Sunday, September 26: “Don’t be afraid!”

THE THIRD EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark 16:9-20

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this He appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward, He appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat table; and He upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So, then the Lord, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians 9:6-11

Brethren, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 5:1-11

At that time, Jesus was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And He saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, Jesus asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Thy word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish, which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

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.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST

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

O Apostle John, beloved of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a defenseless people. He that allowed thee to recline on His breast receiveth thee bowing in intercession. Implore Him, O Theologian, to dispel the persistent cloud of the heathen, and ask for us His peace and Great Mercy.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION

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

Exceeding glorious beyond the power of thought are thy mysteries, O Theotokos. For being sealed in purity and preserved in virginity, thou wast acknowledged to be in very truth the mother who didst bring forth the true God; wherefore entreat Him to save our souls.

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.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST

O Apostle John, beloved of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a defenseless people. He that allowed thee to recline on His breast receiveth thee bowing in intercession. Implore Him, O Theologian, to dispel the persistent cloud of the heathen, and ask for us His peace and 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!

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.

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Miraculous Catch of Fish

Luke 5:1-11

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

1-11. And it came to pass, that, as the multitude pressed against Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And He entered into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the boat. Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other boat, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of the fishes which they had taken; and so were also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all, and followed Him. The Lord flees glory, which all the more pursues Him. When the crowd pressed against Him, He entered the boat, so that from the boat He could teach those standing on the shore, and everyone would be in front of Him, rather than some coming towards Him from behind. And when He had finished teaching the people, He did not leave the owner of the boat without payment, but gave him a two-fold benefit: He bestowed on him an abundance of fish, and He made him His disciple. Marvel at how wisely the Lord arranges our salvation, drawing to Himself each one by means of the things that are his own and with which he is familiar. As He had attracted the Magi with a star, so now He draws the fishermen by means of fish. Behold the gentleness of Christ, how He does not command, but requests, that Peter put out from land. Behold also the obedience of Peter, how he welcomes into his boat a man whom he did not know, and obeys Him in everything. When the Lord tells him to launch out into the deep, Peter does not become exasperated and leave Him, nor does he reply, “I have toiled the whole night and gained nothing, and now I should obey you and do it all again?” Peter said nothing like this, but instead, At Thy word I will let down the net. Such was the warmth of his trust even before he had faith. And he caught so great a number of fish that he was not able to haul them in, and he beckoned to his companions in the other boat. He calls them with a signal, because his astonishment at the catch was so great that he could not even speak. Out of great reverence for Jesus, Peter begs Him not to remain in the boat, and calls himself a sinner who is not worthy to be with Him. You may also understand these things in a spiritual sense. The boat is the synagogue of the Jews. Peter represents the teachers of the law. For the teachers of the law also toiled the whole night before Christ came (the time before Christ’s sojourning on earth was indeed night) and took in nothing. But when Christ came, and it became day, the teachers of the law were replaced by the Apostles who, at His word, that is, at His command, let down the net of the Gospel in which they caught so great a number of men that the Apostles could not haul in the catch by themselves. And so they beckon to their partners and companions and together pull in the net. These are the pastors and teachers of the Church in every generation who teach and interpret the words of the Apostles, laboring with the Apostles to catch mankind. Consider also the words, Let down the net. The net is the Gospel: like the fisherman’s net, which is a lowly and commonplace thing, the Gospel is composed of humble, everyday words which reach down and condescend to the simplicity of the people. This is why it is said that the net is let down. If anyone should say that letting down the net also indicates the depth of meaning of the Gospel, neither would he be off the mark. Therefore, the words of the prophet have also been fulfilled, Behold, I will send many fishermen, saith the Lord, and they shall fish for them; and afterward I will send many hunters, and they shall hunt for them (Jer. 16:16). The fishermen are the holy Apostles, and the hunters are the leaders and teachers of the Church in each generation.

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