During this great week, the holiest of days are upon us. Holy and Great Week is the climactic retelling of our redemption and the salvation of man, accomplished in our Lord’s Passion. The plan set forth in the Old Testament sees its fulfilling in these days.
We must look inwardly and ask ourselves, do we wish to be partakers or observers of God’s immeasurable mercy and compassion. Unless we live it and walk with our Saviour towards His passion, we can not experience it. It is not something we can behold intellectually. If it is written only on paper, it will pass as the paper will surely fade unto the ages. We must write it upon our hearts and this will change us forever.
No words can describe the awesome events before us – the betrayal, the prayer in the garden, the accusations before Herod and the Sanhedrin, the scourgings, the buffetings. the mockings, the wounding, the agony, the cross, the nails, the spear, the tomb, and death. What words can describe the most profound and incredible act of love – our God becomes man and tastes of death so that we might no longer fear death and that death no longer binds us.
We remember the words of Saint Paul to the Romans. In chapter 6 he teaches us:
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Through sin, death entered the world. Through the Sinless one, death was obliterated. In the Resurrection Kontakion we are reminded that no longer will the dominion of death be able to keep men captive. For Christ hath descended, demolishing and destroying the powers thereof. Hades is bound; the prophets rejoice with one voice, saying: A Savior hath come for them that have faith. Come forth, ye faithful, for the Resurrection. We must die unto sin to be alive in Christ, putting on Christ and having Him dwell within us through the Mystical Eucharist.
The events of this great and most sublime week bind together all of the teachings of the Old Testament and we behold the fulfillment of the Law. How our forefathers longed for this day! O Lord, grant that these words might be ever etched in our souls that we may always cry out: Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with inaccessible light of the Resurrection, and shall hear Him saying clearly, “Rejoice!” As we sing the triumphant hymns!