Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 2: 1-11
Dear and Respected Brethren,
After a hard and harsh preparation of about 20-21 days including the
days of three days fasting, we are having the final touches of our
spiritual preparation to enter the 50 days fasting along with the
entire Church. The Holy Church has exhorted us to fast and she only is
leading us in the fasting. The first day of the Great Lent is known as
Kothine in Syriac and Pethoortha in Malayalam. Pethoortha literally
means the day on which we would have different and large quantities of
dishes on our dining table. The Lents come to be effective by Sunday
evening. The first day of the Fasting is regarded as the day of total
change in our total life style. All of us are supposed to spend more
time for prayer, meditation as well as caring the poor and needy. One
who advised us to fast to win the Satan and evil forces is our role
model. He fasted for 40 days and we are intended to copy the style
taught by our role model, Lord Jesus. So the Holy Church insists us to
have peace and harmony with one and all in our family and
neighborhood. So we observe the Subukono service which is literally
meant for reconciliation among brethren and others. We all must take
these things like the Subukono etc more seriously.
Today’s reading tells us about the marriage at Cana, where our Lord
along with His mother as well as disciples were invited. And of course
there is no need of an explanation of the further incidents that took
place there. Let’s meditate on the four things.
1. “My hour is yet to come” (Verse- 4)
2. “Six water pots of stone after the manner of the purifying of the Jews”
3. The uniqueness of St. Mary, mother of God
4. The obedience of the servants.
About which hour our Lord is talking? We all know that this was a part
of our Lord’s answer to His mother. Which was the hour to come? St.
Mary, mother of God also was aware of the hour mentioned by our Lord
and that is why she did not retort to Lord Jesus. She instructed the
servants to do what was ordered by her son. She was confident that her
son would honor her request and will do something to rescue the hosts
of the reception. She was so sure that our Lord would do something
positively. For this reason we seek the continuous intercession of St.
Mary, mother of God. Our Lord meant the hour of salvation, when and
where wine the usual drink of those days, as His life giving blood. At
the hour He took up the cup of wine and said “This is my blood, come
and partake from this, so that you all would have everlasting life.
You will live in me and I in you.” The hour is of salvation or
re-instating of mankind in God. Are we serious of the hour of
salvation? We partake the Holy mysteries every now and often. Still do
we accept them with due seriousness? Let us think.
The second thought is about the six water pots. The water pots were
supposed to reserve water for the purification of the Jews. We are so
sure that the Jews were so particular about their external purity than
their internal purity. They never bothered about their internal or
spiritual purity. We are also not indifferent. We got so many
traditions and rituals along with our worships and prayers. How many
of us really interested about our internal sanctity and purity? Our
worship year started with the sanctification. Were we able to sanctify
ourselves? Or let us find out what steps were taken by us in regard to
our personal purification. After sanctification Sunday we have crossed
the Dedication Sunday also. Let us think whether we could dedicate
ourselves to God’s full disposal. If our performance was not as
desired, it is the time for us to repent and have a nice and genuine
purification and dedication before entering the Great Lent.
There were six water pots of stone. The number ‘6’ is also important.
The purity we attain and our dedication to God on the first day of the
week must last long throughout the week or it must be the same on the
remaining six days of the week. The water which was stored in the pots
was not good enough to grant the users a genuine and real
purification. Our Lord wanted to teach this lesson to one and all and
hence He selected the six water pots for His first miracle on earth.
Here we are supposed to learn the great lesson that purification is
granted by God as and when a human being would repent. Repentance is a
great factor of every fasting, whether it is small or big. Our
preparations to enter the Great Lent started with the three days
fasting where top priority was given to repentance. The repentance of
the people of Nineveh was well honored by God Almighty and in the
Eastern tradition it is regarded as highly appreciable. The King and
the people of Nineveh fasted for 40 days and nights together.
Though our Lord said, “mine hour is not yet come” she did not get
depressed. We do not find her compelling our Lord to do what was apt
for the right moment. But we find her telling the servants “whatever
He says unto you, do it.” What does it mean? She foreknew what would
have happened there soon and she was so sure and certain of it. We
could realize that St. Mary had a thorough knowledge or
pre-information that our Lord would do there or what was needed and
how He might perform the miracle. That is the reason for honoring her
as the mother of God (Theotokos). God Almighty has shown the world
that He would not reject the recommendations or intercessions of the
noble virgin Mother of God. Our Holy Church honors her and seeks her
continued intercession by reciting the prayer “Hail Mary” in all
Kaumas (starting prayers.) We believe without doubt that the vigilant
presence of St. Mary is always there in heaven with our Lord and
Savior. Let us make sure that we do give due prominence for the
presence of St. Mary in our houses as well as in all our celebrations.
We are not sure about the nature of the servants who were present in
the house at Cana. Even their number is not mentioned in the Holy
Scriptures. But we could learn that they were so obedient to St.
Mary, a young lady in their view, whom they never knew before. The
response taken by them is really appreciable. The Holy Church is
telling us continuously to do certain things as well as she forbids us
from doing certain things.
From tomorrow the Holy Church will be observing the great Lent of 50
days and she is exhorting each and every one to avoid something from
our routines and to include certain in our lifestyles. The Lenten
season is of prayer, meditation and giving alms. The Holy Church
insists us to be strict in observing the Lent as our Lord and Savior
did. Lord Jesus is our role model in the observance of Lent and
fasting. He fasted for forty days together and advised one and all of
us that the observation of Lent and fasting is the only way to win
Satan and the evil forces. The Lenten season is a gift from the Holy
Church for us. Fasting and observation of the Lent would enable all of
us to be more close to God Almighty. In our Canonical prayers it is
said that one who observes Lent or Fasting do remain in heaven always.
So also it is said that fasting would provide wings to fly unto the
heaven. How many times we all might have observed the great Lent so
far? Were we able to fast as desired by our Lord and Savior? Let us
think soundly. In the contemporary world we might opt to fast to
achieve certain worldly gifts or blessings. Or we must be advised by
the Physicians to do so.
St. Mary told the servants there to do what was asked to them by Lord
Jesus. She is still telling us to “whatever He says unto you, do it..”
Are we able to identify her voice and instructions? Are we able to
identify the voice of our Lord? Let us make sure that we would obey
the instructions, let them be from our Lord God or from St. Mary,
mother of God or from the Saints and Apostles. If we turn away from
attempting to identify the divine intimations, our so called Christian
life would be of no value. Let us make a decision to observe the great
Lent with much more seriousness. The charm and beauty of fasting must
be our aim and ambition
Prayer, fasting and charity are the three weapons to be carried during
the Fasting. Our Lord appreciates and honors the prayers, fasting and
charity without publicity and public events. Now a days we are trying
to give maximum publicity in every possible means. Let us try to fast
as shown by our forefathers. Let us adopt their faith, enthusiasm and
interest while observing Lent and Fasting. Let us try to fast as much
as we could and let us have moderate meals throughout the Lenten
season. Let us not forget the fact that our forefathers used to
reserve separate pots for the Lenten Season. Though we could not have
such and similar strict observation, let us try to copy their style of
observation as far as we could.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril