2014-02-09 message

Post date: Feb 10, 2014 5:20:23 PM

Concluding the katavasiae of the Presentation

Ode viii. The Youths, being piety's defenders, as if joining battle with the unbearable fire, and uninjured by the flame, sang a divine hymn exultantly, "All you works of the Lord, bless the Lord, and exalt supremely unto all the ages." The three youths of Babylon provide one of the most important images of the Old Testament. We sing of them as being in equal number to the Trinity, we recall them being refreshed by a cool wind in the midst of fire, and we call them pious and, in this case, piety’s defenders. How did they defend piety? By reserving worship for the only One to whom worship is due and remaining steadfast in their faith and trust even at the risk of losing their lives. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan. 3:17-18.

Ode ix. O believers, come let us perceive a type in the law, and the shadow and the letter. Every male that opens the womb shall be holy to God. So the unoriginated Father's firstborn Logos and Son, who is the firstborn of the Mother who knew not man, we magnify. The Church has always understood the Bible from its central point: Christ. The Old Testament is about Christ, pointing to Him, leading to Him. There is no other way to properly understand it. And so, the Old Testament type of first-born males being ‘holy to God’ is fulfilled in the first-(and only) born Son of the Father in His divinity and of the Theotokos in His humanity. As the hymns says, we magnify Him.

With love in Christ,

+Fr. Peter