With the celebration of the Vespers and Matins of the Bridegroom on Sunday evening, we enter into Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday. These days are called the Days of the Bridegroom. Christ has arrived in Jerusalem where His Passion and Triumph will take place. Christ comes to His people to save them and to love them as a bridegroom comes for his bride and takes her to his home. Christ is the BRIDEGROOM, and we, the Church, are His BRIDE. He now comes to take us home to His Father in the Kingdom of Heaven.
On Holy Monday, the Church invites us to consider the Passion of Christ that is represented by the “figure” of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, slandered for his chastity and thrown into prison. But, eventually he was released from prison; attained a high rank; and received honors worthy of kings, becoming the governor of Egypt. Thus he symbolizes for us the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and His consequent great Glory.
Our attention is also brought to the barren fig tree that was cursed by our Lord, to remind us and to impress upon us that perdition awaits the soul that does not bear good fruit.
On Holy Tuesday, our attention is directed to the parable of the ten virgins. It teaches us to be ready for our end, not knowing when our hour is coming. As the wise virgins were ready to meet the bridegroom, we also must be prepared to meet the Heavenly Bridegroom – in a sinless, upright and holy life.
THE TROPARION OF THE BRIDEGROOM
Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying; Holy, holy, holy, art Thou, O our God. Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
The Matins of the Bridegroom will be served on Sunday evening, April 17, at 5 p.m., and on Monday and Tuesday evenings, April 18 and 19, at 6 p.m.
On Holy Wednesday, April 20, the Church recounts the Anointing of Jesus at Bethany. Judas takes issue over the waste of precious ointment. Jesus rebukes him: Why do you trouble this woman? She has done me a good turn…for in pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it for my burial. (Matt. 26:10-13)
The Sacrament of Holy Unction will be celebrated on: Wednesday evening, April 20, at 6 p.m.