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2013-12-01 message

posted Dec 8, 2013, 6:04 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Dec 8, 2013, 6:04 PM ]

Continuing our journey through the katavasiae of Christmas, today we look at odes four and five.

Ode 4: Jesse's root produced a branch, O Christ, and You its flower blossomed forth, from the Virgin who by Habakkuk prophetically once was called overshadowed, dense mountain. From her who knew not man You came incarnate, the immaterial God. Glory to Your power, O Lord. Isaiah 11 speaks of the root of Jesse: “the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him” and we see the fulfillment in the Lord’s baptism. It says, “he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes” and we see Christ looking beyond appearances to the truth of the heart and beyond the letter of the law to its spirit. Yet more, he “shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” From the very beginning, the Church understood herself as the new Israel, grafted, as St. Paul says, unto the old, and Christ has gathered and continues to gather faithful in the Church from everywhere in the world. In Him the fullness of our humanity blossomed and because of Him we, too, are able to grow into the fullness of our humanity in ever-growing unity with God.

Ode 5: God of peace and Father of mercies, Your Son You have sent unto us as Your messenger, the Angel of great counsel who is granting peace to all. Therefore having been guided to the light of godly knowledge, waking from the night to dawn, we sing Your glory, O Lover of man. Creation is rich and complex, its true nature and meaning not able to be understood through mere rational analysis. To understand ourselves, our place in creation, and creation itself, we need to be able to see it from God’s perspective and, while we may not reach the fullness of that understanding and vision, we are able to grow in it through His grace. As we gain that understanding, we also gain that peace, which Christ has promised to His disciples and followers, the peace that does not depend on material well-being or even physical health, but comes as a gift from Him who is the God of peace and Father of mercies.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter