UGCC Head on God’s Epiphany: Today, the Church is prepared to overcome any sort of humiliations

Thursday, 23 January 2014, 13:06
In closely looking at Christ who was baptized in the Jordan River, we openly say: the Church today should and is prepared to overcome any kind of humiliations. The Church should stand next to the one who has been robbed of tomorrow’s day, of the right of freedom and justice, stand next to those who are in despair today. This was stated by the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) in his sermon to the faithful during the Pontifical Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ on the day of one of the greatest feasts of the liturgical year – Epiphany.

This feast day is associated with the Baptism of Jesus Christ, administered by John the Precursor in the Jordan River.

On this day we hear, described the Prelate, how the Gospel announces, that John poured the Jordan water on the head of Jesus, and He came out of water and the heavens opened and the Holy Trinity appeared to the people -- the Holy Trinity in three persons: the Father speaks, the Holy Spirit walks on the waters, and the Son of God is baptized in the Jordan River by John.

In his sermon, His Beatitude Sviatoslav explained why Christ came precisely to the Jordan River and what the baptism of Christ meant.

According to the preacher, from the geographical viewpoint, the River Jordan runs in the  textonimic break of the planet earth.  That is the lowest level of the whole existing earth planet.

“God’s Word – God goes to the lowest level from the heavens, humiliates himself, lowers himself in order to save people.  From the spiritual angle, Jesus accepts Baptism from John; he stands alongside his people, alongside the sinners,” he stated.

Expressed in contemporary terms, His Beatitude said that to accept Baptism for a religious leader from John, at that time, was to receive the worst recognition -- since at that time this Baptism was received by people who were marginalized by the existing society.  “And there God Himself stands in front of them as a sinner.  He takes on their suffering, their despair, hopelessness, in order to grant them hope, to cleanse them from sin.  He lowers himself in front of sinners in order to return to the human being the high dignity of being the son or daughter of God.  And this exactly is the lowest place – the social pit becomes the time and area of the Epiphany.  God appears to the downtrodden,” explains the UGCC Prelate.

He emphasized that if Christ’s mission was to show God to people, then the Church’s mission is to continue this Epiphany!

After the end of the Liturgy, the faithful, headed by their preacher, went to the “Ukrainian Jordan” – the Dnipro River, where they blessed the water. “However, we want to carry this water further.  With it we want to bless our homes, our hearts, our living environment, because just as Christ once appeared in  the Jordan River, so in the same way today, he we wants to appear in your and mine life,  in order to make it light, fruitful, full ofGod’s strength and God’s Word,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

“May this Jordan water – this symbol of God’s epiphany and presence, the Only One among us in the Trinity -- may it become the source of  blessings, enlightenment and strength.  And may Christ, God’s Word, be our hope which can -- as before over the Jordan -- open for us today, the heavens,”  wished the Church Head all the faithful and people of good will.  

 

UGCC Department of Information

 

 

 

           

 

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