Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Rakkuli Perunnal (Feast of Brightness)

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Devotional thoughts for First Sunday after Denaha

Reading: From the Gospel of St. Matthew 4:12-22

Dear and Respected Brethren,

As far as we are concerned 6th, 7th and 8th of Jan are important days. The Holy Church celebrated the feast of Denaha on 6th, 7th is the memorial day of beheading of St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord, 8th is the feast of the St. Stephen, the first martyr and first Deacon of the Holy Apostolic Church. The reading arranged by our Church Fathers for today’s meditation and study after the observation of these important and significant feasts, is equally important. For the feast to remember our Lord’s baptism we name them as Denaha and Epiphany, either meaning ‘to shine’ or ‘the dawn’. But the Orthodox Church Fathers prefer to name the feast as Theophany meaning the manifestation of the Holy Trinity. The teaching seems to be more relevant and impressive.

We all might think the reason why our Lord took baptism, as it is a process to clean us from the sins. We all know that our Lord was sinless and in this aspect we all do raise this doubt. Let us listen to the Holy Church. It teaches 2-3 reasons why our Lord took baptism.

1) It was to purify all water sources of this universe. During the prayers of the day we listen “thou have come down to purify the water sources of the entire world by your holiness..” The Holy Church believes and teaches that the whole water sources of the world was purified and blessed when the blessed legs of our Lord touched the water of river Jordan.

2) As our Lord was the Lamb of God who bore the sins of the entire world, it necessitated him to wash away the sins of the world.

3) Lord acted as a role model for the entire humanity.

It is believed that the Baptism helps one to identify himself or herself with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. (Kindly refer Romans chapter-6) The Holy Church offers prayers for the removal of darkness from the faithful and the entire world and to install His divine, holy and blessed brightness. We celebrate this feast as the feast of shining or brightness since long, by generations after generations. Our customs connected with the feast also reveal this truth. In Malankara, this feast is known as ‘Rakkuli Perunnal’ and our elders used to take bath in rivers or ponds in the night of the Perunnal day and hence it was called Rakkuli Perunnal . (Meaning the feast of the bath at night) Another name given to this feast in Kerala is Pindi Perunnal. Our faithful used to send lighted candles or small lights on the stem of Banana plant, which would float on water. The number of lights used to shine the water in the night.

Verse 15 of today’s reading says that the people in the darkness saw a great light and the light provided hope to the ones who were in the shadow of death and despair. St. Matthew establishes that the prophecy to the effect have come true. If we do not accept the light in its uniqueness, we cannot remove the darkness from our inner personality. Otherwise we would deteriorate as symbols of darkness. Let us think since when we hear about this divine light and we have experienced it several times. Let us make sure that this divine light has entered into us and has occupied its place in us. If not let us find the reason. It is needless to look for the reason. We are responsible for it, as we have closed the doors permanently against the light from entering our inner part.

Are we not singing the hymn ‘Velivu Niranjoreesho nin velivaal… every week, systematically and in melodious tunes? Are we able to store the message of the hymn in us? When we sing “Oh Lord Jesus full of brightness, we see with your brightness, we must open our inner doors and receive Him in us. Let Him stay in us and lead us, guide us and bless us. Let us make a decision to make our worships, rituals, traditions and faith more and more meaningful in our lives itself. Today’s reading reminds us that our Lord started His public mission by addressing the public and exhorting them to repent as the Kingdom of God is at hand. (17th Verse) Unless and until we allow the real light to enter in us and in our hearts, we will not be in a position to see our inside. When we would look what are inside, we would come to know the sins which are deep rooted in us. Let us not forget the fact that only through real repentance, we could have the complete forgiveness of our sins.

In the following sentences of today’s reading, we find how our Lord called St. Peter and his brother St. Andrews and how they responded to the call. After a little while, when our Lord called St. James and his brother St. John, we find them following our Lord, even after leaving away their father and all the worldly riches. Our Lord is calling me and you too. Today He is calling for only one thing. He wants to abide in us and wants us to open our hearts for Him. Are we ready to accept His call? Kindly think and take a decision. May God bless us all.

See Also:

Follow Me, Devotional Thoughts for 1st Sunday after Danaha
by Rev. Fr. Dr. V Kurian Thomas

Turn Your Life Around
by Rev. Fr V.V.Paulose

Repent - The Kingdom of Heaven is Near
by Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew C. Chacko

Following Jesus
by Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew C. Chacko

Devotional thoughts for 1st Sunday after Denaha
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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