June 6-12, 2016
Matthew 12:6-8 - "I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath." (RSV - Excerpt from the Gospel for Friday)
Walk with Jesus! - St. John Chrysostom teaches us that the faithful are more than priests. For the Lord of the temple himself has come to them. The Truth personally has arrived, not merely the image of the truth. So he could say, “I tell you, something greater then the temple is here!”
Nevertheless, great as the sayings which they heard, they made no reply, for they were inattentive to the coming salvation of man. Then, because it might otherwise seem harsh to his hearers, Jesus quickly drew a veil over his discourse, giving it a lenient turn, yet even then conveying a sharp admonition: “If you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” Do you see once again how his speech is inclined toward leniency, yet showing the priests themselves to be in need of leniency?
The sabbath did confer many benefits, great blessings in the earlier dispensation. It made people gentler toward those close to them. It guided them towards being more sympathetic. It located them temporally within God’s creation and providence as Ezekiel knew. The Sabbath trained Israel by degrees to abstain from evil and disposed them to listen to the things of the Spirit. I the LORD am your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances, and hallow my sabbaths that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I the LORD am your God. (Ezekiel 20:19-20).
On June 8th the Church celebrates the memory of the transfer of the relics of the Greatmartyr Theodore Stratelates, who suffered for Christ in A.D. 319.