Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
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Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Faith Which Sustains the Church St. John 20:11-18 Vs 27. “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord"
Among the most beautiful instances in the Gospel narratives are the encounter stories wherein Jesus engages in intimate conversation with people, with their anxieties and frustrations, their hopes and aspirations. These well crafted narratives not only mark qualitative transformation that Jesus brings in the lives of individuals but also offers precious spiritual insights for the community of faithful who opt to journey with Jesus. The encounter of the risen Jesus with Mary Magdalene is such an instance.
Faith as Intense Love Mary Magdalene reminds us that Christian faith is more about knowing and loving Jesus with intense sincerity and deep devotion rather than mechanically subscribing to any particular ideology or intellectual formulation. She was one among those who stood by the cross against all odds witnessing the painful death of her Saviour (Jn. 19:25). On the first day of the week while it was still dark it was again Mary Magdalene who came to the tomb with other women taking the spices they had prepared to anoint the body of Jesus as per the Jewish practice (Mk. 16:1). In all of these initiatives her intense love and devotion to Jesus is revealed. The risen Jesus rewards her by appearing first to her and her grief was turned to great joy (Mk. 16:9). He calls her name reminding us that the good shepherd calls his own sheep by name as he intimately relates with each one of them (Jn. 10:3). Christian faith is about a relationship, a bond of love that conquers death. Henri J. M. Nouwen, a Catholic monk and writer, rightly remarks that Jesus rose as a sign not to baffle his opponents or to prove those who crucified him that he was right after all, but as a sign proclaiming to those who love him that love is stronger than death. It is from love that faith evolves.
Faith as not Clinging on but Moving Forward Post-resurrection stories reveal the presence of Christ as experienced by those who love him as elusive. He appears to them in physical and concrete form for a while and then at the next moment he disappears. The tension characterised as coming and leaving, intimacy and distance, holding and letting go, also characterise the risen Christ’s encounter with Mary Magdalene. When Jesus says to Mary Magdalene, “Do not cling on to me,” he probably points us to the fact that we need not stubbornly hold to familiar religious experiences and expressions for we cannot domesticate God. We need to move forward, for faith if it becomes static will attempt to domesticate God, perpetuate status quo and vindicate violence. Faith is moving forward to people, places and situations with the good news of resurrection and not merely clinging to certain private spiritual experiences.
Faith as Disruptive Mary receives her commission to announce to the disciples that Christ is risen; against the gender hierarchies of the day she is chosen to be “apostle to the apostles” (Jn. 20:17). The message of resurrection and the manner in which it was proclaimed first abolishes all established status quos that privileges gradation of human. Resurrection is disruption.... it is breaking in of eternity into our ordinary life situations, dismantling of oppressive structures and ushering the celebration of new hope, new life and joyful liberation. Resurrection symbolises and inspires all human initiatives towards facilitating the flourishing of life. In such a time as this when the whole world is incessantly fighting against corona virus disease and its aftermaths the message of resurrection is all the more important. It is upon the resurrection faith that the church stands and such a faith is disruptive.
O Christ! Grant to us the vision of your resurrection that we may journey to places, peoples and situation to witness new life and new hope and liberation.
Rev. Joseph John Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam
PRIESTHOOD: THE ANOINTED MINISTRY Exodus 40:12-16 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting... wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest (Exodus 40: 12-13). Priesthood among the people of God was a divine command and initiation. God wanted some people to be separated for the special ministry among his people. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to take up this kind of ministry among the people of God. Priests are always separated and appointed as channels that connect God with his people. All throughout the history of Israel, priests played an important role in connecting people with God and to lead and guide them in the statutes of God. But there are incidents in the Bible where the priests failed in their duties and that led the people to go away from God. So the priests have a special and significant ministry to perform in this world among his people. Two important things
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