Readings for Saturday, Hator 18 of Christmas Fast
Saints/Feasts/Fasts to be commemmorated/celebrated: The Christmas Fast
• The Martyrdom of the Two Saints: Atrasis and Yoana (Junia).
• The Martyrdom of Saint Philip the Apostle.
Psalm 68:11,35 [Arabic]
The Lord gave the word;
Great was the company of those who proclaimed it:
O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.
The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.
Mk 3:7-21 [Arabic]
But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God." But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, "Sons of Thunder"; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.
Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."
Psalm 145:10-12 [Arabic]
And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts.
Lk 6:12-23 [Arabic]
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.
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.
Rom 10:4-18 [Arabic]
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them." But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?"' that is, to bring Christ down from above or, ""Who will descend into the abyss?"' that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" that is, the word of faith which we preach: that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!"
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
"Their sound has gone out to all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world."
2Pet 1:12-21 [Arabic]
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 3:1-16 [Arabic]
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us." So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
• The Martyrdom of the Two Saints: Atrasis and Yoana (Junia).
• The Martyrdom of Saint Philip the Apostle.
1. The Martyrdom of the Two Saints: Atrasis and Yoana (Junia).
On this day the two saints Atrasis and Yoana (Junia), were martyred. Atrasis was the daughter of the pagan Emperor Hadrian. Because of his great love for her, he built a special small room where she could be away from people.
Atrasis thought always about the vanity of the world and the end of life. Day and night she asked for guidance towards the right way. In a vision at night, she saw a person who told her, "Bring Yoana (Junia), the virgin, the daughter of Philospheron, and she will teach you the way of the Lord." When Atrasis woke from her sleep, her soul rejoiced and she sent for Yoana, who came to her at once. Princess Atrasis met Yoana, bowed down before her and embraced her.
Yoana started to tell her the reason for the incarnation of the Son of God, starting with the creation of Adam and how he was expelled from paradise, the coming down of the flood and the renewal of the creation once more, the reason for worshipping idols, the appearance of God to Abraham, the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, how the prophets proclaimed the coming of the Son of God, His coming down from Heaven and His incarnation through the Virgin and the salvation of the world from the hand of Satan. She made clear to Atrasis what the godly people will receive; and that is, heavenly grace in eternal life. When the virgin princess heard that, her soul rejoiced exceedingly. The words of Yoana were sweeter than honey to her ears and she immediately believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be the Glory. The two virgins worshipped day and night with fasting and prayers. One night they saw the Lord Christ and the Virgin Lady, His Mother, in a dream. The Lord placed His hand over their heads and blessed them.
Meanwhile, her father, the Emperor had gone to war. When he came back his daughter was betrothed to be married. Before the wedding ceremony, her father asked her to offer incense to the god Apollo, before getting ready for her bridegroom. She told him, "Father, how could you forsake the God of heaven and earth and worship defiled idols? Turn, O my father, to the God Who created you and in Whose hand is your life and death."
When her father heard these words, which he had never heard from her before, he asked who taught her that. They told him it was Yoana, the daughter of Philospheron, who corrupted her mind. He ordered them both to be burned. They took them outside the city, arrayed in their beautiful garments and their jewelry. Their slaves and handmaidens were crying. All the people of the city were sorry for the youth of these two saints and they asked them to submit to the Emperor's wish by offering incense to the idols, but they would not turn from their decision. When they dug the pit and lit the fire, the two saints held each other's hands and they cast themselves into the fire. They stood in the fire, turned their faces towards the east and prayed, and many had seen them. After the fire was out, some of the believers who were present went forward to take their bodies. They found them stuck to each other; their garments and their jewelry were not burned. They placed their bodies in a safe place until the end of the persecution era, then they built a great church for them.
The prayers of these two saints be with us. Amen.
2. The Martyrdom of Saint Philip the Apostle.
On this day also, of the year 80 A.D., St. Philip the Apostle, one of the Twelve Disciples, was martyred. His lot fell to go to Africa and the surrounding regions. He went and preached there in the Name of the Lord Christ. There, he performed many miracles and wonders which astounded the people.
After he led the people to the knowledge of God, confirming them in the faith, he went to Herapolis, where he also led the people to the knowledge of God.
The non-believers took counsel together to kill him, accusing him of disobeying the king's order that no stranger was allowed to enter their city. They jumped him and seized him, but he smiled at them saying, "Why do you keep yourselves away from everlasting life and why don't you think about the salvation of your souls?" But they did not pay any attention to his words, instead they tortured him severely, then they crucified him head down. During the crucifixion an earthquake took place; the people were terrified and ran away. Some believers arrived and wanted to untie him from the cross, but he asked them to leave him, so he might finish his strife and receive his crown. He delivered his soul to the hands of Christ and received the crown of eternal glory in the year 80 A.D. and was buried there.
In the sixth century A.D., his body was transferred to Rome. The Lord manifested many signs and great wonders through the body of St. Philip.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
Psalm 19:1 ; Psalm 19:4 [Arabic]
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
Matt 10:1-15 [Arabic]
And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.
"Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!