“Now is the Day of Salvation”

The Old Testament Scriptures speak of an acceptable hour. St. Paul also uses this phrase to declare the importance — even urgency — of reconciliation to God. He writes this quoting the prophet Isaiah: “‘In the acceptable time I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6: 2).

jesus-raises-the-widow-of-nains-son-iconI had the privilege of serving The Divine Liturgy at St. Katherine’s Church in Pullman, Washington on October 9, 2016. The above passage came from the epistle reading of the day (2 Cor 6: 1—10). The epistle preceded the Gospel reading which relays the account of Jesus’ raising to life the only son of the widow of the city of Nain (Luke 7: 11 — 16). In this gospel pericope there are two very contrasting gatherings and processions. Here we have the description of the first gathering: “And it happened in the next day while he was going to the city of Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd were going with him (Luke 7: 11).” This gathering is assembled around Jesus. This gathering is assembled around his Life and Light. The other gathering has assembled for a quite different purpose. “Now as he drew near the city gate, there was a burial procession of mother’s dead only son, and she was a widow, and a great crowd was together with her” (Luke 7: 12). This assembly gathered around death and grief.

When I read of groups and crowds gathering together around Christ, I see such assemblies as a manifestation of Recapitulation. St. Paul writes of Recapitulation in his letter to the Ephesians:

…Declaring to you the mystery of his [the Father’s] will, according to his good pleasure which he intended for him [Christ] for the plan for the fullness of time, to gather together all things in Christ, those things in heaven and those things on earth in him (Ephesians 1: 9 — 10).

As Adam, by his sin and disobedience, cast all things into death, darkness, and alienation, Christ has gathered all and all things together in him in relational union, he has gathered all and all things back together in his Light and Life.
Coming back to the gospel reading this picture is offered. All assembled around Light and Life intersect with all gathered around Death and its darkness. Light and Life triumphs,

And upon seeing her, the Lord had compassion upon her and said to her: “Do not weep.” Then upon his approach, he touched the bier, and those bearing it stood still, and he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and he gave him to his mother (Luke 7: 13 — 15).

For this young man and his widowed mother, their encounter with Christ was their “day of salvation.” Again, Light and Life triumphed over Death!

62c2e7438d8f2783d7ff771e45ed527fOn October 9, at St. Katherine’s (and in every church) another, even THE manifestation of the Recapitulation on earth took place. The faithful of St. Katherine’s assembled together to encounter the life-giving touch of Christ in the Eucharist. All are gathered together around Christ, and all receive his all holy Body and Blood to overwhelm any inner abiding corruption. Thus, we all come together in Christ to “the acceptable time, and the day of salvation!”

In Christ,

Fr. Irenaeus

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