Homily on the Day of the Theophany Before the Blessing of the Waters (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John Maximovitch(Delivered in Shanghai in 1947)

“The heavens had been opened and the Holy Spirit descended bodily like a dove” on the Son of God standing within the Jordan. The voice from heaven of God the Father is heard: “You are My beloved Son; in You I’m properly happy” (Luke 3:21-22; Mark 1:11; Matt. 3:17).The sky is open now, once more the Holy Spirit descends on the waters, and God testifies of His Son.

Oh, that our religious eyes could be opened! Oh, that our ears may understand celestial expressions! We would see the heavens open above us. We would have seen the Son of God standing amongst us and the Holy Spirit hovering over us, and we’d have heard the voice of God proclaiming the divinity of the Savior of the world.

We would really feel how the Holy Spirit descended on the waters, returned to them the kindness that that they had on the creation of the world, and made them a life-giving drive that revives fallen nature. We ourselves could be illumined with mild, our lips could be crammed with the spirit and joyfully sing of Him who established us on the rock of religion.

But solely the pure in coronary heart see the divine. Those darkened by sin don’t see and don’t hear.

People noticed the heavens on the baptism of the Lord, however solely John the Baptist noticed that it was open.

Many seemed on the Lord Jesus Christ when He got here to the Jordan, however solely John felt that He was the incarnate Son of God, whereas others checked out Him as an extraordinary individual, a carpenter and a carpenter’s son.

Perhaps not solely John noticed the Holy Spirit descending on Him within the type of a dove, however solely he understood that it was the Holy Spirit, whereas others mistook it for the flight of an extraordinary dove.

Perhaps many heard the voice of God the Father on the Jordan, however solely John clearly heard the testimony of God about His Son. Others heard it like thunder thundering over the waters, simply as later individuals mistook for thunder the reply of heaven, God the Father, to the prayer provided by the Son (John 12:30).

So now, we see the clouds which have lined the sky, however we don’t see that it’s open, we breathe within the air, however we don’t really feel the Holy Spirit descending on us and the water, we hear the phrases of church hymns and don’t perceive their Divine energy.

But in reality the Lord stands between us “the place two or three are gathered in My title, there am I within the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20), actually the heavens are actually open and their Creator bears witness to the Eternal Word, now the Holy Spirit will descend on the waters and sanctify us. Water by the grace of God will change into a supply of well being of soul and physique, sanctification for us and our dwellings and all nature, and will probably be stored incorruptible for a few years, will change into just like the voice of God, broadcasting that our Savior Jesus Christ is the Son of God, descended to earth and resurrecting us to incorruption and can increase you as much as the heavenly temple.

Let us open our hearts by religion and open our mouths to reward, from the depths of our souls we are going to cry out: “Great artwork thou, O Lord, and marvelous are Thy works, and never a single phrase will probably be enough for the singing of Thy wonders!”

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.





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