Archive for the ‘Gospel:Luke’ Category

24th Sun after Pentecost 2008. Who touched me?

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

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Luke 8:41-56 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2008-11-30.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2008-11-30.mp3

Other Homilies for this day: 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_1997.html
24th Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_1998+the-healing-of-the-woman-with-an-issue-of-blood-and-the-raising-of-the-daughter-of-jairus.doc
24th Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Healing Of The Woman With An Issue Of Blood And The Raising Of The Daughter Of Jairus
1998

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2002+the-woman-with-the-issue-blood-and-the-raising-of-jairus-daughter.mp3
24th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Woman With The Issue Blood And The Raising Of Jairus Daughter
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2007-11-11+my-yoke-is-easy-and-my-burden-is-light.mp3
24th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
My Yoke Is Easy And My Burden Is Light
2007

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-24_2008-11-30.mp3
24th Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Healing Of The Woman With An Issue Of Blood And The Raising Of The Daughter Of Jairus
Who touched me?
Luke 8:41-56
2008

 

 



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23SunafterPentecost 2008, The Gadarene Demoniac. Do not miss any opportunity!

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008




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Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Luke 8:26-39 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. 38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2008-11-23.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2008-11-23.mp3



More homilies on this day:

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_1997.html
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_1997+the-gadarene-demoniac.doc
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2002+the-gadarene-demoniac.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2004.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2007-11-04+the-gadarene-demoniac_ephesians2;4-10+luke8;26-39.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
Ephesians 2:4-10, Luke 8:26-39
2007

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2008-11-23.mp3
23rd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Gadarene Demoniac
Do not miss any opportunity!
Ephesians 2:4-10, Luke 8:26-39
2008


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23rd Week After Pentecost – TUESDAY. The “longer” version of the “Our Father”

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008


Today’s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

 

Luke 11:1-10 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

 

 

The “Our Father” was taught by the Lord as a model of how to pray. The teaching does not end with the recitation of the prayer! IMMEDIATELY after the Lord finishes reciting the words that we know so well, He tells us we must pursue God in prayer. Too many recite the “Our Father” in the morning or evening, or perhaps even both times let this suffice as prayer for the day. This is not what the Lord taught us.

 

It is easy to learn prayers, but the Lord does not teach us to say prayers by rote here. We must be as the man who goes to his friend at Midnight. We must pray with consistency, insistency and expectation. It does us no good to know the right words to say if we do not say them in the right way.

 

Have we learned to pray as the Lord has taught us?

 

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/.

 

Priest Seraphim Nov 5/18 2008.                                                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church , McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/ pentecost-tuesday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;6-10+luke11;1-10.html

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/pentecost pentecost-tuesday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;6-10+luke11;1-10.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/ pentecost-tuesday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;6-10+luke11;1-10.pdf

New commentaries are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of: commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture 

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

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23rd Week After Pentecost – MONDAY. “…and he to whom the Son will reveal him”

Monday, November 17th, 2008

23rd  Week After Pentecost – MONDAY

Today’s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

 

Luke 10:22-24 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

 

 

The Gospel today contains the classic, immutable, Christological truth: salvation is through the Son. There are many places in scripture where Jesus touches on this critical dogma:

 

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:18

 

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. John 6:44-45

 

As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:15

 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3

 

There are many more scriptures which teach this central dogma of our faith, and not all of them are in the Gospel of John, but these have been selected because the Evangelist John preeminently among all the Apostles reveals the Son to the church.

 

Most heresies have denigrated the Son. This makes perfect sense if salvation is only through the Son, Who reveals the Father.  Of the “Great Three” religions, only true Christianity has the way of salvation, because it knows the Son. The Jews reject the Son, believing that the Messiah is not yet come, and the Moslems believe Jesus to be only a prophet, and subordinate in importance to Mohammed.

 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Son to be a creation of the Father, the Mormons likewise believe foolish things about the Son which are Arian in nature. Arianism is an ancient heresy, which was firmly addressed in the 1st Ecumenical council and is refuted for all time in the Symbol of Faith. It denies that the Son is God, believing Him to be a creation. A creature cannot perfectly know God. Only God knows Himself. If the Son is a creature, even if He is first created, and “god-like” in His qualities, He is incapable of knowing that which is higher than Himself, and His words: “no man knoweth… who the Father is, except the Son” (Luke 10:22, above) are a lie.

 

The question which we must answer if we are to be saved, is how do we place ourselves amongst those of whom the Lord says: “and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him” (Luke 10:22, above)

 

The Son knows the Father because He is like Him. So then, for us to know the Father, we must become like the Son. Like understands like. The Son understands the Father, and if we are like the Son, we will share in the Son’s understanding, which He will share with us. Of course, we cannot become the Son, since we are creatures, but as we have the “adoption of sonship”[1], we can become like the Son in morality, thought and purpose.

 

There is no other way to be saved, but to strive for moral improvement. Our works do not of themselves save us, but without working to become better morally, we can never understand God.

 

It is understandable, therefore, that another major way to attack the way of salvation (other than directly slandering Jesus Christ, as described above) is to deny that works are necessary to be saved. This is a “standard” Protestant heresy held by many. They misunderstand the Scriptures, because they do not read them in the context of the church.

 

Do not join in this heresy. We cannot know God is we do not struggle to become like Him. We cannot know the Father, except through the Son, but we can know the Son. He lived among us; He is God and man, and He showed us the way of life, for our eyes to see and our ears to hear, by his example and His words.

 

Today, the best and most important thing you must do in order to be closer to salvation is to become more like the Son.

 

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mat 11:29

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Nov 4/17 2008.                                                                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/pentecost-monday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;1-5+luke10;22-24.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/pentecost-monday-23_2008_1thessalonians1;1-5+luke10;22-24.pdf

 

New commentaries are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of: commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture 

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 



[1] Gal 4:4-7  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (5)  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  (6)  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  (7)  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

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22nd Sunday 2008. The Rich Man and Lazarus. Be a good steward.

Monday, November 17th, 2008

LISTEN NOW

Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.



If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2008-11-16.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2008-11-16.mp3



OTHER HOMILIES FOR THIS DAY

 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_1997.html
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_1999+the-rich-man-and-lazarus.doc
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Word DOC format)
The Rich Man And Lazarus
1999

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2002+the-parable-of-the-rich-man-and-lazarus.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Parable Of The Rich Man And Lazarus
2002

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2003.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2003

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2004.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2004+rus.rtf
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (RTF format)
In Rusian
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2008-11-16.mp3
22nd Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Be a good steward.
Luke 16:19-31
2008

 

 

 


RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:http://feeds.feedburner.com/OrthodoxChristianSermonsOnTheGospelsEpistlesAndOtherTopics

Archive of Audio and text homilies:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

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22nd Week After Pentecost – FRIDAY

Friday, November 14th, 2008

 








Today’s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

 

Colossians 4:10-18 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

 

Luke 10:1-15 After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

 

 

Luke 10:1 After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

 

The sending of the 70 disciples was prophesied in the OT:

 

“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” (Exo 15:27) 

 

The 12 and the 70 foreshadow the 12 and the 70 apostles. Note how the 12 Apostles are wells (or fountains) of water, which in turn nourish the 70 palm trees. The teaching of the Apostles is preeminent, and feeds their disciples, and the entire church. It is fully appropriate that these fountains and palm trees were found at “Elim”, which interpreted means “ascent”. The fruit of the palm tree fully describes the teaching of the church, because, as Blessed Theophylact points out, the fruit is “sweet, yet tempered with astringency” (Commentary of Luke 10:1-3) This same idea is expressed when the Good Samaritan, our Savior, poured into the wounds of the traveler oil and wine.[1] Any true Christian teaching will have these qualities. We need to be encouraged and rebuked, many times at the same moment in time. The oil soothes us, and without it we would lose heart, but the wine cleanses us, and without it, our wounds, caused by our passions and sins, would fester and we would die.  

 

We know these things about this passage because it is part of the mind of the church. Correct biblical exegesis is not possible unless we share the mind of the church. This is obtained not only by reading the commentaries of the holy fathers (the meaning of this passage, for instance is expounded in Blessed Theophylact), but also especially by living the life of the church, and worshipping in an Orthodox manner.

 

The scriptures are continually interpreted in our services, especially in the matins service, and its canons. We can learn the inner meaning of the scriptures if we think and live liturgically. The word “liturgy” means “the work of the people”. It is not only a Sunday morning service, but the whole of our life. It is a terrible shame that we moderns have become by and large a non-liturgical people, with the liturgy confined to less than two hours on Sunday, instead of including daily perusal of the Holy Scriptures, fasting, standing in the other services in worship, with intent to learn of the things of God.

 

I have stated before and do so again that the most important two hours of the entire week is the matins service on Saturday evening. In it we take time out to stop all other distractions of life, and try to learn of the things of God, where the scriptures, the commandments and the way of life is expounded. . The Divine Liturgy is the center of our liturgical life, but it cannot be fully appreciated or understood without the entirety of our life being liturgical. If we wish to understand the scriptures, we must not only read them, but also worship with them and follow them.

 

Luke 10:5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

 

For many years this verse was a puzzle to me. How can our peace return to us again? Now after many years, it is clear: in all things we should bless and be bringers of peace. This describes a way of life, an attitude which we should bring to every encounter. There is no trace of cynicism in this way of life, and neither is there simple mindedness. We are to be “harmless as doves and wise as serpents”.

[2]

 

This passage tells us that we will never lose our peace, no matter how it is received. We must, give the “benefit of the doubt” to every man, in every situation. If our teaching, or help is rejected, our peace returns to us, and we are no poorer, but only if our efforts were accomplished in the spirit of peace. I have learned the hard way that nothing in my ministry has ever been successful unless I first said “Peace be to this house”, and then proceeded.

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Oct 18/31 2008.                                                                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_friday_colossians4;10-18+luke10;1-15.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_friday_colossians4;10-18+luke10;1-15.pdf

 

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[1] Luke 10:33-34  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  (34)  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

[2] Mat 10:16  Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

 

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22nd Week After Pentecost – TUESDAY.

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Today’s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

 

Colossians 2:20-3:3 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

 

Luke 9:23-27 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

 

 

Luke 9:23-27 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

It is interesting how one little word can really strengthen a thought. In this verse, the word DAILY stands out brightly as a challenge and a reminder. I have spoken many times about how the scripture can be used as a sort of mnemonic device (something which helps us remember the right way to think, act and live).  It would be good to check ourselves DAILY: are we taking up our cross, or are we just going through our daily routine without thought, effort or purpose? Indeed, it would be good at least hourly to check on how we are bearing our cross this day, if indeed we are struggling at all.

 

 

One cannot understand what the Lord is saying unless he understands what he should deny for himself, and what the talking up of the cross means. This cannot be understood unless there is effort in the Christian life.

 

There have been many false interpretations of our Lord’s command. Various heresies have taught that we must deny ourselves all pleasure or even cause ourselves pain and suffering (since, in taking up our cross, we must suffer as our Lord did on His cross) in order to be saved. Many have left the Lord’s company, like those who heard His teaching about being the bread of life, because this command seemed incomprehensible and too difficult for them.

 

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?  … 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:60.66 

 

All of the commands of our Lord can be understood only if they are followed. This is partially counter-intuitive to the mind of man. We tend to do something only after we have investigated it, and understood at least a little about it. At first, one must struggle to deny oneself pleasurable things, such as indulgence of the flesh, luxury and ease, but as one grows in the Christian life, he sees that the things which previously were difficult to deny to himself change in their appearance, and he sees them as they really are.

 

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

 

A life of indulgence, luxury and ease does not bring happiness, and never has and never will. It only wastes time, and dulls the senses of the soul, and we are left with a vague feeling of unhappiness and unfulfillment. The things we are called to deny ourselves of are all injurious to us.  We are able to see this only with experience. Most people never know why they feel this way. A very few, such as the prodigal son, come to their senses and see why their soul is in such a state. A better way to learn the benefit of denying ourselves is to live with effort and desire. 

 

A similar reading from St Mark is used on the 3rd Sunday of Great Lent (Mark 8:34-9:1). See http://www.orthodox.net/sermons under the Heading “Third Sunday of Great Lent” for homilies on this topic.

 

Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

 

This is a reference to our Lord’s transfiguration, which followed some few days after He spoke these words.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Oct 29/Nov 11  2008.                                                                                           St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_tuesday_colossians;22-33+luke9;23-27.rtf

http://www.orthodox.net/scripture/22nd-week-after-pentecost_tuesday_colossians;22-33+luke9;23-27.pdf

 

New commentaries are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

 

 

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21st Sun after Pentecost 2008. The Parable of the Sower.

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

“We can only be good ground if we are crucified with Christ.”




LISTEN NOW

Galatians 2:16-20 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Luke 8:5-15  A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 8 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. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 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. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 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 patience.



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Other Homilies for this day: 

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_1997.html
21st Sunday after Pentecost (HTML format)
1997

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_1999+the-sower.pdf
21st Sunday after Pentecost (Adobe PDF format)
The Sower
1999
Also in Format: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_2002+the-parable-of-the-sower.mp3
21st Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Parable Of The Sower
2002

http:/www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_2003.mp3/www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_2003.mp3
21st Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)

2003

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_2004.mp3
21st Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
2004

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-21_2008-11-09.mp3
21st Sunday after Pentecost (mp3 format)
The Parable of the Sower
We can only be good ground if we are crucified with Christ.
Galatians 2:16-20 Luke 8:5-15
2008
 

 


 

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21st Sunday after Pentecost, Luke 8:5-15, The Sower

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

This year, the 21st Sunday after Pentecost is on Oct 27/Nov 9 2008.

 

 



Luke 8:5-15
 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. {6} And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. {7} And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. {8} 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. {9} And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? {10} 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. {11} Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. {12} Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. {13} They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. {14} And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. {15} 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 patience.



 
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. Today is the Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost[1], and it is also the day that we remember the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. This council established permanently what the church had always known concerning the holy icons.
Today, we read the parable of the Sower, which is a very familiar parable, known even to people that are not Christians. So many of these parables are really part and parcel of our culture. People even use biblical terminology and don’t even know that they are using it. 
 
How do these parables affect us? There is an inner meaning and an outer meaning to these parables. Why did our Lord speak in parables? He certainly said quite a few of them , didn’t He? Why did he say things with a hidden meaning? The Fathers explain to us that when you look into something deeply and carefully, when it takes effort to look into it, then you develop more of an understanding. If something is handed to you and there is no effort involved in learning it, then you develop very little understanding.
 
We can see this principle even in secular life. Look at how young people can barely even read and write now, because of this television age that we are in. Information is given to them so freely it takes very little effort to find it out.
 
Also the parables are given because God does not those who are not worthy to be told things that they will be judged for. A man must do some investigation if he is to learn the deep meaning of these things, and God will judge us for what we know. God will also judge us for what we don’t know, if we CHOOSE to not know things. God will judge us the same if we know something and don’t do it or we choose to be ignorant in the ways of piety. If we are willfully ignorant, and this occurs whenever we do not try to seek out the knowledge of God’s commandments and exercise them in our life, God will then judge us in the Judgment, even if we try to say we do not know something.
 
 
What is the inner and outer meaning of this parable? There is a lot of explanation given for this parable, even in the very text of scripture itself. It is very rare in scripture where our Lord actually explains the deeper meaning of some dark saying of His. The Apostles came to Him, and they must have also come to Him many other times, and they said, we don’t understand this at all. He explained this to them, because it’s meaning is so important.
 
“A sower went out to sow his seed”. Who is the sower? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Be careful when you read scripture — every word has meaning. The Sower went OUT to sow his seed”. He did not go “out” from the farmhouse and start to work — this “going out” is the incarnation of the Son of God. The seed is the word of God, those words that He spoke.
 
As he sowed, some seed fell by various places, the wayside, the rock, among the thorns and on good ground. It “fell”. It was not thrown. It fell everywhere equally, and these places, are the souls of men. The preexisting one, Jesus Christ, thought it not robbery to be equal to us, and became a man. And He sowed his teaching to the entire universe, equally and freely to all men. It is available to everyone.
 
There are four kinds of men described in this parable, and, three of those kinds perished. Three out of the four kinds of men will perish. The majority will perish. This is true in our age, and has been true in every age. The majority of people will not inherit the Kingdom of God, because they are not the good ground. And yet our Lord and Savior still sows His seed, and still gives the opportunity to a man to accept Him and to follow His commandments.
 
Remember the story of the talents? The man with the one talent — our Lord knew that He was not going to use this talent. Remember what a talent is? It is the grace of God, which enables us to do good works, to do His commandments, and to learn more of Him. The man with the one talent is like the ground by the wayside. The fowls of the air  immediately snatch away the word from his heart, and he never really believes at all. I am sure we have known people like that, who really have no belief whatsoever. The wayside is hard, and packed down. No seed can penetrate into it, and it is washed away, or it sits there, prey for the birds of the air. The birds are the demons, which snatch away the word from a man’s heart, but only because a man leaves it out there, unprotected, and does not cherish it. The demons cannot take away the word from your heart if you hold it close to yourself, only if you care nothing for it.
 
So these men by the wayside, they have no part in salvation whatsoever, they never even bothered to believe. Some of the seed fell upon the rock, and when it was spring up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. Have you every been to a glade? This is an area where there is a thin layer of soil over limestone bluffs, and only certain kinds of plants can grow. When there is a drought, everything dies, except for a few very hardy trees. There is a little bit of soil, a very small amount, but there is not enough soil to retain any moisture, which is the essence of Christ. There is just a small amount of knowledge, and not much struggle or desire, and at the merest, smallest trial, such a person falls away, and he perishes.
 
Some people are thorny ground. The thorns spring up with the good wheat, the word of God. These thorns choke out the following of the commandments. They choke out the knowledge of God, because we turn away from God, to our thorns, whatever they are, whether they be riches, cares of this world, sensual pleasures, our pride, our fear, ambition. There are hundreds of ways that a man can turn away from Christ, even though he appears to be a Christian.
 
Remember the parable about the wheat and the tares? These tares are the same as thorns. The tares are growing up right by the wheat, and except to a man who has extreme discretion and knowledge, and of course, the God-man, Jesus Christ, such people are sometimes indistinguishable to true Christians. They go to church, they have families, they may give alms, and they do everything externally just like everybody else, except they don’t have any life within them. Where their treasure is, so their heart is, and their treasure is not Christ, so Christ is not with them. Those people who are amidst the thorns have not Christ, even though they would call themselves Christians. 
 
Some of the seed, a small amount of the seed, by the way, fell on good ground. And it sprang up and bear fruit. St. Luke says a hundred fold, and St. Matthew also recounts this story and shows that the Lord gave other information. Some sprang up thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold, because not all the Saints are the same. Not everyone follows the word of God to the same degree, or the same amount. I guess that is good news to me, because I don’t at this moment think that I can become like the Saints. I shouldn’t think this way, because God can change a man, if he only gives himself to Him. However, if none of us lives with the LOFTY righteousness of the Saints, God has a place for us in His mansion, since there are many rooms, if we make an effort to live according to His commandments.
 
I have said this many times before; success is not as important as your effort. If you make an effort, then in the end, paradoxically, you will be successful, because God will receive your repentance, and reward you, for some thirty, some sixty, some one hundred. May it be that we all receive a hundred fold. May we all be like the man who had five talents, and labored and increased it to ten, and then our Lord gave him an infinite amount of grace.
 
Now, how is it that we can be good ground? Isn’t that really what we should try to learn from this parable? What is good ground? Good ground has been tilled carefully, and dug, and the clods of dirt have been broken up, and it has been finely sifted, and fertilizer has been added to it, and it has been watered, and hedged round about so that animals can not get in. It has been guarded, so not one can steal the fruits it will produce.   There is effort involved in having good ground. It does not just “happen”.  
 
Last year, I tilled a part of my property in order to plant. I did not take care of it this year, and did not plant, and you can not even TELL that it was good ground, and it was VERY good ground after I had finished with it, but I didn’t take care of it, and so, it reverted back. The same thing will happen to us. If we do not take care of the seed that is planted within us, we will revert back to the type of man we previously were, and we will allow the tares to grow in us. They will choke us out. Even if there are not tares to begin with – the seeds of tares fly through the air, don’t they? So do the demons. The tares can come into good ground at any time, and they constantly must be plucked out and uprooted with great care. It is very painful to tear out many tares by the way, especially thorns and thistles, because they are sharp and they cut, and make us bleed. Regardless, we must do this work, and tear out these thorns and thistles if we are to be good ground, if indeed, we have EVEN begun to be good ground!
 
Our Savior says about those on the good ground, “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 patience.”. There are those words, that we have trouble with ( I have trouble with them sometimes); “Having heard the word, KEEP it and bring forth fruit with PATIENCE.” Patience is the most difficult word in our language. the Christian life is patience, endurance. He who endures to the end will be saved. We are just beginning you know. And if indeed there is some part of our soul that is good ground, let us make the rest of it good ground, by careful labor, by backbreaking labor. And, while we are cleaning out those parts of our souls, let us at the same time pay attention to the places we have cleared, so the tares do not come in, and choke us.
 
How are we to do this? This is a task beyond our abilities! The Apostle tells us, in a marvelous way. He says, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”[2] Marvelous, magnificent words! May they be true in our lives. May we say that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. May we live by faith, since this is the only way to accomplish our task. And what is our task? It is to know Christ isn’t it? Isn’t that what it said in the other gospel today?[3] Our Savior was praying to His Heavenly father, shortly before He was going to go to His great passion for our salvation, and He said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”[4] 
 
What is knowledge? Knowledge is intimacy. Knowledge is … love. To know God is to love Him, and give everything to Him. We see evidence of this kind of love even in our own relationships. The love of a husband for a wife, or a child for his mother or father, and especially the love of an infant, such perfect love. But just like a child who is not so intimate with his parents after he has done something wrong – he doesn’t show up in the same room for a while, he doesn’t want to talk to them, he hangs his head, he has broken communion with them because of guilt — so it is with us, if we do not follow the Lord’s commandments. Then, we will not be able to cry “Abba, Father”, because we will be hanging our head in shame. Or worse, I say most people don’t do that, because they cannot bear that kind of shame. Instead, they just leave God. They become choked with cares, or lusts or passions, with misplaced priorities, or they become even worse than that, and they wither away, and have no faith whatsoever. That’s what happens to most people.
 
I hope that in our church, if you forgive the expression, we beat the “odds”. I hope that all of us will be good ground, but I know that the only way that this can be possibly true is if we struggle – apart and together. We must pray for one-another, help one-another, and then, in our corner, in our closet, cry out to God each day, asking Him to help us with whatever passions we have, with whatever sins we commit. Even if we have poor attitudes, and we desire to change our attitudes.
 
Do you know that all sin, and even all action proceeds from thought? Everything we do proceeds from thought. We decide to do something, and then we do it, whether it is good or bad. So we must amend our thoughts. That is why the Apostle Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”[5] Train yourself! So now, if you want to be good ground, you must not add any trash to this ground. You must not add such things as impure thoughts, gossip, judging others. You can surely think of many other things that are within your heart that you do and that are affecting your ground. And if ground is left alone, and just walked over, and not cared for, it becomes the wayside. It becomes hard and the seed can no longer penetrate, and that which is in it dies, or never germinates. So we have a great labor to do, my brothers and sisters. We must continue to care for our ground carefully. And we must have patience.
 
There are two sides to patience. One is that we must be patient with our position in life, with our status, with the amount of money we make, with the difficulties we are encountering. We must not curse God or say that we should have this or we should have that. This is one kind of patience.
 
There is another kind – a very important kind of patience. Allow God to work! It takes time for Him to work. We do not know how much time we have, but the time we have is what God has allotted to us. He is going to use every moment of that time to perfect us. So, if we have trouble with our sins, if there is something that we fall into every day, then EVERY day repent of it, and be patient! Be manly in spirit, and do not be like a child and run away from that sin, or rather, run away from the knowledge of that sin, since it will always be with you until you conquer it. Confront it! Confront it with sword and with shield, and with buckler, and with faith.[6] Eventually, God will deliver you. It will happen. It is guaranteed. If a man struggles to know to know God’s commandments, He will reveal them. This is absolutely certain, because in your struggling, you will be doing His commandments.
 
So, be patient, and cultivate your ground every day, every moment. However, be careful not to judge yourself. This is a hard lesson, that takes us a long time to learn – to not judge ourselves, and look at the sins we are doing and to say we can never do better. Well, in some things we do better, and in some things, God help us and forgive us, we have done worse, but the demons cannot take away from us that we are children of the Most High. We are able to cry “Abba Father”, only if we are struggling to live in Christ. God lives within us. He enlightens us, He helps us, even though we are sinners. So, if He has come to us and has offered us FREELY His grace and mercy, who are we, in our pride and arrogance to say “that is not enough mercy or enough grace. I can’t change”? Every man can change. Everyone can change magnificently if he only allows God to change him, but this takes time, a lot of time. I am sure, you are like me, and are very tired of your sins. They weigh us down, they are like an anchor, and they cut and they hurt. And yet, in some weird and perverted way, they are dear to us. They must be dear to us in some way, but God understands, and will help us if we make an effort, and if we are patient.
 
None of us right now are the wayside because we are at least trying to be Christians. Some of us may be the rock, some may be thorns. God knows, and this will be all revealed in the end. Even if you have very little soil right now, and even if you are choked with thorns and cares, God will help you to become good soil. He will help any man to become good soil. He is no respecter of persons. Any man that desires will be given, freely, God’s mercy. So take God’s mercy and clasp it to your hearts. Hold in to it and cultivate it, and be good soil, and God will save you.
 
Amen.



 
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[1] This homily was transcribed from one given On Oct 14, 1996 according to the church calendar, being the Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost,. and the day appointed for the commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. There are some stylistic changes and minor corrections made and several footnotes have been added, but otherwise, it is essentially in a colloquial, “spoken” style. It is hoped that something in these words will help and edify the reader, but a sermon read from a page cannot enlighten a soul as much as attendance and reverent worship at the Vigil service, which prepares the soul for the Holy Liturgy, and the hearing of the scriptures and the preaching of them in the context of the Holy Divine Liturgy. In such circumstances the soul is enlightened much more than when words are read on a page.
[2] Galations 2:19-20
[3] John 17:1-13, read for the Sunday of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and other times during the year
[4] John 17:3
[5] Philippians 4:8
[6] Cf. Ephesians 6:13-17

 

 

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21st Week After Pentecost – Saturday

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

 








Today’s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

Luke 6:1-10 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? 3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; 4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? 5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. 6 And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. 9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? 10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

 

 

2 Corinthians 3:12-14 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.

 

The Apostle’s plain speech makes it very clear that the OT taught the same principles as the New, but not understood as such because “their minds were blinded”. With the coming of Christ, of whom we read yesterday: “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3), the veil was lifted.

 

One should rightly ask: if the message was the same from Old to New, how did the coming of Christ bring about more understanding? As always, the answer concerns morality. The God-man came to teach us and enable us to become moral. As a man becomes good, the “veil” is progressively lifted from his eyes.

 

2 Corithinans 3:17-18 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord

 

This liberty which the Apostle speaks of was promised by the Son: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed! (John 8:36)  Just before this, our Lord told us that “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). The word servant may also be rendered “slave” (it is the Greek word ?????? , “doulos”). The Spirit of the Lord, when He dwells in a man, brings about liberty, that is, the freedom to choose morally and correctly.  

 

This promise is the core of the “Good News”. Through Christ, and with much labor, we will become able to be truly, in every way free.

 

However, this freedom does not come all at once. The Apostle also said: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.“  (1 Cor 3:12)

 

 

Luke 6:1-2 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?

 

The day being described is Saturday, which was always a Sabbath day in the Jewish calendar. It is the “second after the first”, because “Sabbath” also means rest, and was a generic term for any Feast day. If a feast fell on a Friday, Saturday would therefore be the “second sabbath after the first”.

The Pharisees were complaining because work was forbidden on the Sabbath, and they interpreted the disciples gleaning of grain as “work”.

 

Luke 6:3-4  3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; 4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

 

The “shewbread” was bread made of the finest flour, and placed on the holy table in the temple:

“And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.  (6)  And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.” (Lev 24:5-6)

 

This bread was renewed every Sabbath, and the old bread was eaten by the priests only. (Lev 24:5-9).

 

The incident our Lord refers to is this:

 

“Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.  (4)  And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.  (5)  And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.  (6)  So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.” (1Sa 21:3-6)

 

Of course, as bread on an altar, the showbread was a type of Christ, and pointed to the Eucharist.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press – http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Oct 26/Nov 8 2008.                                                                                              St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

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