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Reflection from H.E. Metropolitan Gerasimos for Holy Week

Behold, the Bridegroom is coming!

Ιδού ο Νυμφίος έρχεται!

This is the way the well-loved hymn we will hear in the services this week calls us to attention. The imperative “Behold!” wakes us up from the slumber of our everyday busy-ness to stand on watch to greet the Bridegroom of the Church, our Crucified Lord. Truly, this is Great and Holy Week as we prepare for our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. It is a time for us to take a breath and direct our life to God through prayer. We live in a time in history when it is easy to fall asleep as we grow numb to the unfolding traumas on a global scale. But now, more than ever, we are called as Orthodox Christians to dedicate our precious time to prayer and reflection on our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross. It is through this small effort on our parts the angelic message of the empty tomb will become a reality for others.

How will the Bridegroom come to us this week?

The Bridegroom will come in the middle of the night – a time of peace and quiet – it is a time when most of us are not expecting any great visitor, let alone our Lord. Let us be like the wise virgins who have their lamps of oil ready, eagerly anticipating His arrival so that we can enter the Bridal Feast with Him. There is still time in these last days to go and purchase oil from the markets – to do acts of mercy and kindness for the oppressed – so that the soul’s flame remains kindled. When we couple the purity of our fasting with the abundance of our good works, truly we will be wise.

The Bridegroom will come to us dressed in a robe of mockery, facing an unjust trial, beatings and the Cross. He will not come arrayed in fine clothing to receive praises and accolades. Let us be like the beloved disciple John who is not ashamed of Jesus Christ but accompanies our Savior even through His most trying hour. Perhaps, there is still time to re-arrange our schedules this week to attend the holy services. Let us make an effort to bring our families to the services, especially young children, to teach the next generation of Orthodox Christians how to accompany our Lord as faithful, beloved disciples.

The Bridegroom will come to us to give up His spirit, descend into Hades, break the bars of brass, and resurrect Himself. He will do all of this and the first who will learn this indescribably good news will be the myrrh-bearing women. They came with eagerness in the early hours of dawn to anoint the body of our Lord. In everything that we do this week, let us have their dedication as our model. May they be an inspiration for us to find practical ways to assist our parishes in this holy period: cleaning the church, decorating the kouvouklion, and singing with the choir and the chanters. 

My beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord – “Behold!” “Ιδού!” “Take notice” – our Bridegroom is coming. May we be found worthy to worship His glorious Resurrection as one Body of believers.

Καλή Ανάσταση!