Devotional Thoughts for the feast of Denaha – 6th Jan 2013

We are really fortunate in getting the second Sunday after the Yeldo as the Denaha of the year. Normally Denaha comes on a week day rather than on a Sunday. The special services of the feast of Denaha grant us opportunity to witness and experience its glory and uniqueness. It is the festival of lights which eradicates the darkness of the world. Our Lord’s incarnation and baptism was to eradicate the darkness from the world and the entire mankind. It is believed that all water sources of the entire universe was purified and sanctified as and when our Lord stepped into it for the baptism. Day by day, the humanity is spoiling and destroying the purity and solemnity of water by adding and mixing with dirt, filth and even poisonous liquids and mixtures.
When St. John the Baptist exhorted the multitude to get baptism of repentance, many listened. He gave them baptism after giving instructions to avoid their weaknesses and drawbacks. He addressed them: “O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you that God is able to those stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of trees, every tree there- fore which brings not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.” When they heard his words they were totally moved. They all had a desire and a thirsty mind of real repentance. The exhortations of St. John were good enough to speed up their repentance. When the baptism of the multitude was over, our Lord and Savior reached there for baptism. He being sinless, holy and the Son of God Almighty, a baptism of repentance was not a matter of need. Why Lord Jesus submitted him for the baptism. There are two answers to this question. 1) He wanted to be a role model for one and all that might follow Him. 2) He wanted to establish the Baptism as a sacrament for the Holy Church to continue 3) He wanted to purify the water bodies of the entire universe.
Water was created in the beginning of creations and the Spirit of God was dwelling upon it. The humanity as a whole across the globe has a great responsibility to retain and maintain the purity of water, which is a bare necessity of the existence of life in animals, trees and plants. Whereas what sort of activity is undertaken by us? Let us think aloud. All the water sources in our home state have been destroyed and polluted day by day, without any sort of consideration. We the Christians have a great responsibility for this matter. If we turn away our eyes from this and remain irresponsible with the false thinking that we are not bothered, we would have to answer to our Lord God. Our spiritual organizations across the state have to think seriously about the need and do something like making awareness and exhorting people to regain the purity of the God given water sources. There is no meaning in observing the feast of Denaha as we do normally, if our attention is not diverted to the noble cause.
The feast of Denaha was known in two local names in our home state. The first one was Rakkuli Perunnaal (Feast of the midnight bath) Our forefathers used to take bath on the mid night of the feast in ponds, rivers and other water bodies to remind the baptism of our Lord. They were so devoted and interested to meditate the Baptism of our Lord and honor the same as they could. The second was Pindi Perunnal. (The feast of the stems of the Banana plants) Our forefathers used to keep lighted candles or oiled wicks on small rectangular pieces of the banana stem on the water in the ponds and rivers. The floating lights used to shine the water. This was in the understanding that the lights would wipe away the darkness on top of the water sources and would make the waters to reflect the light. We lost all these meaningful rituals and traditions. We must think about re-instating such meaningful rituals. It is hoped that the members of OCYM and MGOCSM would think seriously about it and take up the call.
We remember and meditate the baptism of our Lord during the Holy Qurbana, when the censor is blessed in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Bible and in the faith, the presence of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is witnessed.  Let us be aware that the baptism of our Savior was for our sake and not at all for His sake. Let us be more serious about our relation with our Lord God, who saved us from the bondage of sins and death and who is anxiously waiting for the return of all the sinners. May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril, Kottayam.

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