April 2010 letter
My Beloved Brethren,
By the end of the holy lent, we come closer to the Holy week with its rituals and special hymns, that move our emotions of repentance and love toward Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. It may be useful to review the events of this last week of Christ’s life, which is to end by the plot against Him and His crucifixion:
Lazarus’ Saturday: in which Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, and because of this miracle the planning to kill him started as stated in the Bible: “Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death” (John 11: 53).
Palm Sunday: the entry of Christ as King into Jerusalem, and the cleaning of theTemple from the vendors who turned it into a place of trade.
On Monday: in the morning Jesus passed by the leafy fig tree that had no fruit, He condemned it that no one would eat of it after that. This tree is a symbol of the Jewish nation who had the Divine law and the knowledge of God, but unfortunately without any fruits of faith, love nor holiness.
Paskha Tuesday: Jesus began the day in the morning by passing by the fig tree that He condemned the previous day, which dried up from its roots. The rest of the day He spent with His disciples in the temple answering their questions and those of the Pharisees and the Sadducees who came to test His words.
Paskha Wednesday: Jesus spent the day in Bethany, after leaving the temple with the intention not to return to it at all, telling the Jews: “See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, `Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'”(Matthew 23: 38-39). On this day, we find two contradictory events:
1- the woman who poured fragrant oil on our Savior’s head in the house of Simon the leper, and when some of his disciples objected because the price, He answered them defending her: “For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial” (Mathew 26: 12).
2 – betrayal by Judas Iscariot.
Covenant Thursday: events are very fast; Christ offers the Passover with His disciples, and then He washes their feet, and begins a new covenant with His people based on the sacrifice of His Holy Body and Blood, and finally His arrest and trial.
Good Friday: completion of religious and civil trials, ending by His crucifixion.
May Jesus Christ who suffered for us and who was crucified on the cross for our sakes, bless us spiritually and bring forth on us the joy of His Holy resurrection.
Fr. Youssef Halim,
Belleville, March 26th 2010