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2014-02-16 message

posted Feb 16, 2014, 2:33 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Feb 16, 2014, 2:34 PM ]

The Sunday of the prodigal son has a special set of katavasiae. Let us look briefly at a couple.

Ode i. O my soul, taking up * the ode of Moses, cry aloud and say: * He became for me a helper and shelter unto salvation. * He is my God and I will glorify Him. In Exodus 15, Moses and Miriam sing about the ways in which the Lord saved Israel as they passed through the Red Sea. After remembering the miracle, they sing: “You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.” Through Christ, we have become the people led by God and guided to His kingdom, of which, on earth, the Church is an image.

Ode iii. Barren has my mind become. * Make me fruitful, O my God, in Your compassion, * as the Husbandman of good, * and the gardener of all * that is virtuous. We are created for good works (cf. Eph. 2:10). These are the fruits that we bear as followers of Christ and we are told that “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 7:19). In order to be true to our calling and bear good fruit, we call upon God to illumine our minds and to help the seed that was planted within us at baptism grow into the fullness of spiritual maturity, seen through good thoughts, words, and deeds.

Ode vi. The gulf of my transgressions, O Savior, presses me, * and in the ocean of life I am foundering. * As once You extracted Jonah from the whale, * so now from the passions haul me up, * and bring me to safety. As we approach Great Lent, we are reminded that it is a time of repentance; a time of remembering our sins–not unto despair, but unto cleansing and forgiveness. It is a time for striving towards that true freedom that comes through loosing the bonds of sin so that we may become slaves of righteousness (cf. Rom. 6:18). It may be strange to speak of slavery to righteousness, but we can understand that simply as having the strength and freedom to choose that which is good in every circumstance.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter