Fourth Sunday of Lent - Sunday of St. John of the Ladder

March 29, 2020

GOSPEL READING: Mark 9:17–31

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” 30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” *** ЧЕТВРТА НЕДЕЛА НА ВЕЛИКИОТ ПОСТ – Свети Јован Лествичник ЕВАНГЕЛИЕ: Марко 9, 17-31 17. Тогаш еден од народот одговори и рече: „Учителе, го доведов при Тебе сина ми, во кого има нем дух; 18. и секогаш, каде и да го фати, го кутнува, и тој се запенува, и крцка со забите, и се здрвува. И им кажав на учениците Твои да го изгонат, но тие не можеа.” 19. А Исус одговори и рече: „О, роде неверен, до кога ќе бидам со вас? До кога ќе ве трпам? Доведете го при Мене!” 20. И кога го доведоа кај Него – штом го виде, веднаш духот го стресе; и тој падна наземи и се валкаше запенет. 21. Го праша Исус татка му: „Колку време има откако станува тоа со него?” Тој одговори: „Од детинство; 22. и многупати духот го фрлал во оган, и во вода, за да го погуби; но, ако можеш, смили се над нас и помогни ни!” 23. А Исус му рече: „Ако можеш да поверуваш? Сè е можно за оној што верува!” 24. И одеднаш таткото на момчето извика и со солзи рече: „Верувам, Господи, помогни му на моето неверие!” 25. А Исус, штом виде дека се собра многу народ, му забрани на нечистиот дух и му рече „Дух нем и глув, Јас ти заповедам: излези од него, и не влегувај веќе во него!” 26. И кога извика, силно го стресе и излезе; а момчето беше како мртво – така што мнозина велеа дека умрело. 27. Исус, пак, откако го фати за рака, го исправи; и тоа стана. 28. И кога влезе Исус во една куќа, учениците Негови Го прашаа насамо: „Зошто ние не можевме да го истераме?” 29. Им одговори: „Тој род си ништо не може да се истера, освен со молитва и пост.” 30. И кога излегоа оттаму, минеа преку Галилеја; и Он не сакаше некој да разбере. 31. Оти ги учеше учениците Свои и им велеше дека Синот Човечки ќе биде предаден во човечки раце, и ќе Го убијат, и на третиот ден по убивањето ќе воскресне.

Sermon on the 4th Sunday of Lent

(Mark 9: 17-31)

In today’s Gospel reading, we heard the story of a father, who pleaded with the Disciples to free his son from the demonic spirit that tortured him, but they could do nothing. Later when Jesus came close to them, Jesus performed the miracle, and saved the child from Satan. After that, the Disciples asked their Master: “Why could we not cast out this demonic spirit?” And Jesus replied: “This kind cannot come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:28-29).

These words of the Lord emphasize how much power prayer has in connection with fasting, so that even the most powerful demons can be cast out. Fasting and prayer are two powerful weapons for the spiritual struggle of every Orthodox believer. First, the weapon of fasting was used by our Lord Himself. As we know, the Lord fasted for 40 days without eating anything, and at the end of this fasting, He fought with Satan and defeated him. He also gave us instructions on how to fast, so that our fasting could be effective (see Matthew 6: 16-18). Tha