Nocturn III (Sermon 72 of St John Chrysostom on Matthew)
Reading 9: At that time, the Pharisees came unto Jesus, and one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, saying: Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? And so on.
When the Pharisees had heard that Christ had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together for a fresh attack just when it behoved them to be quiet, they willed to contend and so they put forward one of themselves who professed skill in the law, not wishing to learn, but to lay a snare. This person therefore proposed the question: "Which is the great commandment in the law?” The first and great commandment is: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," but they expected that He would make some exception or addition to this in His Own case, since He made Himself God. With this expectation they asked Him the question.
R. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave; that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, even thine, O Lord, Thou That alone art God;
* That Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
V. Are thy days as the days of man, that Thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
R. That Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Reading 10: But what said Christ? To show that they had adopted this course, because they were loveless, and sick with envy, He answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Responsory (cantus database)
Reading 11: Why is this second commandment like unto the first Because the first is the second's source and sanction. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light." John iii. 20. And again: "The fool hath said in his heart There is no God" and there followeth: "They are corrupt, and become abominable in their works." And yet again: "The love of money is the root of all evil which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith." And yet once more: "If ye love Me, keep My commandments,", of which commandments the head and root is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God and thy neighbour as thyself."
Reading 12: If therefore, to love God is to love our neighbour also, as it appeared, where it is written: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? And he said unto Him: 'Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love thee.' Jesus saith unto him: 'Feed My sheep',", and if "love is the fulfilling of the law,", justly doth the Lord say that "on these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets." And even as when, before this, being interrogated about the Resurrection, He answered them more than they asked, so, now, being interrogated concerning the first and great commandment, He answereth them, of His own accord, touching that second one also, which is little lower than the first, for "the second is like unto it." Herein He would have them understand that it was hatred stirred them up to question Him. For "Charity," saith the Apostle, "envieth not."
R. One Seraph cried unto another * Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.
Gospel: Matt 22:34-46
But the Pharisees hearing that he had silenced the Sadducees, came together. And one of them, a doctor of the law, asking him, tempting him: Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?
Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.
And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying: What think you of Christ? whose son is he?
They say to him: David's.
He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
And no man was able to answer him a word; neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.