The Week of Passion
Father Teodore Gignadze
Church is the opportunity of meeting God and being united with God. Church is the Godmanly organism, the grace is present there and therefore, everything that is served in the church gives us the opportunity to meet God and to have a personal relationship with the Living God.
The Week of Passion – which is about the last days on earth of Christ, the humanized God, is very important and it is important precisely because it gives us the opportunity to meet, to experience and to be compassionate toward the humanized God in His pain.
Monday – is called the Great Monday. On this day, along with many teachings, the Lord does the following: He goes to a fig tree and there is no fruit; the time has not come, it has only borne leaves and the fig tree will be indignated and it will wither. By this, the Lord teaches us that we, the humans, should always have the readiness that we will meet God, we should never think that the time to meet God has not arrived yet. Also, coming of the time means for us that we should be waiting for this every second and also we should have borne the fruit. Certainly, we realize that this means the fruit of the spiritual life, thinking about the meaning of our life, having the desire, the ability and the opportunity of being with God. This is the most important thing, by which, a human being becomes a human being and rises much higher than just biological existence.
On Tuesday – also, the Lord teaches us many things and the Savior has given many parables about how we should live. One of them is the parable about the talents. The master gives his servants talents, then the master leaves. When he returns, he demands from them the gain. It is amazing, the one who was given two talents added two more and had four in the end. The one who was given five, added five more, and whoever was given one, had none in the end. How amazing of a teaching this is. God gives each person a talent, but we should multiply this talent and our effort should be according to the talent that was given to us. This is a reproof for every so called Christian who think that everything is the will of God and that I should not do anything. Without expressing your abilities to the maximum, you will not regain your own dignity that is being in the likeness of God and the image of God.
The Great Wednesday – an incredible day. We recall how on this day the Lord goes to the house of Simeon the leper and how the sinful woman enters, who gives all of her life – this is 300 drachma worth of perfume. Also, it is written with Mark the Evangelist, how she does this with an active motion – it is in a precious jar, she breaks this jar, pours it onto the Savior and then the Lord explains why she did this. She prophesized that the Lord will die. The apostles will calm down because they love the Lord and Judas cannot calm down. Wednesday is also the day of the decision of Judas to betray the Lord. And the behavior of this woman… the woman met Christ, how amazing, she is sinful and she meets Christ, she received the forgiveness from the Lord. At this time, Judas, who is His follower, who lives with Him, who eats, drinks, who, with His power, meaning with Christ’s power, does miracles, Judas, who is raised to the level of the apostles, does not meet the Savior, he did not meet the Savior, even though he was physically with Him. This is very important for us. You may physically be in the church, be a confessor, a communicant, but if you do not look at the world with the eyes of Christ, then you will not meet Christ, you will not recognize the Savior and always, when you will be in some special circumstances, some extreme case, there will always be in you the readiness to betray the Savior like Judas.
The Great Thursday – “I am meek and lowly in heart” the Lord says about Himself. Humility – humility as a trait of God, Godly trait, which is a necessary condition for us to be with God, for us to be saved. For you, a person, to be with God in eternity, and for you to have a personal relationship with God, you should be like Him, you should become like Him and the key to this likeness is humility. One kind of revelation of humility is when the Lord washes the feet of His followers and teaches us how we should live, how we should love our neighbor and what it means to be hierarchally in a high place – in our case for example, for a clergyman, it means being the servant of another person, loving each person as the child of Christ and as your own child if they are indeed by Christ your children. Thursday – the day of Last Supper, the birthday of communion, when in the form of bread and wine, we the Christians, commune with the body and blood of humanized God, risen from the dead. Do you know what this means? This means that for me, salvation is the relationship with God, but this relationship is not postponed to the future, when I depart then. If you are not with God now, then do not have hope that when you die, you will be with God. Being with God is my personal choice, being with God is my state of being, which will surely be revealed in my passing away, but it is definitely revealed here in this world and because of this we the faithful should be communing with this attitude, hot-heartedly and frequently, and the Great Thursday is the birthday of this. Truly: “Not a single second without Christ.”
Friday – the humanized God dies for us. Thinking this through logically in full is absolutely impossible. The creator of the world, the Son of God, coexistent with the Father and the Holy Spirit, receives the human nature, obviously He has the divine nature, he receives human flesh, human soul and by his humanly deed sanctifies the human nature. The sanctification happens by fighting against the evil and by triumphing over immorality, meaning by a moral triumph, without God helping His own human nature with His strength. If we fully understood what this means, the heart of every person would soften, this is something indescribable by words, we committed something unreachable for our mind, and all of this was crowned on the cross, it may be said. The state of the crucified thief is incredible – the crucified thief, in the fullness of truth and love, which is in the crucified Savior, sees the divine almightiness and asks Him with humility: “Remember me in your kingdom.” Amazing is the faith of the crucified thief, this is an example for all of us, so that we see strength in truth and love.
The Great Saturday – the dead Savior, as a human, with flesh is put in the grave, with soul He goes down into hell. The door of heaven is not open for people and the human way of the Savior, the way that the human goes through, He goes through everything and fills everything with His humanity. As we read in the mystical prayers of the Liturgy of St. Basil, He fills everything, among them, He fills hell, He went even there with His humanity. They often say about hell that God sends people there and that He punishes. This is a slander against God who is called love. God has not created hell. Hell is created by a human being himself, when he says no to Him, he says no to the unity with God, the source of life and love, says no to the personal relationship with God and because he is a creator, in his imagination he creates his own world, lives according to his own truth and after death he leaves with this state of being and he creates his own world where there is no place for God. God never oppresses us, this is a divine trait and when you, a human being, create your own world where there is no place for God because you do not want this, this is exactly hell. I stand by the heart of every person and ring, perhaps someone will listen to me, the Lord says, in the Book of Revelations and we should all keep this in mind. We, by ourselves create our future and God, if we give Him permission will come down to our hell, in the abysses of our soul and he will take us up from there and save us and will sanctify all of our being.
If we live by these examples, if the meaning and the goal of our life will be the Living God, the humanized God, Jesus Christ, then in us will be the opportunity that the story of the Savior rising from the dead is not just a story, that happened 2000 years ago, but rather it will turn into an ever-existing reality, but not a reality outside of me but rather a reality inside of me, as the Lord says, look for me inside of you, or in other words, look for heaven in your heart.
And what is Resurrection… Resurrection – this is the victory of truth over iniquity, the victory of joy over sorrow, the victory of life over death, the victory of the good over the evil and all of this became tangible for the apostles. This will become tangible for me, tangible by heart for me. Human being is created for happiness, and if we live the right way, if we think about the meaning of life that “Not a single second without Christ,” and that we look at the world with the eyes of Christ, then in us will be the Savior risen from the dead, we will always have a relationship with Him, we will always be joyful, this will be our inner state of being, and we will be happy. This is what we were created for. Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!