25th Sunday after Pentecost 

The Good Samaritan

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen

Today is The Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, and on this day we

the Holy Martyr Menas of Egypt, and Victor and Stephanida at Damascus
and Vincent of Spain, and St. Theodore the Studite. Holy Menas is a
wonderful Saint. In fact, we believe that those who pray  to him with
fervor will have their prayers answered. St. Menas is among a few of the
Saints for which there are explicit promises for prayers to them. He is
a wonderful Saint to ask for intercessions. Today we read about the
Greatest Commandment and the story of the Good Samaritan. 

Last Sunday, we talked about two miracles, where the woman was healed
from an issue of blood, and the daughter of Jairus was raised, and they
both had a relationship to one another. Today, we have two teachings,
set parallel to one another, like two plots  in a story. One has an
outward and moral aspect, concerning how we should act as Christians,
being compassionate, and who is our neighbor. We know  the answer to
that. Everyone is our neighbor. We just need to be reminded of that
sometimes.  There is also a mystical and internal story  here that is
right alongside this important teaching about being compassionate. What
gives us the power, the ability, to act with compassion? What gives us
the ability to live the Christian life? Of course, we know, it is only
God-s grace, but what did He do? How did He give us this ability, and
this power? We can see it in this story, when we look  at the mystical
meaning that the Fathers have elucidated. We can see also what the
meaning of Christianity is, and the purpose and activity of the church.
There is a great promise in this story as well, and I believe - I know v
a great source of hope for us.e ... in this story as well, and I rch.
There is a grewatan see also r? We can see i

?And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying,
Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?¦ 

A lawyer was a Jew who studied and interpreted the law. He was not like
we understand lawyers to be today. They should have been men of
character and high moral standing. Many of them were, but too many were
not.  This lawyer was like the people Jesus referred to when He said:
?But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner
of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to
have done, and not to leave the other undone.¦ If you know this passage,
from St. Luke-s gospel, a sentence or so later, a lawyer told Jesus He
was judging them too, and Our Lord said -yes, indeed-. 

This lawyer was trying to trap Jesus. He was trying to get Him to say 
something where  they could judge Him. Already they hated Him. In the
first year of His ministry, there were people who wanted to put Him to
death. The bloom was off the rose very quickly for these people when
they saw what Jesus meant and how they would have to change their lives
if they followed him. They didn-t want to do it. They didn-t want to
give up their positions, and their lands, and everything else, as the
second gospel speaks about.  This lawyer was one of many flunkies that
would go to Christ and try to trip Him up in some way. This question
that he asks is an amazing question. It really is an incredibly stupid
question. To stand in front of the God-man, and ask him -what should I
do to inherit eternal life- v to be filled with pride and self

Christ refers him to the law, because Christ upheld the law. This should
have been enough for him, just it  should have been enough for the rich
man and his brothers, since they had the law and the prophets. He also
wanted to show how one can be a lawyer, and know all manner of things
about the law,  and how one could, to extend 

it to our time v know all  manner of things about the Saints, and the
typicon, and the church, and yet, not understand the inner  meaning, and
the essence of what our life is all about. This lawyer did not
understand at all.

 ?He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he
answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and
thy neighbor as thyself. ?

Foolish wretched man! He actually knows the correct answer to the
question, and he says it like some school child reciting the answer in a
test, and having a smug grin on his face because he got the answer
right. The amazing  thing is that he had previously listened to Christ,
because  nowhere in the Old Testament does it explicitly  speak  about
loving -thy neighbor as Thyself¦. The first portion of his quotation is
from Dueteronomy, but the second part is from the words of the God-man,
Jesus Christ. Our Lord was teaching the people what the law really meant
- the essence of the law is love of God, and because of  love of God,
love of neighbor, and after also quoting Deuteronomy, said: ¦And the
second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
There is none other commandment greater than these.¦ The lawyer must
have heard this! He knew the right answer, but did not really believe
it, because he did not live it.

If you believe these words, then you will heed Christ-s other words. He
said: ?A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I
have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men
know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.¦ This is
the hallmark of what a Christian is v it is love. Without love, we truly
are nothing, and are hypocrites , and are most to be pitied. 

Christ says to the lawyer: ?Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou
shalt live.¦

It is really very simple! Christ reveals the truth to us, and we follow
Him! We love Him. We want  to do things that are pleasing to him,
because it is innate in us to want to please God v not because of fear
of punishment, not because of hope of reward, but because HE IS! And we
want to follow Him, because of that only. Or that is, as you  progress
in the Christian life, even a little bit, you come to the realization
that you want to do good and follow God-s commandments because of how
sweet  they are, how tasty they are. You want to do nothing else. You
may fall many, many times, but that desire you must inculcate in you
heart, brothers and sisters! No matter how many times you fall, seventy
times seven times, or seventy time seven plus one! I don-t care how many
times. You must plant in your heart this desire to follow God-s
commandments. All Christ is saying is, ?you know the answer. You-re
right. Now go do it!¦. The Christian life is not something we just read
in a book or talk about. It is not something we say we believe. It is

Christ-s response puts the lawyer back on his heels. He did not expect 
such a simple, forthright answer. He thought he was doing pretty well.
He had gotten the first answer right, and was ready for more, with the
audience surrounding them, but Christ simply amazed him with such a
simple response. He had to recover. Instead of falling at His feet, and
worshipping Him, and realizing that he  had been full of pride, instead,
he lets his pride master him. He wants to get in the last word, shall we

?But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my

Another very foolish, wretched question. He can say sweet words, but he
does not know  that they taste sweet. He can say that thou shalt love
thy neighbor, but he doesn-t do it. He wants to put himself on a
pedestal. He wants to think himself better than some men! Certainly he
thinks that there are some others that are his equal v the other
lawyers, the people of learning, and those that wash every day and are
not smelly. I am sure  he though he had some equals, but he put himself
above some of mankind. This story that we are now about to discuss
certainly resoundingly tells him -Lawyer, everyone is your neighbor-. 

This story  says something else more incredibly beautiful, and
incredibly sweet. It presents the mystical teaching of Christ the
Healer, and presents also that the church is to continue that role of
healing, and reintegrating the personality with Christ.  All of us, to
some extent, are fractured. Our personality is not integrated with God-s
will, and we suffer grievously because of it. Our whole life in the
church is therapeutic. We are being remade, and being made whole. It is
as if we are missing a leg, and we are given a perfect leg. We don-t
have eyes to see, and we are given eyes. All of our senses are being
given to us in greater and greater measure so that we can truly see and
understand God Who is.

Jesus makes a very short answer to the lawyer. He never answers him
directly, because why should you answer a proud man with a direct
answer? They will just have another come back. Instead, He answers in a
way that cannot be gainsaid. And he says it all in one hundred and
eighty six words! Listen very carefully now. There is outward teaching
here, but the inward teaching will give us great hope, and make us
realize how great is our God. 

 ?And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to
Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and
wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.¦

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho  was a very dangerous route. It was
very hot, and went down into the valley, and Jericho was very
uncomfortable compared to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is an image in the
scriptures, and the writings of the fathers of salvation, and
peacefulness. Doesn-t it say: ?Great is the LORD, and greatly to be
praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on
the sides of the north, the city of the great King.¦? Jerusalem is an
image of salvation, and Jericho is an image of the passions, strife,
cacophony, unwholeness. The road to Jericho is dangerous and it does not
say so much in English, but in the original language this ?went down¦
implies  a continual motion down, and the Fathers stress this.

Who is this man? He is Adam, and the entire human race. This man is the
human nature. God created us perfect. He created us so that we would
know Him, and then we fell. We would all proceed down towards Jericho,
except that the God-man intervenes and saves us. 

Who are the thieves? They are the demons.  What do these demons do? They
strip a man of his raiment. This raiment is our virtue. They strip a man
of virtue, and then they wound him with sins. Then they leave him half
dead. Not totally dead, because God is merciful, and there is still
breath in us, and there is still hope for our salvation. Also, the
fathers tell us that even though our body dies, our soul lives. 

?And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he
saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he
was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other

The outer meaning here is that these Jews knew the law, and they did not
want to touch a man that might be dead. That would soil them, and though
would be obliged to wash, and would not be able to go into the temple
for a period of time. They valued their own position and status and
comfort more than another  man. They did  not even go to look at him,
and  went to the other side, these wretched, foolish men! 

Listen to what the Fathers say is the inner meaning. The law and
prophets cannot change a man! The problem is too difficult. We are too
broken. We are too wounded. We are bleeding from everywhere, and we are
weakened. So when they passed by, this indicates that our sins are too
much for us. We cannot do anything with them on our own. And it says
that by chance they came upon him. Not by purpose, but by chance,
because a man-s purpose in live cannot be to save another man. He can
certainly assist, as God asks him to, especially those in the church
that are appointed to this task, and also in some measure, all of us,
but no man can save another. Only God can save. 

?But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when
he saw him, he had compassion on him¦

His journey was to come TO the man. It wasn-t a chance occurrence. This
Samaritan (our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the Samaritan in this
parable, brothers and sisters), he journeyed in order to come to each
one of us by the side of the road. That is the meaning is here. When He
saw us, and as he continues to see us, He has compassion. His purpose on
the earth was to come to save us, and to help us in every way. 

?And¦, (He) ?went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and
wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took
care of him.¦

Oh, there is much here to know about. Binding up His wounds - what does
this mean? Do you have any sins that like the woman  with an issue of
blood, that we talked about last week, sins that  hemorrhage, and you
cannot stop the bleeding? Don-t you need some binding to put on that
wound so as to stop the bleeding? That is what Christ does. He binds us,
He helps us, not binding us against our will, but He helps us with self
control. Whatever  sin you have -- you cannot name a sin that God will
not help you to conquer. You cannot name one. 

He poured in oil and wine. This oil and wine refers to the dual natures
of Christ. It also refers to the two ways in  which Christ acts, and
indeed, how all of the teachings and actions of the church, His body
are. Some teachings are merciful and are gentle. They are promises, and
things that give us hope and comfort us. Some teachings are harder. They
tell us when we are foolish, or doing things that are evil, or

Some of the soothing that Christ, said are these:

 ?In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare
a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that
where I am, there ye may be also.¦

?Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call
you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I
have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I
have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,
and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your
fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my
name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one

?Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in
heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and
my burden is light.¦

Those are the teachings that are like oil, soothing. We need this oil,
just as our children need to be comforted, many, many times. We are like
children that need to be comforted, that need to know, over and over 
that God loves us, and indeed, has a place prepared for us. 

He has also given us hard teachings. Some of these teachings seem hard
to us because of our hard-heartedness, and  they are very hard to a
person who doesn-t want to change. He said: 

 ?Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the
way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto
life, and few there be that find it.¦

?Not every one that saith unto me, lord, lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in

He also says something about the last judgment, the last part of which
are words that I hope none of us will hear: ?Whosoever therefore shall
confess me before men, him will I confess also before my father which is
in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny
before my father which is in heaven.¦

All of the scriptures are full of these teachings  of oil and wine,
mixed together, because our Lord and Savior was, and is God and man.

He put him on his own beast. What  does that mean? The beast signifies
the incarnation. He took a sick and a dying man, and he raised him up,
and he gave  him the ability to live! He took on flesh, and made this
flesh able to comprehend and apprehend God. Beforehand, it wasn-t
possible, because we were laying  by the road, all bruised and bleeding,
but he put us on His beast v he became incarnate  for our sake. He is
our strength when we are weak. He carries us at all times, at every
moment, because of His  love for us. And He loves our flesh.

?And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave
them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever
thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.¦

The departing is His ascension. He did not live on the earth forever,
but after a very  short period of time,  He left the administration of
his church to His servants, to the innkeeper, his bishops, His priests,
His deacons. He told them to take care of those who need care.  And he
gave them two pence. A coin is stamped on both sides with the image of
the emperor.  Two pence are the old and  the new testaments, Holy
Scripture and holy tradition. These are the ways in which a man finds
truth, by the Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Church, which wrote the
scriptures and has added much more besides, as the Holy Spirit has
willed it. 

What is this -taking care¦? How are these people taken care of? Through
all the ways we live in the church, through confession, counsel,
teaching, preaching, the services, blessings. Through praying for one
another, and especially, even if he be unworthy, through  the priest and
the bishop praying and interceding for the people before the holy altar,
as God has ordained. Also, may God grant that they would be strong
enough to be an example to others, these innkeepers.

?And Whatever thou spendest more¦ v We are  going to spend more. God
gives us, but we must increase. God  makes the increase, and causes the
growth, but we supply the labor, and  increase our talents. Whatever you
spend more (God will remember a cup of water that you give to a thirsty
man), every prayer that you say for a person, every prostration, every
tear v nothing will be forgotten. And when He comes again, all  things
will be made known, both good and bad, and He will repay us.

Do you understand the sweetness of this parable, and how it applies  to
us? We are the man by the road. We are that man bleeding, and the
Samaritan, our Lord, Jesus Christ, came and bound us up,  and helped us
to stop sinning. He did not just lay down commandments. He did not just
lay  down laws, and say ?you must do this, and do this and  do this, or
you will be damned¦. He came and helped us. And as we become stronger,
we will  do His commandments, as we react to His love, just as a child
responds to the love of his parents, and wants to do better, and wants
to please them. That-s the way we are. And He sometimes pours in oil,
and sometimes wine into us. Sometimes we need to be rebuked, and
sometimes we need to be comforted. And He makes us able to live. 

This man that went to the inn became stronger, and he recovered, and he
became stronger This is the same with us! We should have hope, we should
have absolute certainty that God will save us, because that is why He
came. That is why He journeyed. That is why went to the dusty road where
we were lying in the ditch.  He will save us, if we only react to Him,
if we only cooperate with  the therapeutic care that He gives to us. If
you go under the care of a physician and do not do anything the
physician says, then you will not get better. All we need to do is
listen to our Great Physician. God will save us. God will bind up our
wounds continually, and eventually the wounds will go away. The passions
will go away. I don-t say  that this will happen in a short period of
time, although, I tell you, if we have great fervor,  it would go away
in a very short period of time. If we have fervor and great desire, God
will help us more quickly. If we choose the  hard path, ( like Jairus
did, if you remember from last week v he did not have as much faith and
wanted Christ to come to his house and lay hands on his child), then we
will have a longer road. We have that longer road,  unfortunately,
because of  our lack of faith, and our arrogance and our addiction to
sins. But regardless of whether it is a longer road or a shorter road
for us, God will save us. Amen. 



Old Believer Sermon for the 25th  Sunday after Pentecost (unpublished)

?Drops From the Living Water¦, Bishop Augustinos

?The One Thing Needful¦, Archbishop Andrei of Novo-Diveevo - Pp. 146-148

?Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke¦, St. Cyril, Patriarch of
Alexandria, Pp.  287-290

?The Parable of the Good Samaritan¦, Parish life, Fr Victor Potapov.
Also available at http://www.stohndc.org/parables

This, and other Orthodox materials are available in booklet and
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St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas, Texas

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 This homily was transcribed from one given On November 11, 1996
according to the church calendar, being the Twenty Fifth Sunday after
Pentecost, and the day appointed for the commemoration Holy Martyrs
Menas of Egypt, Victor and Stephanida at Damascus and Vincent of Spain
The Epistle reading appointed is Ephesians Eph 4:1-6, and the Gospel is
Luke 10:25-37.  There are some stylistic changes and minor corrections
made and several footnotes have been added, but otherwise, it is
essentially in a colloquial, ?spoken¦ style. It is hoped that something
in these words will help and edify the reader, but a sermon read from a
page cannot enlighten a soul as much as attendance and reverent worship
at the Vigil service, which prepares the soul for the Holy Liturgy, and
the hearing of the scriptures and the preaching of them in the context
of the Holy Divine Liturgy. In such circumstances the soul is
enlightened much more than when words are read on a page. 

 Luke 8:41-56 (read on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost)

 Luke 10:25

 Luke 11:42

 The Reading appointed for Martyr Menas and the other martyrs is Matthew
10:32-33,37-38,19:27-30. At the end of the reading, Christ says: ?Verily
I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when
the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit
upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And every one
that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall
receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.¦ (Matthew

 The story of the Rich man and Lazarus is in Luke 16:19-31, and is read
on the 16th  Sunday after Pentecost. The rich man, in hell, wanting to
save his brothers, has the following discussion with the Holy Prophet
Abraham: ?I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to
my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto
them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto
him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said,
Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will
repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.¦ (Luke

 Luke 10:26-27 (cf. Duet 6:5: ?And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with
all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.¦  

 Mark 12:31

 John 13:34-35

 Luke 10:28

 Cf. Matthew 18:22. This expression, ?seventy times seven¦ is an
indication of an infinite number.

 Luke 10:29

 Luke 10:30

 Psalm 48:1-2

 Luke 10:31-32

 Luke 10:33

 Luke 10:34

 The Gospel for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, read the preceding
week, is Luke 8:41-56. It tells the story of the healing of the woman
with an issue of blood, and the raising of  Jairus- daughter.

 John 14:2-3

 John 15:14-17

 Matthew 11:29-30

 Matthew 7:13-14

 Matthew 7:21

 Matthew 10:32-33

 Luke 10:35

 Cf. 1 Cor. 3:6 ?I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the

 Cf. Mark 9:41 ?For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in
my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall
not lose his reward.¦

The 25th Sunday after Pentecost

The Healing of the Woman with an Issue of Blood

 and the Raising of the Daughter of Jairus

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The Good Samaritan

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The 25th Sunday after Pentecost

The Good Samaritan

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