Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
2nd Sunday after Pentecost. Sunday of All Saints of Russia.
Today the Orthodox Church solemnly celebrates the radiant memory of all saints who have shone forth in the Russian land, glorified by God for their God-pleasing podvigs (heroic efforts) and holy lives. They are the firstborn of the Russian Orthodox people, redeemed by the priceless Blood of Christ and sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit, delivered to God the Father by Jesus Christ. They are the blessed fruit of the holy Orthodox faith, of Christianity, planted in the midst of our Russian people.
And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew 4:18-23
Gospel for Sunday of All Saints of Russia
Great multitudes followed Him-from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew Chapter 4:25 - 5:12
Commentary by Saint Theophan the Recluse
The Lord called Peter and Andrew, and immediately, leaving all, they followed Him. He called James and John, and they also immediately left all and followed the Lord. Why did they follow Him so quickly and willingly? Because they saw something better. Such is the law that we have in our soul, that once it has tasted and known what is better, it is repulsed by what is worse and abandons it. Here is accomplished the same thing that later the Lord described in His parable about the treasure hid in a field, and about the pearl of great price. The treasure and the pearl are faith in the Lord and communion with Him according to the strength of faith. We have already been declared possessors of this in baptism. Why do we value this treasure so little, and so exchange it for barren insignificance? Because we were not brought up to cultivate a taste for this treasure, and it becomes foreign to our heart. Our heart does not know this better thing. It only knows that there is the bad, the very bad, and the not so bad, and bases its outlook upon this assessment. Here is the entire reason why the Lord calls some and they come; but we, the chosen ones, run from Him.