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2012-12-30 message

posted Jan 2, 2013, 9:11 AM by St. John's Webmaster

On January 1, the Church celebrates a double feast. It is the feast of St. Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, a man whose spiritual writings (among which are a rule for the monastic life, a commentary on the six day of creation, an exposition explaining the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and many letters in which he addresses the concerns of friends and faithful) are a treasure of knowledge and a source of inspiration.

The same day marks also the commemoration of the circumcision of Christ. Our Lord lived his earthly life according to the custom of Jewish law. We believe that He is the only one who was able to fulfill the law and He did so without blemish. He abided by it so that no fault could be found in him regarding the law. Just as importantly, being born an Israelite, among the people who received the law from God, He obeyed that law. He showed, as a human being, perfect obedience to the will of God.

It is no surprise, then, that in speaking to His disciples three decades later, He tells them, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He is the Son of the Father; He loves the Father and is loved by Him and Jesus shows the fruits of His love in that He follows the law of God in all details. The commandments have remained the same for all of us who follow Christ. He does not ask more or less of us than He did of his apostles. He does not ask more, because no more is needed for our salvation. He does not ask less, because there is not one person who is not created in the image and likeness of God and who cannot, by working with God’s grace, become a saint.

There is one more thing that I would like to note with regard to this feast. The apostles themselves saw that physical circumcision was not necessary for salvation and they settled this issue as is related to us in Acts 15. But the importance of the eighth day was not diminished. It is still the practice of our church that the baby receive his/her name, the name that will be used later for both the entry into the church on the fortieth day and for baptism, on that day as part of a short service.

May our Lord, Who gave us the example of perfectly following the will of the Father, grant us the wisdom and strength to do the same in our lives.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter
Parish Priest