Sunday, July 28: “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

THE FIFTH EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 24:36-53

At that time, after rising from the dead, Jesus Himself stood among His Disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and a honeycomb, and He took it and ate before them. Then He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. While He blessed them, He parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. Amen.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans 12:6-14

Brethren, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, and serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 9:1-8

At that time, Jesus got into a boat, crossed over and came to His own city. And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He then said to the paralytic—“Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they marveled, and they glorified God, Who had given such authority to men.

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Let us believers praise and worship the Word; coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For, He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh to suffer death; and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Let us believers praise and worship the Word; coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For, He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh to suffer death; and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

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, 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

Let us believers praise and worship the Word; coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For, He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh to suffer death; and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

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 THE TRANSFIGURATION

Thou wast transfigured on the mount, and Thy Disciples, in so far as they were able, beheld Thy glory, O Christ our God; so that, when they should see Thee crucified, they would remember that all Thy suffering was voluntary, and could declare to all the world that Thou art truly the effulgent Splendor of the Father.

Profitable Word

Saint Paisios the Athonite

Those people who give everything to God and give themselves completely to Him, are sheltered under God’s great vault and are protected by His divine providence. They then become children of God and can help unfortunate people more, through God, with their prayers and, again with God’s illumination, can provide others with proper directions on how to approach God, how to find their salvation, their happiness and the peace of their soul through God’s divine consolation. Because it’s only with God that our soul knows repose.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Thy Sins Be Forgiven Thee

Matthew 9:1-8

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

1-2. And He entered into a boat, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. His own city means Capernaum, for it was there that He was living. He was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and lived for an extended length of time in Capernaum. This paralytic is not the same as the one mentioned in John [5:2-9], for that one was beside the Sheep’s Pool in Jerusalem, while this one was in Capernaum. And that one had no one to help him, while this one was carried by four men, as Mark says [Mk. 2:3-12], who lowered him through the roof, a fact which fact Matthew omits.

And Jesus seeing their faith. Either the faith of the men who brought the paralytic, for Jesus often worked a miracle on account of the faith of those who brought the one sick; or, of the paralytic himself. Said to the paralytic, Take courage, child; thy sins be forgiven thee. Jesus calls him child, either as one of God’s creatures, or because he believed. To show that the man’s paralysis is a result of his sins, Jesus first forgives him his sins.

3-5. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? By knowing their thoughts, Jesus shows that He is God. He rebukes them by saying, “You think that I am blaspheming by promising to forgive sins, which is a great thing, and that I resort to this because it is something which cannot be verified. But by healing the body, I shall guarantee that the soul has been healed as well. By doing the lesser deed, though it appears to be more difficult, I shall also confirm the remission of sins, which is indeed something great even though it appears easier to you since it is not visible to the eye.”

6-8. But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins ”then saith He to the paralytic”Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God Who had given such power unto men. Jesus commanded him to carry his bed so that the event would not appear to have been imaginary, and also, so that the multitudes would see the miracle. For they thought that Jesus ”Who is greater than all” was only a man.

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; fracticide.

What are evil thoughts? All those thoughts that are contrary to the Law of God and the word of God. Evil thoughts are the self-willed 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.