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Readings for the Week of April 25th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Mark the Evangelist 

Acts 13:43-52:  

      When the Apostles said: "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing you put it from you… lo we turn to the Gentiles," then all the spiritual importance of Judea and its old intimacy with God were transferred by the Apostles to the nations. (St. Jerome) 

      Envy, though not the greatest sin, is the only one that gives the sinner no pleasure at all, not even fake and temporary satisfaction. It causes nothing but pain and sorrow. Thus it shows more clearly than other sins two profound truths about the nature of all sin: that it removes our joy and that it is deceptive. The Devil, who whispers his seductive advertisements into our ears, is a liar. His road leads to pure misery, not to satisfaction, much less to the joy we are always, deep down, seeking. Envy removes joy because envy is the opposite of gratitude, and gratitude is the seedbed of joy. A man without gratitude is an ex-man, a proto-demon. Every moment of our lives is an invitation to humanity, that is, to gratitude. (Peter Kreeft) 

Revelation 7:9-17: 

      Though in former times death was mighty and devoured, at the holy Laver of regeneration God has "wiped away every tear from off all faces." You shall not mourn any more, now that you have put off the old man; but you shall keep holiday, clothed in the garment of salvation, even Jesus Christ. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      The glory and nobility of God's eternal kingdom have to be estimated from the dignity of its King. Jesus indeed is King Whose kingdom will not be destroyed and Whom "all tribes and peoples and tongues" will serve throughout eternity. O how glorious is the kingdom of this most excellent King where all the just reign with Him! Its law is truth, peace, charity, life and eternity. It is not divided by the number of those who reign; nor lessened by being shared, nor disturbed by its multitude, nor disordered by its inequality of ranks, nor circumscribed by space, nor changed by motion nor measured by time. (St. Bonaventure) 
 John 10:27-30: 

      When our Lord says, "I and My Father are One," He indicates their identity of essence. It is necessary both to maintain the One God and to confess the Three Persons. Divinity is divided but without division and is united but with distinctions. Thus both the division and union are paradoxical; for what paradox would there be if the Son were united to the Father and divided from Him only in the same manner as one human being is united to and divided from another, and nothing more? (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      The Son is said by virtue of His energy to be life in relation to living things, since He quickens them and is called their life. "My sheep hear My voice, and I give them eternal life." To those who believe in Him He promises to give the life that belongs to and inheres in Him substantially. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      "No man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." If by hand we understand power, the power of the Father and the Son is one, even as Their divinity is one. If we understand the Son, the Son is the hand of the Father, not in a bodily sense, as if God the Father had limbs, but as being He by Whom all things were made. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Basileos, Bishop of Amasea, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Stephen, Bishop of Perm  

Acts 11:1-18: 

      God gives the Holy Spirit; for this is no work of man, nor gift of man. He Who is invoked by the priest is given by God, wherein He is the gift of God and served by the priest. Peter confessed that he was not capable of compelling or constraining the Holy Spirit when he said, "if God has granted them the same grace as to us, who was I that I could resist God?" (St. Ambrose) 

      Peter explained the case to them in an orderly fashion. He did not assert his own authority but gave reasons humbly, and even produced witnesses to defend him from blame. If, then, the Pastor of the Church, the Prince of the Apostles, who singularly did signs and miracles, did not disdain in defending himself from blame to give reason in a humble manner for his actions, how much more ought we sinners, when we are blamed give reasons humbly to pacify those who blame us. (St. Gregory the Great) 
 John 10:1-10: 

      The Logos of God is called the door because He leads to spiritual knowledge those who, in their unsullied pursuit of the ascetic life, have nobly traversed the whole way of the virtues, and because He reveals, as does light, the lustrous treasures of wisdom. He Himself is the way, the door, the key and the kingdom. He is the way because He guides. He is the key because He opens and is opened to those found worthy to receive divine blessings. He is door because He gives admittance. He is the kingdom because He is inherited and because He enters by participation into all things. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Who does not owe the price of redemption to the Redeemer from death? Who will not give thanks to the Giver of Life? He even promises to give us a reward as well, an inexpressible reward. "I am come so that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness." What is meant by "in all its fullness"? He came not only to be and to live with us, but to make us His brethren and coheirs. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem, Kinsman of the Lord and Martyr 

Acts 11:19-26: 

      In Antioch, when the preaching of Christ took effect, Barnabas was sent there to help, being a "good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith;" who seeing a great harvest of believers in Christ, brought Paul from Tarsus as his fellow combatant. When crowds had been instructed by them and assembled in the Church, "it came to pass that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch;" the Holy Spirit bestowing on believers that new Name, which had been promised before by the Lord (cf. Isa. 65:15). (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      Let us prove ourselves worthy of that name which we have received, for whoever is called by any other name than Christian is not of God; for he has not received the prophecy concerning us: "The people shall be called by a new name, which the Lord shall name them, and shall be a holy people" (Isa. 52:2, 12). This was first fulfilled in Syria; for "the disciples were called Christians at Antioch," when Paul and Peter were laying the foundations of the Church. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

John 10:22-30: 

      Being able to find no fault with His works, the Pharisees tried to catch our Lord in His words. Mark their perversity. When He instructs by His discourse, they say, "What sign show You?" When He demonstrates by His works, they say, "If you be the Christ, tell us plainly." Either way they are determined to oppose Him. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      When you read "I and the Father are One," keep before your eyes the Unity of Substance while still remembering the distinction of Persons. (St. Gregory the Theologian)   


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Nine Holy Martyrs of Cyzicos Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Valeria, Martyr 

Acts 12:24-13:5: 

      The Holy Spirit said: "Separate Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, they were distinguished in nothing from the other apostles, as though they were sent in one way by God the Father and in another way by the Spirit. (St. Ambrose) 

      It is the Spirit Who says, "Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Does a slave to God the Father speak thus, or an equal? (St. Basil the Great) 

John 12:44-50: 

      Our Lord found all in darkness. In which darkness if they wish not to remain, they must believe in the light which is come into the world. He says in one place to His disciples, "you are the light of the world"; but He did not say to them, "you are come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on you should not abide in darkness". All saints are lights, but they are so by faith, because they are enlightened by Him, from Whom to withdraw is darkness. (St. Augustine) 

      A person should not want to do anything contrary to the divine will, even if it is a question of saving his life. In fact, it is impossible to save one's life unless one does perform God's will, for this divine will is eternal life, the greatest of blessings, even if the effort needed to attain it appears to some to be arduous. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Jason and Sosipater, Apostles of the Seventy Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Catherine of Siena 

Acts 13:13-25: 

      It is our sacred wisdom that should legitimately be called a gift of God and not a natural gift, since even simple fishermen who receive it from on high become sons of Thunder, Whose word has encompassed the very bounds of the universe. By this grace the burning zeal of persecutors is transformed, making them Pauls instead of Sauls. By this true wisdom we too can become conformed to the image of God and continue to be such after death. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart." Now by heart is denoted the desire, to which David was well-pleasing through the uprightness of his character. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

John 13:16-20: 

      The divine Logos of God the Father is mystically present in each of His commandments. God the Father is by nature present entirely and without division in His entire divine Logos. Thus, he who receives a divine commandment and carries it out receives the Logos of God Who is in it; and he who receives the Logos through the commandments also receives through Him the Father Who is by nature present in Him, and the Spirit Who likewise is by nature in Him. "I tell you truly, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him Who sent Me." In this way, he who receives a commandment and carries it out receives mystically the Holy Trinity. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      To know what is good, and not to do it, tends not to happiness, but to condemnation. This is why the Lord says, "If you know these things, happy are you if you do them." (Bede the Venerable) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. St. James, Apostle and Brother of St. John the Theologian Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Maximus of Ephesus, Martyr 

Acts 13:26-33: 

      The power of sin – or in other words, the will of the flesh – is destroyed by grace in holy baptism, and by active obedience to God's commandments. Such obedience destroys the power of sin with the sword of the Spirit, that is, with the revelation of divine knowledge in the Spirit. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      I do truly fear one thing: that words of salvation heard many times may begin to lose their value to us as words. Let no one think of the word of God as a cheap thing. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

John 14:1-6: 

      By "many dwelling places" the Savior meant the differing stages of spiritual ascent and states of development in the other world; for although the kingdom of heaven is one, there are many different levels within it. That is to say, there is place for both heavenly and earthy men according to their virtue, their knowledge and the degree of deification that they have attained. There are differing glories and yet all of them shine in a single divine firmament. (St. Gregory of Sinai) 

      Our Lord consoles His disciples, who, as men, would be naturally alarmed and troubled at the idea of His death, by assuring them of His divinity: "Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me"; as if they must believe in Him, if they believed in God; which would not follow, unless Christ were God. You are in fear for this form of a servant; let not your heart be troubled; the form of God shall raise it up. (St. Augustine) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Jeremiah the Prophet Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Brioc 

Acts 13:44-52: 

      You will find it hard to check the resentment of an envious person, for what he envies in you he considers his own misfortune. You cannot check his envy except by hiding from him the thing that arouses his passion. If this thing benefits many but fills him with resentment, whose side will you take? You have to help the majority but without, as far as possible, disregarding him, and without being seduced by the cunning of the passion itself, for you are defending not the passion but the sufferer. You must in humility consider him superior to yourself, and always, everywhere and in every matter put his interest above yours. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Christ is one, in Whom every nation that believes and every tongue that confesses is gathered to God. Those who were of a stony heart have become the children of Abraham, the friend of God. In his seed all those have been blessed who were ordained to eternal life in Christ. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

John 14:7-14: 

      So long as we only see the Logos of God as embodied multifariously in symbols in the letter of Holy Scripture, we have not yet achieved spiritual insight into the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Father as He exists in the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Son, according to the saying, "He Who has seen Me has seen the Father… and I am in the Father and the Father in Me." We need much knowledge so that, having first penetrated the veils of the sayings which cover the Logos, we may with a naked intellect see – in so far as men can – the pure Logos, as He exists in Himself, clearly showing us the Father in Himself. Hence a person who seeks God with true devotion should not be dominated by the literal text, lest he unwittingly receives not God but things appertaining to God; that is, lest he feel a dangerous affection for the words of Scripture instead of for the Logos; for the Logos eludes the intellect which supposes that it has grasped the incorporeal Logos by means of His outer garments. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      When we say that the Son has life in Himself, and we mean life absolute, we are at the same time calling the Father life; for as the Father is life, not in relation to anything else, but independently and in Himself, the Father and the Son co-inhere in one another, as the Son said: "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me." (St. Gregory Palamas)


Via Brother Christopher -- Ordo Acquilifer
Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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