Sunday, February 21: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

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 certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 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 again.” 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 their words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he departed, wondering at what had happened.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy 3:10-15

Timothy my son, you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and my sufferings; and what befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra. What persecutions I endured; yet from them all, the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

THE GOSPEL

The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 18:10-14

The Lord spoke this parable: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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.

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

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.

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.

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.

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 FOR THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN

Let us flee the Pharisee’s conceited vaunting; let us learn the Publican’s humility, and cry with groans unto the Savior: Thou Who alone art swiftly reconciled, be gracious unto us.

HOMILY on evil as the fruit of the thoughts of men

“Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened to My words, nor to My law, but rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:19).

Brethren, do you see where evil grows and ripens? Not in the bosom of God, but in the thoughts of men. Evil is sown in the thoughts of men by demonic powers or by the passions of the flesh. Evil grows in the thoughts of men, spreads and multiplies itself, blossoms and bears leaves, and finally shows fruit. God is prompt to warn men to break from their evil thoughts so that evil will not ripen in their souls and bring forth its bitter and deadly fruit. God was prompt to warn Cain, but he did not want to heed the warning and permitted evil thoughts against his brother to bring forth evil fruit; fratricide. What are evil thoughts? All those thoughts that are contrary to the Law of God and the word of God. Evil thoughts are the selfwilled law of man, which man prescribes for himself in spite of and contrary to the Law of God. Therefore, if a man has resolutely decided to adhere to the Law of God, then evil thoughts are as weak as shadows, which quickly appear but quickly disappear in the same way. Then a man is lord over his thoughts, for he feels God as the Lord over himself. Then his law is the Law of God, and the evil thoughts of men are nothing. Behold, I will bring evil upon this people, said the Lord. What kind of evil? The fruit of their thoughts. That is: I will permit them only to reap that which they sowed and nurtured, for evil is neither My seed nor My harvest. The evil that I will permit upon lawless men is the fruit of their own thoughts. According to their thoughts, they should have estimated what kind of evil would befall them, as a sower estimates, according to his seeds, what he will harvest. O Lord, meek and guileless, save us from our own evil, which we alone have nurtured in ourselves. We pray to Thee: remove the evil fruit of evil crops, and help us to pluck out the evil seed from our souls. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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