Sunday, October 21: “Lord have mercy on us!”

THE NINTH EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John 21:1-14

At that time, Jesus revealed Himself again to the Disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and He revealed Himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His Disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the Disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered Him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That Disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other Disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the Disciples dared ask Him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the Disciples after He was raised from the dead.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 2:16-20

Brethren, you know that a man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Jesus Christ. Even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the Law, because by works of the Law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the Law died to the Law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 8:26-39

At that time, Jesus arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And as He stepped out on land, there met Him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, “What hast Thou to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech Thee, do not torment me.” For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. [For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert.] Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. And they begged Jesus not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged Jesus to let them enter these. So He gave them leave. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked Jesus to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so He got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Jesus; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare all that God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city all that Jesus had done for him.

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. HILARION THE GREAT

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. The barren wilderness thou didst make fertile with the streams of thy tears; and by thy deep sighing thou hast given fruit through thy struggles a hundred-fold. Accordingly, thou hast become a star for the universe, sparkling with miracles. Therefore, O righteous Father Hilarion, intercede with Christ God to save our souls.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Thou Who for our sake wast born of a Virgin, and didst suffer crucifixion, O good One, and didst despoil death through death, and as God didst reveal Resurrection. Despise not those Whom Thou hast created with Thine own hand, show forth Thy love for mankind, O merciful One. Accept the intercessions of Thy mother, the Theotokos for us, and save Thy despairing people, O our Savior.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

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. HILARION THE GREAT

The barren wilderness thou didst make fertile with the streams of thy tears; and by thy deep sighing thou hast given fruit through thy struggles a hundred-fold. Accordingly, thou hast become a star for the universe, sparkling with miracles. Therefore, O righteous Father Hilarion, intercede with Christ God to save our souls

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

They’re silent out of indifference…In these difficult days each must do what’s in their power. And leave what’s out of their power to the will of God. In this way our conscience will be clear.

If we don’t resist, then our ancestors will arise from their graves. They suffered so much for the Fatherland, and we? What are we doing for it?.. If Christians don’t begin to witness their faith, to resist evil, then the destroyers will become even more insolent. But today’s Christians are no warriors. If the Church keeps silent, to avoid conflict with the government, if the Metropolitans are silent, if the monks hold their peace, then who will speak up?

St. Paisios of Mt. Athos

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

The Legion of Demons and Herd of Swine

Luke 8:26-39

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

26-33. And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is across from Galilee. And when He went forth to land, there met Him out of the city a certain man, possessed by demons for a long time, who wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Son of God most high? I beseech Thee, torment me not. (For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he broke the bands, and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many demons were entered into him. And he besought Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought Him that He would suffer them to enter into them. And He suffered them. Then went the demons out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were drowned. See how the demon is torn between two wicked passions: impudence and fear. When he says, What have I to do with Thee? he shows the impudence of a shameless slave; when he says, I beseech Thee, he shows his fear. He was dwelling among the tombs because he wanted to instill in men the false suspicion that the souls of those who have died become demons. The demons ask not to be cast into the abyss, but that they be permitted to remain a while longer upon the earth. The Lord permits them to remain upon the earth so that they might fight and contend with men, and thus render men tested veterans. If man had no adversaries, there would be no struggles and contests; and if there were no contests, there would be no crowns of victory. There is a more spiritual sense which you should learn as well: the man who has demons within him and wears no garment and makes his home outside the house, is anyone who does evil and demonic deeds, who has stripped himself of his baptismal robe, and dwells outside the Church. Such a man is not worthy to enter into the Church, but instead he lives in the tombs of dead and rotting deeds, for example, in brothels and in the chambers of publicans and graft. These are indeed tombs of iniquity.

34-39. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the demons were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the demons was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought Him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and He went up into the boat, and returned back again. Now the man out of whom the demons were departed besought Him that he might be with Him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and tell what great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done unto him. When those who had been feeding the swine fled into the city, it became an opportunity for salvation for the Gadarenes, but they did not understand. They ought to have marveled at the Saviour’s power and believed in Him. The Evangelist says that they besought Him to depart from them, instead of calling upon Him in supplication. They did this out of fear of suffering another loss like that of the swine. But the man who had been healed shows indisputable proof of his healing. That he had been healed in his mind is shown by the fact that he now both recognizes Jesus and begs His permission to be with Him. For he was afraid, it would seem, that the demons would again easily assault him when he was separated from Jesus. But the Lord shows him that even if he is not with Jesus, the Lord’s grace can shelter him from demonic attack. The Lord says to him, Return to thine own house, and tell what great things God hath done unto thee. By not saying, “what great things I have done unto thee,” the Lord gives us an example of humility and teaches us that we should attribute all our accomplishments to God. But though the Lord had commanded him to tell what things God had done for him, he told instead what things Jesus had done for him, so great was his gratitude. Therefore when you do something good for someone, do not desire it to become public knowledge; but he who is the beneficiary of that good deed ought to be moved by gratitude to tell it to others, even though you do not want him to do so.