Sunday, September 29: “Love your enemies!”

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 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 Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians 4:6-15

Brethren, it is the God Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. While we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 6:31- 36

The Lord said: “As you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

When Mary stood at Thy grave, looking for Thy sacred body, angelic powers shone above Thy revered tomb; and the soldiers who were to keep guard became as dead men. Thou led Hades captive and wast not tempted thereby. Thou didst meet the Virgin and didst give life to the world, O Thou, Who art risen from the dead, O Lord, glory to Thee.

APOLYTIKION FOR ST. KYRIAKOS OF PALESTINE

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

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Kyriakos, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength; glory to Him that hath crowned thee; glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION

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

As Gabriel cried aloud unto thee, “Hail, O Virgin,” with that cry did the Lord of all become incarnate in thee, O holy ark, as spake the righteous David; and Thou wast revealed as more spacious than the heavens, in that thou bore thy Creator. Wherefore, glory to Him Who abode in thee; glory to Him Who came from thee; glory to Him, Who through thy birth-giving hath set us free.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

When Mary stood at Thy grave, looking for Thy sacred body, angelic powers shone above Thy revered tomb; and the soldiers who were to keep guard became as dead men. Thou led Hades captive and wast not tempted thereby. Thou didst meet the Virgin and didst give life to the world, O Thou, Who art risen from the dead, O Lord, glory to Thee.

APOLYTIKION FOR ST. KYRIAKOS

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Kyriakos, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength; glory to Him that hath crowned thee; glory to Him that worketh healings for all through 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

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.

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

As Ye Would that Men Should Do to You

Luke 6:31-36

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

27-36. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy tunic also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the sons of the Most High; for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. The Apostles were about to be sent out to preach and many persecutors and plotters awaited them. If the Apostles were fearful and dismayed by persecution, they might want to protect themselves from their persecutors by keeping silent and not teaching. If that happened, the radiant sun of the Gospel would be extinguished. In anticipation of this, the Lord exhorts the Apostles not to give way to defensive measures against their enemies, but instead bravely to endure all things, even insults and murderous plots. This is what He Himself did on the Cross, saying, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Lk.23:34). To prove to the Apostles that this commandment to love ones enemies is possible to keep, He then says, “What you want to be done to you, do the same to others; and be to others that kind of person you want others to be to you.” If you want your enemies to be hard, unfeeling, and angry towards you, then be the same yourself to them. But if you want them to be kind and compassionate towards you, and not to remember wrongs, do not think that it is impossible for you yourself to be the same towards them. Do you see this natural law which is written in our hearts? That is why the Lord also said, In those days I will surely put My laws into their mind, and write them on their hearts (Jer. 38:33). Then He adds another compelling reason to keep this commandment: if you love those who love you, you are like the sinners and the Gentiles; but if you love those who do evil to you, you are like God, Who is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Which do you desire—to be like sinners or to be like God? Do you see the divine teaching? First He persuaded you by means of the natural law: what you want to be done to you, do to others. Then He persuades you with the result and the reward—He promises that you will become like God.