Dearly beloved in Christ,
We deem it as a great privilege to serve you in the coming year as your vicar. Let us remember with thanks the service of all Achens who served this parish, especially the effective pastoral ministry of Rev. Biji Mathew Achen and Kochamma. I solicit your valuable support and prayer in our Ministry in Ebenezer Mar Thoma Church, New York.
This month’s lectionary topic is prepared in connection with the home for the homeless project of our church, the Ascension of our Lord, and the Feast of Pentecost. The earliest narration of the life of the Early Christian community is found in the book of Acts of the Apostles. There it was portrayed that it was essentially a caring community (Acts.4:32-37). The early Christians shared whatever at their disposal, so that there were no needy persons among them. This arrangement was broken in the later life of the church. Zacchaeus who was part of the exploitative social order was brought back to the early Christian model of a caring community through Jesus Christ (Luke.19:1-9). When Jesus visited his house, he took revolutionary steps to mend the broken relationship with fellow humans by his decision to pay back whatever extorted through his profession. The real encounter with Jesus Christ definitely restores individuals to live for the Kingdom values taught by Christ. There should be attempts from our part to become a caring community as we follow Jesus Christ.
The Risen Christ appeared among groups and individuals for forty days convincing them that he has risen indeed and spoke about the Kingdom of God (Acts.1:3). He still appears through His Holy Spirit in our lives encouraging and strengthening us to continue our faith journey on this earth.
This month we also recollect the promise of Jesus Christ about the sending of the Holy Spirit (John.14:25-3; 16:5-15). The promise was fulfilled by outpouring the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost gathering found in Acts.2:1-13. The divided world was united by speaking in other tongues by the apostles and each one hearing in one’s own language. The disunity that took place during the building of Tower of Babel (Genesis.11:1-9) was corrected by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on believers on Pentecost Day by restoring the ability for communication. We are living in a divided world where we lost the ability of real communication. It exists between parents and children, among the family members, within the parish members, among the nations of the world. Only when the individuals and communities are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives, then only we could understand each other and to live in peace with other fellow beings.
We have been experiencing the everlasting protection of our Almighty God these days when the whole world is rocked by the alarming spread of COVID-19. Let us thank God for protecting us under His wings.
Along with the Psalmist let us praise God: “for He will deliver you from the snares of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge (Ps.91.2-4).
As we continue our faith journey, let us always be reminded of the fact that the risen Lord is a co-traveler with us as he once travelled with the two persons through the Emmaus road (Luke.24:11-33).
May God bless you all.