Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6, 2012 - 30th Friday After Pentecost


FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

ΤΑ ΑΓΙΑ ΘΕΟΦΑΝΕΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΚΥΡΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΘΕΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.

The Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Theophan the Recluse

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from Mark 1:9-11
At that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with whom I am well pleased.

Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 1.9-11
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη ὑπὸ ᾿Ιωάννου εἰς τὸν ᾿Ιορδάνην.καὶ εὐθέως ἀναβαίνων ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδε σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν·καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν· σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ ηὐδόκησα.

The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
TITUS, my son, the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Πρὸς Τίτον 2:11-14; 3:4-7
Τέκνον Τίtε, ἐπεφάνη γὰρ ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ σωτήριος πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, παιδεύουσα ἡμᾶς ἵνα, ἀρνησάμενοι τὴν ἀσέβειαν καὶ τὰς κοσμικὰς ἐπιθυμίας, σωφρόνως καὶ δικαίως καὶ εὐσεβῶς ζήσωμεν ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι, προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀνομίας, καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἑαυτῷ λαὸν περιούσιον, ζηλωτὴν καλῶν ἔργων. Ὅτε δὲ ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἐπεφάνη τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ, οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ὧν ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸν αὐτοῦ ἔλεον ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς, διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου, οὗ ἐξέχεεν ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς πλουσίως, διὰ Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι, κληρονόμοι γενώμεθα κατʼ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου.

The Reading is from Matthew 3:13-17
At that time, Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 3.13-17
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, παραγίνεται ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐπὶ τὸν ᾿Ιορδάνην πρὸς τὸν ᾿Ιωάννην τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ.ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιωάννης διεκώλυεν αὐτὸν λέγων· ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι, καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με;ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπε πρὸς αὐτόν· ἄφες ἄρτι· οὕτω γὰρ πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην· τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτόν·καὶ βαπτισθεὶς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀνέβη εὐθὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνεῴχθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ εἶδε τὸ Πνεῦμα τοῦ Θεοῦ καταβαῖνον ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν καὶ ἐρχόμενον ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν·καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν λέγουσα· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ ΣΤ᾽ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, τὰ Ἅγια Θεοφάνεια τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Τοὺς οὐρανοὺς Βάπτισμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ σχίσαν,
Τοὺς αὐτὸ μὴ χραίνοντας ἔνδὸν εἰσάγει.
Βάπτισεν ἐν ποταμῷ Χριστὸν Πρόδρομος κατὰ ἕκτην.
Αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.

About the beginning of our Lord's thirtieth year, John the Forerunner, who was some six months older than Our Saviour according to the flesh, and had lived in the wilderness since his childhood, received a command from God and came into the parts of the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. Then our Saviour also came from Galilee to the Jordan, and sought and received baptism though He was the Master and John was but a servant. Whereupon, there came to pass those marvellous deeds, great and beyond nature: the Heavens were opened, the Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Him that was being baptized and the voice was heard from the Heavens hearing witness that this was the beloved Son of God, now baptized as a man (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:1-22). From these events the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and the great mystery of the Trinity were demonstrated. It is also from this that the present feast is called "Theophany," that is, the divine manifestation, God's appearance among men. On this venerable day the sacred mystery of Christian baptism was inaugurated; henceforth also began the saving preaching of the Kingdom of the Heavens.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Ἐν Ἰορδάνῃ βαπτιζομένου σου Κύριε, ἡ τῆς Τριάδος ἐφανερώθη προσκύνησις, τοῦ γὰρ Γεννήτορος ἡ φωνὴ προσεμαρτύρει σοί, ἀγαπητὸν σὲ Υἱὸν ὀνομάζουσα, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐν εἴδει περιστεράς, ἐβεβαίου τοῦ λόγου τὸ ἀσφαλές. Ὁ ἐπιφανεῖς Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, καὶ τὸν κόσμον φωτίσας δόξα σοί.
When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world, glory be to Thee.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ἐπεφάνης σήμερον τὴ οἰκουμένη, καὶ τὸ φῶς σου Κύριε, ἐσημειώθη ἐφ' ἡμᾶς, ἓν ἐπιγνώσει ὑμνούντάς σε. Ἦλθες ἐφάνης τὸ Φῶς τὸ ἀπρόσιτον.
You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: "You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light."

"Επεφάνη η χάρις του Θεού η σωτήριος. . .", είναι γραμμένο στις επιστολές του Αποστόλου Παύλου. Και πάλι "η χάρις και η αλήθεια δια Ιησού Χριστού εγένετο", είναι γραμμένο στο Ευαγγέλιο του Ιωάννου. Το νέο λοιπόν που κομίζει ο Ιησούς Χριστός στον κόσμο είναι η χάρις. Το χαροποιό μήνυμα του Ευαγγελίου, η ουσία και το βάθος του Χριστιανισμού είναι η χάρις. Το ξεχωριστό γνώρισμα της Εκκλησίας και η διαφορά της από τη Συναγωγή είναι η χάρις. Ό,τι έχει η "καινή κτίσις", που δεν υπάρχει στον παλαιό κόσμο, είναι η χάρις. Βασίλειο της χάριτος είναι η "Βασιλεία των ουρανών". Και η σημερινή μεγάλη γιορτή Θεοφάνεια ή Επιφάνεια, είναι η ημέρα, όπου επίσημα και πανηγυρικά, με την φανέρωση της Αγίας Τριάδος, έκαμε την είσοδό της στον κόσμο η θεία χάρις. "Επεφάνης σήμερον τη οικουμένη και το φως σου, Κύριε, εσημειώθη εφ' ημάς...", ψάλλει η Εκκλησία.

Τὰ Ἅγια Θεοφάνεια
Ἡ γιορτὴ αὐτὴ εἶναι ἀπὸ τὶς ἀρχαιότερες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας καὶ ἄρχισε τὸ δεύτερο μετὰ Χριστὸν αἰῶνα. Ἀναφέρεται στὴ φανέρωση τῆς Ἁγίας Τριάδας κατὰ τὴν βάπτιση τοῦ Κυρίου μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ στὸν Ἰορδάνη ποταμό. Ἡ Ἱστορία τῆς βάπτισης αὐτῆς εἶναι γνωστή, ἰδιαίτερα ἀπὸ τὸ κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιο, στὸ Γ´ κεφάλαιο, στοὺς στίχους 13-17. Ὁ Πρόδρομος Ἰωάννης μετὰ ἀπὸ θεία διαταγὴ ἄφησε τὴν ἐρημικὴ ζωὴ καὶ ἦλθε στὸν Ἰορδάνη ποταμό. Ἐκεῖ κήρυττε, ἐξομολογοῦσε καὶ βάπτιζε. Ἐνῷ ἔκανε ὁ Ἰωάννης τὸ ἔργο αὐτό, μία μέρα ἦλθε σ᾿ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς. Τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιο πληροφόρησε τὸ γιὸ τῆς Ἐλισάβετ ποιὸς ἦταν. Ὁ Ἰησοῦς ζητάει νὰ βαπτισθεῖ. Ἔκπληκτοι οἱ παρευρισκόμενοι βλέπουν τὸν αὐστηροπρόσωπο καὶ ἐπιβλητικὸ ἀσκητὴ καὶ διδάσκαλο νὰ ὑποχωρεῖ μὲ ἀνέκφραστη εὐλάβεια καὶ ταπείνωση μπροστὰ στὸν ἄγνωστο. Στὴν ἀρχὴ ἀρνεῖται νὰ Τὸν βαπτίσει καὶ Τοῦ λέει ὅτι αὐτὸς ἔχει ἀνάγκη νὰ βαπτισθεῖ ἀπὸ Ἐκεῖνον. Ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν πείθει νὰ Τὸν βαπτίσει, διότι ἔτσι ἔπρεπε. Καὶ τότε, στὰ νερὰ τοῦ Ἰορδάνη διαδραματίζεται σκηνὴ μεγαλειώδης καὶ μοναδική. Μὲ μορφὴ περιστεριοῦ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιο ἔρχεται καὶ κάθεται πάνω στὸν βαπτιζόμενο Ἰησοῦ. Καὶ συγχρόνως, φωνὴ ἀπὸ τὸν οὐρανό, τοῦ Πατέρα Θεοῦ, ἀκούγεται νὰ λέει: «Οὖτος ἐστὶν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα». Ἔτσι, μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο, στὴ βάπτιση τοῦ Ἰησοῦ φανερώθηκε ὁ Θεὸς ὁ τρισυπόστατος, ἡ Τριάδα ἡ Ἁγία, καὶ γι᾿ αὐτὸ ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας ὀνόμασε τὴν γιορτὴ αὐτὴ Θεοφάνεια.

Ὁ Νέος Ἱερομάρτυρας Ῥωμανός
Ὁ νεοφανὴς αὐτὸς ἅγιος νεομάρτυρας καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὸ χωριὸ Δημινίτζα τῆς Λακωνίας Πελοποννήσου. Ἀρνούμενος νὰ ὑποκύψει στὶς πιέσεις τῶν Τούρκων νὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσει, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη στὶς 6 Ἰανουαρίου 1695.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Εὐάγριος
Ὑπῆρξε Ἱεροδιάκονος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Καισαρείας. Χειροτονήθηκε Ἀναγνώστης ἀπὸ τὸν Μ. Βασίλειο καὶ Ἱεροδιάκονος ἀπὸ τὸν ἀδελφὸ τοῦ Μ. Βασιλείου Γρηγόριο Νύσσης καὶ ἔζησε ζωὴ Ἀποστολική. Ἦταν γιὸς Ἱερέα ἀπὸ τὴν Ἰβηρία ποὺ ἐξελληνίστηκε στὴν Καισαρεία. Ὑπῆρξε δεινότατος ῥήτορας καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ λίγο ἔλειψε νὰ χάσει τὴν σωφροσύνη του ἐρωτευθεὶς γυναῖκα πλούσια, ποὺ σώθηκε ὅμως ἀπὸ τὴν κατάσταση αὐτὴ διὰ θαύματος. Κατόπιν πῆγε στὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅπου πάλι πολεμήθηκε ἀπὸ τὴν ἀλαζονεία γιὰ τὴν ῥητορική του εὐφράδεια. Μόλις ὅμως, χάριτι Θεοῦ, συνῆλθε, ἐξομολογήθηκε στὴν Ὁσία Μελάνη τὴν Ῥωμαία, ἡ ὁποία συνέβαλε νὰ γίνει μοναχός. Ἀσκήτευσε σὲ κάποιο ὄρος τῆς Νιτρίας, ὅπου ἔζησε 16 χρόνια μὲ αὐστηρότατη ἐγκράτεια. Ἀφοῦ καθάρισε τὸν νοῦ καὶ τὴν καρδιά του, μετὰ τρία χρόνια πέθανε τὴν 6η Ἰανουαρίου τοῦ 415, ἀφοῦ πρῶτα ἀξιώθηκε καὶ τοῦ προφητικοῦ χαρίσματος.

The Holy Theophany of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ
'About the beginning of our Lord's thirtieth year, John the Forerunner, who was some six months older than our Saviour according to the flesh, and had lived in the wilderness since his childhood, received a command from God and came into the parts of the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. Then our Saviour also came from Galilee to the Jordan, and sought and received baptism though He was the Master and John was but a servant. Whereupon, there came to pass those marvellous deeds, great and beyond nature: the Heavens were opened, the Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Him that was being baptized, and the voice was heard from the Heavens bearing witness that this was the beloved Son of God, now baptized as a man (Matt. 3:13 17; Mark 1:9 11; Luke 3:1 22). From these events the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Chist and the great mystery of the Trinity were demonstrated. It is also from this that the present feast is called "Theophany," that is, the divine manifestation, God's appearance among men. On this venerable day the sacred mystery of Christian baptism was inaugurated; henceforth also began the saving preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven.' (Great Horologion)
  When Thou was baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; for the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world,glory be to Thee. — Troparion of Theophany
  'But Christ's descent into the river has also a further significance. When Christ went down into the waters, not only did he carry us down with Him and make us clean, but He also made clean the nature of the waters themselves... The feast of Theophany has thus a cosmic aspect. The fall of the angelic orders, and after it the fall of man, involved the whole universe. All God's creation was thereby warped and disfigured: to use the symbolism of the liturgical texts, the waters were made a "lair of dragons". Christ came on earth to redeem not only man but through man the entire material creation. When He entered the water, besides effecting by anticipation our rebirth in the font, he likewise effected the cleansing of the waters, their transfiguration into an organ of healing and grace.' Bishop Kallistos, "Background and meaning of the Feasts" in the Festal Menaion.
  The western feast of Epiphany, also on this day, commemorates not Christ's baptism but the adoration of the Magi.

Menologion 3.0
Theophany / Bogoyavlenie denotes the feast whereby through the Baptism of the Lord the MostHoly Trinity has been revealed to the world (Mt. 3: 13-17; Mk. 1: 9-11; Lk. 3: 21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptised by the holy ForeRunner of the Lord John, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a Dove. From ancient times this feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since that God is Light and has appeared to illumine "those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death" (Mt. 4: 16) and to save through grace the fallen race of mankind.
In the ancient Church it was the custom to baptise catechumens at the vespers of Theophany, such that Baptism also is revealed as a spiritual illumination of mankind.
The origin of the feast of Theophany came about in Apostolic times. Mention is made concerning it in the Apostolic Decretals. From the II Century there is preserved the testimony of Sainted Clement of Alexandria concerning the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord and performing the night vigil before this feast.
In the III Century on the feast of Theophany there is known the dialogue concerning Divine-services between the holy martyr Hyppolitus and Saint Gregory the WonderWorker. In the following centuries -- from the IV to IX Century -- all the great fathers of the Church -- Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostomos, Ambrose of Milan, John Damascene, had their own comments about the feast of Theophany. The monks Joseph the Studite, Theophanes and Byzantios composed much liturgical music for this feastday, which even now is sung for Divine-services. The Monk John Damascene said, that the Lord was baptised not because He Himself had need for cleansing, but so that "by water to bury human sin", to fulfill the law, to reveal the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and finally, to sanctify "watery nature" and to proffer it to us in the form and example of Baptism.
On the feastday of the Baptism of Christ, Holy Church asserts our faith in the mystery -- most sublime and incomprehensible to human intellect -- of the Three Persons of the One God. It teaches us to confess and glorify as equally-honoured the Holy Trinity One-Essence and Undivided. It exposes and collapses the fallacies of the ancient pseudo-teachings, which attempted with reason and by human terms to explain the Creator of the world. The Church shews the necessity of Baptism for believers in Christ, and it inspires for us a sense of deep gratitude for the Illumination and Purification of our sinful nature. The Church teaches that our salvation and cleansing from sin is possible only by the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit, wherefore it is necessary to preserve worthily these gifts of the grace of holy Baptism -- keeping clean this priceless garb, about which the feast of the Baptism tells us: "As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27).
[Translator Note: literally rendered from Greek "Theophany" means "Manifestation of God", whereas "Epiphany" connotes "Manifest upon"; "Theophany" is the more accurate rendering of Slavonic "Bogoyavlenie".]

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. THE EPIPHANY [THEOPHANY] OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
When our Lord reached thirty years from His physical birth, He began His teaching and salvific work. He Himself signified this "beginning of the beginning" by His baptism in the Jordan river. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says, " The beginning of the world - water; the beginning of the Good News - Jordan." At the time of the baptism of the Lord in water, that mystery was declared to the world: that mystery which was prophesied in the Old Testament; the mystery about which in ancient Egypt and India was only fabled; i.e., the mystery of the Divine Holy Trinity. The Father was revealed to the sense of hearing; the Spirit was revealed to the sense of sight, and in addition to these, the Son was revealed to the sense of touch. The Father uttered His witness about the Son, the Son was baptized in the water, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovered above the water. When John the Baptist witnessed and said about Christ, "Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world"
(St. John 1:29), and when John immersed and baptized the Lord in the Jordan, the mission of Christ in the world and the path of our salvation was shown. That is to say: The Lord took upon Himself the sins of mankind and died under them [immersion] and became alive again [the coming out of the water]; and we must die as the old sinful man and become alive again as cleansed, renewed and regenerated. This is the Savior and this is the path of salvation. The Feast of the Epiphany [Theophany in Greek] is also called the Feast of Illumination. For us, the event in the Jordan river illuminates, by manifesting to us God as Trinity, consubstantial and undivided. That is one way. And, the second: everyone of us through baptism in water is illumined by this, that we become adopted by the Father of Lights through the merits of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY TRINITY
O, Holy Lord, holy in creating,
All that You create by Your Word, by Your Spirit You consecrate.
O, Mighty Lord, mighty in suffering,
For the world You walk to Your death; for the world, You resurrect.
Immortal Lord, in voice, we praise You;
Father, Son, Holy Spirit - God, have mercy on us!
The Father, Who appeared over Jordan as a Voice,
The Spirit, Who as a White Dove hovered,
The Son, Who by the Prophet John was baptized,
Three rays of light, one light shown,
The Trinity manifested, we praise You in voice:
Father, Son, Holy Spirit - God, have mercy on us!

REFLECTION
At one time, the fables of the heretics plagued the Church of God and now the Church is plagued by the fables of the apostates from God. By perseverance in the Faith, by diligence in prayer, by confession of the Faith and even martyrdom for the Faith, the Church remained undefeated until now. Only by these methods will these neo-plagues be defeated. The Church of God, the Vessel of Divine Truth will triumph in the end, "The enemies are ruined completely forever" (Psalm 9:7). Blessed Clement of Alexandria said about heretics who left the Church, "He who has fallen into heresy travels through an arid desert, abandoning the One True God. Alienated from God, he seeks water in dry places, he gathers barren fruit with his hands and enters into an uninhabited and thirsty land." This also can be said today about the many hypothecators and theoreticians who are led by their imaginations and not by the truth of God.

CONTEMPLATION
To contemplate the event of the Baptism of the Lord:
1. His humble coming to the Jordan river unknown to all, except John;
2. His immersion in the water; the hovering of the Dove over Him; and the Voice from on High.

HOMILY
About the mystery of [Heavenly] Divine Trinity
"For there are three thatbear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and theHoly Spirit: and these threeare one. And there are three that bear witnessin earth, the spirit and thewater and the blood: andthese three are together"(I John 5: 7-8).
When we read Holy Scripture, we should be alert to keep an eye on every word. To the rapid reader, for example, this distinction which the Evangelist draws between the Heavenly Trinity and the earthly trinity will not become apparent. Concerning the Heavenly Trinity, he says, "And these three are one;" and concerning the earthly trinity, he says, "And these three are together." There is an enormous difference between "being one" and "being together." The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are One, whereas the spirit, water and blood are only together and are not one. Even enemies could be together as one, but are not one. All the people on earth are together, but they are not one. Water and blood constitute the body and the spirit is the spirit. "For the flesh has desires against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh" (Galatians 5:17). However, they are not one, but they are still together. When man dies the union is broken apart and ceases to exist. Blood and water go to one side and the spirit goes to another side. Whereas the [Heavenly] Divine Trinity in the heavens not only are they together but they are also one.
There is also another trinity in the inner heaven of man which should be, not only a unity, but a oneness so that man could be blessed in this world and in the other world. That is the union of the mind, heart and will. As long as these three are only in togetherness, man will be at war with himself and with the Heavenly Trinity. However, when these three become one, so that neither one rules and that neither one is enslaved, then man becomes filled with "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7), man's every word, every explanation, every fear and every sorrow. Then the small heaven in man begins to resemble that great heaven of God, and the "image and likeness of God" becomes apparent in man.
O Triune God, help us to resemble, at least, those who resemble You.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.