21st SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 4. Holy and All-praised Apostle Philip (1st c.). St. Justinian the Emperor (565), and his wife, St. Theodora (548). St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica (ca. 1360).
Tone 4 Troparion (Resurrection)
When the women disciples of the Lord
learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection,
they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles:
“Death is overthrown! Christ God is risen,//
granting the world great mercy!”
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 3 Troparion (St. Philip)
Holy Apostle Philip, entreat the merciful God//
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions!
Tone 4 Kontakion (Resurrection)
My Savior and Redeemer
as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earth-born from their chains.
He has shattered the gates of hell, and as Master,//
He has risen on the third day!
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 your people,
And rescued the innocent from death.
Therefore God has glorified you as a trustworthy guide of things divine.
Tone 8 Kontakion (St. Philip)
Your disciple, friend and imitator of Your passion,
the God-preaching Philip, proclaimed You to the universe.
By his prayers deliver Your Church from her enemies;
through the Theotokos protect every city, O most merciful Christ!
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
O Lord, how manifold are Your works; / in wisdom have You made them all. (Ps. 103:26)
V. Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, You are very great! (Ps. 103:1)
Tone 8 Prokeimenon (St. Philip)
Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth, / and their words to the ends of the universe. (Ps. 18:4)
Galatians 2:16-20 (Epistle)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
1 Corinthians 4:9-16 (Epistle, Apostle)
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. Go forth, prosper and reign, for the sake of meekness, righteousness and truth! (Ps. 44:3b)
V. For You love righteousness and hate iniquity. (Ps. 44:6)
V. The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; and Your truth in the congregation of the saints. (Ps. 88:5)
Prayer Before the Gospel
Illumine our hearts, O Master and Lover of mankind, with the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Your Gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing to You. For You are the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto You do we send up glory, together with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Luke 10:25-37 (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 1:43-51 (Gospel, Apostle)
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
St. Nectarios of Pentapolis
Nothing is greater than a clean heart, because such a heart becomes the throne of God. And what’s more glorious than the throne of God? Nothing, of course. Regarding those who have a clean heart, God says: ‘I will live with them and walk among them; and I will be God to them and they will be a people to me’ (2 Cor. 6, 16). So who can be happier than these people? What good thing can they possibly lack? Don’t they find all the good things and gifts of the Holy Spirit within their blessed souls. What more do they need? Nothing. In truth, nothing. Because they have the greatest good in their heart: God himself. How deceived those people are who seek happiness outside themselves, in foreign countries and travels, in riches and fame, in great possessions and enjoyments, in pleasures and all the luxuries and vanities which, in the end, leave a bitter taste. If you construct a tower of happiness outside your heart, you’re building on ground that’s shaken by continuous earthquakes. Such a structure will quickly collapse. My brothers and sisters, happiness lies within our own self and blessed are they who realize this. Examine your heart and look at its spiritual state. Have you lost the boldness to address God? Is your conscience troubled because you haven’t kept his commandments? Perhaps it condemns you for being critical, telling lies or neglecting your duties to God and your neighbor? Look and see if wickedness and passions haven’t filled your heart. Perhaps it’s slipped onto a tortuous and rocky path. Unfortunately, those who’ve neglected their heart have been deprived of all good things and have fallen into a multitude of evils. They’ve expelled joy and have been filled with bitterness, sorrow and worry. They’ve expelled peace and acquired anxiety, turmoil and fear. They’ve expelled love and welcomed hate. Finally, they’ve expelled all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit which they received at baptism and have adopted all those evils which make people miserable and thoroughly wretched.
My brothers and sisters, our most merciful God wants us all to be happy, both in this life and the next. This is why he founded his holy Church: to cleanse us from sin, to sanctify us, to reconcile us with him and to grant us the blessings of heaven. The Church has opened its arms to us in welcome. If our conscience is burdened, let us hasten to the Church. If we do so, it’s prepared to lift our heavy burden, to give us the boldness to address God and to fill our heart with happiness and bliss.