The holy Passion of our Saviour begins today, with Joseph prefiguring the coming of Christ.
Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, the first by Rachel. Since his was his father’s favorite his own brethren came to envy him and cast him into a pit. Later, worrying of blood on their hands, they sold him to foreigners for thirty pieces of silver. He was then sold again in a marketplace in Egypt.
Yet because of his virtue, his master gave him much authority in governing his house; and because he was fair of countenance, his master’s wife sought to draw him into sin with her; because of his chastity, he refused her, and through her slanders was cast into prison.
Finally,because of his understanding of God’s will he was led forth again with great glory and was honoured as a king. He became lord over all Egypt and a provider of wheat for all the people. Through all this, he typifies in himself the betrayal, Passion, death, and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Gen., chapters 37, 39 41 over here on BibleStudyTools to read the appropriate chapters.)
For the commemoration of Patriarch Joseph, added is the narrative concerning the fig tree, which was cursed and subsequently dried up because of its unfruitfulness. It portrayed the Jewish synagogue, which had not produced the fruit demanded of it, that is, obedience to God and faith in Him and so was stripped of all spiritual grace by means of the curse. As a farmer I find this parable very apropos the winnowing of the old and unfruitful hens, ill or crippled roosters; but as a person, getting rid of those things no longer useful harder to follow. How many books I have that were read but not passed on, clothes that I no longer like, household goods that are broken and so on. I use Advent, Lent and the 15 days preceeding the Kimisis to winnow out my goods. It is never easy, either with the flock or my personal belongings, but important so that we are tied to those earthly goods that no longer help us in our ladder to God.
18 Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.Matthew xxi: 18-20
Apolytikion of Holy Monday in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
See! The Bridegroom sets forth in the dead of night. And blessed is that servant whom he shall find on watch; unworthy the one he shall come upon lazing. See to it, soul, that sleep does not overtake you, lest you be given up to death and be shut out of the kingdom. Bestir yourself, then, and sing out: “Holy, holy, holy are You, our God; through the protection of the bodiless powers, save us.”