Orthodox Church of the Mother of God

Joy of all the Sorrowful - Mays Landing, NJ (f. 1966)

Holy Thursday - Twelve Gospels

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The Repentant Thief

Having shown us the hopeless and evil path of Judas and the lawless leaders of the people, the hymnography of the Service begins to direct our attention to something more hopeful - the way of the repentant thief. According to his own words, this thief, unlike Christ, was justly placed upon the cross. He was a criminal - but his repentance at the final hour of his life was deep and sincere. In humbly recognizing his own evil and unworthiness, but in confidently asking Christ to remember him, he shows us the way to our own salvation.

The thief, whose hands were defiled with blood,
Thou didst accept as Thy fellow-traveler.
With him, number us also, O Lord,
For Thou art good and lovest mankind.

(Antiphon 14)
His is the way we must follow-But we,
imitating the righteous thief, cry out in faith:
Remember us also, 0 Savior, in Thy Kingdom!

(Beatitudes)

Even though the foundations of the very earth might shake, the example of the thief shows us that the man who confesses Christ as his Savior and sets his hope in Him will never perish.

When it beheld Thee crucified, O Christ, all creation trembled.
The foundations of the earth shook for fear of Thy might.
The lights of heaven hid themselves,
and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
The mountains quaked, and the rocks were split,
and with us the believing thief cried out to Thee,
O Savior: Remember me in Thy Kingdom!

(Beatitudes)

The final judgment is whether or not we can be enlightened, as was the thief, by the presence before us of the Lord upon the Cross.

The wise thief Thou didst make worthy of paradise in a single moment,
O Lord; By the wood of Thy cross illumine me also, and save me.

(Hymn of Light)

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