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9th Sunday of Luke. Orthros and Divine Liturgy

Saints and Feasts: Plato the Great Martyr of Ancyra, Holy Martyr Romanus, Zaccheus the Deacon, Holy New Martyr Anastasius of Paramythia, Martyr Romanos the Deacon, Anastasios the New Martyr

Fast Day (Fish Allowed)
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Third Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 2:14-22

Brethren, Christ is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

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Gospel Reading: Luke 12:16-21

The Lord said this parable: “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” As he said these things, he cried out: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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Leo Tolstoy once asked himself: how much land does a man need? We know that in the past, a typical pursuit was to buy as much land as possible. The number of hectares meant prestige, although it always also meant that others would be deprived the opportunity to feed themselves from the same land.

Tolstoy wrote a parable about this issue, calling it the following: ”How much land does one man need?”. We retell it in our words: It is said that a certain Pachomios supposedly heard that, somewhere in Siberia, a great landowner was selling as much land as anyone could cover on foot in one day and return back, for a thousand rubles. Tempted by the sale, Pachomios went to the landowner and told him he wanted to buy land. The owner said: behold, we are at this point here. You go from here straight ahead, and as much as you cover on foot will be yours, with only one condition: you must be all the way back here before sunset. So, you go ahead and then turn back. As much as you cover is yours. But if you do not get here before sunset, you lose a thousand rubles.

And the man went to conquer the land, and went, and went, and went. He also stared at the sun and looked at the land ahead of him. And he went, and he went. And he always kept saying. I have time to go back too, but I have to conquer as much land as possible. And he went until he realized that if he kept going, he would have no time to go back. He started going back, but as he turned back, the sunlight was becoming weaker and weaker. It was close to sunset and he was still far from the place of their meeting.

Finally, a few moments before sunset, the man, running as fast as he could and ready to lose his conquest, managed to make the last step and, stretching his hand, came to the place from where he had started, glad in his heart that he had managed to conquer such a vast stretch of land. But as soon as he stretched his hand and touched the owner's foot, his heart stood still and he died. The owner told his servants: "Dig a pit two meters long and a meter wide, because, in fact, that’s how much land a man needs, and not as much as he came to conquer greedily!"

The Savior left us a balanced teaching: to earn our living through work, to manage our needs, but not to harvest for the sake of harvesting, not to treasure anything for the sake of treasuring. Let us use what is the fruit of our work. Let's enjoy what we do, but let us not just gather for the sake of having.