Wednesday June 24, 2020 / June 11, 2020
3rd Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Food with Oil
Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas (1st c.). Venerable Barnabas, abbot of Vetluga (1445). New Hieromartyr Mitrophan priest, and those with him (1900). Uncovering of the relics (1572) of Venerable Ephraim, abbot of New Torzhok (1053). Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “It is Truly Meet” (“Axion Estin”) (10th c.
The Scripture Readings
Commemorated on June 11
The Holy Disciple Barnabas was born on the island of Cyprus into the family of rich Hebrews, and he was named Joseph. He received his education at Jerusalem, being raised with his friend and co-student Saul (the future Apostle Paul) under the then reknown teacher of the law, Gamaliel. Joseph was pious, he frequented the Temple, he strictly observed the fasts and avoided youthful distractions. And during this time period our Lord Jesus Christ began His public ministry. Seeing the Lord and hearing His Divine Words, Joseph believed on Him as the Messiah, he was ardent with love for Him and followed Him. The Lord chose him to be among His Seventy Disciples. And it was amongst the followers of the Lord that Joseph received a second name – Barnabas, which in Hebrew means “son of consolation”. After the Ascension of the Lord to Heaven, Barnabas sold land belonging to him near Jerusalem and he brought the money to the feet of the Apostles, leaving nothing for himself (Acts 4: 36-37).
When Saul after his conversion arrived in Jerusalem and sought to join with the followers of Christ, everyone there was afraid of him as having been a persecutor but a short while before. Barnabas however came with him to the Apostles and reported, how the Lord had appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 26-28).
As entrusted him by the Apostles, Saint Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage the believers: “Having come and having seen the grace of God, he rejoiced and he urged all to cleave to the Lord with sincerity of heart” (Acts 11: 23). Then the Disciple Barnabas went to Tarsis, and thereafter he brought the Apostle Paul to Antioch, where for about a year they taught the people in the Church. It was here that the disciples first began to be called Christians (Acts 11: 26).
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
By a miracle of God John entered the world,
As once did Sarah’s and Abraham’s Isaac;
By a miracle of God he remained alive
From Herod’s bloody knife.
The knife, the young child John, missed,
But John’s father it did not miss.
By a miracle of God John sustained himself
For thirty years in the desert.
To a servant of God, angels are shepherds;
To the poor, angels are guardians!
John grew, a loveable lamb,
That he might serve the Lamb of God,
That he might proclaim the bright day before the sun.
The unknown One, he recognized and glorified.
Of the great prophets, he was the last,
And of God’s apostles, the beginning.
Like Elias, with God he spoke,
And like an apostle he loved and rebuked.
Of the high priest, wondrous son,
Of the martyrs of God, first-crowned brother.
One of the differences between the eloquent philosophy of the Greeks [Hellenes] and the Christian Faith is that Greek philosophy can clearly be expressed with words and comprehended by reading, while the Christian Faith cannot be clearly expressed by words, and still less can it be comprehended by reading alone. When you are expounding the Christian Faith, the example of the one who expounds it is indispensible; and for its understanding and acceptance, both reading and the practice of what is read are necessary. When Patriarch Photius read the words of St. Mark the Ascetic on the spiritual life, he noticed a certain lack of clarity in the author, about which he wisely said: “It [unclarity] does not proceed from the obscurity of expression but from the truth which is expressed there; it is better understood by means of practice (rather than by means of words) and cannot be explained by words only. And this,” the great patriarch adds, “is the case not only with these homilies, and not only with this man, but rather with all of those who attempt to expound the ascetic rules and instructions, which are better understood by deeds (in practice).”
To contemplate the miraculous recognition by the Elder Simeon the God-receiver: And he came by inspiration of the Spirit into the Temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him according to the custom of the Law: (St. Luke 2:27):
1. How this holy elder recognized in the Spirit the helpless Child as Lord and Messiah, while the blinded scribes and priests did not recognize Him, either then or when He worked numerous miracles and revealed unheard-of wisdom;
2. How my soul too, if it has grown old in sin, cannot recognize the Lord.
Against malicious rejoicing
“Rejoice not when your enemy falls; and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult” (Proverbs 24:17).
He is a man; do not rejoice in his fall. He is your brother; let not your heart leap for joy when he stumbles. God created him for life, and God does not rejoice in his fall. And you also, do not rejoice at that which grieves God. When a man falls, God loses; do you rejoice in the loss of your Creator, of your Parent? When the angels weep, do you rejoice?
When your enemy falls, pray to God for him, that God will save him; and give thanks to God that you did not fall in the same manner. You are of the same material, both you and he, like two vessels from the hand of the potter. If one vessel breaks, should the other one smile and rejoice? Behold, the small stone that broke that vessel only waits for someone’s hand to raise it to destroy this vessel also. Both vessels are of the same material, and a small stone can destroy a hundred vessels.
When one sheep is lost, should the rest of the flock rejoice? No, they should not. For behold, the shepherd leaves his flock and, being concerned, goes to seek the lost sheep. The shepherd’s loss is the flock’s loss too. Therefore, do not rejoice when your enemy falls, for your Shepherd and his Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, does not rejoice in his fall.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Good Shepherd, remove malicious joy from our hearts, and in its place plant compassion and brotherly love.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.