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February 17-23, 2014
Mark 14:43-52 - And immediately, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard." And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said, "Master!" And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled." And they all forsook him, and fled.
And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked. (RSV)
He waits for us to come to Him – How magnificent is the endurance of evil by the Lord who even kissed his own traitor, and then spoke words even softer than a kiss! For He did not say, O you abominable one, or traitor, is this what you do in return for great kindnesses? He simply says, “Judas,” using his first name. This is in the voice of one commiserating with another or who wished another to come back to him, not the voice of anger. (Dionysius of Alexandria)
The icon is a detail of the Last Judgement. The Gospel of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) will be read next Sunday. By custom, Meatfare Week is the last week meat is allowed as we prepare for the Holy Forty Days Fast. Also, the Byzantine Lectionary prescribes the reading of the Passion according to Mark this week.