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24031Re: Question on Baptism of John the Baptist

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  • Mathew G M
    Oct 3, 2012
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      --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:
      > Dear Mathew,
      > Many Thanks for your wonderful explanation. It throws more light into my learning but also gave me contradictions.

      > The simple logic contradicting is washing is for cleaning. Holy Baptism washes us. Washes us from what? Is that not from the sins?

      It is not the guilt of original sin that needs to wash away.
      Here again I want to use an example:

      A father tells a son, don't walk through a particular road after its dark. It is very dangerous. There are robbers there ready to attack you and rob you. The son disobeys the father and walks through that road after its dark. And just as the father had said, robbers attack the son. The son is hit and is wounded. Now the father goes out looking for the son and finds the son. What will the father do? The father immediately forgives the son for his disobedience. The priority of the father is not to punish the son or to ask him for a fine for disobeying. The priority of the father is the healing of his son and the restoration of the son to original health. The father will wash the wounds; most likely with Dettol or some other disinfectant. That washing is for healing; it is for the restoration of the son to original health.

      Similarly the washing of Holy Baptism is for the healing from the consequence of Original Sin; not the guilt of Original Sin. Of course we are guilty of our personal sins; we definitely need remission from the guilt of those sins.

      Now if the example that I have cited above sounds familiar; it is because I took the liberty to take the Parable of the Good Samaritan and modify it slightly to a modern context.

      Listen to the following Malayalam translation of a hymn originally written by the Syriac deacon Simon Kukkoyo.


      This is a hymn from the fifth Sunday of Great Lent. This hymn is based on the homily by St. John Chrysostom (Swarna-naavu-kaaranaya Mor Ivanious).

      St John Chrysostom (Mor Ivanios) teaches us the hidden meaning in the Parable. He tells us that the Good Samaritan is our Lord Jesus Christ himself and the man who was attacked by robbers is Adam or every human being.

      Mankind went down "from the heavenly state to the state of the devil's deception, and fell among thieves, that is, the devil and the hostile powers." We are mortally wounded by sin. The Good Samaritan, Christ our Savior, comes down from Heaven to earth to heal us wounded men.

      He finds us and pours in oil. His oil, administered in Baptism, Chrismation, and Unction, heals through the mystical work of the Life-giving Spirit Who extends the healing of Christ, pours the Life of God into our bodies, souls, and spirits, and thereby heals our delusion, darkness and alienation.

      Next, the "Good Samaritan" pours in wine, offering us His pure blood for our battered souls. As Mor Ivanios Chrysostom says, "by mixing the Holy Spirit with His blood, He brought life to man." Then Christ our God sets the man upon His own animal, or as John expands the thought: "Taking flesh upon His own divine shoulders, He lifted it toward the Father in Heaven."

      Then the Lord "...brought him to an inn, and took care of him" (Lk. 10:34). Our Lord brings us poor travelers and pilgrims in this life, "into the wonderful and spacious inn, this universal Church." You and I do not "join" the Church; it is God's gift to us for our deliverance. When considering the arrangement with the innkeeper for the man's continuing care, St. John connects the innkeeper through the Apostle "Paul to the high priests and teachers and ministers of each church." And St. John understood the Blessed Apostle to be saying to the many ministers of the Church: "Take care of the people of the Gentiles whom I have given to you in the Church. Since men are sick, wounded by sin, heal them, putting on them a stone plaster, that is, the Prophetic sayings and the Gospel teachings, making them whole through the admonitions and exhortations of the Old and New Testaments."

      Be patient for it takes time to rid you of the poisons, infection, corruption, and wounds that left you half-dead and helpless.
      I hope I was able to give you how I understand the "washing" aspect of Baptism. For us Orthodox Christians Baptism is a Holy Sacrament established by our Lord for our Salvation. We cannot put the Holy Sacrament under a microscope and analyze exactly how every aspect of it works. For us Orthodox Christians this is a roze qadeeshe as they say in Syriac or Divya Rahasyam as we say in Malayalam. It is a divine mystery. As we grow more and more in faith; and when we more and more start to resemble the "likeness of God' in our thoughts, words and deeds, He will reveal more and more of His roze qadeeshe to us.

      --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:

      > Psalms 51 we sing- "Annyayathil naan ulbavichu.Papangalil enthe mathavenne garbham darichu. I was sinful at birth and sinful from the time mother conceived me". I am not sure whether it is contextual to King David. If not, it validates the birth with sin.
      The infant starts "living" from the time the infant is concieved. We can see in the Gospel, St. John the Baptist rejoicing when Virgin Mary the Theotokos was speaking, even when he was still in the womb. It is because of this Christian understanding that life beings at conception, that we think abortion is the same as murder.

      Now if life begins right at conception, right from that time we are capable of thinking and is under the attack from the evil one; because we are born into a fallen world dominated by the evil one. So the sin that Psalm 51 is talking about is the personal sin that we commit not the inherited guilt of 'Original Sin'.

      --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:

      > Also the hymn after the gospel reading of Holy Baptism says "wash me from my sins". Isn't a new born washed from his\her sins? Isn't that the Sin of Eden and other sins from the generations?

      It is the personal sins that are being washed away.

      --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:

      > With this context the question remains in me that Baptism of St John the Baptist was also for Original Sin similar to the New Testament baptism?
      Baptism of St. John the Baptist was a baptism of repentance. It was for the washing away of personal sins. In my previous post, I have quoted H.H Ignatius Zakka I, who has explained it much more better than I ever can. All the Baptism of St. John did was it washed away our peronal sins upto that point. It didnot give us rebirth or the first resurrection.

      The new testament Baptism of Jesus Christ, is also for the washing away of our personal sin; but it much more than that. It is a "rebirth" or "resurrection of the soul" that heals us from the consequence of Original Sin. It restores us and gives us back the potential to attain the likeness of God. It is completely upto us men how we use that potential. Baptism does not by itself give us the likeness of God; it only restores our image and give us the potential to again attain it. To attain the likeness of God, we have to travel the narrow path; it is a life long journey.

      In Christ,
      Mathew G M
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