5 January 2014

posted 2 Jan 2014, 19:46 by C S Paul

5 January 2014

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Second Sunday after Christmas 

source - http://www.malankaraworld.com

Gospel Reading for this Sunday - Luke 3:7-22
New King James Version (NKJV)

Bible Readings for Denho Feast (January 6)

Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,

20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.

21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ (Denaha)

January 6th is celebrated in the Holy Church as the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ (Denaha).

This festival is called D 'denho or Denho in Syriac meaning 'Dawn'. Also called Epiphany or Theophany (God revealed).

"Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again; but who ever drinks of the water which I give him shall never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14)

"Why then is this day called Theophany? Because Christ made Himself known to all - not then when He was born -- but then when He was baptised. Until this time He was not known to the people. And that the people did not know Him, Who He was, listen about this to John the Baptist, who says: "Amidst you standeth, Him Whom ye know not of" (Jn.1:26)..."

Theophany - The Baptism of The Lord

by Fr. Andrew

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, also called Theophany or Epiphany, words which mean the Appearance of God, and this Feast is also called the Enlightenment. For that is exactly what this Feast is about, it is the first public Appearance of Christ, the beginning of His public preaching at the age of 30, and so the Enlightenment of mankind.

Theophany is in fact one of three Trinitarian Feasts in the Church Year, where 'the worship of the Trinity is made manifest'. For today the voice of the Father bears witness that, 'This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased', and the Spirit is seen in the form of a dove. Another such Feast is Pentecost, also called Trinity or Trinity Sunday, where the Son sends down the Spirit from the Father, from Whom the Spirit proceeds. Thirdly, there is also the Feast of the Transfiguration, where the voice of the Father is also heard and the Spirit is seen in the form of the Light of Tabor transfiguring the Son.

Today's Feast proves to the world that Christ is both God and man, that He has two natures. On the one hand, the Father calls Him 'My beloved Son' and the Spirit bears witness. On the other hand, as St John the Baptist shows in his humility that he is unworthy even to undo Christ's shoelaces, the sinless human nature of Christ did not need baptism. Christ underwent baptism in his human nature only because He needed to set us an example, to undergo all that we must undergo in order to be worthy of the Kingdom of God. Christ was indeed human flesh and blood - you cannot baptize a spirit or a ghost - Christ truly took on Himself our human nature.

The effects of the Baptism of Christ's human nature, of His body and soul, His mind and will, are immediate, for the world around Him may also be baptized through Him. In the icon of today's Feast we see in the waters of the Jordan a serpent-monster, a demon lurking in the water. Until the time of Christ, the whole world lay in evil. Through Christ's Coming, however, the whole world can be purified and redeemed. This process began with the purification of water, on which all life depends, of which our own bodies are mainly made up. Through Christ's Baptism the way is open for the baptism of the whole of mankind and the purification of the whole Cosmos. Christ's Baptism was the beginning of the purging of the world from evil. Those who reject Baptism allow the world to be filled with evil once more. This is why we baptize the new-born child, before the seeds of evil can come to lurk in his soul. This is why we sprinkle with Theophany water our homes and work-places, our cars and buses - so that no evil can lurk in them.

But what does Baptism mean for us, however, who are already baptized?

Although we believe that there is only One Baptism, in Church practice we use the word baptism in a figurative sense, for the sacrament of Confession is often called 'a second baptism'. It is through the 'second baptism' of Confession that we can renew ourselves by preparing ourselves to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, in the same way as the waters of the Jordan received Christ bodily when He was baptized. Thus among us too the old waters of the Jordan of human sin can be driven back and sin flees, as the demon-serpent is driven out of us by the Appearance of Christ and His Enlightenment of us.



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