Sunday, October 14: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

THE NINTH EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John 20:19-31

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the Disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the Disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So, the other Disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, His Disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the Disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Titus 3:8-15

Titus, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissension, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful. All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 8:5-15

The Lord spoke this parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.” And when His Disciples asked Him what this parable meant, Jesus said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.” As Jesus said this, He called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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 HOLY FATHERS

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Thou, O Christ, art our God of exceeding praise Who didst establish our Holy Fathers as luminous stars upon earth, and through them didst guide us unto the true Faith, O most merciful One, glory to Thee.

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

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 HOLY FATHERS

Thou, O Christ, art our God of exceeding praise Who didst establish our Holy Fathers as luminous stars upon earth, and through them didst guide us unto the true Faith, O most merciful One, glory to Thee.

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-first Sunday after Pentecost

The Parable of the Sower

Luke 8:5-15

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

4-10. And when many people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable: a sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the way; and it was trodden down, and the winged creatures of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it wassprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when He had said these things, He cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And Hisdisciples asked Him, saying, What might this parable be? And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. What David said of old, speaking prophetically in the person of Christ, has now come to pass: I will open My mouth in parables. [Ps. 77:2] The Lord speaks in parables for many reasons: to make His listeners more attentive and to stir up their minds to seek the meaning of what is said. For we are apt to be curious about sayings that are obscure in meaning and to disregard sayings that are clear. He also speaks in parables so that those who are unworthy may not understand what is said concerning spiritual mysteries. And there are many other reasons why He speaks in parables. A sower, therefore, went out, that is, the Son of God went forth from the Fathers bosom, from the hidden fastness of the Father, and became manifest to all. Who went out? He Who is ever sowing. The Son of God never ceases to sow in our souls. Not only by His teaching, but by all of creation and by the events of our daily lives, He plants good seed in our souls. He went out, not to slay trespassers or to burn off the stubble, but to sow. For there are many reasons why a farmer might go forth, besides to plant. He went out to sow His own seed: the word of teaching was His own, and not another’s. The prophets had spoken, not their own words, but the words of the Holy Spirit. This is why they said, Thus saith the Lord. But Christ had His own seed to sow. When He taught, He did not say, “Thus saith the Lord,” but, “I say unto you.” As He sowed, that is, as He taught, some seed fell along the road. He did not say that the sower threw the seed along the road, but instead that some fell there. Christ the Sower sows and teaches, and His word falls upon his listeners everywhere, and it is they who show themselves to be like a road, or a rock, or thorns, or good soil. When the disciples ask about the parable, the Lord says, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, that is, unto you who desire to learn, for everyone that asketh, receiveth. [Mt. 7:8] To the others who are not worthy of the mysteries, He speaks obscurely. They think that they see, but they do not; they hear, but they do not understand. And this is to their benefit. The Lord hides these things from them so that they will not fall under greater condemnation for understanding the mysteries and then disregarding them. He who understands, and then disregards, deserves a more severe punishment.

11-15. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those along the way are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares of riches and of pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patient endurance. Here are described three types of those who are not saved. First, there are those along the way, who do not receive and accept the word at all. Just as a pathway, which is well trodden and compacted, cannot receive the seed because it is hard, so also those who are hardened in their hearts do not accept the word at all. Though they hear the word, they give it no heed. Next there are those on the rock who hear the word, and then do not endure temptations because of human weakness, and deny the faith. The third kind are those who hear the word and then are choked by the cares of life. Three parts, therefore, perish, and only one part is saved. Few are saved; most perish. See that it is not said of those who are choked, that they are choked by riches, but rather by the cares of riches. It is not wealth that harms, but the cares and worries about wealth which fill the mind. Indeed, many have received great benefit from their wealth, when they poured it out to feed the poor. Consider the preciseness of the Evangelist, when he says of those who are saved, that when they have heard the word, they keep it, in contrast to those who are along the pathway, who do not keep the word; instead, the devil takes the word from them. And they bring forth fruit, in contrast to those who are choked by the thorns, and who bring no fruit to maturity. In truth those whose fruit never ripens bear no fruit at all. Those who bring forth fruit with patient endurance stand in contrast to those who are on the rock, who receive the word but then do not endure the onslaught of temptations and show that they cannot withstand the test. See how the Evangelist says three things concerning those who are saved, that they keep the word, that they bring forth fruit, and that they do so with patient endurance. By these three statements he distinguishes the saved from those who perish; those along the pathway who do not keep the word; those among thorns who bring no fruit to perfection; and those on the rock who do not patiently endure the assault of temptations.