Contemplation on the 9th hour of the Eve of Wednesday (1)

Who is Zachariah son of Berachiah?

St. Jerome thinks that in his time there were three options as to who this Zechariah was:

  1. The prophet Zachariah was one of the minor prophets, even though his father's name is in the accordance with the Lord's words. But the Book did not mention anything about the shedding of his blood between the temple and the altar, particulary because the temple at his time was merely in ruins.
  2. Some others think he is Zachariah, John the Baptist's father, who has been killed because of his prophecy about the Savior's coming. But St. Jerome does not accept this suggestion.
  3. He is Zachariah killed by Joach, King of Judea, as mentioned in 2 Chr. 24:21. But his father's name is mentioned in the Holy Book as Jehoioda. St. Jerome believes that this man had two names: Berachia, meaning "blessing" or "blessed from the Lord," and Jehoiada meaning "holiness."

Contemplation on the Liturgy of the blessing of the water (2)

The washing of the feet, repentance and baptism

He who has been washed has need still to wash his feet…[for] in holy baptism a man has all of him washed, not everything but his feet, but every part. But after living in ths human state, he cannot fail to tread on the ground with his feet, Thus our human feelings themselves, which are inseparable from our mortal life on earth, are like feet with which we come into sensible contact with human affairs…

Therefore, every day He who intercedes for us is washing our feet. We, too have a daily need to be washing our feet, that is ordering aright the path of our spriritual footsteps, we acknowledge even in the Lord's prayer, when we say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we also forgive those who trespass against us." For "If we confess out sins," then truly He who washed His disciples' feet is "faithful and just to forgive us our sings, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) 

Accordingly the Church, which Christ cleanses with the washing of water in the word, is without spot and wrinkle, not only in the case of those who are taken away immediately after the washing of regeneration from the contagious influence of this life, and tread not the earth so aso to make necessary the washing of their feet, but in those also who have experienced such mercy from the Lord as to be enabled to quit this present life even with feet that have been washed.

But although the Church is also clean in respect of those who tarry on earth, because they live righteously; they still need to be washing their feet, because they assuredly are not without sin. This is why it is said in the Song of Songs, "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" For one so speaks when he is constrained to come to Christ, and in coming has to bring his feet into contact with the ground.

Contemplation on the 6th hour of the Eve of Wednesday (1)

The Virgins: Is this story only to those who live a life of virginity? (Matt 25:1-13)

The whole church consists of virgins, and boys, and married men and married women, which is referred to by one name called a Virgin. How can we prove this? Hear the Apostle saying, not to the religious women only but to the whole church together; "I have betrothed you to One Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Cor. 11:2) And because the devil, the corrupter of this virginity, is to be guarded against, the Apostle connected this verse with, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Cor. 11:3) Few have virginity in the body; in the heart all should have it.

Contemplation on the 1st hour of Holy Monday (2)

Why did the Lord curse the fig tree?
Our Lord cursed the fig tree so the disciples might have confidence. For because everywhere He conferred benefits, but punished no man. He needed to demonstrate for them proof of His power to take vengeance for two reasons: first, so that the disciples might learn; and second, so that the Jews might learn, that He was able to blast them that crucify Him, but submitted of His own will and did not blast them. For it was not His will to demonstrate this vengeance upon men; but He furnished the proof of His might in taking vengeance on the fig tree. But when anything like this is done to places, to plants, or to animals, do not be curious, nor say that the fig tree was unfairly dried up because it was not the time of figs – for this it is the most trifling thing to say. Rather, behold the miracle, and admire and glorify its Maker.

Contemplation on the 11th hour of Great Thursday (1)

"One of you will betray me"

Did Judas also fall from the apostolic order in which he too, being once in a condition similar to the other disciples, was exalted?

This is how I understand the statement, "Behold Adam has become of us," (Gen. 3:22), since it is said there, neither "as we,"  nor "as I," but because of the one who had fallen from blessedness,"as one of us." [And the phrase],"as on" seems to me to agree also with the statement, "But you indeed die as men, and fall like one of the princes." (Ps. 81:7)

For of the many who are princes, one has fallen, with whom sinners fall in close imitation of his fall. For just as that one who partook of deity has fallen, so too have those to whom the Word says, "I have said, you are gods and all sons of the Most High," (Ps. 81:6) fallen from blessedness and, although they were not originally men, they die as men, and fall as one of the princes. 

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Contemplation on the 3rd hour of Holy Tuesday (1)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

Actually, we are the Jerusalem that Jesus wept over. After we came to know the mysteries of Truth, the words of the Gospel, and the teachings of the Church; and after we have seen the mysteries of the Lord, we still commit sins! The Lord wept over Jerusalem due to its sin, for the enemies besiege it, and ruin its buildings in it, and they leave no stone one on top of the other….

Contemplation on the 1st hour of the Eve of Wednesday (1)

What is the wedding garment? (Matt 22:1-14)

Put off, I beg you, fornication and uncleanness, and put on the brightest robe of chastity. This charge I give you, before Jesus the Bridegroom of souls, come in and see their fashions. You have been allowed a long notice; you have forty days for repentance. You have had a full opportunity to both put off and wash; and to put on and enter. But if you persist in an evil purpose, the speaker is blameless. But you must not look for the grace; for the water will receive, but the Spirit will not accept you. If any one is conscious of His wound, let him take the salve; if any has fallen, let him arise. Let there be no Simon among you, no hypocrisy, no idle curiosity about the matter.

Contemplation on the 11th hour of Holy Tuesday (1)

The punishment of the wicked (Matt 25:30)

In this parable, the nobleman going into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return, is none other than Christ going into another country to receive the kingdoms of this world and the things in it; those who receive the ten talents are those who have been entrusted with the dispensation of the Word which has been committed unto them; His citizens who did not wish Him to reign over them when He was a citizen in the world in respect of His incarnation, are perhaps Israel who disbelieved Him, and perhaps also the Gentiles who disbelieved Him.

Contemplation on the 6th hour of the Eve of Great Friday

"Sit here while I pray"

His disciples were clinging to Him inseparably. So He said to His disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray." (Matt 26:36) For it was usually with Him to pray apart from them. He did this to teach us how to pray, how to use silence and solitude to pray for great matters. And taking with Him the three, He said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me." (Matt 26:38) Why does He not take all of them with Him? that they might not be more sorrowful. He took only thode who had been spectators of His glory.