All Souls Day; Sunday Preceding the Beginning of the Holy Lent

Written By: on Feb 25th, 2011 and filed under Articles, Devotional.

St. Luke 12: 32-48

According to the lectionary of our Church February 27 marks ‘All Souls Day’ this year. This is the Sunday that just precedes the beginning of the Holy Lent as well. The holy gospel that we hear on this Sunday is taken from St. Luke 12: 32-48. Parallels thereto can be seen in St. Matthew 6:19-21 and 24: 45-51.

Before we get in into the exegesis of the gospel portion, let us remind ourselves of two important concepts the Holy Church emphasizes thoroughly. For one, the holy Church includes the faithful, who are physically visible and invisible for us and for the other, holy lent is a combined experience for both the parties. In other words, we enter into the holy lent not without our departed ones, but with them. Our prayers gain wind when are added with that of the departed and their prayers gain momentum when added with that of ours. Since the seal of baptism is active upon us and upon them, we pray on this Sunday for them and in their realm they pray for us that the Lord prepare us all without spot and blemish to experience the heavenly bliss of resurrection. Therefore, the fathers have arranged the lectionary remembering all the departed clergy and faithful on two very Sundays before the holy lent commences.

St. Luke 12: 32-48 can be divided into three sections: I. v. 32-34, II. v. 35-40, and III. v. 41- 48. These three sections highlight the necessity to become poor by giving alms, the necessity of being watchful and the necessity of being faithful managers.

I. Necessity to become poor, give alms (v. 32-34)

When we buy something we pay the price, either in cash or in kind, just as the proverb goes, ‘there is no free lunch’. V. 32 exhorts that the little flock need not to fear for it is their Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom. One needs to buy a share or place in the kingdom by earning the good pleasure of the Father. To get into the kingdom, and to have a good treasure in the kingdom one is advised to sell all possessions off and give alms. When one sells ones possessions one gets money and that money shall be distributed as alms to get rid of it. In other words, one shall be poor in this world to enter into the kingdom and it is by becoming poor that one is buying a share in the kingdom.

I know a person, who has literally distributed all his wealth to the ones, who asked him therefore. Recently an Achen, who was a close ally to LL Catholicos HH Baselios Marthoma Mathew I narrated an incident similar. Bava Thirumeni had 42.5 laks of Rupees in his possession from the sales of Qurbanakramam, which he used to publish for decades. At his mid eighties, during 1980s, Bava Thirumeni would suddenly start distributing his wealth to anyone, who asked him. All the money was gone and his secretary Fr. Binoy (later LL Augen Mar Dionysius) told Bava Thirumeni that anymore checks would mean he would become bankrupt. That prompted Bava Thirumeni to preach a sermon about the need to become poor before dying. The Achen himself, who narrated this to me, heard it from Bava Thirumeni. It is very important to become poor, if one needs to enter into the kingdom.

One might think in the line, like Bava Thirumeni was a monk and a monk can distribute his wealth like that. In fact a monk is not supposed to own anything as well. Can we, the ones, who live in this world

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