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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday, May 22, 2016
Christ is Risen!

FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: THE HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC; THE HOLY PROPHET ISAIAH; TRANSFER OF THE RELICS OF SAINT NICHOLAS THE WONDERWORKER OF MYRA IN LYCIA

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE THREE:
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 the world great mercy!

TROPARION TO THE HOLY PROPHET ISAIAH – TONE FOUR:
With a great voice like that of a trumpet, you proclaimed the coming of Christ to the world. You were revealed as a swiftly-writing scribe of the things to come; therefore, we acclaim you with hymns, most illustrious prophet Isaiah.

KONTAKION TO THE PARALYTIC - TONE THREE:
By Your divine intercession, O Lord, as You raised up the paralytic of old so raise up my soul, paralyzed by sins and thoughtless acts; so that being saved I may sing to You: ‘Glory to Your power, O compassionate Christ!

PASCHAL KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT:
Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal; Thou didst destroy the power of death. In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming ‘Rejoice’ to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thy apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”:
The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead! Rejoice, all ye people! Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone on you! Exult now and be glad, O Zion! Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

INSTEAD OF “WE HAVE SEEN THE TRUE LIGHT…”:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once)

EPISTLE READING

THE PROKIMENON IN THE 1ST TONE:
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us as we have set our hope on You.

FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: ACTS 9: 32-42
In those days it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bed-ridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES:
I will sing of Your mercies, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your truth from generation to generation. You has said: Mercy will be established forever, and My truth will be prepared in the heavens.

GOSPEL READING

FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: JOHN 5: 1-15
At that time there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

FROM THE PROLOGUE
FOR MAY 9/22 BY ST. NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Prophet Isaiah
This great prophet was of royal lineage. Isaiah was born in Jerusalem of his father Amoz, who was the brother of Amaziah the King of Judah. By the great grace of God that was in him, Isaiah was made worthy to see the Lord of Sabaoth on the throne in heaven surrounded by six-winged seraphim who continuously sing: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Sabaoth (Isaiah 6:3). Isaiah prophesied many things to individual men as well as to the people. On one occasion, he walked naked through the streets of Jerusalem for three days, prophesying the imminent fall of Jerusalem to the Assyrian King Sennacherib, and reminding the king and the leaders of the people not to hope in assistance from the Egyptians or Ethiopians, because they too would be subjugated to the same Sennacherib, but rather to trust in help from God the Most High. This prophecy, as well as other prophecies, was literally fulfilled. Isaiah’s most important prophecies are the ones concerning the Incarnation of God, His conception by the All-holy Virgin, John the Forerunner, and many events in the life of Christ. This prophet, because of the purity of his heart and his zealousness toward God, also received the gift of working miracles. Thus, when the besieged Jerusalem suffered from drought, Isaiah prayed to God and water flowed from beneath Mount Zion. This water was called Siloam, which means “sent.” Later, the Lord directed the man who was blind from birth to bathe in this water to gain his sight. During the reign of King Manasses, when Isaiah thundered against the pagan customs of the king and the leaders, comparing that generation with Sodom and Gomorrah, the anger of the leaders and the people was aroused against this great prophet. He was captured and led out of Jerusalem, and was sawn in half. Isaiah lived and prophesied about seven hundred years before Christ.

The Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia
In 1087, during the reign of Emperor Alexius Comnenus and Patriarch Nicholas Grammaticus, the body of this saint was translated from Myra in Lycia to the town of Bari in Italy. This occurred because of the Moslem assault on Lycia. The saint appeared in a dream to an honorable priest in Bari and ordered that his relics be translated to this town. At that time, Bari was Orthodox and under an Orthodox patriarch. During the translation of this saint’s relics, many miracles occurred either through touching the relics or from the myrrh that abundantly flowed from them. Also on this day is commemorated the miracle St. Nicholas wrought on the Serbian King, Stefan of Deèani. This was when St. Nicholas restored sight to the blinded King Stefan.

The Holy Martyr Christopher
Christopher was a great miracle-worker. He is especially venerated in Spain. The people pray to him primarily for protection from contagious diseases and great pestilence. He suffered for Christ and was glorified by Christ in the year 249.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Stefan of Deèani
On the Field of Sheep, the blind Stefan slept,
And in a dream he endured misfortune without peace.
His eyes bloody, his body shivering:
Death is surely better than such a life.
At that moment, in a dream a man appeared to him,
In heavenly radiance, in heavenly glory.
“I am Nicholas of Myra in Lycia,” said he,
“And you are one of those whom God has chosen.
Look into my right hand, O Stefan:
Behold, your eyes are preserved in it!
You are without eyes; your eyes are with me.
I will give them to you when the Lord wills.”
Five years passed and Stefan was in darkness.
He had a strong hope, a strong faith:
“Nicholas will come once more to me;
With God’s help he will help me.”
Thus did Stefan ponder in the church,
And with tears he prayed to the beloved saint.
And, while he sat in the chair, he had a dream:
Behold, St. Nicholas came to him again!
The saint held the two eyes of the king in his right palm.
“Behold,” said he, “for you, O King, the day has dawned!
In the name of the Lord, Who gives sight to the blind,
Look and cry out: To God be glory!”
The saint touched the blind eyes,
And darkness was drawn from his eyes like a curtain.

REFLECTION
Every Christian can accept martyrdom for the Faith for himself, in times of persecution as well as in times of peace. Abba Athanasius says: “Be tortured by your conscience, die to sin, mortify your earthly members, and you will be a martyr in accordance with your wishes. The martyrs fought with emperors and princes; you have the king of sins—the devil and the demonic princes. Before, there were idols, pagan temples, and those who offer sacrifice to the idols. And now, they exist as thoughts in the soul. He who is a slave to debauchery worships the idol of Aphrodite. He who becomes angry and enraged worships the idol of Ares. He who is avaricious and ignores the pain and misery of his neighbor worships the idol Hermes. If you refrain from all of this and preserve yourself from passions, you have overcome idols, you have rejected an evil belief and have become a martyr for the true Faith.” Therefore, a man need not especially yearn for persecution and martyrdom. Everyone in every age can endure martyrdom for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the descent of God the Holy Spirit upon the apostles:
1. How all the men wondered and marveled, hearing to the apostles speak in different tongues;
2. How some mocked them, saying: They have had too much new wine (Acts 2:13).

HOMILY
on the curse of man who trusts in man
Thus says the Lord: cursed is the man who trusts in man, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord (Jeremiah 17:5).
When man alienates himself from God in his heart he usually trusts in men and in himself, for in whom else can he trust when he has untied his little boat from God’s ship? Since he has already loosed his boat from God’s ship, nothing else remains for him except to trust in his boat or in the boat of his neighbors. A weak trust, but there is none other for him! A lamentable trust over the abyss of destruction, but there is no other!
But, O heaven and earth, why did man loose his boat from God’s ship? What happened to man that he flees from his security? What calculation did he make when he decided it would be better for him alone on the tempestuous waves than in God’s house near the hem of His robe! With whom did he make an alliance when he breached his alliance with God? Is it with someone stronger than God? Foolishness, foolishness, foolishness!
Cursed is the man who trusts in man. God said this once, and men have repeated this thousands of times. Being disappointed in their trust in men, they have thousands of times cursed those who have trusted in man. God has said only that which men have both experienced too well and confirmed by their experience: Truly, how cursed is the man who trusts in man!
Brethren, that is why we should have trust in God, Who is the stable ship in the tempest and Who will not fail us. Let us have trust only in Him, for all other trust is a devilish delusion. In Thee do we trust, O Lord, our fortress and refuge. Tie us alongside Thee and do not allow us to loose ourselves if we, by our foolishness and accursedness, attempt to do so.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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