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The Passover Week: the Pascha

On reaching the end of Lent and starting the Passover week, we will be meeting different characters, one of whom is Lazarus:

The church names the last Saturday of Lent, the day that comes before Palm Sunday‘ the Day of Lazarus’

Jesus had been telling the people about a new life, a new covenant, a new promise of heavenly life.

The Day of Lazarus

Lazarus was Mary and Martha’s brother. On that day, he was granted a new life. After Lazarus corpse had been buried for four days!
.when everyone felt hopeless, believing that death is a dilemma that can never be faced; that death is the end to everything, and to all humanity, that no one can conquer death, Jesus had a different say:

On the ‘Day of Lazarus’, Jesus gave life back to a dead corpse in front of thousands. He wanted people to understand that all of His faithful followers will be given this new eternal life.

This new life is the result of His crucifixion and resurrection. The Lord had risen from the dead in order to offer all of His believers an eternal life: to live again after life. 

Though many had seen what had happened to Lazarus, this incident was not simply accepted. However, the disciples witnessed beloved friend Lazarus walking alive out from the tomb and they helped  him to wash and to start a new life. 

This is the story of each and every one. We all are like Lazarus. One day we will die and we will be buried inside a tomb. But we are waiting for the voice of our Lord who had conquered death to give a wake-up call; a call for His believers to start a new life enjoying eternity with the Lord. 

When reading this story on that specific day, the Church is teaching everyone to start this week; a week that though filled with the taste and smell of death, is also filled with the power of resurrection. Not only in the Lord crucifixion had we seen the death of sin and corruption, but we also had witnessed the new life of resurrection; the eternal life with the Lord. 

If we were to ask Lazarus what his feelings were at the time; what  he felt in the tomb. Lazarus became one of the best followers of the Lord. He became one of the 70 apostles.

Lazarus  evangelised the Word of God in many countries. He is honoured as a great saint since he was one of Jesus friends.

Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, also spent their lives serving the Lord and evangelizing the Word of God to everyone. 

Let’s together enjoy the sweet savour of resurrection.

Every year, on the Sunday before Easter, the Cristian Orthodox church celebrates Palm Sunday. On that day, the church reads the story as written by the four Gospels; the church sermons on that day focus on Jesus Christ’s Himself

Jesus Reigns: The Melody of Innocent Hearts

Let us focus for a change on the children – those enthusiastic kids, who were loudly and incessantly, praising the Lord despite all those efforts exerted to silence them

The Lord Jesus Christ has given them permission to keep on praising Him; those young kids’ praises are exactly similar to those of the angels: both are praising the Lord – the real God – who came in flesh to save humanity:
Jesus is the King
Only the pure-hearted children were able to grasp that belief. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ is ordering us to change; to become more like those pure-hearted young ones.
It has always been easier for children to believe: to simply accept faith

The Lord Jesus Christ has given them permission to keep on praising Him; those young kids’ praises are exactly similar to those of the angels: both are praising the Lord – the real God – who came in flesh to save humanity:
Jesus is the King
Only the pure-hearted children were able to grasp that belief. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ is ordering us to change; to become more like those pure-hearted young ones.
It has always been easier for children to believe: to simply accept faith

Finding Strength in Simplicity: Lessons from Children

As grown-ups, sometimes our minds and thoughts form obstacles and hinder our ‘journey to faith. However, these children simple ‘Hosanna’ prayer warmed up Jesus heart. At that moment Jesus referred to the psalms: ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you ordained strength.’ 8:21

While celebrating Palm’s Sunday, we must learn to look up to those simple and pure-hearted children; take them as teachers or role models. A child can teach us how to be pure and humble; we have to become more like them in order to be able to love everyone and acquire that inner happy spirit they always have. Those children were able to savor the taste of victory as they awaited and followed the real King. The humble King. Our beloved Lord Jesus Christ.


The cursed fig tree

On the very next day – the Holy Monday – the Monday of the Passover week, the church reads the 21st chapter of Mathew to remind us of the cursed fig tree. It seems both strange and astonishing! Why was this tree in particular cursed?
It never was the matter of the ‘fig tree’, nor was it about being unfruitful.

The cursed fig tree simply symbolizes the Israelis: God’s ‘chosen nation’. God’s children from amongst whom all prophets were chosen and through whom God’s Scriptures were written. They were supposed to know God, His commandments and His laws. Unfortunately, this never was the case.
God’s chosen people were never able to make it. The could neither believe in God nor follow Him. God’s chosen nation had not only failed to love God, but had also failed to love one another. That was the reason they were cursed. God’s chosen people appeared to be good – just like the fig tree. But unfortunately, they never bloomed nor borne any fruit.

The cursed fig tree leaves also symbolize the supposedly ‘clothes’ which Adam and Eve wore after sinning and discovering they were naked. But the Lord never liked their methods of covering up for their sins; the Lord has a totally different plan. His plan was to redeem them; to cover them with His blood: the only method was the cross: His redemption.

The Fig Tree's Lesson: Man-Made Solutions vs. Divine Redemption

The leaves on the fig tree symbolize man-planned solutions for the problems of humanity; solutions that may seemingly appear to put an end to corruption or avoid deaths; however these man-planned would never solve these problems.

Jesus cursed the leaves of the fig since we were in bad need for a real cover: one that we receive from His Crucifixion.
When we are baptised, we actually wear/ put on Christ’s body Himself.
We are ‘clothed’ by the Lord Himself, covered and are redeemed by His blood. That’s the blessing. That’s the good gift given by God.

The fig tree is telling: “Please take care not to be like these people: the people of Israel.” They had many chances but they lost them all, because they had never focused on loving God and following His Word.

Ash Wednesday the third day of the Passover:

On Holy Wednesday, the third day of the Passover, the church reads about two totally opposite characters:

We read about them in John 12 : 1 – 8

First: Marythe sister of Lazarus

She brought along with her when visiting Jesus that aromatic alabaster perfume. It was worth a lot of money. But that lady never hesitated to pour it all on the head of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though her heart was filled with warm feelings of love and gratitude, she was unable to express all these mixed emotions and put them into words; hence, she decided to pour her one small bottle of very expensive perfume on the Lord’s head.

However, people, judgmental as ever, condemned her for wasting money and accused her of being foolish. 

The Lord Jesus Christ opinion was different. He accepted and praised her offering and her act of love. He even promised her that all the coming generation would know of her generous gift.

SecondJudah Iscariot:

On the contrary, there was Judah Iscariot; one of Jesus Christ disciples. He was so obsessed with money that he considered betraying the Lord: he considering ‘selling’ the Lord to the Jews. Judah Iscariot had been evangelizing alongside Jesus Christ for nearly three years; he witnessed the Lord working miracles; he himself was able to perform miracles. Judah Iscariot loved money. He was unable to accept the fact that Jesus was actually praising the woman who was wasting all that money. He loved money more than anything.

At that same moment when that woman was blessed for her sacrifice, Judah chose to be cursed.

It is essential for us as God’s children to make correct decisions; whether to follow our Lord with all our heart, strength, mind and soul or to choose the easy road, become enslaved to money and become to materialistic for the rest of our lives.

So again, you all know that this Wednesday is a day to fast and pray simply because we need to take a crucial decision; whether choose being like her: giving away our most valuable belongings for His sake; or chose the worldly needs over Him: money and earthly belongings. 

Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper:

This is the day when Jesus founded the Eucharist; a crucial sacrament our lives.

We all remember St Mark’s mother, the lady who had invited Jesus and His disciples over to her home to celebrate Passover. St Mark was present. Though he loved Jesus, being too shy, he had not uttered a word that night.

Few hours later, After sharing the Great Supper

The Eucharist – with Jesus, and unable to accept the fact that Jesus was arrested, St Mark escaped; he simply ran away when the soldiers arrived to arrest Jesus. For years, it was difficult for him to forget that night – when he was too scared to face the soldiers or to support Jesus.

Despite that, St Mark – the scared disciple – had changed and turned into a great saint. He became our intercessor; the great father of the Coptic people. St Mark was the one who came over to our country Egypt and evangelized our nation.

Because he loved Jesus, he chose to evangelize in Africa; his words made huge difference in the lives of many nations.

There is a lot to learn from St Mark: we – as Christians -are never to lose hope. Despite our weaknesses and our sins, there is a chance to become better – same as St Mark. He overcame his weakness and became not only a great saint but also a martyr.

The Good Friday

On that day we learn many things about several Biblical characters:

St MaryOur queen


The Good Friday, the day her Beloved Son was crucified before her very eyes must have been the toughest day ever.

According to our creed and faith, we believe that St Mary clearly understood the reason behind all these happenings. She totally comprehended the story of salvation. She knew that He was sacrificing Himself to redeem humanity.

She believed in Him: the Son of God and the Son of Man. She believed in His resurrection. The fact that she was unable to express any of those thoughts, made her suffer.

Her only hope was that she would eventually be able to see Him again: on earth and in Heaven forever.

JohnThe Beloved

St John the beloved was officially assigned by Jesus to look after St Mary – Jesus Mother. It was as if Jesus had given St John a gift to repay him for his faithful love and service.

St John remained with Jesus’s beloved mother; that was the reason St Mary resided at St John’s home till the last day of her life on earth.

On that same day, we read about many people who made fun of Jesus and mocked him. However, He never stopped praying for them. He prayed for them to be forgiven, to be unchained.

We must follow the lead of those great saints: St Mary and St John. It is essential to stay away from anyone who is rejecting Jesus love and the power of the Cross; hence, rejecting Salvation.

St Peter:The Rock

On the dawn of that morning, we remember St Peter. During Jesus interrogation, St Peter felt too scared that he denied knowing the Lord. He even swore that he had never seen him before.

However, no one can forget those bitter tears he shed, his true repentance, and his heartfelt prayers for forgiveness. 

Jesus our Lord, as loving and as forgiving as usual, wanted him back amongst his herd, among his apostles. Despite everything, Jesus never rejected Peter. 

When they met on the Galilee Sea, Peter was able to see in the Lord’s eyes looks of love, forgiveness and encouragement mixed with a look of tender blaming. 

As if Jesus was telling him: never lose hope, I love you despite your denial. It is because of Jesus love and forgiveness that the church considers St. Peter as one of the great apostles in the history of the Church. 

So, this day is one when the Lord’s gives to anyone and everyone: those who are accepted by few and rejected by many. This is our day.

SaturdaOf the Passover:

In the very early morning of Sunday before sunrise, we meet the Marys:  Mary Magdalene and Mary, the sister of our Queen, St Mary, visiting the Jesus tomb. These great women really loved the Lord and they were bitterly crying, as they knew that He had died, a thing that never crossed their minds or imagine that it would actually happen.

Strangely enough, on arriving there, they found Jesus’s tomb wide-opened. They received the Good news of resurrection from the angels guarding the tomb. At once, they hurried over to the disciples to tell them the good news of resurrection.

Though no one believed their message, they were enthralled; they had witnessed the angels with their very own eyes; they heard the relieving message: Jesus had beaten death; they can enjoy the new life of eternity.

Those great women are considered to be the first Christian evangelists. God ordered them to go and speak for Him; to tell the apostles that He had risen from death. He is waiting all His followers to come and see Him again and to live with Him forever. 

Let’s enjoy this day. Let’s enjoy Jesus Resurrection.

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