Prayer Before Reading Holy Scripture
O Master Who loves mankind, illuminate our hearts with the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, that we may overcome all carnal desires, entering upon a spiritual life and understanding and acting in all things according to Your holy will. For You are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
Epistle Reading: Titus 1:5-2:1
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you;
if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self- willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.
One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
Gospel Reading: Luke 20:9-18
Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.
“Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
“Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
“And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’
“But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’
“So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
“He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”
And He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?
“Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
Saints and Feasts
Barbara the Great Martyr; John the Righteous of Damascus; New Hieromartyr Seraphim, Bishop of the Phanar in Greece; Juliana the Martyr of Heliopolis; Alexander Hotovitzky, New Hieromartyr of Russia, Missionary to America
Categories: Nativity Fast, prayer
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