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Traditions - Epiphany
Prepared by Very Reverend Archimandrite Alexander Kile.
Epiphany is one of the greatest feasts of Christianity and humanity. In the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the human nature is sanctified and is washed away from the original sin inherited by the first human Adam.
The Church on the day of Epiphany chants "You came, oh Lord, towards the wilderness and you took the shape of a servant" in order to express Her adoration, Her wonder for the extreme humility of the Son of God who became man and dwelled among us.
We as servants of God we go toward God, but He as God went toward man. "Towards the voice that cry in the wilderness".
Christ is not advancing towards the wilderness because He heard the voice. He does not go to the wilderness because He needs repentance, the One who is sinless. He goes into the wilderness towards the voice in order to set up Himself as an example of repentance to us and also give us the great lesson of the extreme humility.
The presence of John the Forerunner in the wilderness of Jordan and His preaching of repentance to the people of Judea of his time are parts of the Salvation Plan that God has created for all humanity. Christ does not ignore that plan; He came to fulfill that plan. He counts on John who preached about His arrival to the Jewish people. The preaching of John the Forerunner and His baptism presage the mission of the Church. The presence of Jesus Christ in Jordan seals the importance and the necessity of this salutatory mission.
In our days, unfortunately there are people that they doubt the necessity of the presence of the Church, for the salvation of mankind. There are people who believe that their relation with God is direct, is a personal relation that does not need any interference or guidance of a third party, for example the Church and her teachings. These people who are claiming such theories are wondering in their egotistical world of self-sufficiency. They decline the mission of the Church, which is established by Our Lord, Himself, they decline the Word of God, which is preached and interpreted in the Church, they also decline the means of sanctification of the sacraments. Today's walk of Christ towards the wilderness of Jordan and towards John gives, an undoubtedly, a right answer to these people thoughts and believes that they are very wrong.
Christ comes, today "towards the voice that cry in the wilderness" in order to invite us also to the Church. The Holy Church with Her voice, Her word, Her preaching is "the voice that cry in the wilderness", in the wilderness of the modern man. People who are living very far from the will of God create this wilderness. This wilderness that makes the human beings with the absolute love for money, obsession to material goods and fleshly desires of this world. A wilderness that seriously affects and destroys the real human nature of goodness of all human beings. The Holy Church is that voice in this wilderness for all who have hearing problems because they live in this modern world and they do not want to hear that voice which will bring them happiness and salvation. This deafness created out of lack of love and out of lack of communication with each other.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God invites us all towards this voice, the voice of the Holy Church that He founded with His Holy Blood. Why is deemed necessary to follow this voice, that comes from the wilderness? It is needed, because there in that voice we are going to free ourselves from all temptations of this world. There we will be set free from the unhappiness that surrounds us and the harshness of the dessert we live in. We can wash our soul in the waters of the Jordan and clean it from the spots of our personal sins. We can take care of our soul and so love, good virtues and peace will blossom in us.
Let us all follow Christ. Let us accept in our lives and in our souls the Blessings of Jordan through our dedication to the teachings of our Church and through the sprinkling of the Holy Water that the priest is going to bring it to our homes. Let us receive our own " cleansing energy and operation of the Holy Trinity" which will company us and protect us from every evil during our presence in life.
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