6th Sunday of Luke
The Gadarene Demoniac, Luke 8: 27-39
The measure of God’s mercy
The measure of God’s mercy is illustrated in the following Biblical story. When King David sinned, the prophet Gad came and offered to him the choice of one of three punishments: Either the country will suffer three years of famine, or for three months the pursuing swords of his enemies will hang over him, or for three days the Lord’s sword and pestilence will wreak their destruction within the boundaries of Israel. “And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man” (1 Chron. 21:8-14).
Every sorrow and difficulty of life should be viewed as an enlightenment sent to us for our improvement. “Like a mother teaches her infant to walk,” St. John of Kronstadt informs us, “so does our Lord teach us a living faith in Him. A mother will get a child on its feet, walk away herself and call upon it to walk toward her. The infant cries without a mother’s assistance, wanting to go to her yet afraid to take a step, or attempting to come to her, falls over. This is how our Lord teaches a Christian to believe in Him. Our faith is as weak as a child that is learning how to walk. Our Lord leaves a Christian for a time and gives him up to various adversities, and later, when the need arises, He delivers him. Our Lord bids us to look and walk toward Him. The Christian attempts to see our Lord, but untaught in how to look upon Him and afraid to be bold, trips and falls. Yet the Lord is close and is in some way ready to take the feeble Christian into his arms. Therefore, during various woes or the devil’s contrivances, learn how to view your Savior with your heart. Look upon Him boldly as an inexhaustible repository of goodness and ardently implore Him for His help. And instantly, you will receive what you have asked for. Here, the important thing is to have a heartfelt vision of God and a hope in Him as being All Good. This is true from experience! Thus, our Lord teaches us to acknowledge our impotence and have faith in Him.”
Consequently, let us remind ourselves daily how strongly God loves us and how much He has done and is doing for us in order to save us. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.
The reading is from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11
Brethren, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.