Sunday, November 11: “Go and do likewise.”

THE SECOND EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark 16:1-8

And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He is risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His Disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians 4:6-15

Brethren, it is the God Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. While we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So, death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 10:25-37

At that time, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read?” And the lawyer answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” But the lawyer, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The lawyer said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Thou didst shatter death by Thy Cross, Thou didst open paradise to the thief; Thou didst turn the sadness of the ointment-bearing women into joy. And didst bid Thine Apostles proclaim a warning, that Thou hast risen O Christ, granting to the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. MENAS THE GREAT-MARTYR

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. With great valor of soul, thou didst strive in martyrdom, * and having fought the good fight, O divine Great Martyr Menas, * thou from Heaven hast received the gift of miracles; * for God hath shown thee to the world * as a worker of great signs, and He made thee our protector * and a swift help in afflictions and ever-vigilant defense from harm.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Rejoice, O uncrossed gate; rejoice, O wall and protection of those who hasten unto thee; rejoice, O quiet haven, who hast not known wedlock, O thou who hast given birth in the flesh to thy Creator and God. Thou shalt continue to intercede for the sake of those who praise and worship thy birthgiving.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Thou didst shatter death by Thy Cross, Thou didst open paradise to the thief; Thou didst turn the sadness of the ointment-bearing women into joy. And didst bid Thine Apostles proclaim a warning, that Thou hast risen O Christ, granting to the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. MENAS THE GREAT-MARTYR

With great valor of soul, thou didst strive in martyrdom, * and having fought the good fight, O divine Great Martyr Menas, * thou from Heaven hast received the gift of miracles; * for God hath shown thee to the world * as a worker of great signs, and He made thee our protector * and a swift help in afflictions and ever-vigilant defense from harm.

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!

KONTAKION OF ENTRANCE OF THE THEOTOKOS

The sacred treasury of God’s holy glory, * the greatly precious bridal chamber and Virgin, * the Savior’s most pure temple, free of stain and undefiled, * into the House of the Lord * on this day is brought forward * and bringeth with herself the grace * of the Most Divine Spirit; * her do God’s Angels hymn with songs of praise, * for she is truly the heavenly tabernacle.

Profitable Word

Never lose heart

When you’re wounded because you’ve fallen into some sin or other through your weakness or, sometimes, to your harm, through your own will, don’t lose heart, don’t be upset about it, but turn straight to God and say: ‘You see, Lord, I did the things I did because of who I am. You can’t have expected anything different from me, who am so ill-disposed and weak, other than that I would fall and collapse’. And then berate yourself for a good while and be sorry with pain in your heart, for making God sad.

Without becoming upset, be disappointed with your foul passions, especially against the one which caused you to fall, and say: ‘Lord, I wouldn’t have stayed upright even this far had you not held me with your great goodness’.

And render thanks to Him and love Him more than ever, in admiration of His great loving-kindness. For the fact that, although you saddened Him, He still gives you His right hand and assists you, so that you don’t fall into sin again.

» Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite

Twentieth-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37

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

25-28. And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. This lawyer was not only arrogant and proud but also deceitful, as is shown by what follows. He comes to put the Lord to the test, and he imagined that he would trip the Lord by the answer which He gave. But the Lord leads him to the very law of which the lawyer boasted such great knowledge. See how precisely the law commands us to love God. Man is more perfect than all other created things, being in some respect like all created things, but in addition having something exceptional. For example, there is a part of man that is like stone, for he has hair and nails which are unfeeling, like a stone. And he is also in part like a plant, in that he grows and is nourished and engenders his own kind, just as plants do. He is in part like the irrational animals, in that he has emotions, and becomes angry, and desires. But unlike all other animals, he is also in part like God, in that he has a mind. Therefore the law teaches that man must give each and every part of himself entirely to God, and must expend all the forces of his life in loving God. When the law says, with all thy heart, it speaks of that force of human life that is purely physical and organic, a force likewise present in plant life. When the law says, with all thy soul, it speaks of that force of human life which feels, a force likewise present in animals. When the law says, with all thy mind, it speaks of that power which is unique to man, the intellect. With all thy strength means that we must use all these powers to pull [our stubborn selves to God]. We must harness even the organic, plant-like force of our soul to the love of Christ. How? With strength, and not faintheartedly. We must also subject, with strength, the power of all our senses to the love of Christ. As for the power of our rational soul, this too we must subject with all our strength to the love of Christ. So then, we must give all of ourselves to God, and we must subject our biological powers, our sensory powers, and our intellectual powers to the love of God. And thy neighbour as thyself .The law was not yet able to teach perfection on account of the spiritual immaturity of its listeners. Therefore, the law urged a man only to love his neighbor as himself. But Christ taught man to love ones neighbor more than oneself. For He says, Greater love hath no man than this, thata man lay down his life for his friends. [Jn. 15:13] Therefore He says to the lawyer, Thou hast answered right. Since you are still subject to the law, you have answered correctly, for your thoughts are in accordance with the old law.

29-37. But he, wanting to show himself to be righteous, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And as it happened there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan journeyed and came to him: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the innkeeper, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. After the Saviour praised him, the lawyers pride and arrogance knew no bounds. That is why he said, And who is my neighbor? that is, “Who is close to me?” (He imagined himself to be righteous and thought that there was no one like him and that no one could come close to him in virtue. He imagined that a righteous man could have as “neighbor” only another righteous man. Therefore wanting to show himself to be righteous and superior to all men, he says haughtily, And who is my neighbor? But the Saviour as Maker of all, knowing that all men are one creation, defines neighbour not according to deeds or merits, but according to human nature. “Do not think,” He says, “that just because you are righteous, no one is like you. All mankind shares the same nature and thus all men are your neighbors. Therefore, you too must be a neighbor to them and be near to all, not by location, but by the disposition of your heart and by your care for others. Therefore, I present to you a Samaritan as an example, to show you that no matter how different or foreign he may have seemed, he was the neighbor of the one in need of mercy. You also must show yourself to be a neighbor by your compassion, and even unasked you must go to the help of others.” Thus we learn from this parable to be always ready to show mercy and to make haste to be near those in need of our help. But this parable also teaches us the goodness of God towards man. It was our human nature that was going down from Jerusalem, that is, was descending from tranquillity and peace, for Jerusalem means vision of peace. Where was man descending? To Jericho, a place sunk down low and suffocating with heat, that is, to a life of passions. See that He did not say, “went down,” but, was going down. For fallen human nature is always inclined downwards, not just once of old, but continuously going down towards passionate life. And man fell among thieves, that is, among demons. For if a man did not come down from that high place where the spiritual mind rules, he would not fall among demons who strip the man, depriving him of his raiment of virtue, and then inflict the wounds of sin. They strip us of every good thought and of Gods protection, and when we are thus naked, they lay on the stripes of sin. They leave human nature half dead, that is, with a mortal body and an immortal soul. And human nature was left only half dead in the further sense that man did not lie completely in despair, but hoped to find salvation in Christ. Human nature had not yet been slain outright; though death had entered the world through Adams transgression, death was soon to be abolished by the righteousness of Christ. The priest and the Levite signify the law and the prophets, who desired to make human nature righteous, but were unable to do so. For it is not possible, says Paul, that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin. [Heb. 10:4] The law and the prophets took pity on man and sought to heal him. But they were defeated by the severity of the wounds of sin, and they passed into the past. This is what it means that they passed by. The law came and stood over the fallen man, but since it could not heal him, it turned away in revulsion and went on theother side. See that the words as it happened also have a certain spiritual meaning. For indeed the law was not given for the express purpose [of healing the wounds of sin, for Christ, not the law, was to be the healing of Adams wound]. Instead, the law was given [as a stopgap measure] on account of human weakness which could not immediately receive the mystery of Christ. This is why He says that it was as it happened, or, as we say, “by chance,” and not intentionally, that the priest, signifying the law, came to heal the man. But our Lord and God, Who for our sake was made a curse [Gal. 3:13], and was called a Samaritan [Jn. 8:48], journeyed to us, that is, His journey had as its very purpose and goal our healing. He did not just catch a glimpse of us as He happened to pass by: He actually came to us and lived together with us and spoke to us. Therefore, He at once bound up our wounds. He no longer permitted wickedness to operate in us freely and at will, but He bound and restrained our sinfulness and poured on oil and wine. Oil is the word of teaching which exhorts us to virtue by the promise of good things; wine is the word of teaching leading us towards virtue by the fear of punishment. For example, when you hear the Lord say, Come unto Me and I will give you rest [Mt. 11:28], this is the oil of gladness and rest. And it is the same when He says, Come ye and inherit the kingdom prepared for you [Mt. 25:34]. But when He says, “Depart into darkness [Mt. 25:30], this is the wine of sharp teaching which stings as it cleanses our wounds. You may also understand it this way: oil represents Christs human actions and wine represents His divine actions, for I may say that the Lord acted at times as a man and at times as God. When He ate and drank and relaxed, not displaying the austerity and asceticism of John the Forerunner, this is the oil. But His extraordinary fasting, His walking on the water, and all His mighty deeds of divine power, these are the wine. We can compare Christs divinity to wine, which no one could tolerate if it were poured onto a wound, unless it were tempered with oil, that is, accompanied by His humanity. Therefore, since Christ has saved us both by His divinity and by His humanity, this is why it is said that oil and wine were poured out. And at every baptism those who are baptized are delivered from wounds of the soul when they are chrismated with the oil of myrrh and then immediately commune of the divine Blood. The Lord lifted up our wounded nature upon His own beast of burden, namely, upon His own Body. For He made us members of Himself and communicants of His own Body; and when we were lying down, wounded, He raised us up to His own dignity, making us one Body with Himself. The inn is the Church, which receives all. But the law did not receive all. For the law says, the Ammanite and the Moabite shall not enter into the Church of God [Dt. 23:3] But now, from every tribe and people, God accepts those who fear Him and who desire to believe and to become a member of Christs Body, the Church. God receives all, even sinners and publicans. See the preciseness of His expression, how He says that the Samaritan brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Before he brought him to the inn, he had only bound his wounds. What then am I saying? That when the Church had been established, becoming the inn which receives all, and was increased by the faith of nearly all peoples, then there were the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God was spread far and wide. You may learn this from the Acts of the Apostles.

The innkeeper is a type and symbol of every apostle, teacher, and archpastor, to whom the Lord gave two pence, representing the two Testaments, Old and New. Just as both coins bear the image of the one king, so do both Testaments bear the words of the same God. When the Lord ascended into the heavens He left these two coins in the hands of the Apostles, and in the hands of the bishops and teachers of every generation. And He said to them, And whatsoever thou spendest more of thine own, I will repay thee. Indeed the Apostles spent much more of their own’s with great labors they sowed the word of teaching everywhere. And those teachers in each generation who have explained the Old and the New Testaments have also spent much of their own, for which they will be rewarded when the Lord returns at the second coming. Then may each of them say to him, “Lord, Thou gayest me two pence; behold, another two pence have I spent of mine own.” And to him the Lord will answer, “Well done, thou good servant.”