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2014-01-19 message

posted Jan 20, 2014, 5:03 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Jan 20, 2014, 5:04 PM ]

Before Christmas, we took a brief look at the first set of katavasiae for Christmas. I would like to continue now and look at the katavasiae for the Presentation of the Lord. These are chanted in Orthros from January 15 through February 9.

Ode i. Once did the sun look down upon the surface of the dry abysm-bearing plain; * for the water like a wall on either side was congealed, * for a people walking crossed the sea, making God-appealing melody. * Sing to the Lord for He has been gloriously glorified. At Vespers for the feast, we read from the book of Exodus the passage in which Moses reminds Israel of all the great works God had done to preserve Israel prior to their crossing of the sea, exhorting them to keep the law. Here also, God tells the people of Israel that the firstborn children were to be dedicated to Him. The miracle of the parting of the sea follows shortly after this passage. In this hymn we are reminded that the baby brought to the temple on this feast is both the giver and the only true keeper of the law, as well as the One Who saved the Israelites from Egypt and saves us from eternal death. For this, He is truly gloriously glorified.

Ode iii. As the firm support of those who hope in You firmly, * O Lord, now confirm the Church that You established, * which You purchased for yourself with Your precious Blood. Here we see affirmed the belief that the Church is not a mere human institution. She was founded by Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit. Christ is the foundation and the cornerstone of the Church through all the trials and tribulations that she will encounter and he is the support of all of us who, in faith, call upon Him at all times and at every hour. It is through Christ and in Christ, being always faithful to Him, that the Church becomes the support and strength of the faithful. We are reminded here of the imagery of St. Paul in Ephesians, saying that Christ gave Himself for the Church, that she might be holy and without blemish. We also hearken to St. John in Revelation saying that the garments (souls) of the faithful have been made white by washing in the blood of the Lamb.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter