A few weeks in advance of the Nativity of our Lord, almost daily, we remember the prophets of the Old Testament. A prophet was not someone who predicted the future, rather he was someone through whom God spoke with His people. The aim of the whole Old Testament was to prepare the whole world for the coming Messiah. This aim in particular carried out by the prophets.
This upcoming Sunday we remember one particular prophet - Haggai and all the earthly Forefathers of Christ.
In preparation for the Nativity of our Lord, we remember the Patriarch Abraham, the father of believers, and his lineage, earthly ancestors of Christ.
Abraham unhesitatingly left his land, house, family, and goods at the call of God, and went into the land of Canaan, which the Lord gave him as a heritage, promising him descendants without number and an everlasting Covenant. The fruit of Abraham's act of faith was Isaac, whom God granted to Abraham in his old age. Isaac was the father of Jacob, to whom were born the twelve patriarchs - the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. In accordance with the Scriptures is was, in the end, from the tribe of Judah that Christ would be born, the fulfillment of the promises, and the fullness of the Covenant and of the union between God and mankind.
Through the connection of the holy Forefathers, our Saviour Jesus Christ is Himself also, in a way, the fruit of faith of Abraham. So, when God makes His voice known to each one of us while we are still in the strange land of the passions and worldly vanities, we must, like Abraham, unhesitatingly leave all that is ours, and follow the divine calling with faith until we reach the Promised Land where, in our turn, we will be able to give birth spiritually to Christ. For, planted in us by faith and baptism, He grows in us through the virtues so as to shine in the light of contemplation.
We are also the descendants of Abraham, children of promise as Isaac was, having become children of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Through faith You justified the Forefathers,
betrothing through them the Church of the gentiles.
These saints exult in glory,
for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit:
She who bore You without seed.
So by their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us.
You did not worship the graven image,
O thrice-blessed ones,
but armed with the immaterial Essence of God,
you were glorified in a trial by fire.
From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying,
"Hasten, O compassionate One!
Speedily come to our aid,
for You are merciful and able to do as You will."
The Holy Prophet Haggai was the tenth of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He was of the Tribe of Levi and he prophesied during the times of the Persian emperor Darius Hystaspis (prior to 500 B.C.).
Upon the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, he persuaded the people to build the Second Temple at Jerusalem, and he proclaimed that the Messiah would appear in this Temple in the last times.
It is believed that Haggai was buried with the priests at Jerusalem, since he was descended from Aaron.
We celebrate the memory
of Your prophet Haggai, O Lord.
Through him we beseech You:
save our souls.
Illumined by the Spirit, your heart was a vessel of illustrious prophecy,
seeing far-off things as though they were present.
Therefore, we venerate you, O glorious prophet Haggai.