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July 6, 2011 + On the Gospel According to St. Matthew

From Homily XXVI – Homilies of St. John Chrysostom

"And when He was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented." (Matt 8:5-6)

The leper came unto Him "when He was come down front time mountain," but this centurion, "when He was entered into Capernaum." Wherefore then did neither the one nor the other go up into the mountain? Not out of remissness, for indeed the faith of them both was fervent, but in order not to interrupt His teaching.

But having come unto Him, he saith, "My servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented." Now some say, that by way of excuse he mentioned also the cause, why he had not his last gasp, to lift and convey him." For that he was at the point of expiring, Luke saith; "He was even ready to die." But I say, this is a sign of his having great faith, even much greater than theirs, who let one down through the roof. For because he knew for certain, that even a mere command was enough for the raising up of the patient, he thought it superfluous to bring him.

What then doth Jesus? What He had in no case done before, here He doeth. For whereas on every occasion He was used to follow the wish of His supplicants, here He rather springs toward it, and offers not only to heal him, but also to come to the house. And this He doth, that we might learn the virtue of the centurion. For if He had not made this offer, but had said, "Go thy way, let thy servant be healed;" we should have known none of these things.

This at least He did, in an opposite way, in the case also of the Phoenician woman. For here, when not summoned to the house, of His own accord He saith, He will come, that thou mightest learn the centurion's faith and great humility; but in the case of the Phoenician woman, He both refuses the grant, and drives her, persevering therein, to great perplexity.

For being a wise physician and full of resources, He knows how to bring about contraries the one by the other. And as here by His freely-offered coming, so there by His peremptory putting off and denial, He unfolds the woman's faith. So likewise He doth in Abraham's case, saying, "I will by no means hide from Abraham my servant;" to make thee know that man's kindly affection, and his care for Sodom. And in the instance of Lot, they that were sent refuse to enter into his house, to make thee know the greatness of that righteous man's hospitality.

What then saith the centurion? "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof." Let us hearken, as many as are to receive Christ: for it is possible to receive Him even now. Let us hearken, and emulate, and receive Him with as great zeal; for indeed, when thou receivest a poor man who is hungry and naked, thou hast received and cherished Him.

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Ven. Anthony of the Kiev Caves – July 10

Troparion of St Anthony Tone 4

Thou didst leave the tumult of the world to follow Christ according to the Gospel; thou didst lead a life equal to the Angels and reach the haven of Mount Athos. From thence with thy fathers' blessing thou didst illumine thy fatherland at Kiev, where thou didst lead a multitude of monks along the path to Christ and His kingdom. Pray to Him, O Saint Anthony, that He may save our souls.

Kontakion of St Anthony Tone 8

Thou didst surrender to God, having loved Him from thy childhood, and follow Him with all thy heart and soul, O Saint Anthony. Thou didst despise worldly goods and live in a cave in the earth, fighting the good fight against the wiles of the enemy. Having illumined the ends of the earth thou didst fly rejoicing to heaven where thou dost stand among the Angels before the throne of God; remember us who honour thee that we may cry: Rejoice, O Anthony our Father.