This Sunday January 3, 2021 is called the Sunday Before the Feast of Theophany. The main theme of this Sunday is taken from the Gospel of St. Mark Chapter 1 verses 1 thru 8, which speaks to us in anticipation of the call (preparation) for a new beginning. The Evangelist Mark relates the adult life of Jesus, beginning with His Baptism in the River Jordan, as the gospel of good news of the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ.
The main theme of preparation is fulfilled by John the Baptist, who announces the public appearance of Jesus and seeks to prepare the people to accept Him. The preaching of John the Baptist is already the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ by anticipation. For as John the Baptist says, “prepare the way of the Lord…make a straight path for Him to travel”.
What a great message and challenge to us as we end one year and begin another. We are asked, can we, “prepare a way for the Lord?”, primarily by setting down for it the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. Can we “make his path straight”, by more fervently believing in Him, and by following His teachings more closely. What a joyful message of hope after so many months of anxiousness and trepidation in our lives and those of all the people of this world. Imagine as we welcome the new year, to now set down for ourselves a new spiritual goal or effort (podvik) that is worthy of the love of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Let this Feast of the Theophany, the manifestation of God in the flesh, the glorious Feast of Light, embolden our weary hearts with hope and regeneration in the sanctified waters of the Jordan. Theophany, my dear brothers and sisters means, “divine manifestation”. This is the Feast of the Manifestation of God to the world as the Holy Trinity, the three Great Lights of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in essence and glory. This is the feast of the Sanctification of Water, the purification from sin and the promise of renewal. For as the troparion proclaims, ” When Thou O Lord was baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest”. Let us rejoice in Christ Our God, “who has appeared and illumined the world, Glory to You”!
Christ is Born!