Sunday, February 10: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!”

THE FOURTH EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 24:1-12

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the Living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered His words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the Apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, wondering to himself what had happened.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy 2:1-10

Timothy, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything. St. Charalampos Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.

THE GOSPEL

The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 15:21-28

At that time, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” But He did not answer her one word. And His disciples came and begged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Having learned the joyful message of the Resurrection from the angel the women disciples of the Lord cast from them their parental condemnation. And proudly broke the news to the Disciples, saying: Death hath been spoiled; Christ God is risen, granting the world Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. CHARALAMPOS

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. An unshaken pillar of the Church of Christ God art thou, * an ever-resplendent lamp, O Charalampos most wise, which shineth throughout the earth; * in martyric contest thou hast shined on the whole world, * and thou hast dispelled the moonless night of the idols. * Now boldly intercede thou with Christ that we may all be saved.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. The Mystery which was hidden from everlasting and was unknown of the angels, O Theotokos, was revealed through thee, to those who dwell upon earth. In that God, having become incarnate— in unconfused union—of His own good will accepted the Cross for our sake. Whereby He raised again the first created, and hath saved our souls from death.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

Having learned the joyful message of the Resurrection from the angel the women disciples of the Lord cast from them their parental condemnation. And proudly broke the news to the Disciples, saying: Death hath been spoiled; Christ God is risen, granting the world Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. CHARALAMPOS

An unshaken pillar of the Church of Christ God art thou, * an ever-resplendent lamp, O Charalampos most wise, which shineth throughout the earth; * in martyric contest thou hast shined on the whole world, * and thou hast dispelled the moonless night of the idols. * Now boldly intercede thou with Christ that we may all be saved.

THE APOLYTIKON OF THE PROTECTION OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS

Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church, and with choirs of Saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and Bishops venerate Her, Apostles and prophets rejoice together, since for our sake she prays to the Eternal God!

ORDINARY KONTAKION

O protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the Creator most constant, O despise not the suppliant voices of those who have sinned; but be thou quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession, and speed thou to make supplication, thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.

Profitable Word

Saint Nicholas Velimirovich

Christian love moves in a circle. First comes love for yourself, then love for your friends and, finally, love for God. Christ took our love for our self as the standard for measuring our love for our enemies and our love for God. He said: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself’.

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Woman of Canaan

Matthew 15: 21-28

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

21-23. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. But He answered her not a word. Why did He not allow the disciples to go by way of the Gentiles [Mt. 10:5], while He Himself went to Tyre and Sidon, which were Gentile cities? Learn then, that He did not go there to preach, since, as Mark says, He hid Himself [Mk. 7:24]. But rather, when He saw that the Pharisees had not accepted His words about food, He went to the Gentiles. The woman said, “Have mercy, not on my daughter, who is unconscious, but on me who am suffering and experiencing these terrible things.” And she did not say, “Come and heal,” but Have mercy. He did not answer her a word, not out of contempt, but to show that He had come, in the first place, for the Jews, and to shut the mouths of those Jews who might later slanderously accuse Him of doing good to Gentiles. He also refrained from answering her so that He might reveal the persevering faith of the woman.

23-24. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But He answered and said, I am sent only unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The disciples were oppressed by the cry of the woman and so begged Christ to send her away. They did this, not out of a lack of compassion, but rather with the desire to persuade the Lord to have mercy on her. But He said, “I am sent only unto to the Jews, who are lost sheep because of the wickedness of those shepherds to whom they have been entrusted.” In this manner He discloses more fully the faith of the woman.

25-27. Then came she and fell prostrate before Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Yea, Lord: yet even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. When the woman saw that her advocates, the Apostles, had not succeeded, again she approaches fervently and calls upon the Lord.

Christ speaks of her as a dog, because the Gentiles led an unclean life and were involved with the blood of meat sacrificed to idols, while the Jews He speaks of as children. But she answers wisely and indeed profoundly, “Even though I am a dog and not worthy to receive a loaf of bread, that is, a mighty act and a great sign, nevertheless grant this to me which is a small thing by comparison with Thy power, though to me it is great. For crumbs are not large in the eyes of those who eat loaves, but to dogs they are large, and they feed on them.”

28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Now Jesus shows the reason why He put off healing her at the beginning: So that the faith and understanding of the woman might be made manifest, Christ did not immediately give His assent at the beginning and even drove her away. But now when her faith has been revealed she hears the words of praise, Great is thy faith. By saying, Be it unto thee even as thou wilt, Christ showed that if she had not had faith she would not have obtained her request. So, too, if we desire to obtain something, nothing prevents us from obtaining what we desire. Notice that even if saints should ask on our behalf, as the Apostles did for the woman, still, we accomplish even more when we ask for ourselves. The Canaanite woman is also a symbol of the Church gathered from among the Gentiles. For Gentiles who first were even driven away, later were advanced to the rank of sons and were deemed worthy of the Bread, I mean, the Body of the Lord; while the Jews became dogs, thinking that they were being fed by the crumbs, that is, the minute and insignificant details of the letter of the law. Tyre means “besieged,” Sidon, “they who hunt,” and Canaan, “made ready by humility.” Therefore, the Gentiles, who were besieged by evil in that the demons were among them hunting for souls, were also made ready by humility. For the ighteous were made ready for the heights of the kingdom of God.