Synopsis for Sermons and Meditations During the Lenten
By Very Rev Fr. Thomas Mundukuzhy CorEpiscopa
[Editor's Note: For Christians, the Great Lent
begins on March 3, 2003. It will end with Easter on April 20, 2003. Lent is a
great opportunity to examine within ourselves, and get rid of the toxic
feelings, cleanse our heart with repentance and forgiveness, and spend time
in meditation. This process has great therapeutic benefit. All the great
religions go through this step. Muslims have finished the Ramadan, the season
of fasting and lent that finished with a pilgrimage to Mecca. So, irrespective
of which religion you belong to this self-examination and purification can be
of great benefit. So, we are providing some guidelines for meditation during
the Great Lent. You can reflect on the teachings in Bible as an aid to do so.]
The Eastern Orthodox Churches, prepare the members spiritually and
mentally to enter the Lenten Period centering themes
dealing the necessity of repentance for four previous
A. Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke
18:10-14): the proud man and the humble man who sought
B. The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-323): The repented
son returned and the loving father embraced him
C. The judgment (Matthew 25:31-46): The need to show
concern for all in need of help.
D. Forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-21): If we fail to
practice forgiveness, God will not forgive us.
The oriental Orthodox Churches, begin the GREAT
LENT with a special Penitential Service on the first
Monday of the Lent.
Roman Catholics and some other Protestant Churches
like the Episcopalians begin the Lent with a special service on the
first Wednesday of the Lent (Ash Wednesday).
Here are synopsis for sermons and meditations during the lenten
FAST stands for:
These FOUR factors are to be considered very highly
during the FAST and emphasis must be given to these
requirements during the Penitential Service.
1. God cares to get back the lost: Luke 15
2. We have to seek reconciliation: 15-17. God ratifies
the reconciliation and absolution as well as the
3. Confession and absolution.
4. If we gather together in His name, He will be in
our midst (v.20). When ever His people pray together
according to His will (1 John 5:14), the Father
answers. Unlike Jewish regulations where at least 10
males are required to establish a synagogue, two or
three believers establish the Christian fellowship
because Christ is there "to quicken their prayers,
guide their counsels and to answer their petitions."
5. We have to forgive several times (v.22). Those who
are forgiven shall forgive others: 6:14-15. According
to Jewish tradition, one should forgive a repentant
offender four times. Peter, as generous, increased the
number to seven setting a limit. Jesus tells us to
forgive no matter the attitude of the offender without
limit: Romans 13:8.
6. God forgives freely: Psalm 145:8. God's kingdom is
like the king who freely forgive the helpless debtor,
but required his people to forgive others. The servant
did not forgive his fellow servant who owes him just
100 denari (the master forgave ten thousand talents)
and put him in prison till he paid the debt.
7. He violated God's commandments (19:19) - not loved
his neighbor; so he is wicked. Therefore he was
delivered to the tortures.
8. God demands wholehearted forgiveness without
1 John 4:7-11;1:10; 2:15; 3:14, 16-18; 4:12, 17-20; 5:23;
John 3:16; 13:34-35; 14:15, 21;
Matthew 5:43-44; 22:37; Acts 7:6; 1
A. God is love: 1 John 4:8, 10, 16, 19, 3:16
B. Love like Jesus: John 15:12; 1 John 3;14-18
C. Love one another: 1 John 4:11. God is revealed through our love
through one another.
D. perfect love brings assurance: 1 John 4:11-21
E. Practice love: 1 Corinthians 13:1ff
F. Love must not be a mere sentiment. Give ourselves for the good of
others as God gives: Matthew 18:33
G. Holy Spirit impresses upon us an inward awareness: John 14:20
H. Love remains throughout eternity: 1 Corinthians 13:4-10
I. Love God: "Do you love me more than these?": John 21:15.
We have to love God: Deuteronomy 30:20.
Relationship between man and woman : Genesis 2:24.
Our love for God shall be greater than for anybody else:
Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26.
Love God with all heart, soul and mind: Matthew 22:37.
Love is rooted in good deeds and words. It is a
sincere concern and action to produce the lasting
welfare of others. Love should be in deeds, not just
in words: 1 John 3:18.
Jesus showed His love in action (John 15:13).
God created man like Himself (Genesis 1:26) with the capacity to love. We have to obey God's
commandments as well as love each other. Rejoice in
the triumph of others. Help others according to their
needs. Forgive their mistakes, respect them, and be
ready to sacrifice life for them. Agape. There is no
quality like this. Selfishness is the enemy. Should
have hunger for love and pray for it. Do all in love:
1 Corinthians 16:14. Holy Spirit strengthens us. Love
negates jealousy... a s light removes darkness.
When love fades, dark enters like dark comes in where there
is no love.
He who loves God loves others: 1 John 4:20.
Concern for others: John 15:12. Love each other ...
children, men, women...
"Honk, if you love Jesus" .. Are you a honky Christian?
1. We can measure love by thoughts: God expressed His
love toward Israel: Jeremiah 31:20. We think about
those we love. We have to think about God all the
time: Psalms 139:17-18.
2. We can also measure love by time spent: Psalms
84:1: day and night: Psalm 1:2.
3. How much we seek to please; David (Psalms 19:4);
Paul (2 Corinthians 5:9);
In every way (Colossians 2:10);
we have to keep His commandments (John 14:15);
At Simon's place, the women showed love (Luke 7:38,
God demonstrated love (Romans 5:8).
We have to love Him (Matthew 22:37-38).
Love in bitter context:
Jesus prayed for the tormenters (Luke 23:34);
Stephen prayed for those who stoned him (Acts 7:60).
1. Love forgives (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Forgiveness leads to love: Christian mentality to forgive... not
seven, but seven seventy times.
Lord's forgiveness on the cross.
2. Love forgets: Proverbs 10:12; 17:9; 1 Peter 4:8;
3. Love never fails: 1 Corinthians 13:8
4.Service: Helping hand without distinction of creed
or color: Micha 6:8; John 15:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.
Good Samaritan is a good example. .. for other
people's goodness. . even ready to die for others like
Jesus Christ: John 10:11.
5. By spreading the goodness of the Gospel, we can
show our love.
6. Respect: Love produces love: Galatians 5:22; 1
Peter 3:13. Love transforms others. Spirit of Christ
is spirit of love./ Holy Spirit.
Good for evil: If your enemy is hungry, feed him:
David did not kill Saul: 1 Samuel 26:12.
So also Joseph: Genesis 45:4-8; 50:15-21.
"Love is the most important way of eradicating the enemy"
"Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of
every hand" (Mother Teresa)
"Forgiveness is the final form of love" (Reinold
"The only genuine love worthy of the name is unconditional"
:"Where there is great love, there is always miracles"
"Love is letting go of fear"
"To Give is to Receive is the Law of Love"
"Love is the way I walk in gratitude"
"Teach only Love for that is what you are" (Gerald G.
Self-fulness vs. selfishness
Love Finder or Fault Finder
Love Giver or Love Seeker
We need the power of the Holy Spirit, fellowship of the Son, and the
grace of God to love each other.
Bear fruit with patience: Luke 8:15
Faith produces patience: James 1:3
Labor of love and patience: 1 Thessalonians 1:3
We have to wait for patience: Romans 8:25
We have to run the race with patience: Hebrews 12:1
We need patience to keep from falling away from the faith: 2 Peter
To reconcile with God: Matthew 5:23-24; 18:18-35.
Patient people act with wisdom and direction
(Some one cut into our lane and we missed our turn.
We are in a hurry for an appointment. This situation makes us to go to another exit. We get angry...we
loose our patience?)
Saul did not wait with patience and he was rejected: 1 Samuel
Abraham waited quarter of a century and got his
promised son: Hebrews 6:15.
Job set a tremendous example of patience James 5:11.
David had great patience and got blessed: Psalms 40:1; 130:5.
Paul had to go through so much hardships, but endured
patiently: 2 Corinthians 11:23f; Romans 5:3-5.
Jesus Christ is our model: Hebrews 12:3.
HOW TO DEVELOP PATIENCE?
1. Keep our eyes on the overall goal: James 5:7-8; Hebrews 2:3
2. Think before we act: "Fools rush in where angels
fear to tread" (Alexander Pope). Don't jump into
3. Concentrate on giving to others: Selfishness is the
root of impatience: 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Overlook
other's short-comings: Ecclesiastes: 7:8.
4. Talk out our tensions: If we are annoyed with
someone's actions, tell it frankly and sincerely.
5. Rely on God for strength: We have a God of
patience, we could get a mind like his: Romans 15:5.
Follow David's exhortations: Psalm 27:14. We need
patience to receive the promise: Hebrews 10:36.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1):
Centurion's faith - never seen such faith (Matthew
The woman's faith made her well (Matthew 9:22);
Because of the faith of the Canaanite woman, her
daughter was cured (Matthew 15:28);
The wind ceased,
but Jesus pointed out not having faith (Mark 4:40).
Faith has dependence with love.
It is not just belief
of Jesus Christ (the demons have it: James 2:19);
just belief in miracles (Matthew 7:22): Judas had it;
Not just believing the story of Jesus: even immorals
Acknowledging baptism and spiritual
matters are not enough;
Comparing religions and
recognizing the importance of Christianity is not
Not just charity or calling my God and Lord
Have faith as a mustard seed (Luke 17:6);
Have the kind of faith Shandrach, Meshack and AbedNego
(Daniel 3:16-17) had that God will deliver them.
is the eye by which we look Jesus. It is the hand with
which we lay hold of Jesus. Faith is the tongue by
which we taste how good the Lord is. Faith is the foot
by which we go to Jesus. It is the trust and
confidence in God's reliability.
We have to believe
that Jesus is the son of God and He is our Savior
(John 1:14; Acts 4:12). Also we have to believe in His
resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:14).
He will not
forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He will complete the work
St. Paul worked to remain faithful
by discipline (1 Corinthians 9:27). He pressed toward
the goal (2 Timothy 4:6-7).
Faith in what is least
(Luke 16:10).. Needs effort with faith and trembling
(Philippines 2:12). It is a difficult path (Matthew
7:14). Don't get weary (Galatians 6:9).
How we can be
like the heroes of faith? (Hebrews 12:1-3).
faith in us (Galatians 2:20).
Gift of God: (Ephesians
Peter's formula: (2 Peter 1:5-8, 10). Diligence,
growth, grace, knowledge (2 peter 3:18).
Have faith in
few things and we will be blessed with abundance:
Renewal of commitment is the key.
1. Lent commemorates the 40 days
fast of our Lord. It is a reason of renewal. Through
the various experiences of the GREAT LENT, one is
supposed to be refreshed by humility, purified by
abstinence, and strengthened by prayer. Lent should
bring religion into daily life like a blood stream in
the body of daily behavior.
2. Everyone needs forgiveness, a lot of it. We are all
imperfect. Only God is perfect: Matthew 5:48. Our
guilt and shame can be dealt with only by
forgiveness.. forging each other.
3. We are used with blaming others. We find remote
reasons for this: Hon Kong flu, German measles,
Japanese fly, Irish fever, etc. Adam blamed God for
his sin. We have to learn to forgive rather than
4. Difficult to forgive. We are forgiven people. So we
must be forgiving people. Forgive again and again.
Peter asked this to our Lord. Not seven times, but
seventy times seven (490 times) was the answer. That
means unlimited times.
5. "Forgive our debts as we we forgive our debtors"
(Lord's prayer). We have to forgive the mistakes of
others, we to be forgiven: Matthew 5:23-25. Reconcile
with them before we offer our gifts. If we forgive,
God also forgives us: Mark 11:25. Forgive from the
heart: Matthew 18:35. Even if it is the other person's
fault, we have to try for forgiveness: Matthew 18:13.
Don't wait: Ephesians 4:26. Love one another: Romans
6. "Forgiveness is the key to happiness."
is letting go of the past."
"Forgiveness ends all
suffering and loss" (Dr. Gerald Jampolsky).
the facts, cancel the punishment and assume the
Forgiveness is a command: Mark 11:25.
Extend forgiveness to others to obtain it from God:
If not forgive, it hurts us like cancer.
If not forgive, it hurts others also: Hebrews 12:
Unforgiveness is equal to revenge which is not
right: Romans 12:19.
Jesus taught us to forgive, even
on the cross and encouraged to love each other.
Forgiveness is divine.
WHY WE CANNOT FORGIVE?
1. One sided: When we see only one side, get angry: we
don't listen to their sides. David realized his
mistakes: 2 Samuel 12:1-6. Joseph misunderstood Mary:
2. Unforgiveness is foolishness: Makes irritation and
worry to both parties. Love can win hatred: Romans
12:21. Need patience.
3. Where hatred, etc., think carefully and wait to
cool down. Pray: James 1:19.
4. God forgives us:
Matthew 18:23-25. God forgives all
our sins: Colossians 3:13.
5. See God in others:
If we forgive others, that is to
God: Matthew 25:40, 45; Ephesians 4:32. Forgiving is
not a sign of weakness. It is a growth in the
spiritual life. Hurt leads to hate. Then comes the
healing process and finally coming together. Forgiving
is forgetting and healing the hurt.
6. God forgives:
Unlike his father Hezekiah, Manasseh
(2 Kings 21) worshipped the hosts of heaven and
outraged God. The end result was of his capture by the
Assyrians and putting him in prison. There he repented
and prayed for forgiveness. "A broken and contrite
heart, He will not despise." (Psalm 51: ).Manasah's
sins were forgiven; his heart was renewed' his honor
was restored, his whole life was changed. He repaired
the altar of God's house and encouraged the people to
turn back to God again. God forgives. So He sent His
only begotten Son to save us from sin.
7. TEAR OF REPENTANCE LEADS TO FORGIVE-NESS:
God punished an angel for wrongdoing by sending him to
earth asking him to bring back the most precious thing
he could find. The angel returned with a DROP OF BLOOD
from a soldier dying for his country. Though precious,
it was not the most precious.
Then the angel brought
back the LAST BREATH of a heroic woman who sacrificed
her life for others. Though more precious, it was not
the most precious.
Saw a criminal at the last moment
feeling sorry for his victim and not hurting him and
after blinking his eyes ROLLING A TEAR down his cheek.
The angel brought that tear. The angel was forgiven
and accepted back in heaven, for the tear of
repentance was the most precious and important thing
We have a "sinful nature" (Romans 7:18).
have sinned (Romans 3:23).
Sin alienates us from God.
Adam and Eve hid.
We can be forgiven and be cleansed.
Jesus forgives: Mark 2:10. Peter was sinful but forgot
all and followed Him: Luke 5:11
We are sinners (1 John
8:9), but forgiven. Mary Magdaline was forgiven (Luke
God is interested in repentance, not
God is merciful and kind to forgive, if
we repent. We have to have faith. ..complete
submission .. yield ourselves.
Sin is the transgression of God's law: 1 John 3:4.
All have sinned: Romans 3:23. The wages of
sin is death. The sinner has to be reconciled with
Repentance makes reconciliation.
The three motives to change behavior:
(1) Fear of punishment
(2) Desire for reward
God demonstrates His love toward us : Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10).
God loved us first: 1 John 4:19.
The goodness of God leads us to repentance: Romans 2:4.
Repentance shall be sin-cere=without wax (clay pot): unblemished truth. Hot water
melts the wax and the hole will show show thus becomes
useless. Holy spirit melts the waxes in us. We have to
repair the cracks.
God hates sin, loves the sinners.
Jesus mingled with them: Luke 7:34; Matthew 9:11.
Jesus came to call sinners: Luke 5:32. Jesus "is holy,
undefiled, separate from sinners: Hebrews
Jesus loves "righteousness and hates
wickedness": Hebrews 1:9.
We have to work with
sinners; we are in this sinful world, but we are not "of the
world": John 17:14-16.
The parable of the
Pharisee and the tax collector: Luke 18:9-14. The
Pharisee did not recognize his own sinfulness (ver. 10-11). Tax collectors are publicans who are abhorred
by the Jewish community as apostates, traitors, and
unclean because of their contact with all kinds of
people during tax collections. But this one repented:
God listens to repented sinners. Jesus stayed
with Zaacheus, the chief publican: Luke 19:1ff.
"Without holiness, no one will see God" (Hebrews
12:14). Holy Mysteries are given only to the pure and
9. WHEN DRIFTING FROM GOD:
David committed a very serious sin: 2 Samuel 11:1ff. Amman, capital city of
Jordan, is known in the Bible as Rabbah, the capital
city of Ammorites when king David of Israel sent
Uriah, one of his trusted generals to certain death.
David committed adultery with Bersheba, Uriah's wife.
Cover up did not work. So killed Uriah and committed
two errors. David was a courageous (killed Goliath),
loyal (risked life to save his sheep from a lion),
God-feared man who drifted from God. God went after
him through Nathan, the prophet and David repented.
God looks for the one lost sheep: Matthew 18:10-14. WE
have to admit our sins, pray, fast - get help from a
servant of the Lord. A friendly shepherd: Luke 15:5,
will help us. After repentance, David wrote Psalm 51.
Spit out the sins and swallow the pride and do useful
service to God.
10. HOW TO FLEE FROM SIN?
1. Avoid wrong environment. Israel did not do that:
Deuteronomy 20:16-17; Judges 1:28-33; 2:11-2.
2. Avoid the appearance of evil: Luke 10:1; 1
Thessalonians 5:22 vs. 5:14-16.
3. Avoid certain people: Romans 16:17-18; 14:1; 1
Corinthians 5:11, 13 vs. right people: Malachi 3:16;
4. Avoid godless talk: Luke 6:45; Ephesians 5:3-4,12
vs. Proverbs 25:11.
11. FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD:
Genesis 1: 1-112
1. In the beginning God: The word "God" is used 32
times in this chapter, in almost all of the verses
2. Created from nothing: Hebrews 11:3
3. Created the whole universe: New heavens and new
earth in the new creation: Isaiah 65:17; 66:22;
4. Darkness because of the absence of light
5.God created everything.
1 Kings 3: 5-28
1. Solomon prayed and wisdom and riches came to him
2. Solomon prays for help to speak of wisdom
3. Nature and incomparable dignity of wisdom.
ISAIAH 29: 15-24
1. God knows the thoughts of false counselors
2. The Messiah comes to redeem
3. The powerless: the deaf, blind, humble, poor - will
have their day
4. God is love: We have to recognize that He alone is
the Holy One who blesses us.
JAMES 1: 2-12
1. "Brethren": 16 times to show the close relationship
James has in Christ with the believers.
2. When we face trials or discouraging circumstances,
we should have joy.
3. God uses these troubles to make us stronger.
4. We develop patience to produce the perfect work of
a fully developed Christian character.
5. We have to pray for spiritual insight.
6. If we do not trust God, we are unstable as a wave
(Ephesians 4:14): double minded because then we trust
God, but not completely.
7. Earthly wealth is temporary. In Christ we have true
riches that will not pass away.
8. Wealth does not bring lasting satisfaction: Matthew
9. The faithful Christian receives the crown of life:
eternal life: Revelation 2:10.
1. The devil seeks to lead us astray.
2. God uses temptations and difficulties to test and
to strengthen us.
3. For the first test, turning stones into bread,
Jesus answered by quoting Moses: Deuteronomy: 8:3.
4. In the second test: "throw yourself down", Satan
quoted Psalms 91: 11-12, and Jesus answered by quoting
Exodus 17:17: Do not put God to test.
5. Again Satan caused Jesus to see all the kingdoms of
the world, but Jesus answered quoting Deuteronomy
6:13, 16, pointing against falling into idolatry.
6. The Satan left and Jesus was ministered by the
angels. God takes care of His obedient Son.