Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Afterfeast of the Meeting. Greatmartyr Theodore Stratelates (“the General”—319). Prophet Zachariah (ca. 520 B.C.). St. Sava II, Archbishop of Serbia (1269).
Before Reading the Holy Scripture
Illumine our hearts, O Master Who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing unto Thee. For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, Who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
2 Peter 3:1-18
1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
ADAM, WHERE ARE YOU? By Geronta Symeon Kragiopoulos (+2015)
Homily 4: Are You Making Progress Toward God,
or Toward Your Own Idol?
The Parable of the Rich Fool [Luke 12:16-21]
[Part 14b of 15]
“Until the very last second, as long as we are in this world, let no one take the liberty and say, ‘I’m done. I escaped unharmed.’ The evil that was committed in Paradise when man sinned — this evil does not vanish quite so easily. Death is a consequence of sin. When does death cease? When we die. Until that time, the other consequences of sin [falling into one or more of the demonic passions] persist; they lie in wait. ”
Orthodox Agape by papademetrios
Lives Transformed Give Witness to the Faith
That our Orthodox Church possesses the totality of Apostolic Truth is a given, yet if in our weakness as believers, the obviousness of that Truth is invisible to others, we will have betrayed that Truth. If in our weakness we fail to be an image of Christ, and love and joy appear to be absent to those who are initially drawn to Orthodoxy, visitors to our temples will see only beautiful rituals, but the beauty of the mystical theology of our faith will remain invisible to them.
For Orthodoxy to be seen as different from other faiths, love and joy must be manifested in our lives, and others must know we are of Christ by the transformed lives we are leading. They must see in us the impact this faith has had upon our souls, for a faith that leads not to transformation, but only rests in beautiful temples and forms of worship, will not impart the sublime theology that is rooted in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
“When the pagans hear from our mouths the oracles of God, they marvel at their beauty and greatness. But when they discover that our actions are not worthy of the words we speak, they turn from wonder to blasphemy, saying that it is a myth and a delusion (Saint Clement of Alexandria).”
Love in Christ,
Photo: Interior of The Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco, California.