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Devotional thoughts for the Sunday of Denaha

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  • Jose Kurian Puliyeril
    Reading: From the gospel according to St. Luke 3:7-22 Dear and Respected Brethren. We always confess the faith that the Baptism is the only one sacrament to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2008
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      Reading: From the gospel according to St. Luke 3:7-22

      Dear and Respected Brethren.

      We always confess the faith that the Baptism is the only one
      sacrament to attain the forgiveness of our sins. If it is so, why
      Lord Jesus took baptism from a human being. We also might doubt so,
      as we all are sure that Lord Jesus is full God and full man. The
      Holy Church upholds three reasons for this baptism.

      Lord Jesus is introduced by St. John in his gospel (Chapter 1 Vs 29)
      as the Lamb of God to bear the sins of the world. In fact it was the
      aim of the incarnation of our Savior too. Lord Jesus took the
      baptism from His fore-runner as St. John the Baptist was giving
      baptism of forgiveness of sins. He wanted to get rid of the sins of
      the world. Moreover it is believed that by His Baptism, He has
      blessed the baptisms of one and all. When a faithful takes the
      baptism, the same event is blessed by the baptism of our Lord. In
      addition to this He wanted to be a role model for all His followers.

      It was the will of God to manifest Himself through the Baptism,
      where we could find the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the triune
      God together.

      Our Lord wanted to bless all water bodies in the universe by getting
      immersed in the River of Jordan. In our prayers it is said that when
      our Lord stepped into the river of Jordan, all the water sources on
      the earth were purified and blessed. As we all know that all living
      things embodies a large quantity of water. Thus through the act of
      baptism of our Lord He has blessed not only the water bodies on
      earth, He has purified and blessed the water contents in humanity,
      animals and other living things.

      In our Kerala tradition this feast is known as the 'Rakkuli Perunnal
      and the 'Pindi Perunnal' and it is known so in certain areas of our
      state. Our fathers and elders used to take bath in ponds, rivers,
      lakes on the night of "Denaha" to identify themselves with our Lord
      who took baptism from river Jordan. (Rakkuli literally means bath at
      night)

      Denaha literally means dawn. The Holy Church and our fathers
      considered the feast of Denaha as a feast of lights, as dawn removes
      the darkness from the top of earth, they meant the feast must
      brighten the water as well as the surroundings. So we used to keep
      lighted candles and weeds on the stem of banana plants and allowed
      them to float in rivers, ponds and lakes. (In Malayalam, pindi is
      used for the stem of banana plant. Hence the name of the feast came
      to be pindi perunnal. Now our parishes must take it as a challenge
      to continue this practice of brightening water on this particular
      day to add awareness to keep up the purity of the water bodies
      without pollution.

      St. John the Baptist is revered as the highest man born from women,
      by our Lord Jesus Himself. (See St. Matthew 11:11, 17:12,, St. Mark
      9:11, St. John 7:27) What is his greatness? It is nothing else other
      than being the celebrant of the baptism of the Son of God, the
      Savior and the second personality of the Holy Trinity. It is a very
      rare and unique honor. He addressed the Jews who approached him for
      the baptism as the generation of vipers. (Vs 7) When Adam and Eve
      disobeyed God and lost their love to God Almighty, they became
      slaves of Satan, who tempted them in the shape of a viper. So from
      that time all generations belonged to the slave generation of the
      vipers. Now let us think about ourselves. To whom we are loyal
      always? Are we so loyal and honest to God or do we obey the evil
      forces for our timely benefits and gains? If we have gone away from
      the love of our God, let us make an about turn immediately. In Verse
      8 he exhorted them to have fruits of repentance. This exhortation is
      quite significant for all of us. Let us also have real and genuine
      repentance. The Jews were always proud of their fore father,
      Abraham. They used to prove that they were descendants of Abraham.
      So St. John advises them "begin not to say in yourselves, we have
      Abraham to our Father, for I say unto you, That God is able of these
      stones to raise up children unto Abraham". Such a similar remark we
      could hear from our Lord, during His triumphant entry to the city of
      David, when the Scribes and Saduchees tried to make children silent
      from uttering "Hosanna".

      In verse 9 we listen to the caution of keeping the axe at the roots
      of the trees without fruits. In St. Luke 15 our Lord teaches that
      all could have fruits properly provided one and all would stay in
      Him. If one is not giving fruits such trees and branches would be
      hewn in fire.

      Let us make sure that we all do remain in Him so that we all could
      bring forth fruits as per His choice and direction. May God bless us
      so. Let us earnest in leading a real Christian life of modestly,
      righteousness and real fear of God.

      Jose Kurian Puliyeril
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