MUSCAT: As the 50-day Lenten season reaches the mid-stage, the Orthodox faithful gets closer to the Lord amidst trials and temptations and for a season of constant vigil and prayer.
Sharing his thoughts, Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, compares the 50-day period as a journey to get closer to the Lord.
“In the Biblical context, during the exodus of the people of Israelites from Egypt, we read the account of the snake on a pole. The people had grumbled against God and God sent fiery serpents into their midst. Many who were bitten died. The people repented and complained to Moses. The Lord God told Moses to make a bronze snake and lift it up on a pole. Those looking at the snake on a pole would be rescued from the fiery serpents.”
Numbers 21: 8-9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Dr Mar Yulios points out during this season, in the midst of difficulties and calamities like the Japanese tsunami and earthquake, Sleeba (Christ) is coming down to us and we are travelling together. Symbolically connecting it to the life of Christ, the Metropolitan says the most important point is despite being bogged down with troubles, we have to be one with Christ. “He abdicates the thronos (Cross) comes down to us and we have to make ourselves available to Him to travel together..”
The next weeks will see an ascension in the run up to events like the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. During the season, the faithful venerate the wooden cross (upon entering the church) both at the entry and exit, which itself testimonies as a ‘perfect symbol of Christ.’ …”we are looking at the cross and those who looked at Him were saved.” Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. Ephesian 6:14
In the same way, His Grace connects this to Northo or Golgotha (Calvary). The metropolitan’s Staff (Amshavadi) having two bent down serpents to the elevated Cross and those who look to it and prayed are saved.
Dr Mar Yulios winds his 3-week visit to the Sultanate of Oman when he leads the Holy Eucharist at the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church (MGOC) Muscat on April 1.