July 21-27, 2014
Matthew 15:29-31 - And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain, and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. (RSV - Gospel for Friday)
Glorify the God of Israel - Great was the marvel and strange, to see them that were carried walking, the blind having no need for any to lead them by the hand. Yes, both the multitude of the healed and their rapid cure amazed them.
Remember how long Jesus had delayed healing the Canaanite woman. But now He heals these immediately. This is not because these are more faithful than she. In her case He defers and delays in order to manifest her constancy. In the case of these, He bestows the gift immediately to shut the mouths of the unbelievers and cut away from them every excuse. For the greater the favors one has received, so much more is held accountable and liable if unresponsive. This is why we see the rich turning more wicked and being more severely punished than the poor. Why? They have not been softened, even by their prosperity. (St. John Chrysostom)
The Icon is a detail of the Holy, Glorious Prophet Elijah being taken up to heaven by the Lord in a chariot of fire (Russain, Pskov School, 14th century). The Church celebrates his feast on July 20th.