We proclaim the resurrection every week in the scriptures read in matins on Sunday. The resurrection is also declared in a hidden way in the OT. On this Holy Saturday, after we have read the Gospel of Matthew in front of the tomb which proclaims the resurrection, let us see how three of the readings we have recently read from the OT proclaim it in a mystical and beautiful way, with examples including Abraham, Ezekiel, and the Sunamite woman.
he readings of the narrative of the passion of our Lord give us an understanding of the character of our Lord and our our character. I found, and I am sure many of you found this as well, that last night and this morning as Father was reading, as the Lord stood before Pilate, that my heart was often cold, and my mind wandered. The words from St Ephrem the Syrian really resonate: “All creation was in fear and trembling when the King of Heaven, the Savior, suffered, while we sinners, for whom the Only immortal was given up ever treat this with contempt” What follows is a short discussion of the responses to our Lord during His passion, and at all times: devotion, hatred, and indifference. By Deacon Nicholas Park.
Brothers and sisters, behold the Man.
That?s what Pilate said. He also said, ?What is truth??
To ?behold the man? is to behold truth, but Pilate didn?t notice. Why didn?t he notice?
Because he did not live according to the truth.
Why was Jesus Christ crucified?
Because people did not live according to the truth.
Why was the crowd, the tumult, why was the crown of thorns, the sham trial, the false witnesses?
Because people did not live according to truth, and therefore they did not recognize Truth.
When the Scripture says something, we must listen. Pilate said, ?Behold the Man.? So we must then obey this instruction….
We must answer the questions that are asked and the commands that are given in Scripture. Before giving up Jesus to judgment, Pilate asked a question: “Behold the man!”, and gave a command: “What is truth?” What should be our response to these? Our life hands in the balance, depending on what we answer.
A short reflection on the value of the Holy Friday services, which begin on Thursday evening.
Christ is Risen! Newsletter. Holy Week and Pascha Schedule.
Synopsis: On Holy Thursday we remember the institution of the Eucharist, and how it is salvific for man – but not for all. Much of our hymnology for this day speaks of Judas and his betrayal of the Lord. If we listen carefully, Judas is not just a historical figure far removed from us, but we will feel deeply that we have dangerous similarities to him. Judas fell into the insanity of deicide because of long-standing passions, and bad choices, In a word, he had bad priorities. This point is “hammered home” in many hymns, such as the one we choose to discuss:
Judas the transgressor at the supper /
dipped his hand into the dish with Thee, O Lord, /
yet sinfully he reached out his hands to receive the money. /
He reckoned up the value of the oil of myrrh, and yet was not afraid to sell Thee who art above all price. /
He stretched out his feet to be washed, yet deceitfully he kissed the Master
and betrayed Him to the breakers of the Law. /
Cast out of the company of the apostles, /
he threw away the thirty pieces of silver, /
and did not see Thy Resurrection on the third day. //
Through this Thy Resurrection have mercy on us.
(Praises, Matins of Holy Thursday, Tone 2)
Homily after Holy Wednesday Presanctified Liturgy discussion how the services give us a primer in how to regard our sins and weak repentance. The comparison of Judas and the woman of Bethany is very useful to teach us, and especially the Kontakion at matins which teaches us the essence of Christian honesty, repentance and hope:
I have transgressed more than the harlot, O loving Lord, /
yet never have I offered Thee my flowing tears. /
But in silence I fall down before Thee /
and with love I kiss Thy most pure feet, /
beseeching Thee as Master to grant me remission of sins; /
and I cry to Thee, O Savior: //
Deliver me from the filth of my works.
(Kontakion, Tone 4, Holy Wednesday Matins)
While the sinful woman brought oil of myrrh, /
the disciple came to an agreement with the transgressors. /
She rejoiced to pour out what was very precious, /
he made haste to sell the One who is above all price. /
She acknowledged Christ as Lord, /
he severed himself from the Master. /
She was set free, but Judas became the slave of the enemy. /
Grievous was his lack of love! /
Great was her repentance! /
Grant such repentance also unto me, //
O Savior who hast suffered for our sake, and save us.
(Praises, Holy Wednesday Matins, Tone 1)
The harlot drew near Thee, O Thou who lovest mankind, /
and poured out on Thy feet the oil of myrrh with her tears; /
and at Thy command she was delivered from the foul smell of her evil deeds. /
But the ungrateful disciple, though he breathed Thy grace, /
rejected it and defiled himself in filth, /
selling Thee from love of money. //
Glory be to Thy compassion, O Christ.
(Sessional Hymn after the 3rd Kathisma, Holy Wednesday Matins, Tone 3, Troparion melody)
Six minutes on the progression of sin. Holy Week is not only about the events surrounding the passion of our Lord, but is also a time for introspection and self-amendment. The descent of Judas into the insanity of deicide did not happen all at once, but progressed because of his addiction to a particular passion. We read a sessional hymn from Holy Tuesday Matins, and see how it describes the progression of sin in *our* lives unless we fight to not "accept the darkness". This is VERY important, and applies to EVERYONE.
"Impious Judas with avaricious thoughts plots against the Master, and ponders how he will betray Him. He falls away from the light and accepts the darkness; he agrees upon the payment and sells Him that is above all price; and as the reward of his actions, in his misery he receives a hangman’s noose and death in agony. O Christ our God, deliver us from such a fate as his, and grant remission of sins to those who celebrate with love Thy most pure passion." (Sessional Hymn, Tone 8, Holy Tuesday Matins). In Text, with links to audio and Word doc formats.