March 31, 2015 </br>Great and Holy Tuesday

March 31, 2015
Great and Holy Tuesday

Today at Matins, we hear the Gospel in which Jesus delivers a ringing, frightening denunciation of religious hypocrisy. We, who have the richest liturgical tradition in Christendom, should listen to this Gospel lesson attentively. Our wonderful, magnificent worship which we love will do us no good at all if we let it become an excuse for spiritual pride, for snobbery, for pretense, for avoiding our duty of justice, mercy, and good faith. Jesus does not teach us to neglect our liturgical worship, but He definitely teaches us to fulfill the Gospel law of service to others, as we saw on Meat-Fare Sunday, which is also called the Sunday of the Last Judgment. May God deliver us from permitting Holy Week to lead us into spiritual complacency.

At the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, this theme continues in the Gospel, with the importance of staying awake and being ready for the coming of the Lord. We hear the story of the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish who were waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom; when he actually arrived at midnight, the foolish virgins did not have enough oil for their lamps, and were shut out of the wedding feast. This parable is remembered on each of these days in the Troparion “Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He finds watching!” Today the Gospel continues, and we hear the same passage we heard at Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meat-Fare Sunday), emphasizing the importance of the works of mercy.

On Tuesday, a verse is sung both at Matins and at the Presanctified Liturgy which perhaps deserves our attention:

“Come, you faithful, let us serve the Master eagerly, for He gives riches to His servants. Each of us, according to the measure that we have received, let us increase the talent of grace. Let one gain wisdom through good deeds; let another celebrate the Liturgy with beauty; let another share the faith by preaching to the uninstructed; let another give his wealth to the poor. So shall we increase what is entrusted to us, and as faithful stewards of His grace we shall be counted worthy of the Master’s joy.”

This verse emphasizes that no individual can do everything. In the Church, there are a variety of services. But no one is entitled to think himself better than someone else. Instead, we should take joy in giving honour to each other, and appreciating the work that others do. (Bishop Basil Losten)


LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS

At Psalm 140

In Tone 1

10. How shall I enter the splendour of your saints,
because of my unworthiness?
If I dare to enter into Your bridal chamber,
my garment shall give me away;
for I do not have a wedding garment,
and the angels shall cast me out.
Purify my soul, O Lord, and in Your goodness, save me.

9. How shall I enter the splendour of your saints,
because of my unworthiness?
If I dare to enter into Your bridal chamber,
my garment shall give me away;
for I do not have a wedding garment,
and the angels shall cast me out.
Purify my soul, O Lord, and in Your goodness, save me.

In Tone 2

8. My slothful soul has fallen into sleep, O Christ, my Spouse,
and I do not have a lamp shining with the fire of virtues.
I have become like the foolish virgins;
for, instead of labouring, I have wasted my time.
Do not close off Your love and Your heart to me, O Master;
but dispel my dark slumber;
awaken me that I may enter Your palace with the wise virgins.
There the choir of the just shall resound as they sing to You:
O Lord, glory to You.

7. My slothful soul has fallen into sleep, O Christ, my Spouse,
and I do not have a lamp shining with the fire of virtues.
I have become like the foolish virgins;
for, instead of labouring, I have wasted my time.
Do not close off Your love and Your heart to me, O Master;
but dispel my dark slumber;
awaken me that I may enter Your palace with the wise virgins.
There the choir of the just shall resound as they sing to You:
O Lord, glory to You.

In Tone 4

6. You have heard of the condemnation of the one who hid the talent;
O my soul, do not hide the word of God.
Proclaim His wonders and increase His gifts,
that you may enter into the joy of your Lord.

5. You have heard of the condemnation of the one who hid the talent;
O my soul, do not hide the word of God.
Proclaim His wonders and increase His gifts,
that you may enter into the joy of your Lord.

In Tone 6

4. Come, O faithful, let us zealously labour for the Lord;
for He entrusts His riches to His servants;
let each multiply the talent of grace.
Let one gain wisdom by doing good;
let another serve with splendour;
let the faithful share the knowledge of faith with the unenlightened;
let others share their goods with the poor.
Thus we shall multiply the treasure that has been entrusted to us,
and we shall be the faithful stewards of grace,
and we shall be worthy of the joy of the Lord.
Grant this to us, O Christ our God,
in Your goodness toward humankind.

3. Come, O faithful, let us zealously labour for the Lord;
for He entrusts His riches to His servants;
let each multiply the talent of grace.
Let one gain wisdom by doing good;
let another serve with splendour;
let the faithful share the knowledge of faith with the unenlightened;
let others share their goods with the poor.
Thus we shall multiply the treasure that has been entrusted to us,
and we shall be the faithful stewards of grace,
and we shall be worthy of the joy of the Lord.
Grant this to us, O Christ our God,
in Your goodness toward humankind.

2. When You shall come in glory with the powers of heaven,
to be seated on the throne of judgment, O Jesus,
do not cast me far away from You, O Good Shepherd.
On Your right are the paths that lead to You,
and on Your left are those who turn away from You.
Do not make me perish with the goats,
even though I have been disfigured by sin.
But place me on Your right with Your sheep,
and in Your love for humankind, save me.

1. O Bridegroom, whose grace surpasses all human beauty,
You invite us to the spiritual feast in Your palace.
Strip me of the coarse garment of my sin,
and make me a partaker of Your Passion.
Clothe me in the glorious adornment of Your beauty.
In Your mercy, accept me as a luminous guest
at the banquet in Your Kingdom.

In Tone 7, Glory… Now…

Behold, the Lord entrusts His talent to you;
accept this gift with fear, O my soul.
Multiply it for the One who granted it to you;
share it with the poor and you shall have the Lord as your friend.
Then you shall be at His right when He comes in glory,
and you shall hear His blessed voice say to you:
You are indeed my servant;
enter into the joy of Your Lord.
Even though I have gone astray, O Lord,
make me worthy of this joy.

Prokeimenon I, Tone 6
Arise, O Lord, and go to Your resting place,* You and the ark of Your might.
verse: O Lord, remember David and the many hardships he endured.

Reading I
Exodus 2:5-10

Prokeimenon II, Tone 4
How good and how pleasant it is,* when people live in unity!
verse: It is like precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron.

Reading II
Job 1:13-22

Gospel
Matthew 24:36-26:2

 

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