It was because Mary could not afford to bring a lamb, that she brought a pair of doves. The law also required that a first-born son should be redeemed with 5 shekels of silver, but there is no question of silver being paid in Mary’s case. Aside from the turtledoves, there was no real cost to this symbolic act of obedience and charity.
The key theme in the prayers and hymns of the feast is “datu sabro shariro, damsakyon leh beryotho datḥadeth lghenseh dodom: dḥableh bisho baḥsomeh” which translates “You are the true hope sought by the world: to renew Adam’s race that was corrupted by the Devil’s treachery.” The Scripture readings tell of the changing from the Old Testament to the New Testament, the old law becomes something new. The Son of God, giver of the law, now himself fulfills the law, being carried in Simeon’s arms as a human child.
This Feast presents the One on whom we focus, Jesus Christ, as the Redeemer of our race, the Hope of Salvation and the Light of the World, the light which no darkness can quench. God is the source and root of light and Jesus is the projection of this light to the world, even to the darkest and blackest of crevices within it. There is no-where that the light of God cannot reach. That is what this whole Church season is about: we who were once far off and distant from God were made close, by the revelation of the Light of the world to all people.
Jesus Christ came to bring life, and life to the full – for everyone. That was, and remains, His mission, and it is ours, too. Whatever is not life-giving needs to be challenged, measured against the love, truth, courage, and goodness of the Gospel. In other words, the good news is meant to enter into all aspects of society. The message of Jesus Christ is that where God reigns it is not good enough just to love our family and friends, or even those of our own nation, race or religion. The reign of God is about breaking down all barriers that stand between one person and another, all which divides between “us” and “them,” to bring all human beings into good and life giving relationship with God and with one another. Christ’s redemptive work, while essentially concerned with the salvation of men, includes also the renewal of the whole temporal order. Hence the mission of the Church is not only to bring the message and grace of Christ to men but also to penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.
What can we present to the Temple of Christ, the Church today? In what condition do we present our souls to Christ? Have we thanked God for all that we have received? What has changed in our way of life since the Birth of Christ forty days ago? What progress has been made? The more we focus on Christ, the easier our journey becomes, that in no way means Christian life is an easy life. The closer we get to Him, the larger and more vibrant our life becomes, the distance becomes less and the connection between us and our goal becomes more apparent.
The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God and say: “dbo’eno shrin bashlomo dho ḥzay ’aynay laḥnonokh: wal furqonokh qadisho – Let me depart in peace, for my eyes have seen Your compassion and Your holy Salvation.”
1. Hugh Wybrew, Orthodox Feasts of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, (Crestwood, 2000), pp. 83 – 92.
2. Cathering Aslanoff, ed. and Paul Meyendorff, trans., The Incarnate God: The Feasts of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, (Crestwood, 1995).
6. James Baker, Women’s Rights in Old Testament Times, (Utah, 2000). Mary Ann Sullivan, Women in the New Testament, (Collegeville, 2001).
7. Mor Athanasios, Yeshu Samuel, Ma’de’dono, The Book of the Church Festivals, (New Jersey, 1984), pp. 74 – 85.
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