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2013-12-15 message

posted Dec 17, 2013, 2:33 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Dec 17, 2013, 2:33 PM ]

Ode 8: Babylon’s bedewing furnace bore the image of an extraordinary wonder. For it did not burn the youths it accepted, nor did the fire of Divinity consume the Virgin's womb wherein it went. So let us melodiously chant in praise: Let all creation bless and extol the Lord, and let it exalt Him supremely to the ages. Throughout these katavasiae we see what is the essential way of reading the Old Testament: through the lens of the incarnation. Christ is the key which unlocks the meaning not just of the prophecies regarding the Messiah, but of the entirety of the Old Testament. The furnace in Babylon is a prefigurement of the Theotokos. The outcome of the three youths being thrown in the furnace was unexpected: they were preserved unharmed. Likewise, the outcome of the divinity entering the womb of the Theotokos was unexpected in an even more marvelous way: she was preserved unharmed and the fruit of her womb was the perfect God-man. The only proper response to this event is wonder, which is best expressed in poetry and song.

Ode 9: I see here a strange and paradoxical mystery. For, behold, the grotto is heaven; cherubic throne is the Virgin; the manger a grand space in which Christ our God the uncontainable reclined as a babe; Whom in extolling do we magnify. The Son of the Virgin is a little baby, but he does not stop being the ever-present God. His place is on the cherubic throne, but he is found in the grotto. The universe cannot contain him, but he lies in a manger. Such is the paradoxical beauty of the incarnation. Let us stand in awe before the mystery, let us offer a hymn from our hearts, and let us always be thankful for the great love of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter