HOLY AND GREAT WEEK

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

HOLY AND GREAT WEEK ACCORDING TO OUR HOLY ORTHODOX
CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THE AUTHENTIC CHURCH OF CHRIST.

HOLY AND GREAT MONDAY

On this day, Holy and Great MONDAY,
the Holy Church commemorates the
blessed JOSEPH the All-comely and
remember how a fig tree was cursed
and withered by the Lord.

Couplet to Wise Joseph

The wise Joseph showed himself a just ruler. Praise to Thee, O giver
of grain! O thou goodly sheaf that stood up in the midst of the threshing-floor
heap!

Couplet regarding the withered fig tree

The Synagogue of the Hebrews is thought by Christ a fig tee destitute
of spiritual fruit, and He withers it with a curse. Let us flee from a similar
calamity.

From this day we COMMEMORATE THE OBSERVANCE OF THE Sacred Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the first tier of all the types of Our Lord is the all-comely Joseph, the 11th son of the Patriarch Jacob and the firstborn of his wife Rachel. The entire life of the Righteous Joseph is given in The Great Synaxaristes, under the date of his commemoration; the 31st of March. As the object of envy of his elder brothers, due to his prophetic dreams, they cast him down into a pit.

Saint Aphrahat makes a succinct comparison showing us how Joseph was A PREFIGUREMENT OF JESUS. "Joseph was persecuted, and his brothers were persecutors; Joseph was exalted and his persecutors bowed down before him, and so his dreams and his visions were fulfilled. Joseph who was persecuted was A TYPE OF THE PERSECUTED JESUS. His father clothed Joseph in a tunic of diverse colors, and His Father clothed Jesus with a body (taken) from the Virgin. His father loved Joseph more than his brethren, and Jesus is the Dear and Beloved One of His Father. Joseph saw fulfilled the visions and the Prophets. Joseph, with his brethren, and Jesus is the Chief of shepherds. When his father sent Joseph to visit his brethren, they saw his coming and plotted to kill him; and when His Father sent Jesus to visit His brethren, they said, "This the heir; come, let us kill him."

"Joseph’s brethren cast him into the pit, and Jesus’ brethren brought Him down into the abode of the dead. Joseph ascended from the pit and Jesus AROSE FROM THE ABODE OF THE DEAD. Joseph, after he arose from the pit, had authority over his brethren; and after Jesus AROSE FROM THE ABODE OF THE DEAD, His Father gave Him a great and excellent name," that His brethren should serve Him, and His enemies be put beneath His feet.
After Joseph was made known to his brethren, they were abashed and feared and were amazed at his greatness; and when Jesus shall come at the Last Time, when He shall be revealed in His Majesty, His brethren will be abashed and fear and be dismayed before Him, because they crucified Him. Moreover, Joseph, by the counsel of Juda, was sold into Egypt, and Jesus, by the hands of Judas Iscariot, was delivered over to the Jews. When they sold Joseph, he answered nothing to his brethren; Jesus also spoke not and gave no answer to the judges who judged Him. Joseph’s master wrongfully delivered him up to the prison, and Jesus’ countrymen wrongfully condemned Him. Joseph delivered over his two garments, one into the hand of his brethren, and the other into the hand of his master’s wife; and Jesus delivered over His garments and divided them between the soldies.

"Joseph, when thirty years old, stood before Pharaoh and became lord of Egypt; and Jesus, when about 30 years old, came to the Jordan for Baptism. And He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and coming upon Him, and then He went forth to preach. Joseph nourished Egypt with bread; JESUS NOURISHED THE WHOLE WORLD WITH THE Bread of Life. Joseph took to wife the daughter of the wicked and unclean priest; Jesus ESPOUSED TO HIMSELF THE CHURCH (TAKEN) FROM TEH UNCLEAN GENTILES. Joseph died and was buried in Egypt, and Jesus died and was buried in Jerusalem. The bones of Joseph were brought up from Egypt by his brethren; Jesus His Father RAISED FROM THE ABODE OF THE DEAD AND TOOK UP HIS BODY WITH HIM IN HEAVEN UNCORRUPTED.

HOLY AND GREAT TUESDAY

On this day, Holy and Great TUESDAY,
the Holy Church makes remembrance of the
Parable of the Ten Virgins written in the Holy
Gospel.

On Holy and Great Tuesday we commemorate the Parable of the
Ten Virgins, which is taken from the Holy Gospel of Matthew.

Couplet

Greatest of Tuesdays do the Ten Virgins bring, with five fetching a
victory for the impartial Master.

This Parable, with others, was spoken by Our Lord Jesus Christ to His Disciples as He was ascending to Jerusalem and going to His Passion. He also spoke it to the Jews, warning them to prepare themselves before the end came. He was exhorting them to take the example of the five virgins who practiced almsgiving (charity) along with virginity. Undoubtedly, preservation of virginity is truly a great achievement, which is made more radiant with exercise of the other virtues, especially almsgiving (philanthropy(. One cannot preserve this virtue of virginity to the exclusion of the other virtues. This most particularly is the one with agape (love), by which the lamp of virginity is illumined. Saint Paul adds that "love never falleth away" (1 Corinthians 13:8). So even if one should speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, HAS NOT HAVE LOVE, SUCH A ONE HAS BECOME AS SOUNDING OF OR A CLANGING SYMBAL…". The Lord, therefore, introduced this Parable because even though virginity was held in high regard, as being one difficult to practice, yet not to show agape (love), which is easier, makes such one no better than harlots. In the case of the harlots, they were overcome by bodily pleasure. IN the case of virgins they weree enslaved by possessions. Therefore, we need virginity and preparation AS WE AWAIT THE Bridegroom Christ. Let us be WATCHFUL and PERFORM GOOD WORKS (Works of Charity) BEFORE DEATH OVERTAKES US AND WE CAN NO LONGER PERFORM WORKS OF CHARITY AND LOVE.

Yesterday, we saw the all-comely Joseph practice charity, but he also did great works of charity. For during the 7 Lean Years, he did not neglect the widows, orphans, and prisoners. He showed love and did not seek vengeance upon his brothers. Neither he nor the five virgins were like the fruitless fig tree. Do you see the power of giving alms? Let us be midful of the words of Solomon: "He who hath pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will recompless to him according to his gifts {Psalm 19:17). Let us also remember the words of the brother of the Lord: "For the judgment shall be merciless to him who rendered no mercy. Mercy boasteth against judgment" (James 2:13). Know that almsgiving (philanthropy) IS GREATER THAN VIRGINITY, so says the Lord When He comes to judge the world. He is not going to seek virginity but charity (agape), alms (philanthropy), and mercy (eleos). Therefore, let us not negelct too show agape (love) so we may enter into Eternal Life with Christ and not turn away in shame. [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

(To be continued)

_________________

Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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