing wall and has established peace (Eph 2:14). This peace is what He left for his disciples.
 
Peace doesn’t come by itself once there was breach of peace by human. To bring in peace we need to walk back With Christ, the super model for our life, the road human travelled in the opposite direction.
 
For that, first we need to recognize that the world is of diverse nature. It was not created just for humans and not even humans of any particular region of tried or even gender. Any form of discrimination is to be abolished from our society. Each has a space in this world and has a role to play. No one is for another one to be a servant, but every one is for every one else.
 
Again do not listen to the commercial world that tries to sell their interest as in the case of the serpent. People of vested interest sell their products not for the benefit of the consumer, rather for the benefit of the seller. “God has provided everything we need but not for our greed” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Be ready to reply to that world which tries to sell things for their benefit not with over enthusiasm, rather with truth and justice.
 
Again do not be greedy. Human took the fruit of the forbidden tree not because they didn’t have any thing else to eat for their hunger, but was for fancy.
We live in a world driven by greed. Every one says, it was greed that initiated 2008 global economic crisis. Greed for power, greed for wealth, greed for pleasure etc.
Further, don’t be a greedy person but respect each other’s need and respect each others’ identity and diversity of creation.
 
The world has become a very difficult place for people to live in and so we need to pray with Saint Francis of Assisi saying, “Lord make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love”

A Day to Thank for Those 25 Years


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Twenty five long years! I have uploaded a video to my YouTube channel on the “Thanksgiving Day” when I completed 25 years and the Metropolitan of Thrissur Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Link is given in my website too https://yuhanonmeletius.org/node/1445

I was consecrated as Metropolitan of Thrissur diocese of Malankara Church and assumed office in a solemn function held at Mannuthy headquarters on 1990 December 26th evening. To mark the completion of those 25 years of long presence with God and with my priests and people in the diocese a “Thanks Giving Service” was organized at the headquarters chapel on 2015 December 26th. I celebrated Holy Eucharist in the morning to thank God for His benevolence and gifts He showered upon me and the diocese. A brief meeting was conducted afterward to thank my priests and people. I briefly narrated the path we travelled. It was not an easy one. First since the Church was divided in to two and the two groups were in the court of law to prove each one right. By God’s grace the apex court of India ruled that both were wrong and hence the issue had to be settled by both groups coming together. I was in charge of the litigation committee, of the patriarch faction, in the Supreme Court of India. I accepted the order of the court and started working for re-unification. But that brought another split in the Church.

This initiated the second difficult period in our lives. A section of the erstwhile patriarch faction did not like the idea of establishing peace and bringing in unity in the Church. They started taking over Churches in Kottayam, Kandanadu, Angamali, Kochi and Thrissur dioceses against the ruling of the court. We in Thrissur diocese lost several Churches to their aggressive and violent methods of capturing Churches. I had to stay indoors for over a year lest the residence I built during my first five years term in the diocese be taken away by the people who captured the Churches. Several priests were thrown out of their serving Churches disregarding their legal rights and the wishes of the majority of the faithful. People who opposed the capturing were beaten up and thrown out of the Churches. Even a dead body was used to capture the parish Church of the diseased, though did not succeed due to the timely intervention of local police. I was physically attacked and was injured. My car was vandalized twice. I was broke financially. I had to sell the gold chain gifted by my family when I became a bishop to support myself during my “house arrest period”. But my priests and people took turns and kept vigil at night in my residence that I could sleep in safety. I did not have anything to feed them. So they brought their own provision while they were here at night protecting my life. I was able to move out of my residence only after I got a protection order from the Hon. High Court of Kerala against those anti-social elements. I should remember H.H. Baselius Marthoma Mathews II, H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Makkarios Metropolitan (both in heaven), H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan of Kandanadu, H.G. Zechariah Mar Anthonios Metropolitan of Kochi and Mr. Pavunny of Malankara Mission Hospital, Kunnamkulam, to mention the leading persons, for their care and support during my troubled days.

Even while we were facing this most difficult time in our history, we were able to make progress in the development of the diocese in several ways. I had the privilege of providing protection to the priest who led the physical attack on me in Perumbavoor, when he in turn faced threat to his life from his metropolitan who instigated him to attack me. I hold no grudge of hatred against any one, but only sympathize with them who calls themselves Christians and do just the opposite. Looking back, I have reason only to thank God and my priests and people for caring and supporting me in my attempt to establish peace in the Church. This particular day was used to thank them. So I prepared mementos to be given away to my priests and people. The mementos were designed and labelled by me only to say I mean it with all my heart. I presented a brief note about the path we travelled in Malayalam prior to giving away the mementos. Priests and people from all my parishes and congregations attended the day’s event. I thank them for taking time out to be present on Dec. 26th 2015 at Mannuthy on my request. Over the years I have been blessed with hundreds of friends all over the world who pray for and support me and our diocese and its mission in various ways.

This video is with a video clip and pictures from the day. My brief note makes the voice track of the video.

I thank everyone all over the world who stood by me in showing to the world that a Church has to be an agency of the LORD in this world to establish peace and amity among people. Thank you all and God Bless You.

 

 

https://youtu.be/5fcurOUlfKM

 

My 2015 Christmas Message


 

I have uploaded a video of my 2015 Christmas message telecast by a local TV channel, CTV, at 7 am on Christmas day.

My 2015 Christmas Message

25 Years in the Vineyard of the Lord


 

With the Shepherding Staff

I have added a note with pictures on completion of 25 years as Metropolitan of Thrissur Diocese

25 Years in the Vineyard of the Lord

Meditation on Luke 1: 57-80


 

Meditation for Sunday of the Birth of St. John the Baptist (Luke 1: 57-80)

Metropolitan Yuhanon Mor Meletius, Thrissur

Ability to explore in to the mind and purpose of God is a great gift given to humans by God Himself. This is because we humans are created in the image and likeness of God and has been given the breath of life. Nevertheless, we many times not only fails to do that, but get preoccupied in our own false notions and prejudices. More than that, we occasionally project our own petty notions as God’s mind revealed.

Zechariah the priest was called to stand before God, offer Him worship and then get the Word of God from Him about His creation to pass it on to the worshippers standing outside the Holy of Holies. He was called to be a mediator. Most of the priests in the history of people of Old Covenant failed to do that. That is why God had to lament through prophet Jeremiah saying, “The Priests did not seek the Lord…” (Jer. 2:8). Zechariah failed to seek the mind of God. Even when God revealed His mind, he failed to comprehend it. If the priests don’t seek they will not understand. If they don’t understand they will not be able to reveal it to the congregation verbatim and faithfully. However, they were habitually and customarily going in to the presence of God to come out to the public and deliver blessings. What they delivered were not what they sought and received. It was hypocrisy all along. It was a mechanical act on the part of the priests and they never were true to their job. This is what prophet Jeremiah was talking about from the mind of God. Zachariah was no exception. So God decided that he should not speak at all until the Word of God took its effect.

Everything God created has the ability to proclaim the glory of God. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his hand work.” History and nature are the other two areas through which God’s glory is proclaimed apart from humans themselves. Nature and history are faithfully doing their mission. But humans many times do not follow the rule, though she/he by the very nature are supposed to be delivering God’s message. While nature and history proclaim the glory of God, we humans are to derive message about the mind of God from these glory proclamations, in terms of their meaning and relevance. So we, on the one hand need to be proclaiming the glory of God as being the creation just like history and nature, and at the same time deliver the message of the mind of God both derived directly from God and also from the glory proclamation of history and nature. Peter was not able to understand the message of the glory of the Son of God at the event at the mountain top (Mark 9:5-6). But Moses sure understood and interpreted the glory of God appeared on the top of the mountain in the form of Ten Commandments (Ex. 19:18- 20:28).

To proclaim God’s will and message, there should be a seeking the will of God. Zephaniah 2:3 says, “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth…” (See Matthew 7:7-8 also). An exploration in to the mind of God will help us understand what He thinks about us and everyone and everything else. This is the attitude followed by the people who saw what happened during the naming of John the Baptist. Zechariah failed to deliver the message of God revealed to him which had greater relevance to all creation. It was a message not just about Zechariah and Elizabeth having a son, but a message of the birth of the ‘herald’ of the Son of God through whom the whole creation will be saved. As a matter of fact the mind of God and His purpose in everything, default, is aimed at saving not just one person or a small group but the whole creation. Zechariah failed to receive the message and hence could not deliver it to the public. But the historical event in terms of what happened during that particular moment of the naming of John, that message was revealed. This made people further wonder about the future of the child and that made them exclaim “”What then will this child turn out to be?” (Luke 1:66). This was the right attitude people took in matter of seeking the mind of God. They did not make any conclusion, on what the child shall become out of their pre-conceived notion about the son born in to the priestly family.

Many a time our conclusions about the future, identity and personality of a child are decided by to whom, where (which family) and when the child was born. We, in an arbitrary way decide on the future of the child without looking in to possibilities. This prevent us from understanding the purpose of God with that child. We need to look in to the times and seasons and see the signs (Matt. 16:3). Every child is born for service to the future of the creation. The realities and needs of the time when a child was born will not be the same as the realities and times by the time the child grows up to fulfil her/his mission. So we cannot decide the destiny and purpose of the child born to us just by seeing the then existing situation. There should be a seeking in to the mind of God to learn about what the kind of time shall be when the child grows up. We should not be short sighted people, rather look in to nature and history to see what God is trying to tell us about ourselves and everything and everyone else as the future world emerges. We very well know that what happened in the world of economy in 2008 was because we did not look in to history, but lived carelessly with short-sightedness and greed. Now among Malayalee community hundreds of those children who got educated in engineering are left jobless because we saw only the Y2K issue and the limited possibilities it brought in the field of technology during late 1990s but not beyond or beside. Today people are paying laks of rupees to get admission for their children in to commerce based courses in universities because currently more people are needed in the field of accounting as all legal transactions are to be through banks and monitored through Aadhar and PAN cards by the government.

We, in the New Testament era, through Christ, are called as of the ‘priestly race’ (1Pet. 2:9). Hence we all need to be seeking the will of God and be proclaiming it to the world just as Zechariah was supposed to. We are called to be the mediators of the will of God to the world. To be effective in our mission, we need to seek His mind first. If we do not ask God, ‘what each child shall become’, I am afraid, we will be mute even while we talk, and convey nothing no matter how loud and long we may speak, until we see the message of God in historical arena and in nature. This is why our Church has declared the day of the birth of John as ‘children’s day’. They are God’s gift to us and we are only their caretakers. We do not have children of our own. Each child is a history carrier that brings the message of God to all creation through her/his life. We need to ‘seek Him and live’ (Amos 5:4), seek Him and live with joy, identity and peace of mind with a purpose. Wish you all a Blessed Children’s Day.

(Originally posted in ICON)

Sermon on Gen. 3:6


This URL takes you to my website where a link is created to a video uploaded to my YouTube channel. The video gives an edited version of my sermon in Malayalam on Gen. 3:6 delivered at Meltho Gospel Convention of Kozhenchery district of Thumpamon diocese of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, held at Municipal Ground, Kozhenchery on November 27, 2015.

https://yuhanonmeletius.org/node/1441

If you want to go to YouTube directly follow this link.

 

On Naushad of Kozhikodu


This is what I said at Meltho Gospel Convention in Kozhenchery on Nov 27, 2015 about Naushad who died while trying to save those two sanitation workers trapped in a manhole in the road in Kozhikodu

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