Wednesday June 17, 2020 / June 4, 2020
2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Food with Oil
St. Metrophanes, first patriarch of Constantinople (325). New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1918). New Hieromartyr George priest (1941). Joanikije Lipovac, Metropolitan of Montenegro (1945) (Serbia) Uncovering of the relics of Hieromartyr Peter, archbishop of Voronezh (1999). Venerable Methodius, abbot of Peshnosha (1392), disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Martyrs Frontasius, Severinus, Severian, and Silanus of Gaul (1st c.). Martyr Concordius of Spoleto (175). Hieromartyr Astius, bishop of Dyrrachium in Macedonia (110). Venerable Zosimas of Cilicia, bishop of New Babylon (Egypt) (6th c.). Hieromartyr Ioannicus, metropolitan of Montenegro and Littoral (1945)
The Scripture Readings
The Monk Zosima, Bishop of Babylon
Commemorated on June 4
The Monk Zosima, Bishop of Babylon, was born in Cilicia (Asia Minor). While still a youth he left the world and settled on Mount Sinai, and later he withdrew to a more solitary place in Lebanon. One time he encountered an elderly ascetic, who foretold that he would be bishop in Babylon. When Zosima returned to Sinai, he was sent on an errand to Alexandria. The Alexandrian Patriarch made him bishop of Babylon, and into old age he wisely guided his flock. Sensing the approach of death, he returned to Sinai and there peacefully expired to God (V Century).
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINTS MARTHA AND MARYHospitality, a virtue which by God is commanded;
Until today, by it, many souls have been drawn to Paradise.
Wondrous Abraham showed hospitality without measure:
Both measureless and cordial, but not hypocritical.
And King David greatly respected hospitality;
That is why, the life of King Saul, he strictly protected.
And when there appeared the One more ancient than the ancient Abraham,
From the Lineage of David, when darkness hid itself,
Then Martha and Mary, showed hospitality:
Hospitable virgins, the sisters of Lazarus.
They hosted the greatest One under the sun.
By hospitality each of them the heavenly Paradise attained;
By hospitality perfect in heart and food;
By hospitality most worthy in word and in deed.
And the Lord Most-rich abundantly repaid them.
When death this hospitable home saddened,
For the sisters, Jesus raised up their dead brother,
And their eternal glory has gone forth throughout the world.
This is the reward for hospitality, from God Himself;
The Lord loves the hospitality of a sincere heart.
The Holy Church boasts of Martha and Mary,
Teaching that we also are guests at the table of the Lord. REFLECTION
It is a horrible thing to kill a man. There are no words to describe the horror which lays hold of the murderer. While a man is preparing to kill another man, he thinks that killing a man is the same as killing an ox. When he carries out his preconceived crime, then, all at once, he realizes that he has declared war on heaven and earth, and that he has become exiled and cut off from both heaven and earth. The victim does not give him peace either day or night. A known criminal came to Zosimus on Sinai and begged him to tonsure him a monk. Zosimus clothed him in the monastic habit and sent him to the Monastery of the Venerable Dorotheus near Gaza, to lead a life of asceticism in the Cenobium. After nine years the tonsured criminal returned to St. Zosimus, returned his monastic habit, and sought his secular clothes. To the question as to why he was doing this, the criminal replied that for nine years he had fervently prayed to God, fasted, kept vigil, and fulfilled all acts of obedience, and that he feelt many of his sins had been forgiven, but that one of his sins tormented him continually. He had once killed an innocent child, and that child was appearing to him day and night and asking him: “Why did you kill me?” Because of this he had decided to leave and to turn himself in to the authorities, that they might execute him and thus repay blood for blood. Dressing in his former clothes, he went to the town of Diospolis, where he acknowledged his crime and was beheaded. Thus, by his blood, he washed away his bloody sin.
To contemplate the miraculous healing of the possessed men of Gergesene [Gadara]: Now when He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two men who were possessed, coming from the tombs, so exceedingly fierce that no one could pass by that way (St. Matthew 8:28):
1. How the Lord cast out the demons from the ones possessed, and the possessed ones became calm and meek;
2. How the Lord stands beside me and waits to be called to help me and to cleanse me from every evil spirit which lays hold of me and separates me from God.
About trusting in the Lord and not in your own understanding
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; on your own understanding rely not” [Proverbs 3:5).
If all the mountains moved toward you, would you be able to push them back with your hands? You could not. If the great darkness of all the mysteries in the heavens and on the earth rushed upon the small candle of your understanding, would you, with your understanding, be able to illuminate the darkness? Even less! Do not rely on your understanding, for the great portion of the perishable matter which you call intellect is nothing more than dead ashes. O man, do not rely on your understanding, for it is a road over which a mob rushes–a hungry, thirsty, motley and curious mob of sensual impressions.
O man, trust in the Lord with all your heart. In Him is understanding without end and all-seeing. The Lord says: I am understanding; mine is strength (Proverbs 8:14). He looks upon the paths on which your blood flows and on all the crossroads on which your thoughts wander. With compassion and love He offers Himself to you as a Leader, and you rely on your darkened and perishable understanding. Where was your understanding before your birth? Where was your understanding when your body was taking form, when your heart began to beat and flow with blood, when your eyes began to open, and when your voice began to flow from your throat? Whose understanding was all this while your mind was still sleeping as coal in a coal mine? Even from the time your understanding awoke, can you enumerate all the illusions that it has delivered to you, all the lies in which it has entangled you, all the dangers that it did not foresee? O my brother, trust only in the Lord with all your heart! He has rescued you numerous times from your own understanding, from its illusions and lies, and from the danger into which it has pushed you. Like a blind man compared to a man who can see, so is your understanding compared to the understanding of God. O blind one, trust in the Leader. O brother, trust only in the Lord with all your heart.
O Lord, All-seeing, eternal and infallible understanding, deeper than the universe and more radiant than the sun, deliver us, even now, from the errors of our understanding.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.