12th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 3. Hieromartyr Babylas (Vavíla), Bishop of Antioch, and with him Martyrs Urban, Prilidian, and Epolonius; and their mother, Christodula (251). Holy Prophet and Godseer Moses (16th c. B.C.). Hieromartyr Gorazd, Bishop of Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia (Serbian—1942).
Tone 3 Troparion (Resurrection)
Let the heavens rejoice! Let the earth be glad! For the Lord has shown strength with His arm. He has trampled down death by death. He has become the first born of the dead. He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to 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 4 Troparion (St. Babylas)
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, you became a successor to their throne. Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood.// O Hieromartyr Babýlas, entreat Christ God to save our souls!
Tone 2 Troparion (Prophet Moses)
You ascended to the heights of the virtues, O Prophet Moses; therefore, you were deemed worthy to see the glory of God. Having received the grace-filled tablets of the Law, and bearing the grace of the writing within yourself, You were the honorable praise of prophets,// and a great mystery of piety.
Tone 3 Kontakion (Resurrection)
On this day You rose from the tomb, O Merciful One, leading us from the gates of death. On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; with the Prophets and Patriarchs// they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Your power.
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 4 Kontakion (St. Babylas)
You guarded the mighty works of faith in your heart, therefore, you did not fear the tyrant;// preserve us as well, Hieromartyr Babýlas, good servant of Christ!
Tone 2 Kontakion (Prophet Moses)
The choir of prophets rejoices with Moses and Aaron today, for the fulfillment of their prophecy is in our midst: the Cross, by which You have saved us, shines forth today.// By their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us!
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 3 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
Sing praises to our God, sing praises! / Sing praises to our King, sing praises! (Ps. 46:6)
V. Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (Ps. 46:1)
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Epistle)
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Galatians 5:22-6:2 (Epistle, Saint)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. In You, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be put to shame! (Ps. 30:1a)
V. Be a God of protection for me, a house of refuge in order to save me! (Ps. 30:2b)
Matthew 19:16-26 (Gospel)
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “’You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ’Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Fr. Thomas Hopko
The virtue of courage and strength must accompany patience. Only the one who has courage can truly be patient in all things. To be courageous means simply not to be afraid. Many times in the Gospels, Christ speaks of this virtue and commands it to His disciples, In so doing, He follows the Old Testament example.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the Lord! (Ps 27.1,14; 31.24).
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear; fear Him who, after He has killed, has the power to cast into hell, yes, I tell you, fear Him! (Lk 12.32,4–5). In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world (Jn 16.33).
The apostles were utterly courageous, and counseled all men to follow their example.
Be vigilant, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong (1 Cor 16.13).
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you will be able to stand . . . (Eph 6.10).
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus . . . Take your share of sufferings as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2.1–3; cf. Heb 11.32–38).
The virtue of courage is expressed not only in times of persecution and suffering, but also in the face of ridicule and disdain. It is expressed as well simply, in the, smallest, most common things of everyday life. In Christ’s parable of the talents, the man with little lost even the little that he had and was cast into out darkness because he failed to use his small gift through lack of courage: “and I was afraid and hid your talent in the ground” (Mt 25.25–30). The person with courage faces all things with strength and lives every day, in every little thing, with the power of Christ. To be “faithful in little” is a sign of great courage. The saints were eminently courageous in their lives and considered this virtue to be central in the spiritual life.
Courage, according to Saint Gregory of Sinai, is the first of the “four original virtues,” one of the four parent virtues which contain and constitute all others (Saint Gregory of Sinai, 14th c., Instructions to Hesychasts).
If you wish to make a right beginning in your spiritual activity, first prepare yourself for the temptations that will befall you. For the devil has the habit of visiting with terrible temptations those whom he sees starting a righteous life with ardent faith. . . . Therefore prepare yourself to meet courageously the temptations which will surely assail you, and only then begin to practice them (Saint Isaac of Syria, 6th c., Directions on Spiritual Training).
If you pursue virtue . . . you are most likely to be attacked much by fear . . . such a person should make every effort to overcome cowardice, that daughter of unbelief and that offspring of vain-glory.
Cowardice is a childish disposition in a . . . vain-glorious soul . . . a failing away from faith that comes through expecting the unexpected . . . a rehearsing of danger beforehand in fear, a loss of conviction.
A proud soul is a slave of cowardice; it vainly trusts in itself and fears any shadow and sound of creatures.
. . . all cowardly people are vainglorious . . . and often have mental breakdowns . . .
He who has become the Lord’s servant fears the Master alone, but he who does not yet fear Him is often afraid of his own shadow.
He who has conquered cowardice has clearly dedicated his life and soul to God (Saint John Climacus, 7th c., The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 21).