Source of life without end

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrating the Eucharist

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrating the Eucharist

Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, commemorating the Parable told by Jesus and recorded in Luke 15:11-32.

In the Liturgy for Vespers, Christ is the precious calf sacrificed for us at the mystical banquet.

BRETHREN, let us learn the power of the mystery.

For when the Profligate Son ran back from sin to his Father’s hearth, the all-loving Father, coming out to meet him, kissed him and gave him back again the tokens of his own glory, and completed the mystical joy of those on high by sacrificing the fatted calf, so that we might live lives worthy of the loving Father, who offered the sacrifice, and of the glorious sacrificial victim, the Saviour of our souls.

**

There is a long Kontakion by St Romanos the Melodist, intended for the Second Sunday of Lent, exploring this mystery in terms of the Eucharist. A few lines from it are given here.

SO let us now hasten and share in the supper;
If we have been counted worthy to rejoice with the Father.
Let us banquet with the king of the angels.
He provides bread which gives blessedness.

As drink there is given holy blood,
Source of life without corruption and without end. While Angels stand and wait.
Let us see, how the first to take his place
Was the Lord himself who urges us.

Then at once patriarchs, choirs of apostles
And the prophets with the martyrs.
He makes his son, the profligate, take his place next to him, the
Master and Lord of the ages.

[…]

O SON and Word of God, creator of all things,
We your unworthy servants ask and implore you:
Have mercy on all who call upon you.
As you did the profligate spare those who have sinned.

Accept and save through compassion
Those who in repentance run to you, O King, crying, ‘We have sinned’.
Give us tears as you did the harlot
And pardon for the sins we have committed.

And as you did the publican take pity on us all,
At the intercessions of the Mother of God.
Make us partakers of your supper, as you did the Profligate,
Master and Lord of the ages.

St Romanos the Melodist, Kontakion 49. Translation by Ephrem Lash at Anastasis, originally from his book of Romanos’s Kontakia, entitled “On The Life Of Christ” (Amazon).

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