October 4 Gospel Reading

Luke 6:24-30

24 But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. 25 Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.

St. Cyril of Alexandria in his Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, Homily 29 said:

“He proceeds to speak of the opposite class of things, and says of them, that they are productive of grief and condemnation. For He indeed blames the rich and those who indulge immoderately in pleasures, and are always in merriment, so He may leave no means untried of benefitting those who draw near unto Him, and chief of all the holy Apostles. For if the endurance of poverty for God’s sake, together with hunger and tears, by which is meant being exposed to pain and afflictions in the cause of piety, is profitable before God – and He pronounces a threefold blessedness on those who embrace them – as a necessary consequence, those are liable to the utmost blame, who have prized the vices, that are the opposites of these virtues.”

“In order, therefore, that men may be won by desire for the crowns of reward for willingness to labor and voluntary poverty for God’s sake; and on the other hand, by fear of threatened punishment may flee from riches and from living in luxury and merriment – that is to say in worldly amusements – He says that the former are heirs of the kingdom of heaven, but the others will be involved in the utmost misery. For you have received your consolation, he says. And this truth we are permitted to behold beautifully delineated in the Gospel parables as in a painting…”

“‘Woe unto you rich; for you have received your consolation.’ This too we must discuss among ourselves. For is it the case that every one who is rich and possesses abundant wealth is determinately cut off from the expectation of God’s grace? Is he entirely shut out from the hope of the saints? Has he neither inheritance nor part with those who are crowned? Not so, we say, but rather on the contrary: the rich man might have shown mercy on Lazarus, and so have been made partaker of his consolation. For the Savior pointed out a way of salvation to those who possess earthly wealth, saying, ‘Make to yourselves friends of the unrighteous mammon, that when you depart this life they may receive you into their tents'” (Lk.16:9).

John Cassian in Conference 11 said:

‘Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you and slander you.’ (Mt.5:44) And so it will be vouchsafed to us to attain that reward which is subjoined, whereby we shall not only bear the image and likeness of God, but shall even be called sons: ‘that you may be,’ says He, ‘sons of your Father which is in heaven, Who makes His sun to rise on the good and evil, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust:’ and this feeling the blessed John knew that he had attained when he said: ‘that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is so are we also in this world.’ (IJn.4:17) For in what can a weak and fragile human nature be like Him, except in always showing a calm love in its heart towards the good and evil, the just and the unjust, in imitation of God, and by doing good for the love of goodness itself, arriving at that true adoption of the sons of God…”

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