4th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Hieromartyr Methodius, Bishop of Patar (312). Rt. Blv. Prince Gleb Andreevich (son of St. Andrew Bogoliubsky—1174). Translation of the Relics of St. Gurias, Archbishop of Kazan’ (1630). Martyrs Innas, Pinnas, and Rimmas, disciples of Apostle Andrew in Scythia (1st-2nd c.). Martyrs Aristocleus—Presbyter, Demetrian—Deacon, and Athanasius—Reader, of Cyprus (ca. 306). St. Leucius, Bishop of Brindisi (5th c.). St. Callistus, Patriarch of Constantinople (1363). Icon of the Most-holy Theotokos “HODIGITRIA” (“THE GUIDE”) at the Monastery of Xenophontos on Mt. Athos.
Romans 6:18-23 (Epistle)
Matthew 8:5-13 (Gospel)
Especially given the events of the 20th century, the rise of Communism, Fascism, world and regional wars and the persecution and slaughter or men, women and children because of religious or ideological differences, the virtue of obedience has–understandably–fallen into disrepute not only among non-Christians but Christians as well. It is as if we have said, personally and collectively, “I have been betrayed by those in authority and so I will no longer trust anyone but myself.” While not universally the case, many of us–again whether Christian or not–live not so much in willful disobedience but in helpless fear. At its core our not wholly unreasonable suspicion of
obedience reflects the scars left by love and trust abused.
The Gospel this morning, however, places obedience at the center of our attention. And it is not simply a generic obedience but the kind of obedience we have come as a culture to dread and fear I think more than any other. It is a soldier’s obedience to his commander; a commander’s expectation of obedience from his troops. “…I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (v. 9). Continue reading