April 22, 2017

Bright Saturday; Venerable Father Theodore of Syceum

Acts 3:11-16; John 3:22-33

Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!

This Bright Saturday the Church continues to lead us through the beginning chapters of John’s Gospel in which we come to passage after passage in which Our Lord’s mission of salvation is continually revealed. Following Our Lord’s Baptism in the Jordan, he joins the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John in baptizing at Aenon and calling people to repentance. Baptizing alongside “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29) the Baptist and Forerunner proclaims Our Lord’s divinity in his words in verse 31 that “he who comes from heaven is above all.” This follows on John the Baptist’s great surrendering to Our Lord’s mission in his words in verse 30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This passage is filled with anticipation of the Resurrection which we continue to joyously celebrate. With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Baptist and Forerunner confesses Our Lord as the promised Messiah to his followers who wonder at Jesus’ own act of baptizing: “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.” John does not selfishly hold on to his followers nor does he seek to cling to his role as the Forerunner. His work is done. He has fulfilled his vocation to “make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Is 40:3). In announcing the Lord’s coming and Christ’s mission of salvation John the Baptist is like Mary Magdalene and the other Myrrh-Bearing women who announce the Resurrection to the disciples -they too are forerunners. Having witnessed it they too make a straight path for the other disciples in announcing the Resurrection.

The Holy Prophet and Forerunner announces the Resurrection, the work of salvation, yet unseen. The women running from the tomb proclaim the Resurrection to be seen. Like John they fulfill their part, their vocation in proclaiming the Lord. May we be filled with the joy of the Myrhh-Bearing women and with the humility of the Prophet and Forerunner as we live out our vocation. And that we may do our work, the work of the baptized: to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection to all, not simply for our sake but for the sake of the whole world so that He might continue to increase.