22nd SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 5. St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (407).
Tone 5 Troparion (Resurrection)
Let us, the faithful, praise and worship the Word, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, born for our salvation from the Virgin; for He willed to be lifted up on the Cross in the flesh, to endure death, and to raise the dead// by His glorious Resurrection.
Tone 8 Troparion (St. John)
Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe. It has shown to the world the riches of poverty. It has revealed to us the heights of humility. Teaching us by your words O Father John Chrysostom,// intercede before the Word Christ our God, to save our souls!
Tone 5 Kontakion (Resurrection)
You descended into hell, O my Savior, shattering its gates as Almighty, resurrecting the dead as Creator, and destroying the sting of death. You have delivered Adam from the curse, O Lover of man,// and we cry to You: “O Lord, save us!”
Tone 6 Kontakion (St. John)
Having received divine grace from heaven, with your mouth you teach all men to worship one God in Trinity. All-blessed and venerable John Chrysostom,// we worthily praise you, for you are our teacher, revealing things divine.
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 5 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
You, O Lord, shall protect us / and preserve us from this generation forever. (Ps. 11:7)
V. Save me, O Lord, for there is no longer any that is godly! (Ps. 11:1a)
Tone 1 Prokeimenon (St. John)
My mouth shall speak wisdom; / the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. (Ps. 48:3)
Galatians 6:11-18 (Epistle)
See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Hebrews 7:26-8:2 (Epistle, St. John Chrysostom)
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. I will sing of Your mercies, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your truth from generation to generation. (Ps. 88:1-2)
V. For You have said: Mercy will be established forever; Your truth will be prepared in the heavens. (Ps. 88:3)
V. The mouth of the righteous meditates wisdom and his tongue speaks of judgment.
Luke 8:51-56 (Gospel)
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
John 10:9-16 (Gospel, St. John Chrysostom)
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Meditations for Advent; Preparing for Christ’s Birth
ADVENT—DERIVED FROM the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”—is a word that is not often used by Orthodox Christians living in the Eastern parts of the world. It is used more frequently by Orthodox Christians living in the West, for the simple reason that when they say “Advent,” other Christians immediately understand they are referring to a period of preparation before the Great Feast of Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord. However, there are three key differences between Orthodox and Western Advent: Advent in Western Christianity begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, while in the Orthodox Church it begins forty days before Christmas (November 15). Western Advent is focused on both the First and Second Comings of Christ, whereas the primary focus of Orthodox Advent is the Incarnation of our Lord. Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the liturgical year in the Western churches, while the ecclesiastical year of the Orthodox Church begins on September 1.
The Nativity Fast
One of the ways in which Orthodox Christians prepare for the Feast of the Nativity is through fasting. Being a forty-day period, Advent is sometimes referred to as “Lent,” not far different from the Great Lent that precedes Pascha (Orthodox Easter). Similarly, Christmas is sometimes referred to in our service books as “Pascha,” and it has also been described as the “Winter Pascha.”(*1) While the Nativity fast is not as strict as the fast of Great Lent (fish is not prohibited on most days until the last week of Advent), the principle of fasting is the same: we prepare ourselves physically and spiritually for the coming Feast by simplifying our lives, curbing our appetites, and controlling our desires in order to increase our charity, intensify our prayer, and train ourselves to “fight the good fight” (1 Tim. 6:12), which is the battle with our passions. …
As with Great Lent, so too with the Nativity Fast, the approaching feast is prepared for not only by abstinence, but also through the profound meaning of the biblical readings and the hymns (contained in the hymnbooks known as the Menaia for November and December) that we hear in church during this season. Because the main focus of Advent is our preparation for the Nativity—the Incarnation of the Son of God—the hymns for the season are shot through with references and allusions to the Old Testament: the Church’s preparation over the centuries for the advent of the messianic Kingdom, which came in the person of Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah. It would therefore be no exaggeration to say that Advent is one great Bible study that sheds light on the meaning of the Old Testament as a preparation for the New. It is certainly no coincidence that so many Old Testament prophets are commemorated during this period. Advent therefore signifies the Church’s journey throughout the ages—its preparation for the coming of Christ into the world. Every Advent we are called to participate in the Church’s journey from expectation to fulfillment, from preparation to joy. Thus the Church’s services do not speak of Christmas as a mere historic event that occurred some two thousand years ago, but as something that is real and present here and now: “Today the Virgin comes to the cave”; “Today the Virgin gives birth”; “Today heaven and earth have been made one.” It is this “today” of the Church—the “today” of God that traverses the centuries—which gives full meaning to Advent and to every Feast and season of the Orthodox Church.
* Early editions of the Typikon describe Christmas as “a splendid three-day Pascha.” The expression “Winter Pascha” was coined by Fr. Alexander Schmemann.
Papavassiliou, Vassilios. Meditations for Advent; Preparing for Christ’s Birth. Ancient Faith Publishing.