8th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 7. Afterfeast of the Transfiguration. Martyr Dometius of Persia and two disciples (363).
Tone 7 Troparion (Resurrection)
By Your Cross You destroyed death. To the thief You opened Paradise. For the Myrrhbearers You changed weeping into joy. And You commanded Your disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that You are risen,// granting the world great mercy.
Tone 7 Troparion (Feast)
You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, revealing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they could bear it. Let Your everlasting Light also shine upon us sinners, through the prayers of the Theotokos!// O Giver of Light, glory to You!
Tone 4 Troparion (St. Nicholas)
The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of meekness and a teacher of self-control; your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you.// O Father Bishop Nicholas, pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.
Tone 4 Troparion (St. Dometius)
Trained in asceticism on the mountain, with the weapon of the Cross you destroyed the spiritual assaults of the hostile powers, O all blessed one; once again you bravely prepared for combat and for both struggles you have been crowned by God,// Monk-martyr Dometius of eternal memory.
Tone 7 Kontakion (Resurrection)
The dominion of death can no longer hold men captive, for Christ descended, shattering and destroying its powers. Hell is bound, while the Prophets rejoice and cry: “The Savior has come to those in faith;// enter, you faithful, into the Resurrection!”
Tone 3 Kontakion (St. Nicholas)
You proved yourself to be be a holy priest, O Nicholas. You served God in Myra and lived the gospel of Christ. You offered your life for people, And rescued the innocent from death. Therefore God has glorified you as a trustworthy guide of things divine.
Tone 3 Kontakion (St. Eudocimus)
Today your honored memory has assembled us at the holy shrine of your sacred relics; all then who approach and venerate them are rescued from the evil malice of demons// and are swiftly delivered from various diseases, blessed Eudocimus.
Tone 6 Kontakion (St. Dometius)
You rose above earthly things which drag down the mind; You were a great guide of monks, O Dometius. You did not fear the furious emperor who would not honor God. Therefore, O Hieromartyr, you died singing the hymn:// “God is with me and no one is against me.”
Tone 7 Kontakion (Feast)
On the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it; so that when they would behold You crucified, they would understand that Your suffering was voluntary, and would proclaim to the world// that You are truly the Radiance of the Father.
Tone 6 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
The Lord shall give strength to His people. / The Lord shall bless His people with peace. (Ps. 28:11)
V. Offer to the Lord, O you sons of God! Offer young rams to the Lord! (Ps. 28:1a)
Tone 7 Prokeimenon (Feast)
O Lord, how manifold are Your works; / in wisdom have You made them all. (Ps. 103:26)
1 Corinthians 1:10-18 (Epistle)
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. (Ps. 91:1)
V. To declare Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth by night. (Ps. 91:2a)
V. The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours! (Ps. 88:11a)
Matthew 14:14-22 (Gospel)
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
Fr. Thomas Hopko
After the love of God, the greatest commandment is the love of one’s neighbor.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets (Mt 22.37–40, Mk 12.30–31, Lk 10.27, Lev 19.18). There is no commandment greater than these (Mk 12.31).
Love of neighbor necessarily follows from the love of God, and there can be no true love of God without it.
He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness still. He who loves his brother abides in the light and in him there is no cause of stumbling. He who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going for the darkness has blinded his eyes.
If any one says “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God, should love his brother also (1 Jn 2.9–11, 4.20–21).
The love of the neighbor and the brother does not mean the love of only those who love us and are good to us. The neighbor and the brother mean anyone near at hand, everyone made by God, all “for whom Christ has died” (Rom 14.15). The neighbor and the brother include also the enemies. This is the point of Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10.29–37). It is also the Lord’s specific teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the heathen do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5.44–48).
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you . . . 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 selfish (Lk 6.27–35).
This teaching of Jesus is conveyed also in the writings of the apostles.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection . . . Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them . . . No, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink . . . Owe one another nothing, but to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom 12.9–10, 14–20; 13.8–10; cf. Mt 25.31–46).
Genuine love is expressed in deeds, and not in words alone. It is expressed through what one actually does in one’s life. It is manifested in concern for others through kindly speech and generosity with one’s earthly possessions given by God. It is revealed in one’s works of faith in keeping all of God’s commandments.
Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that Christ laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth (1 Jn 3.14–18; cf. Jas 2.8–17).
The love of neighbor “as oneself” is sometimes misunderstood. One should, of course, love oneself in the sense that one is faithful to God and grateful for his life. And certainly one should love oneself in the sense that he sees himself as uniquely important in the eyes of God and the object of God’s own unfailing love and mercy. One should not hate oneself in the sense that he despises the life given to him by God, rejecting his own talents and gifts because he is envious of others. Neither should one hate oneself for being a sinner, since, as the masters teach, such a self-hate is only the subtle form of a more grandiose pride which vaunts a person to stature of judgment greater than that of God Himself, who is merciful, loving and forgiving (cf. Father Alexander Elchaninoff, 20th c. Diary of a Russian Priest; Father John of Kronstadt, 20th c. My Life in Christ).
One should certainly “hate himself,” however, in the sense that he despises and crucifies his “old self” corrupted by sin in order to “put off the old nature with its evil practices” and to “put on the new nature which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its Creator” (Rom 6.6, Col 3.10).
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2.20; cf. 5.24, 6.14).
This is also what Christ undoubtedly meant when He spoke those most violent and terrifying words in the Gospel.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple (Lk 14.26).
This is the extreme and terrifying warning against all passionate attachments stronger and more powerful than one’s passionate attachment to Christ alone. And the greatest passion of all which keeps one from the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor is the sinful passion for oneself. Sinful self-love, says Saint Maximus the Confessor, is the “mother of all evils,” and the “original sin” of man’s heart.
One must “hate oneself” in this sense, even as he must hate his family and friends. He must hate them as objects of his sinful self-love, that he might love them, and himself most truly in Christ.
On the Calling of the Sinners by the Philanthropos God
In order to highlight the unconditional love of God for man and to encourage those who have sinned and to become more eagerly willing to repent, he reveals to them the mysteries of heaven. I say to you there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just person who need no repentance. (Lk 15:7) The kerygma (preaching) of the Apostles, commissioned by Christ himself was to preach repentance and remission of sins to all the nations, starting from Jerusalem: This is what is written, that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his Name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Lk 24:46-47).
Come therefore my Christian brothers and sisters, all of you who labor and are heavily burdened, (Matt 11:28) come to the Lord. Let us return well from where we have badly strayed. Behold the righteous judge (and loving father) who is eager to forgive us our sins. Behold the Lord who is ready to erase our debts. Behold the Savior who raises his arms to lead us into Paradise, to give us rest, removing the burden of our sins, and granting us peace and fullness of life. Let us take up his yoke; the yoke of the Lord is good and light. (Matt 11:29-30) Let us hasten as long as there is time, as long as the portal of eternal life is still open, as long as the Bridegroom is still inviting us to enter into eh marriage feast. (Matt 25:10) Let us not delay this from day to day, for we do not know what the next day will bring. (Prov 3:28, 27:1) Let us approach the Lord, confessing our sins to him, (Psalm 31:5) who is ready to forgive our sins, to embrace us as a loving father and to provide peaceful rest too our souls. Amen.
Habitation of Holiness, pp. 47-48.
The Life of Liturgy: The Church
The content of a transformed Christian life gives content to the liturgical art of the Church. Man, through the prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,” brings the Kingdom of God to his world, to the extent that he becomes like unto Christ through his effort and participation in the Life of the Holy Spirit. Through his repentance, man begins to actualize the Kingdom of God within himself; it begins to pour forth from him like a living fountain which transfigures, sanctifies, and re-orders the entire world around him. The liturgical art that exists within the traditional canonical framework of the Church’s life reflects and participates in this outpouring of the Kingdom into this world through the heart, mind, and body of the believer who has become part of Christ’s Body. As man continues in his ascent to a greater communion with God, so too the world around him begins to be restored; it concurrently finds its transfiguration through its contact with the believer who is part of Christ’s Body, just as Christ’s clothing shone forth on Tabor through contact with His Body. This restoration of man and his life takes place primarily through the transfiguring vision of God, which is noetic, taking place in the depths of the heart of man, encompassing every faculty of his body, mind, and soul, and embracing every aspect of his life. Through the sacramental-ascetical life of the Church, man can begin to see God in all things, at every moment, within and without, through the purity of his heart. God is seen in and through Christ and His Church, actively reconciling, transfiguring, and deifying it. Man, as the high priest of creation, works cooperatively with God through the canonical tradition and Liturgy of the Church in offering the creation back to the Creator.
Bowyer, Sergius. Acquiring the Mind of Christ: Embracing the Vision of the Orthodox Church. St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press. Kindle Edition.