Holy Week commentaries: Monday
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. This week is our Holy Week preceding Pascha (Easter) on Sunday, April 19. We are a week behind the Catholic Lenten calendar this year. This week I will be publishing a post each day of some notes I wrote last year as I was following along the Holy Week service book. The services of Holy Week fascinate me because they synthesize ideas and narratives throughout the whole Bible – Old and New Testament – to recreate the story of the Passion of Christ.
Here is the first entry from my journal (quotations are from The Services of Great and Holy Week and Pascha published by Antakya Press, 2006):
“Today is the first day of Holy Week and I have begun reading the service book for this week. I was struck, having just read Genesis, by the presentation of Joseph as the first ‘type‘ of Christ:
‘On this day begins the anniversary of the holy Passion of the Saviour, he of whom Joseph of exceeding beauty is taken as the earliest symbol; for this Joseph was the eleventh of the sons of Jacob, and because his father loved him exceedingly, his brothers envied him and threw him into a pit. Then they took him out and sold him to strangers, who sold him in Egypt. He was slandered for his chastity, and was thrown into prison. But finally he was taken out of prison, and he attained a high rank, and received honors worthy of kings, becoming governor of the whole of Egypt, whose people he supported. Thus he symbolized in himself the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and his consequent great glory’ (21-22).
I was also delighted by the readings chosen for Monday Divine Liturgy: Exodus 1:1-20, Job 1:1-12, and Matthew 24:3-35. Why group them together, I thought to myself? Then I realized that they were each the beginnings of deliverance stories. Exodus is the delivery from bondage of a people while Job tells of the delivery of one person from tribulation, which are supposed to give hope (as painful stories you can read about that have a happy ending) to the charge that we are given in Matthew for us to personally stay faithful, through the times of tribulation. Some food for thought.”