June 24, 2018 – “The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant!”

THE THIRD 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 Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans 13:11-14:4

Brethren, salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for God is able to make him stand.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 1:1-25, 57-68, 76, 80

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed. In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the Temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and they wondered at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, “Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zacharias after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people. And you, child, will be called the Prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, for the Lord hath done a mighty act with His own arm. He hath trampled down death by death and become the first-born from the dead. He hath delivered us from the depths of Hades, granting the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF THE NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. O prophet and Forerunner of Christ God’s coming to us, all we who with longing now extol thee are at a loss to honor thee worthily. For thy mother’s barrenness and father’s long silence, by thine all-renowned and hallowed birth, were both ended, and the Incarnation of the Son of God is preached unto all the world.

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, wast 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. Him to save our souls.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, for the Lord hath done a mighty act with His own arm. He hath trampled down death by death and become the first-born from the dead. He hath delivered us from the depths of Hades, granting the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF THE NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

O prophet and Forerunner of Christ God’s coming to us, all we who with longing now extol thee are at a loss to honor thee worthily. For thy mother’s barrenness and father’s long silence, by thine all-renowned and hallowed birth, were both ended, and the Incarnation of the Son of God is preached unto all the world.

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.

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant Matthew 8:5-13

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

5-6. And when Jesus entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying. This man, too, did not approach Jesus while He was on the mountain, so as not to interrupt the teaching. This is the same man mentioned by Luke [Lk. 7:1-10]. Although Luke says that the centurion sent to Jesus others who were elders, this does not contradict Matthew who says that the centurion himself came to Jesus. It is altogether likely that first he sent others, and then, when death was imminent, he himself came and said:

6-7. Lord, my servant lieth at home a paralytic, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion did not bring his servant lying on his bed to Jesus, as he believed that Jesus could heal him even from a distance. Therefore:

8-10. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, He marveled and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. The centurion says, “If I who am the servant of the emperor command the soldiers who are under me, how much more so art Thou able to command death and the illnesses, so that they depart from one and beset another?” For illnesses of the body are God’s soldiers and officers of punishment. Christ marvels, therefore, saying, “I have not found such great faith among the Israelites as I have in this Gentile.”

11-12. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit at table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus did not say outright, “Many Gentiles shall sit at table with Abraham….” But He said it in a roundabout manner, so as not to scandalize the Jews, Many shall come from the east and west. He mentioned Abraham to show that He does not stand in opposition to the Old Testament. By saying outer darkness, He shows that there is also an inner darkness which is less severe. For in hell there are varying degrees of punishment. He calls the Jews the sons of the kingdom, for the promises of the Old Testament were made to them. He is saying, Israel is my firstborn son [Ex. 4:22].

13. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. And when the centurion returned to his house, at the same hour, he found his servant well. Healing the servant by His word alone, Jesus showed that He also spoke the truth when He said that the Jews would be cast out from the kingdom.