Readings for Friday, Hator 17 of Christmas Fast
Psalm 132:9,10,17,18 [Arabic]
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.
For Your servant David's sake,
Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.
Matt 4:23-end ; Matt 5:1-16 [Arabic]
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him--from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Psalm 110:4 ; Psalm 110:5 ; Psalm 110:7 [Arabic]
The LORD has sworn
And will not relent,
"You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek."
The Lord is at Your right hand;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.
Lk 6:17-23 [Arabic]
And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
"Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man's sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
2Tim 3:10-end ; 2Tim 4:1-22 [Arabic]
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra--what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica--Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come--and the books, especially the parchments.
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.
Do your utmost to come before winter.
Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren.
The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
1Pet 5:1-14 [Arabic]
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
"God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Acts 20:17-38 [Arabic]
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
"And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."'
And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
• The Departure of Saint John Chrysostom
1. The Departure of Saint John Chrysostom
On this day, the honorable Saint John of the Golden Mouth (Chrysostom), departed. He was born in the city of Antioch around the year 347 A.D., to a rich father, whose name was Sakondos and a pious mother, whose name was Anthosa. They brought him up well and reared him in the Christian tradition. He went to the city of Athens, where he learned the Greek wisdom in one of its schools. He surpassed many in knowledge and in virtue. He forsook the vanities of the world and became a monk at a young age in one of the monasteries. He had a friend whose name was Basilius, who was a monk before him in that monastery. They had the same interests and they practiced many virtues.
When his father departed, St. John did not keep any of his father's possessions, but gave all of his inheritance to the poor and the needy. He then lived an ascetic life full of strife.
In the monastery, there was a Syrian hermit whose name was Ansosynos. One night he saw the apostles, Peter and John, entering where the Golden Mouth was. St. John, the Apostle, gave him a Bible and told him, "Do not be afraid, whosoever you shall bind, shall be bound, and whosoever you shall loose, shall be loosed." The old hermit therefore realized that St. John Chrysostom would be a faithful shepherd.
The grace of the Lord filled St. John Chrysostom and he wrote homilies and sermons and he interpreted many books while he was still a deacon. It was St. Melatius, Patriarch of Antioch, who had raised him to this rank. Then he was ordained a priest by St. Phlapianus, St. Melatius' successor, by the guidance of the angel of the Lord.
When Nectarius, Patriarch of Constantinople departed, Emperor Arcadius summoned St. John and made him Patriarch. He conducted himself during his patriarchate in an apostolic manner. He continued teaching, preaching and interpreting the books of the church, both old and new. He boldly admonished the sinners and the wealthy, regardless of their authority or wealth.
Queen Eudoxia, the wife of Emperor Arcadius, had a lust for money. She took a garden which belonged to a poor widow by force. The latter complained to the Saint, who went to the Queen and admonished her and asked her to return the garden to its owner. When Eudoxia did not obey him, he prevented her from entering the church and partaking of the Holy Communion. She became exceedingly angry and gathered a council of bishops whom St. John had previously excommunicated for their evil deeds and their mismanagement. They sentenced the saint to be exiled. He was exiled to the Island of Thrace, but this exile did not last more than one night. The people were enraged and they gathered around the royal palace demanding the return of the Patriarch. While the people were sorrowful because of their righteous shepherd, a severe earthquake took place and almost destroyed the city, terrifying everyone. The people thought that this was a sign of the Lord's anger, caused by the exile of the Saint. As for Eudoxia, she was disturbed, her soul was troubled and she went in haste to her husband and asked him to bring back the saint from exile. Once the light of the shepherd shone on his flock, their sorrow changed to joy and their wailing was replaced by the songs of joy and happiness.
This state of affairs did not last long. There was a large square beside the church of Agia Sophia, where a large silver statue of Queen Eudoxia was erected. On the day of its dedication, some common people danced madly, played profligate games, until they were immersed in immorality and sin. Because of St. John's zeal to curb the spread of immorality, he repudiated the people in his sermons, courageously showing his disapproval of their behavior. His enemies took advantage of his zeal and accused him before the Queen, of having said that "Herodia had risen up and danced and asked for the head of John the Baptist on a plate." This cruel accusation gave the Queen a good reason to sentence him to exile. She instructed the soldiers who were in charge of guarding him not give him any means of comfort during his travel. Thus, they moved him from one place to another hastily, until they came to a city called Komana, where his health deteriorated and he departed in peace in the year 47 A.D.
During the reign of Theodosius II, the son of Emperor Arcadius (who exiled St. John), the body of St. John was taken to Constantinople, where it was placed in the church of the Apostles.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
Psalm 73:23 ; Psalm 73:24 ; Psalm 73:28 [Arabic]
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may tell of all Your praises
In the gates of the daughter of Sion.
Jn 10:1-16 [Arabic]
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.