Apostolic Reading: St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans, 12: 6-14.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We have gifts that differ according to the favor bestowed on each of us. One's gift may be prophecy; its use should be in proportion to his faith. It may be the gift of ministry; it should be used for service. One who is a teacher should use his gift for teaching; one with the power of exhortation should exhort. He who gives alms should do so generously; he who rules should exercise his authority with care; he who performs works of mercy should do so cheerfully.

Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil, cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers and sisters. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; he whom you serve is the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer. Look on the needs of the saints as your own; be generous in offering hospitality. Bless your persecutors; bless and do not curse them.

Gospel Reading: St. Matthew. 9: 1-8

At that time Jesus reentered the boat, made the crossing, and came back to his own town. There the people at once brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a mat. When
Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven." At that some of the scribes said to themselves, "The man blasphemes."

Jesus was aware of what they were thinking and said: "Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is less trouble to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Stand up and walk'? To help you realize that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he then said to the paralyzed man - "Stand up! Roll up your mat, and go home." The man stood up and went toward his home. At the sight, a feeling of awe came over the crowd, and they praised God for giving such authority to men.

They Marveled and Glorified God

Do you see how He is shown to be Creator of both souls and bodies. He heals the paralysis in both soul and body. The healing of the souls is made evident through the healing of the body, even while the body still remains a creature crawling on the ground. The crowds were slow to recognized who He was: "When the crowds saw it, they were afraid and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human." He proceeded by his daily actions to arouse them and lift up their thinking. It would have been no small thing for Him to be though greater than all others, as having come from Goo. If they had established this adequately in their own minds, they would have know
in due order that He was indeed the Son of God. But they did not grasp these things clearly.

Because of this, they did not come close to recognizing who He was. For again they were saying. "This man is not from God! How can this man be from God?" Their minds churned over these statements continuously. Which thing many now also do; and thinking to avenge God, fulfill their own passions, when they ought to go about all with moderation. For even the God of all, having power to launch His thunderbolt against them that blaspheme Him, makes the sun to rise and sends forth the showers, and affords them all other things in abundance, who we ought to imitate and so to entreat, advise, admonish, with meekness, not angry" not making ourselves wild beast.

From a homily by St. John Chrysostom



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