Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Jesus - The Light of The World, Great Lent Week 6
Volume 7 No. 406 March 31, 2017
This Sunday, we recall the healing of the blind man, Samiyo. It is described in John 9:1-41. It is one of the longest reading of bible on a regular Sunday. (On Good Friday we do have some long readings, combining all the four gospels, but then on Good Friday we come ready to spend the whole day in church.) Apart from the usual fight with the Pharisees about performing the healing on Sabbath Day (which we, by now ignore mostly), this healing event definitely has quite a lot going for it. The blind man does not know who healed him. (Remember, he was blind.) He was in a world of darkness. Jesus, the light of the world, introduces light into his world. When we come in touch with light, we reflect that light and so others can see us too. Our sins (darkness) are replaced by the light (Jesus). When we confess our sins and come back to Jesus, light enters our life again. It is a marvelous transition.

This dramatic change of darkness is replaced with light when Jesus appears on the scene is depicted at the beginning of the Public Celebration of our Holy Qurbano, when we transition from the Old Testament times to the New Testament. We sing the song,

"Velivu niranjo reesho nin velival kanunnu
Velivee yadiyaarakhilaa dharamatham velivum nee.."

The English translation of this song is:

By thy light we see the light,
Jesus full of light,
Thou, tru light, dost give the light
To thy creatures all
Lighten us with thy gay light,
Thou, the Father's light divine ...

Mr. C.K Varghese, in his book, "The Living Sacrifice", one of the best books written about our qurbano (in my opinion) explains this hymn as:

Oh Jesus, full of light
by your light we see the light (Rev 22:5, John 1:9)
You are the light which gives light to all creatures of the world.
You are the ray of the father, lighten us by your light
(Psalms 104:2, John 8:12, 12:46) ...

When the cancel (screen) is slowly opened after the Old Testament lessons, the Madbaha becomes the manger on Christmas Day with a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. (we see only the "sosaffa" covering something. Later this will transform into the body and blood of Jesus.) The thronos is brightly lit with 12 candles (indicating the 12 disciples of Christ); the single lone candle that was lit during the pre-NT times, (representing the John the Baptist) is taken from the thronos and taken around it, worshipping the Son of God.

If we pay close attention to this opening scene (that many of our faithful miss, I may add, by arriving at the church late), we will note that the madbaha is suddenly lit with a bright light with the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World. The candles stay lit throughout the Public Celebration of Eucharist. The only time the madbaha goes dark is during the crucifixion and death of Jesus, when the bible says that the sun was covered and the whole earth was plunged into darkness. We show this by closing the chancel (screen) and tunrning off the candles (The faithful are singing, anpudayone, nin vathil... Harken gracious Lord we pray..)

After the fracture, consignation and commixtion, Jesus rises on the third day and appears to His disciples. The chancel is opened again, the lights are back fully illuminating the madbaha. The light of the world is back again illuminating us and leading us from darkness into full light of God.

So, we can follow Jesus by His light. When we come into communion with Jesus, we will reflect the light from Jesus on our faces. Others will see the Jesus by the reflected light on our faces. This was illustrated dramatically in today's healing of the blind man. When the blind man encounters Jesus, the darkness is removed from his life replaced by the light of God, emanating from the face of Jesus.

Today's articles on the healing of the blind man and the feature on the Light of the world describe this well. I hope you will also enjoy the Lenten reflections in our Malankara World Supplement.

A special edition of Malankara World Journal on the 40th day of the Great Lent, transitioning into Passion week, and the Lazarus Saturday will be released, God willing, on April 5. Raising of Lazarus is one of the most important miracles of Jesus revealing the mystery of resurrection of the dead. Jesus also tells us that He is the Resurrection and Life. John 11 also has the shortest verse in the bible, "Jesus Wept." (John 11:35)

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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