Passion Week , Holy Week ~ Gospel

Today the Master of Creation stands before Pilate; today the Maker of all things is given up to the Cross, and of His own will He is led as a lamb to the slaughter. He who sent manna in the wilderness is transfixed with nails; His side is pierced, and a sponge with vinegar touches His lips.

The Deliverer of the world is struck on the face, and the Creator of all is mocked by His own servants. How great is the Master’s love for mankind! For those who crucified Him, He prayed to His Father, saying,

“Forgive them this sin, for in their wickedness they know not what they do.”

Today, the Jews nailed to the Cross the Lord, Who had divided the sea with a rod and led them through the wilderness. Today, they pierced with a lance the side of Him, Who for their sake had smote Egypt with plagues. They gave gall to drink to Him, Who had rained down manna on them for food.

“O My people, what have I done unto you? Have I not filled Judea with miracles? Have I not raised the dead by My word alone? Have I not healed every sickness and disease? How then have ye repaid Me? Why have ye forgotten Me? In return for healing, ye have given Me blows; in return for life, ye are putting Me to death. Ye hang upon the Cross your Benefactor as an evildoer, your Lawgiver as a transgressor of the Law, the King of all as one condemned.”

O longsuffering Lord, glory to Thee. The whole creation was changed by fear, when it saw Thee, O Christ, hanging on the Cross. The sun was darkened and the foundations of the earth were shaken; all things suffered with the Creator of all. Of Thine own will Thou hast endured this for our sakes. O Lord, glory to Thee.

O Lord, Thou hast taken as Thy companion the thief who had soiled his hands with blood; in Thy goodness and love for mankind, number us also with him. Few were the words that the thief uttered upon the Cross, yet great was the faith that he showed. In one moment he was saved; he opened the gates of Paradise and was the first to enter in. O Lord, Who hast accepted his repentance, glory to Thee. A sword hath pierced me,

«O my Son, said the Virgin upon seeing Christ hung upon the Tree, my heart hath been rent O Lord, as Simeon once foretold to me. But arise, I pray Thee, O immortal One, and glorify Thy Mother and handmaiden. Every member of Thy holy body endured dishonour for our sakes: Thy head, the thorns; Thy face, the spitting; Thy cheeks, the buffeting; Thy mouth, the taste of gall mingled with vinegar; Thy ears, the impious blasphemies; Thy back, the scourging and Thy hand, the reed; Thy whole body, the stretching on the Cross; Thy limbs, the nails and Thy side, the spear.

Thou hast suffered for us and by Thy Passion set us free from passions; in loving self-abasement Thou hast stooped down to us and raised us up. O Saviour almighty, have mercy on us.

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