Devotional thoughts for 2nd Sunday after the Soonoyo of St. Mary Mother of God

In the very first sentence of today’s reading we listen to a promise of our Lord, which in fact is so promising, comforting and beneficial. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and you shall find, knock, it shall be opened.”  We all are sure that it is a promise from our Lord God who is our Savior. But in our practical lives we often forget about the one who has given us the promise. So when we all are free without much engagements, must think about the “I” who has given us the great promise. The Psalmist gives us an idea about him, as He has given a promise in Psalms 50:15. “And call me in the day of trouble: I shall deliver thee, and thou shall glorify me”. Job out of his experiences advises: “You shall make your prayer unto him, and he shall hear you and you shall pay your vows” Job: 22:27. In our needs and troubles God Almighty is waiting to hear our petitions and prayers. When we would ask, He shall answer. So let problems or tensions come in our lives. It is not our duty to solve the problems or troubles. We have to pray for them or to ask our Lord God only. We should not depend the self or any other power other than our Lord God in asking, seeking or knocking.
Our Lord taught us what to pray and how to pray. St. Matthew gives a good account of it in his Gospel. In chapter 6 from verse 5 onwards we read our Lord’s teachings about prayer. Prayer is often defined as the conversation between the faithful and his or her heavenly Father. We all must judge ourselves how we are praying and what we are praying. Even if we are praying the canonical prayers, we often say the prayers from our memory that is stored in our childhood. As we have been taught to pray at least two times a day, we do pray. But many of us do not consider it as a conversation with our heavenly Father. We must think why we are praying and what we are praying at least once in a while. Our canonical prayers are so deep in meaning and significance. While we pray we must realize the real sense and meaning of our prayers.
There are many denominations other than the Episcopal churches, who give preference and priority for the instant prayers other than the prayers in the books. Such prayers are concentrating more and more for the worldly needs of humanity. In St. Matthew 6:8 we read, “You be not therefore like them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him”. We must meditate on this verse with much care and interest. When we say the prayers granted to us by our forefathers, are we not feeling a shortage of some or other private prayers, as in the protestant denominations?  Our God never expects or wishes to have such prayers of the long lists of our needs.
In the following verses Our Lord analyzes our usual needs. The 13th verse is so important and significant. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that seek him”. Now it is very clear that we all are supposed to ask, seek and knock for nothing else other than the Holy Spirit. If the presence of Holy Spirit is there in our lives, there is everything and in fact there will not be shortage for any thing that we need. Let us believe that all our needs for existence and life on the earth are the look out of our Lord God. He knows our needs and He arranges everything needed by us. Instead of seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit, we are often engaged in finding the fullness of our purses and personal savings. From this statement it is very clear that we are supposed to pray for the Holy Spirit, and not at all for the perishable worldly riches or joys. In our Holy Church there is a very good understanding and teaching about the Holy Spirit, but unfortunately we all ignore the due importance for the topic. In all our Sacraments, there is a very solemn occasion of the brooding of the Holy Spirit. When we think about our link and connection with the Holy Spirit, we all must consider two points. Firstly we all need a renewal of the Holy Spirit in us that we received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and Holy Mooron.
Secondly whenever we long for the renewal of the Holy Spirit in us, we must be patient in waiting for the inspiring of the Holy Spirit. According to the teaching of our Holy Church, whenever Holy Spirit broods upon the Holy Mysteries on the Altar during the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, it will brood upon the entire congregation, provided all the faithful were in expectation to receive the Holy Spirit. During the Holy Eucharist, the Deacon exhorts the congregation about the importance of the time when Holy Spirit would inspire and brood upon the Holy Eucharist. We the faithful have to start our ‘waiting and expectation’ must start at least from the eve of the Holy Sacrament. Our Church Fathers of blessed memory used to wait for the next Holy Eucharist from the very moment they finished one. We must long for the fullness of the Holy Spirit in us and in our Church. Then only we could witness our Lord and be real Christians of good witnessing. We must have a staunch faith in our Lord God. We should not have a wavering minds and thoughts. That is what our Lord is reminding us in verse 20 of today’s reading. Our Lord says that if we could accept him as he is, we are in the Kingdom of God. Let us pray earnestly for the fullness of the Holy Spirit in us and in our Church. We all have received the Holy Spirit through the Holy Baptism and the Holy Mooron. But we are supposed to get it flourished in accordance with the physical growth. As we are living in the world of trials and temptations, the Holy Spirit in us might not get a chance to grow, provided we do not make the favorable situations. Unless and until we follow a strict and systematic sacramental life, the growth of the Holy Spirit in us will not be as good as it ought to be. We must feel His presence in us and we must listen to Him in taking decisions of our personal matters. In Isaiah 44:3, we listen to God’s promise “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty; and floods upon the dry ground, I will pour my spirit upon my seed and my blessing upon your offspring”.
When our Lord sent out a devil from a dumb, many got surprised. A few said that He was making use of the chief of the devils to perform the miracles. Why they said so? They were blind to see the good of others. When we might be slaves of sins we might also be like the blind. In such a position we might not see the good of others. If we are properly guided by the Holy Spirit in us, we wont fall preys and victims of such experiences. So let us make it a point to listen to our God’s spirit in us in any thing and everythin
Let us see the last verse of today’s reading: “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you”. In Exodus 8:18 we read about the finger of God. The gentile magicians identified the finger of God that worked through Moses. We should not forget the witness of Nicodemus, which we find in St. John 3:2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi we know that you are a teacher come from God , for no man can do these miracles that you have done, except God be with him”.
In our everyday lives how many miracles are enjoyed by us. Let us think whether we have identified those occasions and thanked our Lord God. We asked many times, they were answered, we sought and we found, we knocked several times at His door of mercy and compassion and He opened His door gently for us. Are we grateful to Him? Are we in a mood to say a thank you my Lord? Do we consider what we enjoy in our lives as His gifts and services? May God enable us all to be grateful to Him for all His love, care and compassion always.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril, Kottayam



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