As your Diocesan Bishop, I am happy to address you through the Parish Bulletin. We are in the Lenten-Season when we meditate on the cross of Jesus.
May I put before you two figures from the Gospels and see how far the truth about their life impinches on our own life and witness.
JOHN THE BAPTIST
There could be no grater suffering for an out-of-door type like John than to be shut up in a fortress prison. Those wilderness years were rough, but they were years of the Spirit’s fullness; God was with him and he asked neither for riches nor for comfort, only for the privilege of being able to burn out for God. Instead of that he found himself in a living tomb, with no evidence of divine vindication. It is true that he had expressed his willingness to “decrease”, but he had never thought that it would work out in this way. Finally he passed from the dungeon to the headsman’s block. John the Baptist is surely an overwhelming argument for a future life. He had to finish this life without any kind of recompense for faithful and sacrificial service. There must be a reward in eternity for such a man. There must be- and there will be!
Pilate was in a dilemma: either he did what he (and his wife) knew to be right and so laid himself open to the blackmailing tactics of the unscrupulous Jewish leaders, or else he passed sentence of death on a Man who, though innocent, would soon have been murdered in some other way, even if He were not crucified. Pilate chose the easier way, and, although his feeble question “Where is truth?” may sound profoundly philosophical, in the context of his quandary it had a very simple answer. It is right to do what one’s conscience tells one: all else is a despicable lie. Instead of this, Pilate chose the way of convenience and self-interest, and he did so to his everlasting shame. No amount of hand washing could then release him from his place in the company of those tragic men who have lost their souls because they were afraid of the truth.
I put it to you: there is not one of us today who believe that in the presence of the cross of Christ we are in the presence of defeat. We know we are in the presence of victory. Here is the cross, history’s blackest crime- and history’s brightest hope. Here is the most atrocious tragedy ever enacted- and it is precisely this which has become the supreme assurance of the sovereignty of God. They gave Him a cross, and He made it a throne. They slammed every door against Him, and flung Him outside the city gates to die; and that very act has lifted up the gates of the universe to let the King come in. They thought they had hunted God to His doom, not knowing that it was God who was tracking them down. He reigns from the tree. ‘We preach Christ crucified, the power of God’- the one power big enough to take a grip of the world’s desperate situation, and defy the gates of hell, and give a fresh start to humanity. If only the world today would align itself with Jesus in His victory, we should see the powers of darkness discomfited again.
May the Lord help all of us to experience the power of resurrection in the through the Lenter-meditation!
Yours in Christ,
Geevarghese Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan
March 28, 2017