7th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 6. Forefeast of the Procession of the Honorable and Lifegiving Cross of the Lord. Righteous Eudocimus of Cappadocia (9th c.). Hieromartyr Benjamin, Metropolitan of Petrograd and Gdovsk (1922).
Tone 6 Troparion (Resurrection)
The Angelic Powers were at Your tomb; the guards became as dead men. Mary stood by Your grave, seeking Your most pure body. You captured hell, not being tempted by it. You came to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord, Who rose from the dead,// glory to You.
Tone 1 Troparion (Cross)
O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance! Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Your Cross,// preserve Your habitation!
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. Eudocimus)
He Who called you from earth to heaven keeps your body unharmed after death, holy Eudocimus; for you lived a sober and holy life and did not defile your flesh;// so with boldness intercede with Christ that we may be saved!
Tone 6 Kontakion (Resurrection)
When Christ God, the Giver of Life, raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand, He bestowed resurrection on the human race.// He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life, and the God of all.
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 (Steadfast Protectress)
Steadfast Protectress of Christians, Constant Advocate before the Creator; Do not despise the cries of us sinners, but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!
Tone 6 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
O Lord, save Your people, / and bless Your inheritance! (Ps. 27:9a)
V. To You, O Lord, will I call. O my God, be not silent to me! (Ps. 27:1a)
Tone 7 Prokeimenon (Song of the Three Holy Children)
Blessed are You, O Lord God of our fathers, / and praised and glorified is Your Name forever! (Song of the Three Holy Children, v. 3)
Romans 15:1-7 (Epistle)
We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. He who dwelleth in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the heavenly God. (Ps. 90:1)
V. He will say to the Lord: “My Protector and my Refuge; my God, in Whom I trust.”(Ps. 90:2)
Matthew 9:27-35 (Gospel)
When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
The Mystery of the Cross
On the Cross, Jesus has a vision of all those for whom He is dying. He foresees each one of us individually, saving us through His death and by His love. Since the Lord Jesus has taken upon Himself every word of Psalm 21 and has actually lived through everything that the psalmist had described in advance, He has also experienced with great intensity the first phrase of the psalm. He has truly experienced abandonment by God. At this point His kenosis has been carried to the most extreme point. How could the only Son of God – true God of true God – feel abandoned by God? Can God abandon God? Does God abandon Himself? This is the unfathomable mystery of our salvation. If Jesus had been only a man, His Death on the Cross would have brought us no more than the death of the many prophets and heroes who died in the service of humanity. But Jesus had dared to say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father…I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (Jn 14:9,11). Jesus had dared to say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…[He who] believes in me shall never die” (Jn 14:6, 11:26). That is to say that, having come from the “bosom of the Father,” His mission was to bring God to man. Thus if Jesus had died and not risen, His message would have been a lie. That is why St. Paul says, ‘If Christ has not been raised… [Christians] are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:17:19). Christ did rise because He is God, and His Death takes on dazzling significance. In the epistle to the Philippians, St. Paul comments on the mystery of the Death in His human nature of the crucified God, which is fundamental to the Christian faith: “He emptied Himself” (Phil 2:7) while at the same time remaining God.
True God, He made Himself truly man. He who is the divine model of man created in the image of God, has taken upon Himself all the sufferings and weaknesses that man is subject to since the Fall, in eluding everything except sin itself: including the absence of God, for sin drives God away; including death, for that is the final consequence of sin; including descent into the abode of the dead. He did this to allow God to enter everywhere there is human suffering, even in to the abyss of death, accompanying man to the depths of suffering so as to raise him up again and bring him back to life, by lifting him up to heaven and placing him at the right hand of the Father. The Son of God dies as man so that the Son of man may rise up again as God. The Son of God had to experience the anguish of God’s absence so that all men who die might recover the presence of God; this is salvation.
The Living God, Vol. 1 Pp 190-191. SVS Press
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.