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Daily Devotional

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 (NS)
January 3, 2019 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Forefeast of Theophany, and the holy Prophet Malachias, and the holy Martyr Gordios at Cæsarea in Cappadocia.


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians [§ 223]. Brethren:

3 8To me, the one who is less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach the Gospel of the unsearchable wealth of the Christ among the nations, 9and to enlighten all as to what is the dispensation of the mystery which hath been hidden from the ages in God, Who created all things through Jesus Christ, 10in order that now the much-variegated wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and to the authorities in the heavenlies through the Church, 11according to the purpose of the ages which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13Wherefore I ask you not to be fainthearted at mine afflictions on behalf of you, which is your glory. 14For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15from Whom every family in the heavens and on earth is named, 16that He would grant you, according to the wealth of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17that the Christ might dwell in your hearts through faith, having been rooted and founded in love, 18in order that ye might be able to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, 19and to know the love of the Christ which surpasseth knowledge, that ye might be filled to all the fullness of God.

20Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly above all things that we ask for ourselves or think, according to the power which energizeth itself in us, 21to Him be the glory in the Church in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark [§ 56]. At that time:

12 28One of the scribes approached Jesus and heard the Sadducees disputing with Him; and perceiving that He answered them well, he questioned Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?" 29And Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord [Deut. 6:4]; 30"'and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength [cf. Deut. 6:5, 10:12, 30:6].' This is the first commandment. 31"And the second is like this: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself [Lev. 19:18].' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32And the scribe said to Him, "Well, Teacher! In truth didst Thou say that God is one and there is not another besides Him; 33"and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34And after Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said to him, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to question Him any more.

35And Jesus answered and was saying, while He taught in the temple, "How say the scribes that the Christ is the Son of David? 36"For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, 'The Lord saith to my Lord, "Sit Thou on My right, until I should place Thine enemies as a footstool of Thy feet [cf. Ps. 109 (110):1]."' 37"David therefore himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He his Son?" And the great crowd was hearing Him gladly.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Forefeast of Theophany, and the holy Prophet Malachias, and the holy Martyr Gordios at Cæsarea in Cappadocia.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Second Epistle of Saint Paul to Saint Timothy[§ 292]. Child Timothy:

2 1Be thou empowered in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; 2and the things which thou heardest from me in the midst of many witnesses, commit thou these things to faithful men who shall be competent also to teach others. 3Thou therefore suffer hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one serving as a soldier is entangled with the affairs of life, in order that he might please the one who enlisted him. 5And if anyone also contend as an athlete in the games, he is not crowned unless he contend lawfully. 6The farmer who laboreth must be first to partake of the fruits. 7Be considering what I say; O may the Lord give thee understanding in all things! 8Be remembering Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, Who hath been raised from the dead, according to my Gospel, 9in which I suffer hardship even to bonds as a malefactor, but the word of God hath not been bound. 10On this account I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they might also attain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 36]. The Lord said to His disciples:

10 16"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Become therefore wise as the serpents and guileless as the doves. 17"But continue being on guard against men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. 18"And also ye shall be brought before governors and kings on account of Me, for a testimony to them and to the nations. 19"But whenever they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what ye should speak; for it shall be given to you in that hour what ye shall speak. 20"For ye are not the ones who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father Who is speaking in you. 21"Now a brother shall deliver up a brother to death, and a father a child; and children shall rise up against parents and shall put them to death. 22"And ye shall be hated by all for My name's sake; but the one who endureth to the end, this one shall be saved."


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

January 16th - Civil Calendar
January 3rd - Church Calendar

1 The Prophet Malachi.

He was chronologically the last of the prophets, born after the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon in 538 B.C. He was unusually fair of face. According to folk-tradition, he was named 'the angel', perhaps because of his outward fairness, or because of his purity of spirit, or, again, perhaps, because of his companionship with an angel, with whom he often spoke face to face. At these times, others also heard its voice but were not worthy to look on its face. The young prophet spoke forth that which the angel revealed to him. He cried out against the ingratitude of Israel and the sins of the priests. Five hundred years before Christ, he clearly foretold the coming and work of St John the Baptist (3:7). But he was chiefly the prophet of the Day of Judgment (4:1-3). He went to God young in years, and after him there was no prophet in Israel until John the Baptist.

2. The Holy Martyr Gordius.

Born in Caesarea of Cappadocia, he was an officer in the Roman army under the Emperor Licinius. At the outbreak of a terrible persecution, he left the army and his former rank and went into the Sinai desert. Alone on Mount Horeb, Gordius spent his time in prayer and in pondering the mysteries of heaven and earth. In particular he pondered on vanity and on the worthlessness of all for which people struggle and strive so on earth. He came finally to the desire to die and so move into that life that is without transience or corruptibility. With this desire, he went down into a town where pagan games were held. He presented himself to the governor as a Christian. The governor attempted in vain to turn him from the Faith with flattery and threats. Gordius remained unyielding and firm as diamond, saying: It would obviously be an act of the greatest folly to trade this brief life for eternal torment and spiritual peril. Condemned to death, he hastened joyfully to the place of execution, speaking with the executioners on the way of the wonderful and sweet knowledge of Christ. With the name of Christ on his lips, he delivered his youthful body to the sword and his righteous soul to God in the year 320.

3. St Geneviéve.

St Geneviéve.Protectress of Paris, she became worthy of the Kingdom of God by fasting, prayer and works of mercy. She entered into rest on January 3rd, 512, at the age of 89.

FOR CONSIDERATION

God looses ruin and debasement on man in his pride, when the latter thinks that his strength is eternally assured. When the wicked Roman governor Tarquinius had beheaded blessed Timothy, he summoned St Sylvester and threatened him with death if he did not reveal the whereabouts of Timothy's earthly possessions and if, furthermore, he did not immediately offer sacrifice to idols. The saint, gifted with foresight, answered fearlessly in the words of the Gospel: Thou fool, thy soul shall be required of thee this night (Lk. 12:20), and that which thou art pleased to bring upon me (i.e. death) shall come upon thee! The proud governor put Sylvester in chains and cast him into prison, with the intention of swiftly bringing about his death. Having done this, he sat down to his mid-day meal. As he ate, a fishbone stuck in his throat. From mid-day to midnight doctors strove to save his life, but all in vain. At midnight Tarquinius was deprived of his proud spirit in the greatest torment. And so the prophecy of St Sylvester was fulfilled, as also the biblical words: Pride goeth before destruction (Prov. 16: 18).


Daily Scripture Readings taken from The Orthodox New Testament, translated and published by Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado, copyright © 2000, used with permission, all rights reserved.

Daily Prologue Readings taken from The Prologue of Ochrid, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, translated by Mother Maria, published by Lazarica Press, Birmingham, England, copyright © 1985, all rights reserved.


Archbishop Gregory
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