Wednesday April 28, 2021 / April 15, 2021
Passion Week: Great Wednesday.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Apostles Aristarchus, Pudens, and Trophimus of the Seventy (67). New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1930). Martyrs Basilissa and Anastasia of Rome, disciples of Apostles Peter and Paul (1st c.). Martyr Suchias and his companions: Andrew, Anastasius, Thalaleus, Theodoretus, Ivchirion, Jordan, Quadratus, Lucian, Mimnenos, Nerangius, Polyeuctus, James, Phocas, Domentianus, Victor, and Zosima (Chorimos), in Armenia (123). Martyr Sabbas the Goth of Buzau in Wallachia (Romania) (372
John 12:17-50 (Bridegroom Matins Gospel)
|17||Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness.|
|18||For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.|
|19||The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”|
|20||Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast.|
|21||Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”|
|22||Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.|
|23||But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.|
|24||Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.|
|25||He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.|
|26||If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.|
|27||Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.|
|28||Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”|
|29||Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”|
|30||Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.|
|31||Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.|
|32||And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.|
|33||This He said, signifying by what death He would die.|
|34||The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”|
|35||Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.|
|36||While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.|
|37||But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,|
|38||that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”|
|39||Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:|
|40||He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”|
|41||These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.|
|42||Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;|
|43||for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.|
|44||Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.|
|45||And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.|
|46||I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.|
|47||And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.|
|48||He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.|
|49||For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.|
|50||And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.|
HYMNS OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYRS
The radiant martyrs shed their blood
And empurpled the whole black earth with their blood.
Powerful was the fire in which they were burned,
But more powerful the love with which they loved Christ.
To be a martyr is the greatest good;
With what treasure can this be compared?
The All-victorious Christ, the King of the ages,
Welcomed into heaven their brave souls.
He took them to Himself from the hands of the angels,
And all their heavy pains He blessed.
REFLECTIONConcerning contemplation, St. Gregory of Sinai writes: “We confirm that there are eight principle subjects for contemplation: first, God, invisible and unseen, without beginning and uncreated, the First Cause of everything that exists, Triune, the one and only pre-existing Divinity; second, the order and rank of noetic powers [the bodiless powers of heaven; the angelic world]; third, the composition of visible things; fourth, the Divine Economy of the Incarnation of the Word; fifth, the General Resurrection; sixth, the awesome Second Coming of Christ; seventh, eternal torment; eighth, the Kingdom of Heaven. The first four have already been revealed and belong to the past. The last four have not yet been revealed and belong to the future, although these four are clearly contemplated by those who, with the help of acquired grace, have attained complete purity of mind. Whosoever approaches this task of contemplation without the illumination of grace, let him know that he is building fantasies and does not possess the art of contemplation.” Thus wrote the great and discerning Gregory of Sinai, whose knowledge came from personal experience.
Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How He was concerned about the physical nourishment of His disciples; how He broke and blessed bread for the disciples in Emmaus;
2. How, by the shore of the lake, he asked His disciples: Have ye any meat? (John 21:5). How, when they answered Him that they had not, He prepared bread and fish and gave it to them.
on how we will resemble Him Whom we love
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Previously we were slaves, but now we are the children of God. We were the slaves of evil, but now we are the servants of good–the supreme good in heaven and on earth. We were slaves to all of that which is lower and worse than man, but now we will serve the All-highest and the All-good. We were oppressed by darkness, but now we will labor in the light. Until now the devil, sin and death held us in continual fear, but now we will live close to God in freedom and joy.
Now–when is this “now?” Now is when the Lord has appeared on earth in the flesh, when He has given us the knowledge of light, freedom and life; when He has gloriously resurrected and manifested Himself in His glorified body; when He has fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophets and all of His promises. Now we, too, are the children of God, seen as sons and heirs of the Kingdom (James 2:5).
We shall be like Him. Truly, this has not yet materialized, but He has manifested Himself and, for now, that is sufficient. He Himself showed how beautiful man is in the Resurrection, and we know that we will also be the same as He. The Apostle John says: We know that we shall be like Him. He does not say, “We suspect,” or, “It has been told to us,” but he says: We know that we shall be like Him. For He did not resurrect for His sake, but for our sake. He did not resurrect from the grave only to show His power to the dead who are without hope, but to assure the dead that they too will live again–and to show them how they will be when they become enlivened. Neither did the apostles write: We know, because of their vanity before the ignorant, but because of brotherly love toward man, that all men may know this–and that we too might know.
O risen Lord, confirm in us also this saving knowledge, through the prayers of Thy Holy Apostles.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.